Monday, January 30, 2006

Wow, that was close

Well, so much for those brave leaders that popped their heads up from their gopher holes (or waved from their t-bars) in an effort to rally 'round a filibuster of Alito. The cloture motion passed 72-25.

The most prominent in that effort were Kennedy, a has-been; Kerry, a never-been; Feinstein, scared of Sheehan's shadow; and Clinton, .... what's her excuse -- she wants to be President?

Update: Bluto at The Jawa Report is in a festive mood. I love the crack about Kennedy ... blivit.

Info Holding Update: Don't mind the Newsday report below. I'm saving it here for Senator Clinton's election campaign this Fall in case she forgets about it.
WASHINGTON - Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday announced she'll join potential 2008 presidential rival John Kerry in voting to filibuster against Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, just as top Democratic leaders predicted the effort is likely doomed.

With three Democratic senators pledging support for Alito, the New Jersey conservative seems virtually assured of being confirmed by the full Senate Monday or Tuesday, party leaders predicted Friday. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters in Washington that "everyone knows" Senate Democrats couldn't muster the 40 votes needed to support a last-ditch filibuster.

"History will show that Judge Alito's nomination is the tipping point against constitutionally-based freedoms and protections we cherish as individuals and as a nation," Clinton wrote in a statement during a fundraising stop in Seattle.

Several senators had urged their colleagues to filibuster this week, but Clinton wasn't among them, Capitol Hill aides said.

Her move seems to put her at odds with New York's senior senator, Charles Schumer, who spent last week privately arguing that a filibuster would damage Democrats' chances of taking back the Senate this year, according to party sources.

Analysts said Clinton had little choice but to back the filibuster, given Kerry's Thursday announcement that he was reviving the stop-Alito movement. For all the talk of Clinton's shift to the center on abortion, she can ill-afford to let a possible adversary outflank her on the left among liberals who favor abortion rights, according to Jennifer Duffy, who monitors the Senate for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.

"It's an empty gesture," Duffy said of Clinton's announcement. "What Democratic primary voter is going to vote for her if she didn't do everything to oppose Alito? ... She had to join John Kerry."

In addition to Kerry and Reid, Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said they too would vote no on closing debate, even as they conceded their efforts would likely come up short.

Liberal and abortion rights groups have been bombarding senators' offices, infuriated that Democrats haven't done more to block Alito's confirmation.

Several other Democrats, including Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and Kent Conrad (D- N.D.), agree with Schumer that a filibuster could alienate middle-of-the-road Democrats in this year's midterm elections.


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