Want to talk ugly?
With Ms. Harriet Miers nomination to the Supreme Court, everyone had a million questions. Who was this woman? Would she vote Right, Left, Center? What did she really think about abortion? Why did she love W. so much?
With Alito, there's no question at all about his views, only if there's any chance of stopping him. Even with the support of a few moderate Republicans (which they're unlikely to get), 44 Democrats in the Senate can't stop Alito's confirmation. They may not even be able to filibuster, given that, this time, there may really be enough Republicans willing to change the Senate's filibuster rules.
So should they try? Almost every major article about nomination used the words "Alito" and "ugly" in the lead sentence. Except for a few notable exceptions, such as Barbara Boxer and Ted Kennedy, Senate Dems don't like things to get ugly.
Tim Grieve puts the question like this: How hard to do you fight if you know that you're going to lose anyway? Do you devote your time, your energy and a reputation to this battle, or do you focus instead on GOP scandals that keep coming and a war that won't go away? There's a menu from which Democrats can choose now, and the choices they make may determine whether they keep winding up on the losing end of these votes in the future.
But I don't know if it has to be an either/or choice. Wouldn't a smart righteous Democratic response ackowledge that this is just the latest ugly thing coming out of the administration? Want to talk ugly? How about a Supreme Court that, for at least the next fifty years, will send people to the death chamber even if they've had incompetent lawyers; a Court that will restrict abortion to such an extent that if it remains legal it will do so in name only; will remove what few gun control laws we have in the U.S.; and will support U.S. torture centers abroad?
Want to talk ugly? That's a pretty good word to sum up the situation in Iraq, with over 2,000 American troops and over 100,000 Iraqi civilians dead for a reason that changes every week.
Want to talk ugly? How about exposing an undercover CIA agent because you don't like her husband's politics?
All in all, it's been a pretty ugly last few years. Perhaps, in this battle over the Supreme Court, the ugliness can be fully revealed, Dems can remember what they stand for, grassroots activists can unify, hold supposedly progressive politicians feet to the fire, and make a real push for the 2006 mid-term elections.