Joe Clark is Turning Over in His Grave
by Chris Bowers, Thu Jan 26, 2006 at 05:31:19 AM EST
RENDELL:.... I think we've fallen into just such partisanship in D.C., not just in this but in so many things, it's in some way ways tearing the country apart. HEMMER: How do you think your Democrat colleagues did in this process? Were you proud of them? RENDELL: I wasn't pleased. Certainly some did well and some didn't. I wasn't pleased at the nitpicking. I think we need to go back to the days one party wins. No one fought harder for John Kerry than I did. They won the election , and as long as they give us qualified candidates... I would have voted not to confirm Clarence Thomas, clearly in my judgment at that time he wasn't qualified. But Sam Alito, unanimously recommended by the American Bar Association, qualified judge.What is particularly stunning is that Rendell used to be the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, but now he has no problem breaking ranks with the rest of his party in order to make himself look better to conservatives on Fox. What is even more laughable is someone who rose to power within Philadelphia politics, home of one of the last remaining Democratic machines in the country, is going on about partisanship and putting party ahead of policy. Whatever machine boy. What is particularly disgusting is that as a committeeperson, I am going to have to do GOTV for this guy this year.
This is really mind-blowing stuff. Was there any need for Rendell to make a statement in support of Alito, especially during the crucial hours of the final whip? Why did he suddenly decide it was more important for him to go on Fox News channel and repeat Republican talking points about the way Democrats acted during the hearings than it was for him to support the efforts of 80-90% of his party in the Senate by, I don't know, just being quiet for a few days?
A statement like this isn't going to help Rendell's re-election chances one iota, as it won't help Casey's election chances one iota either. People aren't trying to pay attention to this story. Were the story to become huge, however, if Dems actually managed a filibuster, the country would now know that two prominent Democrats who have nothing to do with the hearings absolutely agree with everything Republicans are saying about Democrats who oppose Alito, thus immediately positioning Senate Democrats as the extremists and Alito, the most extreme nominee to come before the court since Bork, as mainstream.
Rendell and Casey thus perfectly combine the worst aspects of Ben Nelson--who rarely votes with his colleagues but also never really criticizes them publicly--and Joe Lieberman, who votes with his colleagues sometimes but happily and publicly criticizes Democrats using Republican talking points, thereby reifying them, almost every chance he gets. That is a pretty toxic combination. I'd like to believe that this is an aberration, but I also remember at the beginning of 2005 when Ed Rendell happily signed up with the Fainthearted Faction on Social Security the first time he was asked about it on television.
This is a sad day for me. I'll do my duty as a committeeperson and try to get Democrats elected in Pennsylvania once the primary is over. I just wish the people I was helping to elect would do their duty too. Joe Clark, the former Democratic mayor who broke the Philadelphia Republican machine and in 1962 became the last Democrat from Pennsylvania elected to a full-term in the US Senate, is turning over in his grave.