The media did their best to neutralize the impact of this pitiful spectacle, with expert commentators on hand to assure us that smart fellows like Chuck Schumer and Joe Biden were only going through the motions for the sake of all that MoveOn.org fund-raising gravy. Don't worry, Ted and Chuck and Pat are way too savvy to believe this junk. Thus democratic politics reaches a new level of circular hell: The spin is that it's only spin.
As I understand it, with the Jack Abramoff dirty-money stuff, lobby groups give big bucks to politicians to advocate various things which, pre-check-cashing, the politicians may or may not have believed in. But this last week of Senate hearings has been so absurd it may bring the whole system into disrepute: Big-time Democrats are out there dancing for dollars in a cause so obviously non-viable that their media buddies feel obliged to signal that it's merely a charade. Does that satisfy anybody?
I don't normally post more partisan observations, for a variety of reasons -- reasons which are only reinforced by the blogging discussion at the AALS conference. But it seems to me this has been a great week for the Republican Party. Although it will come back, of course, the Abramoff/DeLay/Ney/Project K story largely dropped off the front pages this week. Congressman DeLay couldn't have timed his decision not to seek to regain his leadership seat better: it dropped into a Saturday/Sunday news hole, and was pushed aside by Monday to make room for the Alito hearings, at which the Senate Democrats did themselves no particular favors and for which the price of their obedience to Democratic-leaning interest groups was a front page photograph of a nominee's wife tearing up.
The conclusion: "I appreciate the value that interest groups such as NOW and NARAL have to the Democrats in the political process, but if I were running the party I would be seeking a Sister Souljah moment with those groups at least once a week, or better yet ignoring them altogether."
And here's a Wall Street Journal roundup (free link) on the "confirmation battle that never was."