by Chris Bowers, Mon Sep 12, 2005 at 12:47:44 PM EDT
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 Peoplewalk and chew gum at the same time.