We’ve engaged in an open and frank debate both here, and across the spectrum of leftist sites, about the proper strategy for dealing with Roberts nomination. On one side we have pragmatists like Armando and me.

On the other side we have idealists like Madman. I think both sides have done an excellent job of defending their positions. And I just want to lay out a little of my thinking, and then talk about what it all means.

I fall into the pragmatic camp. What do I mean? I mean this:

The Bush administration seems to have vetted Roberts with the gang of 14 and he seems to have received their blessing for this nominee. That means that no amount of howling is going to get the Democratic Party to attempt a filibuster. Even Harry Reid probably could not get the ducks in line. Unless something happens during the hearings, Roberts will be confirmed. Now, how should we react to that?

more on the flip:
On a personal level, we should react with some acceptance. We have been fighting hard for 6 years now to keep BushCo. out of the White House. For many of us, the makeup of the Supreme Court was one of our prime motivating factors. We knew that gains that we had made in equal protection, environmental law, and women’s rights were all at risk if Bush won election, and re-election. And, of course, we were right. Now, that sad outcome is coming to pass. We are sad, we are angry, we are frustrated, we are scared.

But the profound sadness, anger, and frustration that we felt during the last two election nights was largely anticipatory of what we are experiencing now. We need to accept reality and come to grips with it.

On a political level, we need to fight back. We need to figure out a way to communicate the seriousness of the changes that are coming as a result of changes on the court. Most Americans don’t support these changes, and they won’t appreciate them when they start having a direct effect on their lives, or their uterus.

The first strategy we need, is a strategy for the hearings. We need to make clear that overturning Roe is now in the hands of a single man. Such a serious change in American law and culture is about to be decided from the bench. We may not be able to get Roberts to answer our questions about Roe, but we can make damn sure the American people realize that he holds the key over the issue. We can make damn clear that the GOP doesn’t want to discuss it.

The next thing we need to do, is discuss all the 5-4 votes that will switch to 4-5 votes, and what the results of those changes will be for affirmative action, for environmental law, for privacy, for human rights. It’s not this judge that is so radical, it’s the changes his votes will initiate that are so radical.

Then we need to fashion a strategy going forward on how to convince the American public that the GOP is out of touch with their values. The model is the Gingrich revolution.

Maybe we should start putting abortion rights referendums on ballots across the country.

We also need to find more progressive candidates to run in the primaries against some of our more centrist Democrats. They need to feel the pressure to listen to the left wing of the party. We need to increase our fundraising abilities, so we can compete with corporate bundlers.

There is a lot of work to be done. And there is a lot of sadness, frustration, and fear for us to work out as these radical changes begin to reshape our country. But we should use the Phoenix as our model. Out of these ashes a new Democratic Party will grow.

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