Friday, May 01, 2009


Well, this was a lovely idea, wasn't it? Too bad it's already inoperative, less than 48 hours after it was announced:

Coming soon to a battleground state near you: a new effort to revive the image of the Republican Party and to counter President Obama's characterization of Republicans as "the party of 'no.'"

CNN has learned that the new initiative, called the National Council for a New America, will be announced Thursday....

It's inoperative, of course, because of today's news:

Supreme Court Justice David Souter's planned retirement touches off a fierce fight between the parties that could reinvigorate moping Republicans and, depending on his choice, enhance or tarnish President Barack Obama's bipartisan image.

Within hours of Thursday night's leak about Souter's plans, Republicans were circulating claims that potential nominees were "liberal" and "activist," and pointing reporters to comments that Obama and Vice President Joe Biden had made about the confirmation process when they were in the Senate....

There really was a chance -- a very slim one, but a chance nonetheless -- that Republicans could rebrand themselves in the next few months. Now that's impossible. A Supreme Court appointment? They're literally not going to be able to resist a fight to the death. They can't help themselves. And they're trapped -- their entire fund-raising strategy is to be a narrow, fevered party focused exclusively on hot buttons and red meat and inflamed passions. Obama could raise Abraham Lincoln from the dead and nominate him to the Court and Republicans would have to go after him hammer and tongs. That's what they do. The base demands it. And that's the real significance of this: that the GOP is going to seem more like "the party of no" in the second hundred days than it did in the first, as a result of Souter's retirement.


I've quoted the Politico story on the Souter retirement, which degenerates into comedy after what I've quoted. I don't know which line is funnier -- this?

Conservatives fired warning shots of the possible battle to come. Wendy Long of the Virginia-based Judicial Confirmation Network, a former clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas, said in a statement: "The current Supreme Court is a liberal, judicial activist court...."

Or this?

Despite the rhetoric from the other side, Obama should have wide latitude is picking who he wants to replace Souter. The recent switch of Sen. Arlen Specter from Republican to Democrat could account for a filibuster-proof 60-vote majority, should Minnesota's Al Franken be seated as expected.

The obvious point is that the latter quote is absurd because the Republican Party is in thrall to lunatic notions like the one expressed in the former quote.

And no, I don't in any way, shape, or form accept the notion that Al Franken will "be seated as expected" -- especially not now. He won't be seated for a long, long time. Nor do I expect Arlen Specter to be a sure vote for cloture. Nor do I expect Conservadems in the Senate to resist the notion that Middle America is right-wing and believes whatever phony, trumped up booga-booga case the Limbaughnistas and the GOP (but I repeat myself) mount against Obama's nominee.

So, in short, the intransigence will continue. No, I mean the intransigence will increase.

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