< meta name="DC.Date.Valid.End" content="20050825"> Amendment Nine: Don't Take the Bait - It Hurts!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Don't Take the Bait - It Hurts!

Begging the professor's pardon here, I'd like to interrupt Mitya's twin posts and comment on something that appeared to have resolved itself, but yet again it shrinks out into the sunlight.

Armando appears to be up to his old tricks again. Since one of our bloggers has had a bit of a reconciliation with dear Armando, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately though, regardless of whether Armando meant to or not, he and other "bloggin' dems" picked the wrong path. Instead of committing the time and energy to let the Roberts nomination evolve a little, weigh the issues, and plot the best attack, they decided to be lazy, pounce on any negative, and sing the filibuster chorus at the drop of a hat. The result is 1) a missed golden opportunity and 2) a worse post-nomination situation for gay Americans.

As everyone now knows, while at Hogan, Roberts did some pro bono on the Romer case. According to the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, he was "terrifically helpful" in prepping for the case. This fact was not disclosed in the Judiciary Committee questionnaire. Making it all the more obvious the gaming going on here. The goal was to innoculate Roberts. And once the the innoculation occurred, to band-aid it over.

But thats not what Armando thought on 8/3 when he started the filibuster waltz. Citing an '81 memo where Roberts "approvingly quoted" from J. Black's dissent in Griswold. Armando ended his post with the invitation to tango:
Roberts, unless he expressly states that he will not overturn Griswold and Roe, must be filibustered. There is no other way.
Of course, Roberts is never going to expressly state anything about how he will or will not rule, and Armando knows that. His message is clear. "These quotes prove Roberts isn't fit for the job." In other words, Armando took the bait: hook, line and sinker.

Here's what could have happened if no rush to judgment. First, the Roberts issue would not have been discussed, thereby preserving its shelf life for future debate. Second, when the truth comes out, as it did yesterday, that Roberts helped out on the Romer issue. Democrats could come in and praise him, congratulate him. Seriously, it would have been wonderful.

We could have spent the entire judiciary hearing talking about fags and queers and how great it was for Roberts to help them out. How thrilled we are that Roberts clearly is prepared to recognize gays and give them the equality of respect they deserve. Shit, you could even have a gay gospel choir (if there is such a thing) come in and sing Hosannas! Gay rights groups could have given him rainbow flags and pink triangle appreciation awards. And the leaders of the gay rights movement could have held press conferences endorsing Mr. Roberts as "our nominee". Senior Democratic Senators could say before their vote: "you know, I was gonna filibuster Mr. Roberts cause I expected he'd be as extremist as the President made him out to be. But I can tell now he's a sensible man, so I'm not gonna filibuster, he's walked the walk and proven he'll respect the rights of others as a member of the Court." The press would be fixated on Roberts as the "pro-gay justice." And specials stories on CNN would appear wondering aloud about "Bush's pro-gay legacy." In other words, everyone would have done what we are all now doing, re-evaluating Roberts on the basis of his actions, not his words.

All this could have been said and done (and still can be by Dem Senators, but not by Armando). And the result would be devastating for the Republicans. A further wedge would be driven between the christian right and their many conservative, gay, well-heeled allies. More importantly though, Roberts would be effectively "cloaked". For at least the beginning of his expectedly long-tenure on the court, Roberts would find it impossible or at least, quite difficult, to play the part the radical right had envisioned. And in the end, for people who really will be affected by a Roberts on the Court, that is a far better situation than can be expected from stirring up the pot with the futile filibuster game. Which begs the question, is Armando more concerned about stirring things up, or helping people out?