January 11, 2006

I was so fresh and motivated...

... watching the hearings this morning. Then, after doing the "Midday" radio show, I ventured out into the real world. I knew the TiVo would save the afternoon session for me, but now, trying to watch it all, it seems so pointless and repetitive. Yes, I checked out the part where Lindsey Graham emoted and Mrs. Alito left the room. But is that anything? The imposition on the family of the nominee, forced to sit on camera all day, for days, is insane. Just about any damn thing these poor individuals do is justified, in my opinion. Frankly, I can't imagine what the loving spouse of the nominee would think of the Senators over the course of this ordeal. What is she thinking? Endure, endure, endure.

UPDATE, 10:40 pm: I'm slogging through the afternoon session on the TiVo. Boy, is it low energy -- just going through the motions. Alito seems to be grimly grinding through competent answers and the Senators seem to be just filling out their alotted time. We're laughing about how often Alito is just saying things are "crucially important," "critically important," "vitally important." We also laughed at Diane Feinstein saying: "You also said that precedent is not an exorable command..." Come on! If they're not even going to listen to themselves, why are we tuned in?

33 comments:

Troy said...

Mrs. Alito is realizing that the Kennedy curse has different mojo where Teddy is concerned.

I am still waiting for my dream response: "Yes, but Senator Kennedy, I've never left a woman to drown."

Alas -- most of Ted's enemies er... Republican nominees are too nice, etc. to do so.

Verification word: qxbutf -- something about Quxxo, but I can't imagine what.

Thersites said...

Ann, not for nothing, but your blog isn't displaying comments properly. If you have Firefox and Explorer, look at it in both & see for yourself. Or maybe it's just me. I have the latest versions of both.

Ann Althouse said...

Thersites: Yes, I know there are some problems with those browsers. Try checking the most recent archive to get to the current posts.

Thersites said...

Those are the two most popular browsers, of course. Just trying to give you a heads up is all.

Doesn't it seem like you're not getting the number of comments you do usually? Just asking.

Ann Althouse said...

I've emailed Blogger about the problem. I think I'm getting a lot of comments.

Robert said...
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Jacques Cuze said...

I was so fresh and motivated...

Ann, blogger was having problems all day today, and even now it seems to be selling feminine hygiene products through your blog. You should speak to them about this, it's very annoying.

bassett said...

I can't listen in on the hearings during the day -- work, work, work. But do I really want to sit through hours of stuff like this? Exhibit A--GOPer Cornyn:

"We have a chart here that I think is instructive. This is as of 3 p.m. on day two -- we couldn't get any more current than that. But as this indicates, so far in this hearing, you have answered -- or 441 questions have been asked and 431 have been answered, or 98 percent."

They had to think about this in advance. "Ooh, you know what'd be good? Take a minute of our boss's only chance to question a guy who is going to sit on the highest Court in the land and come up with a statistic that is useless now, and not going to be of much use during the debate on the nomination, because the people that don't like him will not believe us, and the people who do won't care, as the substance of what he said counts much more. Yeah! That'll wow 'em! No, wait... a better idea? Charts!!"

And speaking of not believing him? Chuck Schumer, take it!

"My friends on the other side of the aisle have repeatedly said you've answered over 200 questions. Now it's probably 300. But a response is not an answer. And you've responded to more than 300 questions but, in all due respect, you haven't answered enough of them."

Lips flapping on both sides. If only they put the fingers their lips, they might be able to put on a music show.

This is why nobody watches these things. To the detriment of the Republic, by the way. You get a clip of Kennedy's snarky trip through magazine archives, Specter and Kennedy having a paper fight, and Graham's precious "are you a bigot" line. And this is what 95% of the people who watch the news will get from Day Two.

Mark Daniels said...

I watched just a few moments at midday, when Specter was asking his questions. Several times as the camera focused on Alito during the chairman's soliloquies, you could see his eyes go out of focus. Occasionally, he would allow himself to take sideward glances away from Specter. But then, it seemed, you could almost see him physically remind himself, "Okay, I've got to look him in the face" and jolt himself back to attention.

If this is how the grilled feels at his own grilling, one can only imagine how a poor spouse must feel. I know that my wife would say, "Bag this!" and be off. I'd want to go with her!

Mark Daniels

HaloJonesFan said...

That a Senator would invent a word like "exorable" is hardly surprising, considering the half-bright pompous lot that gets elected to that body.

The only reason Feinstein is a Senator is that she's a Democrat in California, and even they wouldn't have voted for her if...well, if they hadn't been voting for A "her".

PS It's going to be amusing seeing the Kos crowd chortling over how they made a woman cry. Talk about a double standard! If a Republican Senator had made a woman cry, it would be another example of what bastards all those Republicans are. If a Democrat made a woman cry, well, it's clearly a reflection of how her husband can't handle the though of a wife with the strength of personality to oppose him.

Goesh said...

It would be very trying and taxing to be a spouse and see your mate grilled and attacked at times, knowing there is nothing you can do to ease his/her discomfort. Though I am biased in his favor, mostly because of his 15 yrs. as a federal Judge, I think he is doing very well. It is historical and it is depressing to see how few people are even interested. Judge Alito is in his prime and will give many years of good service to our nation as a SC Justice.

brylin said...

Last night I watched Chuck Shumer defending himself on Fox News (Shumer rarely appears there) about Mrs. Alito's tears.

This morning the lead story on the Today Show is Joe Biden with Katie Couric attacking him about Mrs. Alito's tears. Katie was really tough on Biden.

It looks to me that the Democrats are in damage control mode.

My take is that many women (and many people in general) will be sympathetic to Mrs. Alito and will not bother themselves with spin by any Senator.

GWPDA said...
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Pogo said...

This morning , flipping through channels, I run across some talking head complaining that the Democrats weren't the reason Mrs. Alito cried, because it occured during the [softball] Graham questioning. Criminey.

Why surviving a mean-spirited distortion of your life with badgering questions is supposed to be a measure of fitness for SCOTUS (or any gov't job) is unclear. He certainly models grace under fire.

Then, they're not really looking for grace under fire. They just want to throw mud repeatedly and see what sticks, or impugn his integrity just to maul him. Either way.

Alito knows that no answer he gives would satisfy the Democrats. They do not want him in, so they are probing and poking to find something they kill off this nomination with. He has to sit and take it, never permitted to answer the question in a meaningful way, or defend himself from attack.

Kennedy has no shame at all.

word verification~ deleted due to obscenity!!

Daniel Nexon said...
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Daniel Nexon said...
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Robert said...
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David said...

The New York Times took a look at the CAP archives and came up with -drum roll please - nothing about Judge Alito!

It will be interesting to see if they talk about Princeton today!

I believe the tone will be less strident today.

Daniel Nexon said...

I'm sorry... I don't understand. Is the point that, in context, she should've said "inexorable" or that she merely used a somewhat archaic word?

Henry said...

You're sorry, I'm sorry, we're all sorry. Okay then.

I know I'm not the only one who gets a whiff of McCarthyism from the Democratic approach. There was Senator Kennedy practicing guilt by association and indulging in base theatrics. There was Senator Feingold wanting to know the names, names, of the justice department officials who helped Alito prepare.

Throw in the abortion litmus test questions -- the demands by Feinman, among others, that Alito declare Roe v. Wade as settled law even as challenges to it are still percolating up through the courts -- and the obsequious performance by the Republicans and the hearings are living down to my worst expectations.

Some commenters have expressed anger and disappointment at the trashing of Senators in some of these Alito posts and I agree. Insult-filled comments about dimwits and drunks are pointless.

But for those of you who are defending the Senators, I think you should be the angriest at them. I support Alito. I have very low expectations for government. It doesn't bother me if the Senators can't lay a glove on him without putting their feet in their mouths. But it should bother you. They are letting you down.

ChrisO said...

For the record, Mrs. Alito had her little outburst when Lindsay Graham was talking, so it's not really accurate to say the "Democrats made her cry." And Graham was apologizing for the Democrats calling him a bigot, which they never did. Perhaps if Graham had stuck a little closer to the truth Mrs Alito could have maintained her composure.

And come on, you all act like the Democrats were coming after him with torches. So you don't agree with the tone of the questions they're asking. Do you honestly mean to say that they shouldn't ask the questions because they might make his wife cry? He's in a Senate confirmation hearing for the Supreme Court, for God's sake. I think she needs to toughen up a little.

And I don't know about you, but if I belonged to a campus group that was clearly controversial at the time, I'd remember. Especially if I'd subsequently put it on job applications. And if the Vanguard issue isn't serious enough to explore, what the hell is? Now we can't even ask a nominee about hearing a case involving a fund in which he held an investment, after specifically promising to recuse himself? If he'll say whatever it takes to get confirmed (like promising to recuse himself from Vanguard cases) then he deserves a little scrutiny.

With the abuse Ted Kennedy gets, I don't have much sympathy for Alito. You don't become a Supreme Court nominee reluctantly, you become one because you really want it. So shut up and take the heat for a couple of days.

David said...

My dictionary contains no word spelled 'exorable'. Why would Feinstein choose exorable and not inexorable?

If you substitute inexorable for exorable it has an interesting meaning;

"precedent is not a relentless command."

If exorable is the opposite of inexorable then she is attempting to say that precedent is a relentless command which sounds like a conservative talking point.

In any case, I would expect more lucidity from an elected official.

Henry said...
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David said...

Regarding Princeton and the CAP brouhaha, those were transitional times in our culture. It had only been about 10 years since we had abandoned our allies in South Viet Nam to defeat. The country was absorbing the ramifications of our actions and attempting to codify them into the operation of our institutions.

It seemed every group wanted to be classified as a victim of some sort and wanted recognition for their 'special' needs.

As I recall, the Indian movement was big then, the Mexicans had La Raza; The Blacks had the Muslim Brotherhood; Women had feminism; Vegans had Green Peace; and the list goes on.

Ricardo said...

You know. It's sad. But we've really turned into a nation of commentators. Only a handful of people are willing are willing to put themselves "out there" and really "do" anything, and 300 million people sit around second guessing them. Is that because it's so much easier and safer to make fun of others, rather than to do something and risk being made fun of?

Remember what Theodore Roosevelt said in 1910? "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

Pogo said...

Chris O said : For the record, Mrs. Alito had her little outburst when Lindsay Graham was talking, so it's not really accurate to say the "Democrats made her cry."

I made this point myself earlier, but aghast that someone might be so foolish as to claim that somehow it was Graham, not Kennedy or Schumer, who was making her cry. Heck, even Katie Couric understood who caused it. She was interviewing Biden, not Graham, wasn't she?

W.V. ~ zojpkuhn: the wave of combined tears and nausea induced when being bullied .

TidalPoet said...

"And Graham was apologizing for the Democrats calling him a bigot, which they never did."

Perhaps you need to look up the word bigot.

Bigot

Then go ahead and come back and tell us that Senator Kennedy didn't call him one during his 'questioning'. Go ahead. I'll wait.

Kurt said...

chriso wrote:
And I don't know about you, but if I belonged to a campus group that was clearly controversial at the time, I'd remember. Especially if I'd subsequently put it on job applications.

I can perfectly well imagine how and why Alito might have joined this Alumni group but might not remember the specifics. There's a similar group at my alma mater that sends fundraising letters to alumni periodically. I imagine that CAP sent out a letter highlighting some campus outrage and soliciting new members, Alito sent in a check, and later, since the incident was fresh in his mind, he mentioned his membership in this conservative group in his application for a job in a conservative administration. A year or two down the line, his membership lapsed, he forgot what had provoked him to join the group in the first place, and since he'd never paid much attention to the subsequent mailings from the group, he didn't bother to renew. No big deal.

I've been fed up with the administration at my alma mater from time to time. And if the fundraising/membership letter from the similar group at my school got to me on one of those days, I might have sent in a check also.

As henry woodbury wrote:
Some commenters have expressed anger and disappointment at the trashing of Senators in some of these Alito posts and I agree. Insult-filled comments about dimwits and drunks are pointless.

ChrisO said...

TidalPoet:
OK, while you're waiting, please tell me at what point Kennedy used the word bigot. It will make my search easier. I certainly hope you're not claiming that a political opponent's characterization of one's remarks is the same as having actually made the remarks?

And far be it from me to question Katie Couric on any political issue, but if it was the Democrats who made her cry, then she's got some unbelievable delayed response mechanism.

Perhaps the next time Senator McCain wants to grill Rumsfeld on torture, Mrs. Rumsfeld should sit in the fron row quietly weeping. Then McCain won't ask his mean questions. I think that's a great way to run a country.

retired randy said...

It seems the whole hearing was full of bigots of Both persuasions, including Alito. What a way to run a Country. After having retired a year ago, I've had more time to look into politics. I've never been more ashamed of my country.

Coco said...

"In any case, I would expect more lucidity from an elected official."

This is all really silly. That someone trips up in misusing a single word (or non-word) doesn't say anything about someone's intelligence or lucidity. If it did, how would George Bush fare under such a litmus test?

Does anyone here really think that if they were a senator or any nationally recognized figure that spoke on the record as mcuh as they do that they wouldn't make similar mistakes? Do you not make such mistakes in your daily life from time-to-time? I've never met anyone who doesn't.

TidalPoet said...

It seems you didn't look up the word.

"I certainly hope you're not claiming that a political opponent's characterization of one's remarks is the same as having actually made the remarks?"

Perhaps you didn't type this correctly. If you'd like to rephrase, feel free.

Kennedy was obviously attempting to paint Alito with the same brush as he was painting the entire CAP association. Are you doubting this? If so, please provide a reasonable explanation for his tirade that offers an alternative motive.

Kennedy used quote after quote laying the groundwork for Alito's character. Using anti-gay, anti-black, and anti-women rhetoric that he's found through the CAP association and laying it on the clearly unaccepting (and undeserving) shoulders of Alito. Even after, multiple times I feel the need to remind you, Altio disavowed any such beliefs.

What is that word that means someone is intolerant of others? While I'm sorry that someone has to spell this out to you, but Kennedy was calling this man a bigot and a liar (Vanguard) in the most transparent terms. If you can't be bothered to learn the definiton of words, please, don't bother arguing with those that do.

-- word: bopnik : Sounds like a beatnik hiphop.

ChrisO said...

Tidalpoet

First, maybe you should get over yourself a little bit. Kennedy didn't call him a liar. Alito promised to recuse himself. He didn't. Pointing out inconsistencies in people's statements is not the same as calling someone a liar. Your characterizations of what Kennedy said are one-sided and dishonest, and your attitude is a bit smug for someone who doesn't really have a point.

And thanks for giving me permission to retype my statements. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to retype, since you were apparently too taken with yourself to actually point out what it was about the statement you disagreed with. I realize your arguments are so brilliant on their face that they don't need to actually be elaborated on, but perhaps you could humor us just this once.