Does this reason (from today’s Washington Post article) that Democrats state for delaying Alito’s confirmation make any political sense:
Democrats, anticipating that Alito ultimately will be confirmed, are trying to deny the White House that victory as long as possible, particularly in the days before the State of the Union address President Bush is to deliver Jan. 31. Although Senate rules do not enable them to defer the confirmation vote until after the speech, Democratic senators would like to reduce the victory period immediately before the speech, one of the broadest public stages the president commands each year.The State of the Union “is the 800-pound gorilla lurking over the debate,” said Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.). “That’s part of the strategic calculation.” Manley also said, “This is an important vote, and we are not going to be rushed into anything.”
It would seem to me that Alito’s confirmation is going to be a moment of great triumph for President Bush and that the closer that confirmation is to the State of the Union address, the better it will be politically for the President and Republicans generally. My bet is that the Democrats are delaying out of frustration and spite, not as part of any sensible strategy. Oh, well — that’s how they’ve earned their minority status.