Friday, January 27, 2006

John Kerry is Clueless

Former Democratic Presidential candidate and current Massachusetts junior Senator John Kerry has called for a filibuster of Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito. Of course the strange part of this story is that he did not make this announcement from the floor of the Senate but from Davos, Switzerland at the World Economic Forum. Even stranger than that is according to all of the head counts currently made public there are not enough vote to sustain the filibuster. According to ABC News, 52 Republicans and 3 Democrats have signaled an intention to vote for Alito. Outside of that, another five senators have stated they would not support a filibuster. In fact, Democractic Minority Leader, Harry Reid is even on record as saying the votes are not there for this manuver to succeed.

So how does Kerry benefit from proposing a filibuster which will be defeated on the very first cloture motion? This is clearly a move to seek favor from the far left elements of his own party.

John Kerry has not ruled out a second run for the Presidency in two years and he may be attempting to cobble together a support base ahead of the Democratic primary season which essentially starts in earnest in 2007. This line of thinking, coupled with his recent appearance on the liberal blog The Daily Kos makes it appear as if Kerry is attempting to establish himself a bloc of support on the far left of the party. It is clear that Hillary Clinton has moved to moderate herself(probably feeling that the far left is a shoo in for her no matter what) and felt it necessary to stay flexible on her positions in order to make the transition to a general election a tad easier. Of course Clinton has to worry about re-election to the Senate in New York, which is no small feat. Kerry on the other hand has plenty of time coalesce some kind of base which will support him in a Democratic primary. Some of the Kos Kids as well as The New York Times have called for a filibuster on the grounds that Alito is too extreme for America. Kerry seems to be merely answering that call, if only symbolically, to garner the support of these entities and others. This kind of ploy is also fundraising paydirt and may simply be an effort to stir up donors to give to the party so they can win elections and prevent these kinds of "radical conservative appointments" from occurring. Wow! What a novel idea! Actually governing by winning elections outright instead of by name calling and obstructionism!

One final point Kerry must have missed is that many of the on-the-fence "Red State" Democrats may be leaning to confirm since there is now sufficient political cover to entertain such votes. If it was down to the wire on the vote for cloture or even confirmation some of these Democrats from conservative states would be under tremendous pressure to either buck the party and enrage the voters at home or vice versa. Now that no such pressures exist, I expect some of those undeclared votes to follow the poll numbers of their respective state, much like Democratic Senator Robert Byrd did when he realized that West Virginians largely favored Alito.
Kerry, on the other hand is only worried about one constiuency: himself.

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