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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Roberts Is Not The Worst of Them

Oh come on, did you really expect a liberal?

Even a centrist pick for the Supreme Court vacancy was a pipe dream. The last time Bush masqueraded as a moderate or a centrist was back in 2000, before the Supremes gave him a gift wrapped election victory.

However, this time I don't think anybody really doubted how conservative he truly is. In the 2004 election it was all about the base. And he did win it fair and square this time. Although, I question whether the base had that much to do with his victory. Given a very close election, yes, that disciplined one quarter of the population voting in lock step did provide the swing he needed for a narrow victory. But Bush also increased his popularity with Hispanics, gaining about 44 percent of their vote, and he even got a slightly higher percentage of the Jewish vote this time out.

I think his victory was as much attributable to the security issues as it was to his Christianist base. And in the middle of a war - even one that people had doubts about - voters were reluctant to change course. And yes, Kerry ran an abysmal campaign too.

But Bush won. And to the victor go the spoils. And so he gets to pick a nominee to the Supreme Court. It gives me no joy to announce this obvious fact. But there it is.

However, the bigger question is how do liberals and Democrats (not always the same - but close enough) react to the nomination of John Roberts?

Firstly, I really do agree that he was the best of the worst choices. It could've been Priscilla Owens or Frances Brown. The best thing about Roberts is that nobody actually knows anything about him. There's at least the slimmest of hopes that he'll turn into another Justice Souter, or Day O'Connor. Not likely, but there's just enough uncertainty to make the Falwells and Dobsons a tad nervous.

For some good discussion on this, Daily Kos has a lot of reaction. If you'll scroll about half way down, Steven M. makes the excellent point that even if the Democrats lose the battle, they ought to fight the confirmation. Sometimes, there is no shame in defeat. Sometimes, fighting the good fight and doing it honorably is what matters more.

This is a time to lay out our alternative vision rather than a 40 point campaign program that nobody reads. If we can communicate that vision with passion and clarity in simple and compelling language which engages people both emotionally and intellectually then we will have claimed a victory.

We won't stop Roberts.

But too many American, in the last election, admitted that they didn't know what Kerry and the Democrats stood for. This is our opportunity to tell them that we stand with workers whose jobs have been outsourced, employees who have lost their pension plans while their corporate bosses give themselves exorbitant bonuses and golden parachutes. That we stand with women who must make the agonizing decision of whether to terminate an unwanted pregnancy that may have been caused by rape, incest, abuse or that might be endangering her health. We stand with all those on the outside who have their noses pressed against the window because they still don't have a place at the table on the inside. We stand with those for whom the American Dream is still an unbroken promise and we stand for those who want to protect our environment from pollution and keep our streams and our air clean.

All of these are issues that the Supreme Court's decisions impact. This is not about an abstract culture war for us. It's about living, flesh and blood people.

And if we stick to that narrative and can convey that story and that vision to voters, then we will have won this battle. And if we really believe those things, ourselves, then this is one battle in a war worth fighting.

3 comments:

The Fool said...

I agree about Roberts. I feel that he's the best we're going to get from these fascists so it's probably a good idea at this point to take half a loaf and save our money and ammo for Bolton and other obvious knuckledraggers.

AnonymousIsAWoman said...

True, Fool. I don't think Democrats and their interest groups should mount a full out scorched the earth fight over this one.

From everything I've read, Roberts actually seems to be a decent guy. Just too conservative for my taste, of course.

But he's not the one to go to the mat against.

However, I also believe that it is a great opportunity for Democrats to ask the pointed questions and to articulate their objections when they arise. The most important thing in this one is not to block this nominee but to make the case for a different criteria from the one Bush uses to pick any of them.

It's to have the necessary ideological battle and to begin letting the public know what we stand for and why we object to Bush's choices in general.

The real victory will come in two years, in the mid-term elections, and in four years, in the next Presidential election, if we do our jobs right.

The Fool said...

Absolutely. If I were MoveOn.Org I would back off the Roberts nomination completely. Save money and resources for other battles. But I fear that as much as Bush and Company have screwed up, their red state brethren will STILL support them in a sort of red state snit over God, guns and gays. I hope we can do it but it really seems like an incredible uphill battle.