Monday, May 18, 2009

Dry Powder

Apparently it's a good thing I didn't buy an entire case of popcorn for the upcoming Senate hearings on President Obama's nomination to the Supreme Court, whoever it may be. Republican senators have admitted that unless something comes "out of left field" on the nominee, the president will get his nominee confirmed. They just don't have the numbers. Senator Jeff Sessions admitted as much to the NY Times:

Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, has said he would not necessarily be opposed to a nominee who is gay or an abortion rights advocate. In a recent interview, Mr. Sessions made it clear that whatever his preferences for resistance on the nominee, he could count the numbers.

“Well, the Democrats have a strong majority on the committee,” he said, referring to the fact that with Senator Arlen Specter’s switch to the Democratic Party, the majority increased to 12 to 7, from 11 to 8.

Does that sound like the Democrats from 2001 onward? Well, no and yes. While "elections have consequences" and the Democrats have won the last two elections, President Bush did not have nearly the poll numbers his last four years that President Obama has for his first selection to the court. The Republicans are beginning to realize that their "Just Say No" strategy isn't working out well, not well at all. Most of the country sees the current crop of Republicans as out of touch with the country, perhaps even out of touch with reality.

There is, however, a point of similarity between the two parties' approach to keeping their powder dry. Republicans have noted that the cowardice displayed by the Democrats in the last two Congresses did not result in a permanent rift between the liberal base and its party. An energized liberal wing angrily denounced their party and its leadership, and then proceeded to raise millions of dollars to re-elect them and to elect more Democrats to make the leadership's job easier. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi not only still have their positions, they have a larger majority to work with.

Republicans are expecting that the worst that can happen to them is the exact same thing:

Some of the senior Republican Senate officials said there was a widespread understanding that the conservative groups would use the occasion of a Supreme Court nominee by a Democratic president as an issue both to rally supporters and to raise political donations, much as liberal groups did with Republican court nominees.

Oh, the Republicans will ask "hard questions" and will fulminate on family values and moral lifestyles, but after a delay of a week or two, the nomination will get out of committee. A filibuster might be needed for show, but it won't last long, just long enough to show the Republican base, such as it is, that the GOP is fighting, but because of sheer numbers, it is a losing battle. And, like the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, the "social conservatives" will wail and gnash their teeth and raise millions for 2010.

I guess the dry powder strategy does work, just not in the way it was presented to us.

Labels: ,


Blogger shrimplate said...

The Repubs have nothing new to say "no" to. They will have their little TV cameos, then it'll be over.

6:45 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home