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January 16, 2006

Who'da' Thunk It?

Of all the liberals to come down against a filibuster to disrupt Judge Alito's confirmation hearings,

Prospects for a filibuster to try to derail Samuel Alito's confirmation to the Supreme Court all but died yesterday when a key swing Democrat, Dianne Feinstein, came out against it.

I'll bet that a lot of sighs of relief were audible on the left side of the aisle when Dianne made that statement -- the last thing most of that crowd wanted was a filibuster - nuke option showdown they would have lost, further damaging their already feeble chance of winning any more seats in November.

Posted by Seth at January 16, 2006 10:03 AM


That's a serious admission of defeat for the left, wouldn't you say?

Posted by: Ogre at January 16, 2006 01:15 PM

Coming from Dianne, especially. She may be a lefty, but she's a really smart one. If she's willing to back off, she knows it's in her party's best interests not to push a filibuster and, more to the point, it's in her political best interests to play "the voice of reason".

She's also got a lot of stored political capital back in Kalifornia to help ward off some of the malevolence she'll undoubtedly draw from some of the extreme left groups out there for not supporting a filibuster.

Posted by: Seth at January 16, 2006 02:12 PM

More to the point, if I'm not mistaken, Dianne's donor base, unlike many of her colleagues, does not come from the far-left, freeing her to take a more "centrist" position.

Posted by: civil truth at January 17, 2006 08:50 AM

Dianne has a lot of far left support as well, CT.

The Bay Area, which was her springboard to the Senate, is filled with extremely wealthy people of whom you don't hear much who are very far to the left and who let their money do the talking, backing every wingnut org that comes down the pike, and in one way and another, Feinstein gets her slices of those pies when it's time to run for reelection, just as do her colleagues.

Posted by: Seth at January 17, 2006 10:10 AM

I was somewhat imprecise, and we're probably thinking along similar lines. What I was trying to state, which you clarified well, was that Dianne is not dependent on extreme left organizations such as MoveOn.org or Soros's groups for financial backing because she has her own family wealth (she and her spouse) and loyal wealthy individuals.

It's a very different dynamic when you need to placate individuals who stay more in the background (as you pointed out) rather than organizations that need to continually be pushing positions of calculated outrage in an effort to attract attention in order to try to gain an advantage in the competition for donations.

This is precisely why on an issue like Alito's confirmation, Dianne can take a more nuanced position rather than having to walk the plank on behalf of MoveOn.org, etc.

Posted by: civil truth at January 17, 2006 09:40 PM

True, CT --

A significant portion of her fortune was made from real estate investments back when she was mayor.

Posted by: Seth at January 18, 2006 05:42 AM