Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Confirmation hearings snore

I wasted half an hour of my life I'll never get back, listening to the Alito confirmation hearings on NPR/KPCC on my drive to work. (Well, not exactly wasted - I was going to be in the car anyway).

As foretold, the hearings are focused entierly (and legitimately) on Alito's belief that really, the President can do no wrong. Senator Kennedy rightly cited to the Knight-Ridder study that Alito's never seen a Government abuse he didn't approve.

The problem is, the way they're going about it is long speeches, reciting obvious points, declaring their outrage at the President's conduct (which I certainly share), and declaiming the importance of standing up to Emperor W.

Someone needs to send them a memo: apart from Senators, pundits, and dorky lawyers like me, no one is listening.

UPDATE: A friend in DC who's listening reports that Alito just said he wouldn't use foreign law to interpret US law, and that Dems should therefore filibuster. I think that's a nonstarter. While I of course believe that the US should do more than gaze at its own navel and realize that other countries do occasionally confront similar issues and address them in ways that might provide guidance to the US, that argument is far too complex for middle America. The easy Republican response is "they want us to be bound by the rulings of courts in Zimbabwe" - outrageous mischaracterization, of course, but one that will resonate.

Far better to mount a filibuster on the "leave me alone" front: "This is a man who thinks it's okay to come into your house, strip-search your daughter (the words of the warrant notwithstanding) who's 10 years old, and get away with it."

That said, it completely mystifies me how Republicans, who are supposed to be all about being left alone by the state, seem to be getting collective hardons by letting the government be as intrusive as it can with as few checks as possible.

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