Thursday, January 26, 2006

Senators, Spines, and Sam ScAlito

Harry Reid met with progressive lobbyists this week and told them he has 44 votes against Alito, but that there are eight Democratic Senators who will not support a filibuster.

Reid only needs 41 votes to sustain a filibuster. If he has 41, then every one of those Senators should support a filibuster, or their 'no' vote is meaningless.

Reid also said he would not pressure Democrats on this because it's a "conscience vote".

Reid would not name the "Alito 8" who are blocking a Democratic filibuster -- so it is important to identify them and tell them not to betray the Democrats who funded them and voted for them. If Democrats want our support to win in 2006, we need their support now.

Here's an easy directory for you to use, today, to contact them.

The most likely Alito 8 suspects are "Red State" Democrats:

Tom Carper (DE)
Kent Conrad (ND)
Byron Dorgan (ND)
Tim Johnson (SD)
Mary Landrieu (LA) -- she is speaking publicly against a filibuster
Blanche Lincoln (AR)
Mark Pryor (AR)

The "Alito 8" may also include some of the 7 Democrats in the Gang of 14:

Robert C. Byrd (WV)
Daniel Inouye (HI)
Joseph I. Lieberman (CT)
Mary Landrieu (LA) (see above)
E. Benjamin Nelson (NE)
Mark Pryor (AR) (see above)
Ken Salazar (CO)

Nelson has already said he will vote for Alito. Screw him, but we don't need his vote as long as we get nearly all of the others.

You can also, if you're feeling strong, call the Republicans who have not declared their support for Alito according to C-SPAN -- the best prospects are in bold:

Lincoln Chafee (RI)
Saxby Chambliss (GA)
Susan Collins (ME)
John Ensign (NV)
Lisa Murkowsky (AK)
Pat Roberts (KS)
Rick Santorum (PA)
Bob Smith (OR)
Olympia Snowe (ME)
Ted Stevens (AK)
John Vitter (LA)
George Voinovich (OH)

And most certainly call the five Democratic Senators who want you to support them for President in 2008. If they want to prove their leadership, they need to lead the filibuster. It only takes one Senator to start a filibuster. Call them with a simple message: IF YOU CAN'T LEAD A FILIBUSTER, THEN YOU CAN'T LEAD OUR PARTY IN A CAMPAIGN FOR PRESIDENT.

Evan Bayh (IN)
Joe Biden (DE)
Hillary Clinton (NY)
Russ Feingold (WI)
John Kerry (MA)

See, I don't think it's all that complicated. You use the filibuster because your instincts tell you it's the right thing to do. If you're afraid to use the filibuster because you're afraid you might lose it, then it's pretty apparent that you've already lost it.

If you use it, and Frist goes nukyuler, what have you lost? That which you were willing to concede anyway? And what have you won? The respect of the base of your party perhaps? Or the media or -- God forbid -- even the Republicans that you're willing to stand up and fight? An opportunity to again display the ruling monopoly as power-tripping and corrupt?

The Times sums it up for me:

A filibuster is a radical tool. It's easy to see why Democrats are frightened of it. But from our perspective, there are some things far more frightening. One of them is Samuel Alito on the Supreme Court.

Sometimes it's difficult to believe the people allegedly on our side need to be reminded of this. Nevertheless, let's be sure we remind them. Today.

Update (1/26, about 1 p.m.): Well, whaddya know. You were heard.

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