One of the two “senators from MBNA,” as Atrios and others refer to them, fell flat on his face with this one (at least he has a slightly less pungent voting record than Tom Carper, which was partly the subject of a whole other rant some time ago…and by the way, “Joe Mentum” continues to give liberals a “lap dance” and nothing more by saying that a filibuster of Scalito “is on the table”).
Yes, the hearings are a show, which is truly pathetic by itself. Yes, as part of that, there was all kinds of “coded behavior” going on, such as Our Man Arlen bending over and puckering up to Scalito at the end yesterday to proclaim his ultimate fealty to the Repugs. Yes, there was searching to hear Scalito say that Roe v. Wade was “settled law,” which he wouldn’t do lest he and the other Bushites incur the unholy fury of the Dobsonites and other right-wing moonbats. And of course, the most scripted moment of all was the moment when Mrs. Borkemada shed tears on cue from Lindsay Graham’s prodding.
But as dumb as all of this is, it is nothing more than a fit of pique for Biden to say that nothing is a better alternative (which, of course, creates the opening for Specter to take a shot at him, which he dutifully did, pointing out that Biden never complained like this when he chaired the Judiciary Committee).
Suppose there had been no hearings on Robert Bork? Suppose we did not have the opportunity to witness Bork’s utter contempt for the confirmation process and the Senators who were asking him questions? The disdain Bork showed when the senators questioned him on the right to privacy (which isn’t specifically spelled out in the Constitution, but which any life form greater than an amoeba should recognize is implicit in that document) was palpable. And suppose there had been no hearings for Clarence Thomas? (the “Saturday Night Live” parody was worth having the hearings all by itself).
My guess is that there is a whole raft of other stuff about future nominees that would never come out if all of them were sent to the Senate for an up-and-down floor vote without hearings. Besides, for Biden to state that he would toss aside something that doesn’t work without bothering to try and fix it doesn’t sound the act of a presidential wannabe (and as far as I’m concerned, he’s running out of time on that one).
By the way, speaking of Scalito (and Dubya), I thought this was a highly instructive post from the blogger “Georgia10” at The Daily Kos.