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August 16, 2005
Those Who Fight And Run Away ...

The Democrats have decided that discretion truly is the better part of valor. Faced with a bulletproof candidate and reeling from the fallout of the disgraced smear campaign from one of their most important allies, Senate Democrats plan to offer no more than token oppostion to the confirmation of John Roberts as the next Supreme Court justice:

In a series of interviews in recent days, more than a dozen Democratic senators and aides who are intimately involved in deliberations about strategy said that they see no evidence that most Democratic senators are prepared to expend political capital in what is widely seen as a futile effort to derail the nomination.

Although they expect to subject President Bush's nominee to tough questioning at confirmation hearings next month, members of the minority party said they do not plan to marshal any concerted campaign against Roberts because they have concluded that he is likely to get at least 70 votes -- enough to overrule parliamentary tactics such as a filibuster that could block the nominee.

"No one's planning all-out warfare," said a Senate Democratic aide closely involved in caucus strategy on Roberts. For now, the aide said, Democratic strategy is to make it clear Roberts is subject to fair scrutiny while avoiding a pointless conflagration that could backfire on the party. "We're going to come out of this looking dignified and will show we took the constitutional process seriously," the aide said.

"This was a smart political choice from the White House," said one prominent Democratic lawmaker, who like several others interviewed for this article requested anonymity because they were departing from the Democrats' public position. "I don't think people see a close vote here."

It looks like even Estradification has been taken off the table. They plan on highlighting the Bush administration's refusal to grant access to documents from Roberts' work in the Solicitor General's office, but won't filibuster the confirmation on that basis. The aborted ad campaign from NARAL forced too many of the Democrats to come to Roberts' defense, especially when explicitly called the ad false and misleading.

This will drive their activist base mad, of course. They will face remonstrations about caving in to the Republican majority and carry twisted hangers in front of Democratic offices instead of GOP, for a change. This might prove rather instructive for the Democratsm if they can manage to keep this in perspective. The amount of protest differs from the level of invective, a lesson that they have not yet understood. The majority of Democrat voters in this country already understand that elections have consequences and fully expect Bush to nominate conservative judges and the Republican majority to confirm them. They want to create an environment where the opposite is true, but through the ballot box, not through self-defeating and mindless obstructionism.

In other words, they want Democrats to start winning elections and quit acting like petulant children who don't know how to do that. Acknowledging political reality might be the first step in that direction.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 16, 2005 6:35 AM

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» Dems Backing Down on Roberts Opposition? from Bogus Gold
This morning, Captain Ed cites a WaPo article indicating that Senate Democrats now intend to offer no more than token resistance to John Roberts nomination to the Supreme Court. The WaPo article states: [Read More]

Tracked on August 16, 2005 9:21 AM

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