A Profoundly Unserious Man
New York Senator Charles (Credit Check Chuck) Schumer was bloviating on Meet the Press this morning about the NSA, the Alito hearings, and the war on terror. In the process, he revealed himself as a man who in no way deserves to to be taken seriously.
His attempt to characterize Judge Alito as "out of the mainstream" is laughable. Alito is reasoned, experienced, thoughtful, and described by people on both sides of the aisle as a very fair judge. If such a man cannot be confirmed because he does not pass an ideological test, the federal judiciary's role as an independent branch of government is over. At first, Schumer tried to hint that he hadn't made up his mind about Alito, but that is demonstrably false (he voted against Roberts after all) so he then shifted to expressing doubt over whether he would support a filibuster or not. Many Republican commentators have expressed doubt about a filibuster of Alito, but based on Schumer's performance today, I think an effort will be made. Whether it will be enough to convince the red state Democratic Senators who are up for reelection this year to go along is anybody's guess.
I still think Alito is more likely to be confirmed than not, but it's far from a sure thing now. The President is reaping the harvest of the wasted months caused by his inexplicable nomination of Harriet Miers. The Republican base is reaping the harvest of the party establishment's support of the squishy Arlen Specter who refuses to make things happen, even to schedule timely hearings, for the conservatives. The chickens from the day Bush chose to openly oppose Pat Toomey have come home to roost.
Back to Credit Check Chuck. For the man whose own staff illegally (and this was without question illegal, rather than being disputed as the NSA matter is) rummaged through the credit files of a potential Republican Senate candidate (Michael Steele of Maryland) to complain about Presidential overreach and failure to protect privacy should have gotten him laughed off the program. Of course the urban former aide to Mario Cuomo isn't about to do that to a Democrat, so Schumer's hypocrisy went unchallenged.
The fact that this profoundly unserious man is one of the leading lights of the Democratic party is unsettling. The nation is best served by having two serious, adult political parties. Right now we don't. (Given Bush's recess appointment of the well-connected but completely unqualified Julie Myers to run Immigration and Customs Enforcement, I'm not sure we even have one.) That's really too bad.