If there are more than 25 "no" votes against Samuel Alito tomorrow, then the Democratic tally in the Senate will have shrunk by exactly that number. I don't know if you can call them Republicans, but I don't think it would be appropriate, or fair to the original 25, to call them Democrats.
The proposed filibuster against Alito was defeated today by a vote of 75-25. Nineteen former Democrats voted to invoke cloture, which is Senate-speak for ending debate. Those 25 Democrats felt not only that Alito's ascent to the Supreme Court should have been prevented, but also that there could have been substantive debate on the subject. They felt that there was more to be said.
Many of the nineteen former Democrats who voted to end the discussion have announced that they will vote "no" on Alito. Only four of the nineteen have officially stated that they will support Alito. I have this simple question, which I will pose to those who voted no to filibuster and then no to Alito, in advance of this vote:
What's the point?
The logical fallacy is basic and obvious. If a Senator was opposed to Alito strongly enough to vote against his confirmation, then why wouldn't that Senator want to continue the debate in the hopes of convincing those whose minds have not yet been made up? If you don't favor a continued debate, then what conviction is driving you to vote against the nominee?
The answer, of course, is soulless, contrived politicking. Red-state "Democrats" have to pick and choose their outlets of liberalism, and thus dance to the ridiculous drumbeat of the "up-or-down vote. The overly-conciliatory moderate Democrats can look liberal by voting for filibuster knowing it will fail, and take comfort in the assurance that their final vote on Alito's confirmation will be meaningless. Red-state "Democrats" prostitute themselves to the crazy wing of the Republican party (and the easily-fooled libertarian-types who elected them). Moderate Democrats throw their more liberal partymates under the bus to satisfy the least intelligent members of the Democratic party by being "more liberal than the Republicans and less crazy than Kerry and Kennedy."
All of this is contingent on one sad truth of modern American government: THERE IS NO POSSIBILITY OF MEANINGFUL DEBATE. Most Republicans, and a lot of "Democrats" apparently, have already closed their minds to discussion, instead indicating the entirety of their future decisions by the animal on their campaign buttons.
If there was even the shred of likelihood that minds could be changed by intelligent discourse, then a filibuster would be respected more and derided less. It would actually mean something. Instead, only a small handful of statesmen put the courage of their convictions behind a vote for filibuster, and the vast majority use it as a piece on a chessboard, and poorly played.
On a much more positive note, I have some doggie news to pass along. Our little Monty has fought through the sorrow of losing his nuts, instead channeling it into ringing the bell to go outside all on his own initiative. Twice.