Monday, January 30, 2006

Taking a stand

Digby sums up my post-filibuster feelings nicely. A week ago, there was no filibuster, there was no serious Alito opposition, and while Senators didn't want him on the court, they didn't exactly care to fight him. But people got worked up, they called, pestered and in the end, the filibuster went from zero to 25. And that 25 is a fascinating figure politically. If it got to about 38, I bet the caucus would have gotten itself together and voted en masse to filibuster. But the odds of that were too close to zero. Even so, Senators who said they didn't want to filibuster listened to the American people and acted as representatives of those people. Digby explains:
The last time we had a serious outpouring from the grassroots was the Iraq War resolution. My Senator DiFi commented at the time that she had never seen anything like the depth of passion coming from her constituents. But she voted for the war anyway. So did Bayh, Biden, Clinton, Dodd, Kerry and Reid. The entire leadership of the party. Every one of them went the other way this time. I know that some of you are cynical about these people (and, well, they are politicans, so don't get all Claud Rains about it) but that means something. Every one of those people were running in one way or another in 2002 and they went the other way. The tide is shifting. There is something to be gained by doing the right thing.
Democracy works. It's not that we won the vote, we lost it, and by a hefty margin. But we made it an issue. Senators had to look deep into their souls and ask whether Alito was worth a fight, and a lot of them came to realize that he was only after hearing from their constituents. And the arguments you heard from the advocates of more debate are not so different than those you heard right here.

No one expected to stop Alito, so this wasn't a loss. The attempt was a victory, and 25 Senators stood up for justice and demanded that the minority party be heard. This is a victory that will beget victories, and not just symbolic victories.