January 25, 2006
... will that give them more or less clout when it comes to the next nominee? I think the answer is less. The split vote on Roberts gained the Democrats something of the appearance that they were really weighing the merits of the nomination. Why would they want to mess up that appearance by voting as one? Perhaps they think, what was the point of supporting Roberts if we just ended up with Alito? But what happens with the next nominee? Perhaps the thought is that Bush has already proved so much about his freedom to pick whomever he wants -- just avoid the Miers mistake -- that there is no point in trying to preserve any influence over his choice. They can only hope that another slot will not open before they have the chance to regain control over either the Senate or the Presidency. Presumably, the analysis of how to vote on Alito reflects a strategy for winning future elections. The Democratic Party stands for something. But what? Based on what the Democratic Senators have emphasized, I'd say it's abortion rights and limiting presidential power.