Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Looming Vote On Roberts

The vote on John Roberts is drawing near. And each of the senators find themselves in a position of "having to do, what they have to do".

Ted Kennedy will vote against Roberts on grounds of his views on voting rights. And Senator John Kerry, will vote against Roberts on the grounds that he was evasive in his answers on the questions before the senate. And most likely other democrats who are planning a run for president in 2008, will also vote against Roberts as well.

Those democrats planning to run for president must appeal to their core of voters. They really have little choice. Roberts may be be extremely well qualified, and even sort of likable. He's an attractive choice, as well as briliant. However, his vision of conservatism is something of a mystery. Even some supporters of the far right, like Pat Robertson are unsure of the real vision of the Roberts brand of conservatism. But I feel it's more likely than not, a form of procorporate conservatism, rather than mere social conservatism. And no doubt some decisions will go horriby wrong on the bench and offend significant numbers of wary progressives.

And Republicans, especially those wanting to run for president must be seen as loyal to the party. But even to many Republican moderates, Roberts appears to be an acceptable as well as well qualified choice.

That's the whole dilema for senators unsure about Roberts. He'll have some decisions for decades that will almost certainly offend the values of progressives, yet he's one of the strongest choices in years in that he's so brilliant and well qualified. And if most democrats use too much fire now, they waste this fire for the second, if not more important seat to replace moderate-conservative Sandra Day O'Connor.

Roberts will be confirmed. And by an overwelming vote as well. The second seat should be the real main event. Replacing the conservative Rehnquist with the conservative Roberts is no net ideological change. But the issue of court balance will be far more important with the second seat. Yet the political reality is that democrats are a weak minority in the senate right now. They can't hardly stop a republican majority from forming to approve almost any choice, except an obvious awful choice like a Bork. All of this process, with democrats sitting near helpless at the sidelines make 2006 and 2008 critical make or break election years for the democrats. It's crunch time for democrats to rebound or begin to go the way of the defunct Whig party.

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