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The Democrats' family jewel

By Michael J. Smith on Sunday January 15, 2006 01:58 PM

As predicted, the Senate Democrats failed to deploy the fabled filibuster to stop the Alito nomination -- even though every "progressive" web site in the land assured us that the somewhat Don-Knottsian jurist was second cousin to the Antichrist. Join me in the Wayback Machine for a quick trip to May of last year, when we were being assured, by institutions like The Nation magazine, that the sky would fall if the all-holy filibuster were allowed to go the way of the stegosaur.

Even at the time, the filibuster seemed a somewhat unlikely palladium to defend -- a thunderbolt wielded in the party's heroic age by such Olympians as Theodore Bilbo, to preserve fine old American values like lynching.

One thing you've gotta say for the Democratic Party: it's always good for a laugh. After all the hysteria, after the October Surprise that pickled the filibuster like a foetus in formaldehyde, it turns out that the filibuster is too precious to risk using it.

So there it is, hanging above the mantelpiece, like great-granddad's Klan hood, a family heirloom. Every so often the Democrats can take a look at it and sigh, Ah, there were giants in the earth in those days.

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