Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Fort Sumter 2005

The Second Civil War may have started earlier this afternoon. While it may not claim any lives, the divisions that have been growing split beyond and more band-aid, gang-of-fourteen fixes but one side will lay beaten and bloody by November 7, 2006.

Disappointed by the short focus on Scooter Libby's indictment and Bush's successful diversion with the Alito pick, Minority Leader Harry Reid pulled an unprecedented parliamentary move to block Senate action on the budget reconciliation. The action is condemned or celebrated depending on your political affiliation. From where I sit, Democrats have overplayed their meager hand and hastened their own defeat.

Any senator is allowed to ask that a closed session be called; automatically clearing the Senate chamber and summoning every member to the floor. While it can be undone with a simple majority vote, it disrupts schedules and preempts business under consideration. The tactic is typically used to address bipartisan concerns about national security or intelligence that should be shielded from public scrutiny. There is no indication the session was called this afternoon for any reason other than obstruction; indeed, the ultimate goal *is* public scrutiny of the matter.

News commentators remarked the game upset Majority Leader Frist more than they had ever seen. He spoke about a complete loss of trust in his counterpart and said he'd essentially been slapped in the face several times. Reid and his trusty deputy Durbin claimed it was justified to examine how we got into war. CNN, Fox, and MSNBC took it as trying to take the spotlight off Alito and put it back on the administration, who democrats feel got off easy after Fitzgerald's narrow indictment last Friday. After the endless praise for Fitzgerald the past two weeks, the parties are limited in the complaints they can make, and Tom DeLay's successful bid to get a new magistrate.

Combined with Bush's Samuel Alito nomination to SCOTUS, Senate dems decided to mount a desperate last stand and hope they can throw up something that sticks. Will the Plame leak be it? Not a chance. Their arguments didn't work during the election, and the stirling Fitzgerald himself produced far less than dems were hoping for. Maybe they should just get used to being wrong.

They won't mount a filibuster for Alito (see next post) and certainly won't be successful in any resignations at the White House. The Alito nomination makes Chuck Schumer and Ted Kennedy the spokesmen of the liberal left and invites an argument over what columnists regard as the democrats issue. Alito's two previous unanimous confirmations and Republicans 96-3 Ginsburg process leave little room to argue he isn't qualified for the court. And there won't be a filibuster, although it would good for the country; here's why:

Of the 33 Senate seats up in 2006, 10 are dems in blue states, 11 are Republicans in red states, there are three open blue state seats (Dayton, Minnesota; Sarbanes, Maryland; Corzine, New Jersey--presumably he's elected governor in a week), an open red state seat (Frist, Tennessee), three Republicans in blue states and five dems in red states. The blue state Republicans are Olympia Snowe, Lincoln Chaffee, and Rick Santorum. Snows and Chaffee are almost democrats but vote for Republican leadership. Santorum may be a casualty. The five red state dems range from Robert Byrd (89 year-old Parksinson's-afflicted, senile pork prince) to Ben Nelson (voting red on most things anymore). Add in unimpressive freshman Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and...well, to be honest, the rest may be safe. But with the exception of DeWine in Ohio, it;s hard to see nay Republicans facing much of a challenge. Look for red gains in the Senate, especially if Reid and Durbin keep up their slap-ass sophomore games.

It's a great time to be involved in politics, and especially to be on the winning side. I don't know what the Vietnam era was like, but I guarantee this is the biggest development since the Contract with America. November 8, 2006, will be another Morning in America.

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