"This is a man I might disagree with. That doesn't mean he shouldn't be on the court." So said California Sen. Diane Feinstein Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation." And there you have it. In one single sentence, Sen. Feinstein demonstrated why the Democratic Party is having such a hard time winning elections and defeating the political, social and legal agenda of the radical right. Can you ever imagine anyone, anyone, on the Republican leadership side--Frist, DeLay, Hastert, Blunt, Cheney etc.--ever being so damned fair and balanced? Not until hell freezes over. That's because Republicans get it. Republicans have one goal in mind: winning. It's something the Democrats have yet to fully grasp.
Feinstein plans to vote against Samuel J. Alito Jr.'s appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. But she will not support a filibuster. Feinstein, a lifetime supporter of women's reproductive rights, called the anti-abortion Alito "clearly qualified" and said she was "very impressed with his ability to maintain a very even demeanor during this entire thing and his ability not to specifically answer any questions." Shouldn't this last statement be reason enough to do whatever possible to block his confirmation?
When will Democrats stop being so concerned with impressing conservatives with their civility and righteousness? They don't get it in return. In fact, they get the exact opposite. Remember the political lynching Bill Clinton got back in the 90's? Or how Republicans vilified Max Cleland? Or how the right condoned the Swift Boat attack on John Kerry? This is a party that will pull out all stops to win. I'm not suggesting Democrats do the same. I believe we are the more righteous party. But Feinstein's stand, or lack thereof, on Alito is just simply foolish. Can't we at least get a fight? Are we that blase? That exhausted? That unorganized? That inept? That scared? Where's the execution of the strategy that was hatched at the now-infamous 2001 retreat where Democrats and legal scholars mapped out a defense against the Bush hijacking of the judiciary? It's as if the Democrats have just laid down and died. It's frustrating and disheartening. I don't mind losing. But losing without a fight is unacceptable.
When will the Democrats finally step up and realize we're at war here? If fighting Alito's appointment...if having an activist conservative court for the next 35 years... is not worthy of a filibuster, what the hell is? What are they waiting for? It's time to send a loud message to the GOP by doing everything possible to block Alito's confirmation.