Sources close to Kerry, who lost to Bush in the 2004 race, told CNN that the senator was calling colleagues from Switzerland, where he was attending the World Economic Forum.....It seems unlikely that there will be a filibuster, of course, as 3 Democrats have already said they'd vote for Alito and one has said she will oppose a filibuster. Only one more Democratic vote is needed to add to the 55 Republican votes to reach the 60 votes needed to close debate.
The White House believes Alito's supporters have the 60 votes they need to block any filibuster, spokesman Steve Schmidt said, and suggested that Kerry's move was designed to buttress a possible 2008 presidential run.
But isn't it nice to get a chance to think about Kerry again? I love the image of him phoning from Switzerland.
UPDATE: The NYT is saying Kerry is getting a "cool response." It must be quite cold, I'm thinking, given that the Times was hotly promoting the filibuster only yesterday. The hapless Kerry stepped up to that challenge and today must read:
Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts could not attend the Senate debate on the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. on Thursday. He was in Davos, Switzerland, mingling with international business and political leaders at the World Economic Forum.Ouch. Oh, but that's our Kerry: awkward. What? You don't find it endearing anymore?
But late Thursday afternoon, Mr. Kerry began calling fellow Democratic senators in a quixotic, last-minute effort for a filibuster to stop the nomination.
Democrats cringed and Republicans jeered at the awkwardness of his gesture, which almost no one in the Senate expects to succeed.
IN THE COMMENTS: Dave points out that "coup" is a French word, and the French use "sur" with "coup," making "on" a natural choice for a French-speaking person like Kerry. I respond:
I thought "on" was a weird choice of preposition, but if the French use "sur," maybe that's why he said it. To me, as an English-speaker, it sounded awkward. And with the use of the passive voice, I'm left thinking WHO is delivering a blow to the Supreme Court? What I think he meant is that once Alito is there, an "ideological coup" will take place. That is, the institution of the Court will be illicitly taken over by a group of ideologues.
Oh! The pain! I'm having a flashback to the last election campaign, when I spent a bizarre amount of time parsing Kerry statements. The meaning would seem almost to be there, but as I reached out to try to grasp it, it would slip away in one direction or another, and we'd be down here in the comments debating what they hell he actually meant.