Meaningful Consultation

Here is what Sen. Coburn was doing during the hearing today (link):

Yeah, that's a crossword puzzle.

Update: The more I think about it, the more important I think this picture is. All day, Republicans pounded home the idea that they were all already going to vote for Roberts, and that Roberts didn't have to really say anything during the hearings. In other words, their main message today was that the hearings are pointless, both because we won't learn anything from them and because Roberts will be confirmed anyway. For example, check out this editorial from the Washington Times:

At the risk of heresy, I want to ask a simple question: Why are we having these hearings? After all, there is little doubt Judge Roberts will be confirmed. Unless he has a secret history that will, miraculously, soon be revealed, the final result -- already confirmation by a solid majority -- is a foregone conclusion. Even the votes against Judge Roberts -- such as Sen. Barbara Boxer's promise to vote "no" unless he expressly agrees to uphold Roe v. Wade -- are unlikely to change.(...)

So, again, why have hearings? Senate votes aren't affected, and history demonstrates the Senate is perfectly capable of judging a nominee without them -- if it wants to. Yet, in this case, we will hear not only from the nominee, but also, more importantly, from all the interest groups, pro and con, vitally interested in the nomination.

And that, I think, explains why we will have the hearings. They aren't for the senators, who likely know how they will vote. The hearings are for the interest groups and their constituents.

This also seems to be the sentiment Coburn is trying to get across by openly completing a crossword puzzle during the hearings, live on television. The basic consrvative argument here is that the hearings are pointless--everyone should look away. There is nothing to see here.

This is a very good strategy for the Republicans in the Senate. Poll after poll has shown that the majority of America really isn't paying a lot of attention to Roberts anymore, pretty much because of Katrina. The entire Republican strategy today plays into our newfound national apathy toward the hearings.

Unfortunately, we are going a long way to playing into this stealth strategy. Throughout the progressive blogosphere, there was a surprising dearth of posts about the hearings today. Katrina posts and searches still outnumber Roberts posts and searches by a wide margin. This means we are on the brink of defeat, since the hearings for Roberts will be over on Thursday night, and the Katrina aftermath will be with us for months, if not years.

If we are going to have any shot of changing the complexion of this hearing, we in the blogosphere are all going to have to start paying a lot more attention to Roberts, and start doing this right now. Most people are undecided on Roberts, and they will remain such as long as they are not paying attention, which works for the Republicans. This is a tragedy, because in the midst of Bush's greatest failure, he is on the brink of securing his greatest victory. Come on People—walk and chew gum at the same time.

Tags: Judges (all tags)

Comments

21 Comments

Big Deal
I once worked on Capitol Hill and hate Tom Coburn.  However, I have to cut him a little slack on the crossword puzzle.  

Those hearings, even for the Supreme Court Chief Justice, are long and many Senators ask the same questions worded differently.  It gets pretty boring even if you are really interested in the subject.  Many senators leave for hours at a time b/c they can't take it anymore.

I think the crossword puzzle thing is a little snarky and could bite us.  Don't be surprised if one of the Dems is doing one as well or reading the sports section.

Let's stick to the issues here - Tom Coburn is a crazy wingnut.  We have plently to bash him about w/o focusing on what he is reading during the hearing.

by John Mills 2005-09-12 01:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Big Deal
When I saw the picture I actually laughed out loud.  It's so human.  I've filled out a few surreptitious crossword puzzles myself.  I think it would have been funny whether it was Coburn or Leahy or anyone.  Yes, it's a BIG IMPORTANT EVENT.  But at the same time, it's just one more instance of these guys throwing the same talking points back at each other just like they've been doing day after day, month after month, year after year.  It must get a bit old after awhile.  
by Mose 2005-09-12 01:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Big Deal
Point of order, Mr. Chairman:

Coburn has only been doing this since January.

by craverguy 2005-09-12 01:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Big Deal
I think the point being made was that Coburn broke down almost crying about how polarized our country was and politicized evwerything has become. Some have questioned whether he was being geuine. This crossword puzzle is evidence that he is full of shit and his crocodile tears are not geuine.

http://americablog.blogspot.com/2005/09/tom-coburn-gop-hypocrite.html

by Erik 2005-09-12 01:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Big Deal
Well of course he is full of it.  He is one of the people who made it so partisan and divided.  At least by doing a crossword puzzle he isn't doing any damage such as working on another looney bill.  Does anyone know if it is a Christian crossword puzzle?
by John Mills 2005-09-12 01:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Big Deal
in the summer, I am  a nudist
in the winter, I am a buddhist
by turnerbroadcasting 2005-09-12 02:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Big Deal
I was actually moved to download a crocadile image to play with after hearing him.  Such horseshit!

Hmmm... not liking how those two metaphors mix. Not one bit.

by Paul Rosenberg 2005-09-12 02:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Big Deal
Fair enough, but doesn't Coburn (or any other senator for that matter) have other things to peruse that may actually be related to their job as a Senator?

I've done surreptitious reading myself in analogous circumstances, but I always try to opt for something work-related first before I break out Sports Illustrated.  And I would hope that our US Senators are slightly busier than me.

by Kumar 2005-09-12 02:11PM | 0 recs
From Wonkette: Roberts expression during this..
http://www.wonkette.com/not%20so%20gay%20afterall.jpg">
by turnerbroadcasting 2005-09-12 02:11PM | 0 recs
Roberts expression
It's the exact same expression every time.  He's just turning his head a little.
by nocloset 2005-09-12 02:58PM | 0 recs
Fifth Face of Mount Rushmore
He looks as clueless as Bush. Clarence Thomas looks like he could kick his ass.
by risenmessiah 2005-09-12 10:29PM | 0 recs
Must.keep.mouth.clamped.shut
What is he hiding in his mouth? My son looks like that when he eats something off the floor that he's not supposed to.
by freedc 2005-09-13 05:11AM | 0 recs
An inspiration
I was doing a crossword puzzle while I was listening to Coburn's speech.  When I heard him crying, first I wished I was listening even less, then it helped me with this clue:

5 letter word for BALONEY---

W U R S T

See, wingnuts are inspirational!

by The lurking ecologist 2005-09-12 02:13PM | 0 recs
As In
WURST Precedent Ever!
by Paul Rosenberg 2005-09-12 02:37PM | 0 recs
you crossword puzzlers will know what I mean . . .
I wonder which crossword it is?  The Monday NYT?  Hope it's not giving him too much trouble.

Chris, I hope you won't throw me off the site, but I don't see a filibuster happening unless Lawyer John loses it and says something like "yeah, I said the right to privacy is bad law, and I still think so.  And by the way, screw you."

The real questions that ought to be asked are something like "If Roe v. Wade were overturned, would the states still have the power under the Constitution to pass state laws allowing abortion?"  (or would Congress itself?)

he'd duck the question, of course -

by Mississippi Scott 2005-09-12 04:05PM | 0 recs
Too easy
- if Roe is overruled, the states (or Congress) can do anything they want. They can outlaw abortion, or they can ensure that it's legal and paid for, or they can do anything in between. That's what the anti-Roe crowd has wanted all along.
by david blue 2005-09-12 06:55PM | 0 recs
Move on to More Important Things
You can sit around fighting against the Supreme Court nominee, who, even if he was stopped, would just be replaced by another wingnut nominee, or you can move on to a fight that is worth fighting:  IMPEACHMENT.  What the hell is wrong with the Democrats?  The public doesn't care about the Supreme Court nominee and, barring some sordid revelation, they aren't going to care.  
The Democrats should simply be talking about Bush's impeachment at every turn.  Cut off the head and the tail dies - cut off the tail and you still have a Republican Rottweiler.
by steve expat 2005-09-12 11:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Move on to More Important Things
Right...and with zero control of Congress...how does that get anywhere?

It's true that the response to Katrina was enough to want his impeachment. But we have to wait until 2007 at the earliest to have his head on a pike.

For now, the Roberts confirmation is the most important objective.

by risenmessiah 2005-09-13 01:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Move on to More Important Things
Why focus on the Roberts confirmation when that is equally unwinnable, then?  Where is the logic in that?  Bush is dying on the vine and the Republicans know it.  Sooner or later, they will have to turn on him to save their own asses.  If the Dems had been yelling for impeachment long before the hurricane started, they would be gathering momentum already.  2,007?  Why don't you wait until 2012?  Jeb Bush is a lock in '08.  C'mon, people, fight a meaningful battle at least.  Do you actually have some other wingnut in mind that would be better than Roberts?  This is the most futile and non-productive battle you could pick in terms of what the American people are interested in.  You don't have anything to pin on him other than suspicion.  I'm suspicious, too, but that isn't going to convince a Republican Congress.
by steve expat 2005-09-13 02:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Move on to More Important Things
Okay but seriously...

While some Democrats lain down in the road for the Imperial Bush, plenty have tried to fight bad legislation, bad policy, treaties, with every tool at their disposal.

But the Republicans run DC, and there's no victory or defeat that isn't more symbolic than substance. That's why Terri Schiavo was a big deal, why Katrina is a big deal, because the symbolism is inherently important. Even CAFTA was a fight we would lose, but we fought it tooth and nail.

Rest assured if the Democrats regain Congress there will be a new sheriff in town. DeLay will get a taste of his own bug-spray. But it's like sports, you play each game to win, even if you know your prospects this season aren't very good.

You have to stand up for your principles in the face of adversity and not back away because it's easier. These are the days that will ultimately determine the face of the new Democratic Party and the face of America after the Bush Administration.

by risenmessiah 2005-09-13 10:52AM | 0 recs
Crossword
Maybe things would be more interesting if he asked Roberts for a the answer to 23 Down?
by sprout123 2005-09-14 03:27PM | 0 recs

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