"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)

Thursday, January 26, 2006

An Unfortunate Coincidence 

I received in the mail this morning a letter from my state Democratic party, which began thusly:
Dear Friend,

This is the last time I will ask for your support; please renew your membership in the Washington State Democratic Party today.

The letter was signed by outgoing chair Paul Berendt, which is why it makes reference to "the last time I will ask for your support" (that is, it is the last time Mr. Berendt will ask - it does not mean that the dunning letters will mercifully cease). I should note that my "membership" in the party is only the inevitable result of my having appeared at my precinct caucus in support of Carol Mosely-Braun. Membership is an unavoidable side-effect of participation, rather like the political equivalent of the hair loss and erectile dysfunction associated with an otherwise desireable prescription drug.

See, the thing is, about the same time I opened Mr. Berendt's letter, I read this:
The Washington Post reports several Democrats are breaking ranks and now backing Alito, including Sens. Johnson (SD), Byrd (WV) and Nelson (NE).

In addition, Landrieu (LA), Feinstein (CA) and Salazar (CO) have said they do not support a filibuster. With 55 Republican votes and these six Democrats, the GOP will have the votes for cloture.

So there it is. Scurvy Sam Alito will be seated as an Associate Justice of the United States, with the shameful complicity of at least six Democrats. Indeed, there may be more - as of this writing, while my state's senior Senator (Democrat Patty Murray) has announced her intent to vote against Alito, our junior Senator (alleged Democrat Maria Cantwell) remains cagey.

Well, fine. I will leave it to Sen. Byrd to explain to his constituents, including the families of recently deceased coal miners, why he would support the elevation to the Supreme Court of a judge who has no problem with the evisceration of workplace safety standards. I will leave it to Sen. Johnson to explain to his constituents, including those who will be unable to obtain a legal abortion due to onerous state laws, why he would confirm a judge who is openly hostile to women's reproductive rights. I will leave it to Sen. Nelson to explain - aw, forget it; he's a hopeless case.

Furthermore, I will leave it to Sen. Landrieu to explain to her constituents, including those whose homes were lost in Hurricane Katrina, why she is hesitant to join a filibuster against a nominee who may be expected to support the Bush Administration's stonewalling of congressional committees seeking information regarding the grossly negligent federal response to their tragedy. I will leave it to Sen. Feinstein to explain to her constituents - residents of the most pro-choice state in the Union - why she is afraid to exercise her power under the Constitution to block the confirmation of an anti-choice ideologue. And I will leave it to Sen. Salazar to explain to his constituents why he refuses to stand in the way of a Supreme Court Justice who is unashamed of his fealty to those who would rape Colorado's pristine environment for profit.

Good luck to all of the above-named Senators - who, collectively, represent almost 15% of all the Democrats in the Senate - in their efforts. Good luck to our own Sen. Cantwell as she grapples with her conscience. And finally, good luck to Paul Berendt in his efforts to secure financial support for the Washington State Democratic Party, the local branch of that very party to which the above-named Senators belong. I'm afraid, however, that you will have to find a way to meet your goals without my help. You see, you just happened to catch me at a bad time.




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