According to Newsday's James Pinkerton (who also cites a New York Times piece):
In 2001, 42 of the 50 Democrats then in the Senate - the number is down to 45 now - went on a retreat to "hear experts and discuss ways they could fight a Bush effort to remake the judiciary." The experts were three liberal legal eagles - Laurence Tribe of Harvard Law School, Cass Sunstein of the University of Chicago Law School and Marcia Greenberger of the National Women's Center in Washington - who told the Democrats that they could "oppose even nominees with strong credentials on the grounds that the White House was trying to push the courts in a conservative direction."Pinkerton notes that, for the first time in memory, even the media turned on the Democrats during their disgraceful performance, garnering ridicule across the spectrum, from Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show" to Newsweek magazine. He then offers a word of advice to the Dems:
And now that's the strategy that has failed, leaving Democrats "tilting at windmills," as a rueful Tribe told the Times.
First, their long love affair with lefty law professors must come to an end. For decades, the party has let itself be led, at least perceptually, by the avant-garde ideology of such litigation-obsessed outfits as National Organization for Women and the American Civil Liberties Union.Time will tell whether they take the advice, but it's been clear for years that the national Democratic Party is pushing an agenda shared by few regular Americans, as evidenced by the continual crushing defeats they've experienced at the ballot box.
Moderate law blogger Ann Althouse further illuminates the Dems' disastrous strategy at the Alito hearings, astutely pointing out:
[The Democrat senators] seemed to be making political speeches, which really was consistent with their own bad decision to portray judging as a political enterprise. If we'd believed that portrayal, their expressions of political preferences would have seemed quite relevant. But people aren't buying that portrayal, and they shouldn't. What judges do is different from what Senators do, and they need arguments that make sense as a criticism of judging...If it's political, the winners of the elections should prevail. If you want to say it's not political, then why did you portray it as political, throughout the hearings and as part of a strategy devised years ago at your retreat?The fact is, liberal Democrats have been judicially imposing a political agenda on the country for years. Their greatest fear (and the reason they fight to the death over these nominations) is that conservatives might abuse the power of the courts in the same way they have.
It's fitting that they should be wetting their pants while their party once again implodes over this, as they've discovered yet a new way to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory.
Related Tags: Sam Alito, Senate Judiciary Committee, Democrats, James Pinkerton, Cass Sunstein, Laurence Tribe, Marcia Greenberger, ACLU, National Organization of Women, Ann Althouse