John Kerry's military training finally paid off. Within hours of receiving his latest orders from the Democrats' High Command -- the New York Times -- to filibuster Judge Alito's Supreme Court nomination last Thursday, Vichy John proclaimed he would lead the fight. Soon after he jumped into the first available first class seat to fly back from Davos, Switzerland, to take arms, or at least wave them. Newsday reported that the Times sent Lil' Billy in to pinch-hit to the glitterati. Okay, okay. That's not what Newsday wrote. What it did write was this: "Former U.S. President Bill Clinton told corporate chieftains and political bigwigs [at Davos] Saturday that climate change was the world's biggest problem followed by global inequality and the 'apparently irreconcilable' religious and cultural differences behind terrorism."
So Algore was right. Why worry about terrorists with nukes? If we save the whales from global warming, the Vogons will choose not to blow up earth to make way for an interstellar bypass, and earthly dolphins won't have to fly away singing, "So long and thanks for all the fish." (It still scares the liver out of me to think this clown Clintoon was commander in chief for so long.) But I digress.
The departure of Dan Rather leaves the hyperlibs without a source for strategic or even tactical decisions other than the editors of the NYT. As Loose Canons has argued since last October, there's no longer a liberal bias among the media. There's a media bias among the liberals. Without a clue of their own, the libs follow the diktats of the Times, the WaPo, CBS (what's left of it), ABC, NBC and the UN. The documentation is there for anyone to see. In the '04 election, CBS and the UN led the way for Kerry. In the Roberts confirmation hearings, DiFi and the others set aside their staffers' work in favor of reading the questions published earlier in the Times. On Thursday, the Times -- having most recently led the French Party into the NSA eavesdropping non-scandal -- accused the Dems of lacking sufficient spine to try a filibuster even though they would lose. The Times editorial board, we must conclude, is controlled either by Ken Mehlman and Karl Rove or by Jacques Chirac. How else could they be so eager, again and again, to lead the Dems off every political cliff? For the NYT and the rest, we should be most grateful.
Having distinguished themselves by Biden's bloviation, Schumer's smarmy nastiness, Kennedy's semi-coherent Alito-bashing and after managing to produce only one memorable moment during the hearings -- Mrs. Alito's tears -- the Dems are now taking a decent shot at filibustering the confirmation vote on the Senate floor. At this writing, it's entirely unclear that they will be able to muster the 40 votes necessary to make the filibuster serious. We must hope and pray they do, because in these fights the Dems are defining themselves to the American people in a way they will not be able to escape for the next two elections.
On our side of the ledger, if the Dems' vote count reaches 40, the McCain "gang of fourteen" will have failed and Sen. John McCain's stock in both the media and the public will shrink. McCain, though a front-runner now, is one of the few likely Republican presidential candidates who would lose in 2008. Reducing his political power decreases his chance at the nomination. On the Dems' side, a filibuster -- even one that fails -- increases the public's concern that the Democrats have nothing to say other than "no."
Since the 2004 election, the Dems have had nothing constructive to say on any topic. On taxes, they want to raise them. On Social Security, they want no change. On federal spending, they're as bad as -- dare we say it? -- Republicans. On Iraq, they want to cut and run. Worse still, they want to take away the legal and innovative tools the president and the Big Dog have devised to win the war. Guantanamo Bay? Close it. NSA warrantless eavesdropping on al-Qaeda? Stop it. Secret jails in Europe and Asia to hold terrorist suspects? Close them. Tough interrogation of terrorists that stops short of torture? Don't need to do it. Renew the PATRIOT Act? Only if it's watered down to the point that intelligence can't be gathered or shared. The Dems want to make it impossible to "connect the dots."
The list -- contrived mostly by the NYT's and WaPo's experts -- grows longer every week. It is only a matter of time before the Dems decide that the Hamas-led Palestinian government is a legitimate peace partner for Israel to engage. (If you doubt that, read the UK Guardian, which has already published op-eds to that effect.) And the longer that list, the fewer votes the Dems will get in November.
Conservatives and Americans generally aren't happy with the Bush administration on any number of counts. But the best reason to vote Republican remains the Democrats, what they are and what little they stand for. And in the Alito mini-buster, the Dems will inflict a wound on themselves that can be decisive this year.
The Times's Thursday editorial labeled the filibuster a radical move but one that is less radical than Judge Alito's confirmation would be. If the Alito confirmation isn't accomplished before the State of the Union address on Tuesday night, the president can make a point that will sink in everywhere.
If Judge Alito's nomination is still hanging by Dick Durbin's words, the president should pay tribute to Sandra Day O'Connor for her long service, and apologize to her for the Senate's disregard for her desire to leave the court. He should describe, in gory detail, the abusive questions directed at Alito in the hearings and how well the judge responded. The president should go on to describe Alito's distinguished career on the bench, and how he has ruled on both sides of the abortion issue, sticking the knife in to the hilt in those who describe Alito as a radical. Without mentioning the Times by name, he should say that the liberal press that demanded the filibuster does not speak for the American people, but against them. And then he should call for an immediate up or down vote on Wednesday.
The Dems' response -- by Virginia's new tax-loving governor, Tim Kaine -- will utterly fail to connect with Americans on that and the other points the president will make. Kaine will oppose making the Bush tax cuts permanent, but will work hard to hide the Dems' opposition. Kaine will paint the war with a broad brush, trying to hide the fact that the Dems have no policy other than retreat. And he will fail in that, too. Jack Murtha and Cindy Sheehan have ensured that result.
The Tuesday night bout between Bush and Kaine will end in a first-round knockout. And lying on the canvas, as flat as Kaine's speech, will be the fortunes of the French party. A filibuster against Alito? To paraphrase the remarks on the Alito filibuster by another Virginian -- Sen. George Allen -- "make our day." And in November, we'll be able to say, "thank you, Jill Abramson, thank you MoDo. You've done us a very big favor."
TAS contributing editor Jed Babbin is the author of Inside the Asylum: Why the UN and Old Europe Are Worse Than You Think (Regnery, 2004).