May 19, 2005

"Incredibly outside of the mainstream."

Yes, I'm following the filibuster fuss. The arguments have all been spelled out already, however, and all that's left is to wait and see how the standoff resolves. But they are debating on the floor of the Senate, so it's on C-Span2, and I go to set the TiVo to record it. Oh, there's Senator Stabenow in front of a big blue sign with the numerals 208 and 10 -- representing the proportion of Bush judicial nominees confirmed. She points at the big numbers didactically and intones "208 to 10" more than once. This is tedious. Of course, I know the Republican answer is that this presentation of the statistics, including the trial level judges, disguises the real level of opposition. Those 10 we opposed, she says, were "incredibly outside of the" -- you could bet your life on what the next word would be -- "mainstream." I reflexively click off.

UPDATE: I'll be on the Midday show on Minnesota Public Radio tomorrow at 11:30 or so, talking about constitutional aspects of the filibuster controversy. You'll be able to listen to it here.

8 comments:

Timothy K. Morris said...

Yeah, Stabenow is one of my senators and appears to be pretty much a party mouthpiece. The confirmation rate for Bush's appellate nominees is something like 53%. This site, http://dalythoughts.com/index.php?p=2983

has detailed figures. For comparision, Clinton's total for two terms was 61/3% and that was with the Republicans controlling the Senate for most of his tenure.

Sloanasaurus said...

It seems to me that unless a compromise is reached over the issue, the confirmation process is now changed regardless of whether the filibuster is voted out. 1) If the filibuster is not overturned, then it will be a common thing to filibuster 50% of the President's nominees no matter who is in power.... or 2) the filibuster will be overruled and no filibusters will be allowed on judical nominees. Either way it will be a departure from what went on between 1800 and 2002.

I sense that a deal will be reached. If the democrats would have filibustered only one of the nominees, that would have been accepted. The Democrats blew it by filibustering too many. A deal will be reached where maybe one nominee will be filibustered and the others voted in.

kimsch said...

It's Pauline Kael Syndrome. these judges are "out of the mainstream" because they're not in the democrats mainstream which is, of course, a different mainstream than the rest of us have.

SteveR said...

Since when is being "mainstream" a qualification? I always wondered what Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Clarence Thomas had in common, They're both in the mainstream!!

Richard Fagin said...

Priscilla Owen may be outside the mainstrem, but I sure am proud to have her autograph (and Al Gonzales's for that matter) hanging on my wall!

Ann Althouse said...

"Mainstream" is like "activist" -- a vogue word currently being used to manipulate the opinion of those who aren't investing enough time into learning about what's happening from reasonably neutral sources.

Virtually no one has the time, inclination, and ability to learn enough, of course, so the manipulation is actually pretty effective.

You could listen to the Senate debate for hours and the same words and talking points would recycle a hundred times -- and you wouldn't know anything more than you knew when you started.

alkali said...

I am still trying to reconcile Prof. A's demand to be paid $500 to watch Star Wars with her willingness to pay attention to this filibuster thing for free.

Ann Althouse said...

Alkali: Don't forget that I am paid to be a law professor.