Congratulations to the Senate Democrats. Congratulations to the big liberal interest groups in Washington. Congratulations to myopic cheerleaders in the blogosphere. The Democrats have fought a five year battle over judicial nominations, and within the next few days, we will lose. Congratulations.

For the last week, it has been painful to be a Democrat. And those are not words I use lightly in this time of so many fairweather friends who wish us ill and wield their stilettos under the protective canopy of "CNN" and "DLC". I have found strength in this beleaguered minority through the angry days of Bush, and I have never once apologized for the Democratic label that I wear. So allow me to stray off the reservation for one evening.

Anyone with an eardrum who watched the Alito hearings could not but come away with the sour taste of day-old cigarette smoke unwashed and unshowered and still reeking. And that taste came not from Sam Alito, who is definitely a doctrinaire conservative and definitely a man lacking in what we liberals call humanity. The taste came from Democratic Senators named Kennedy and Schumer and Kohl and Biden and even Durbin, who acquitted themselves with such blatant classlessness that an audiologist listening only to the pitch and tone of the hearings without their words could only have chosen those Senators, and their equally vapid Republican counterparts, as the shame of our Democracy and Sam Alito as the man courageous enough to suffer their barbs for the sake of public service. Add in the words and the verdict is confirmed. So will Sam Alito be.

I am so angry, though, not because of what I saw this week (I wrote off Democratic Senators long ago, when they decided to cease discussing war so as to flee in the direction of prescription drugs) but because of what I saw these few years. We have been powerless for a long time now, and what little power we had has been squandered, utterly and totally squandered, on a series of idiotic judicial nomination battles. Fighting those battles was transparently futile from the start, and for every inconsequential appellate court judge filibustered for a few months there has been one, at least one, heinous piece of legislation carried through with no scrutiny and more-than-token Democratic support. I speak of the tax cuts, the war, the PATRIOT Act, the bankruptcy bill, the prescription drug bill, the SAFETEA bill, No Child Left Behind, successive irresponsible budgets and supplementary appropriations and shameless pork and unqualified-to-criminal federal appointments.

The justification through those pointless fights was an upcoming Supreme Court nomination. We must intimidate the President, so we're told, and show him that no one who does not appear on Chuck Schumer's list can hope to sit on the Supreme Court. And last spring the culmination of our appellate court filibusters ended up in lifetime appointments for a grotesque collection of judicial ghouls. But at least we had the promise of no future nominee "outside the mainstream".

DOES ANYONE THINK THOSE BATTLES GAINED ANYTHING?? Does anyone believe the court we will have now is not exactly the court George Bush and his friends have desired from the moment Bush bought his movie-set ranch and decided to run for President?

And yet I come here to dKos and see the same thing as always. Maybe Bush was right. "Fool me once, shame on you... Fool me twice......... Don't fool me again!" Except you were fooled again. Your endless "Borkalito" blog posts and your ceaseless cries for blood and... we're worse off than if forty-five Democratic Senators had decided not to show up in Washington for the last five years.

Maybe some day this party will be voted back into office, but one thing is clear from this shameful evidence: if it happens anytime soon, it won't be because we deserved it.

Originally posted to Marshall on Fri Jan 13, 2006 at 09:03 PM PST.

Your Email has been sent.