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Monday, January 30, 2006

The Power of Planning and Patience

Alito discussion going on right now on the floor of the Senate, with coverage on C-Span2.

While you are watching, take a read through the front page NYTimes article by David D. Kirkpatrick.

Once you get past the gloating tone of the headline and the quotes within the article itself, I want you to contemplate the structure and planning that the Federalist Society folks have put into play over the last twenty plus years to get to the point that Chief Justice Roberts is seated on the Supreme Court and Judge Alito is poised on the brink -- maybe with only your phone call standing in his way for the cloture vote today. (Oh, and by the way, the "pop the champagne, we pulled one over on the Democrats" tone of the article has pissed off Teddy Kennedy this morning. He's giving the Senate an earful on it as I'm typing this article.)

What I want us to think about this morning is this question: if the Democratic party and its surrogate groups are not thinking in these long-term ways, what do I need to do to step up to the plate and get the job done? And if they are thinking in long-term strategy, what can we do to help them get there faster?

Ed Meese, Robert Bork, and their coterie of ideological legal fellows pulled the Federalist Society together out of thin air and a lot of anger -- pulled it together to combat ideological shifts in this nation that they found reprehensible to their own personal philosophies. The past few weeks, I've felt that same, simmering level of anger and frustration in readers over the Alito nomination and a lot of other issues -- and I say it is high time we tapped into our own outrage and put it to some serious pro-active use.

I know there are a number of Democratic, liberal and progressive groups working against the Alito nomination. I know there are similarly positioned legal groups, let alone other interest groups in this country who have been working on these issues on our side of the ideological line. But it is time we started contemplating how to better organize ourselves.

First, for the 2006 elections. How do we maximize our potential to re-take the House and Senate? Where can we all pitch in to best get things done?

Second, we need to start doing better in long-term planning.

By all means, hit the phones, the faxes, the e-mails today. Early and often. But let's put some considerable thought toward the future of the Democratic party and our own values in this nation -- and what we can do to best move our own agenda forward. For my part, I'm going to re-read my "A Question of Doing What's Right" post, to remind myself why I gird up for the fight every day. And then I'm going to get to work.