(Darryl) Levinson thesis
SLevinson at law.utexas.edu
Thu Jan 19 20:09:12 PST 2006
I'm not sure about this. Maybe it is politically rational to claim:
A. Unlike the Republicans, we do not try to shut down the government or
engage in other destructive behavior when we do not get our way.
B. And the Republicans are lying to you about Alito and Roberts (both
of whom arguably perjured themselves during the hearings). But the only
way to convince you of this is to allow a straight vote. We say they
will behave one way, the Republicans claim otherwise. Let's see who is
telling the truth.
Not wonderful, but not stupid either.
Perhaps I overuse the word "stupid" :) But this still strikes me as odd. To filibuster the Alito nomination is not remotely "to shut down the government," not least because Sandra Day O'Connor has kindly consented to remain in place until her successor is confirmed. As for "B," this might make sense as a responsible strategy if Alito could be bounced upon being demonstrated to be a cad and a bounder (according to some criteria). But the point is that it's forever. And if one views the US as currently being close to an Ackermanian "constitutional moment," then one tries to stop the feared development. One does not pave the way for it and they hope to gain by saying "see how bad it is." Why won't a rational electorate (assuming there is any such thing) say, "Then why didn't you do everything you could to stop it?" It's like giving the car keys to a drunk on the assumption that getting into an accident or being arrested will provide the necessary valuable lesson on the need to stop driving while drunk. I don't think this is an "irrational" strategy. It makes a certain kind of sense. But the victim of the accident will rightly sue you for turning over the keys when it was eminently foreseeable that the drunk shouldn't be driving.
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