Thursday, July 21, 2005

2008 Hopefuls Will Show True Colors During Supreme Court Confirmation

In an otherwise throwaway editorial about the nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court, David Brooks of the New York Times makes one point that is certainly worth thinking about.

I suspect the Democratic elites would rather skip this fight because it has all the makings of a political loser…But the Democratic elites no longer run the party. The outside interest groups and the donors do, and they need this fight. It's why they exist.

Hillary Clinton and the other Democratic hopefuls will have to choose between the militant wing of the party, important in the primary season, and the nation's mainstream center, which the party needs if it is to regain its majority status. It will be a defining and momentous vote.


That is absolutely right. The most interesting votes that will come out of this confirmation are the votes of the Democrat senators planning a run at the White House. Clinton, Kerry, Biden and Bayh all have a tough decision to make. They already declined to be part of the Centrist coalition that saved the filibuster earlier this year. Will they again decline to vote for cloture and for a filibuster? Or will they just cast their “no” votes and hope that’s enough for the base?

How they handle themselves now can either endear or repulse the Democratic activists that have assumed control of the party. But how they act can also endear or repulse the broad mainstream that will ultimately decide the 2008 elections. Probably the best strategy is to act professionally, vote for cloture, vote no and get on with other business.

But can they resist the cries of the base?

2 Comments:

At 1:33 PM, Anonymous Heiuan said...

Actually, I know of many more centrist Democrats who are writing and calling their Senators telling them NOT to automatically oppose the nomination, but to wait for the hearings. I think we may be seeing a slight upsurge in Moderates taking back their voices.

I certainly hope so.

 
At 4:14 PM, Blogger Jonathan C said...

Were it me trying to win the Democratic nomination, I would vote "no" to confirmation in order to avoid being held up as a traiter to the party during primary season.

Will that be enough? Probably not. Since the Gang of 14 (they really should have their own action figures) has already declared they would oppose a fillibuster, it stands to reason that, whatever the case, any proposed filibuster of the candidate will not have any effect on the outcome, but would still go a long way towards making the base feel at least a little noble. I would therefore encourage one of my more liberal, non-nomination speaking party-members to launch into a long impassioned fillibuster.

When a cloture vote came, I would vote "no." This would score additional points with the base, but would in no wise actually bear any relevance to the outcome of the nomination process, and therefore could not be used against me during the general.

In any case, that's how I'd try to weasel my way out of a no-win situation, were I a potential nominee.

 

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