Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Did the pompous politicians rattle the ragged New Jerseyan?

Having spent most of the last two days on planes and talking with people in the real world -- I gave a talk at George Mason School of Law -- I've got to put in a serious effort this morning to catch up with the details of the Alito hearings. While sitting by Gate 4 at Reagan National Airport yesterday at about 5 pm, I checked a cell phone message and blithely called back and agreed to do a radio call-in show about the hearings whenever the Senators decide to take their lunch break today. (I'll be on Gary Eichten's show "Midday," on Minnesota Public Radio.)

You said on your website you're following the hearings.

Uh, yes!

Well, I mean, I am following them at some distance, like, kind of two days behind, but I'm going to make it home by 11 and seriously engage with my TiVo, and, for speed, the transcripts.

Now, I have all morning to absorb Day 2 -- Day 1 was nothing -- and keep up with Day 3 as it unfolds. I think I'll start with the news reports, like this NYT right here.

Look at those front-page photographs. At the top are three of Alito looking perky -- with a cute kissy-face as the middle one. Under those is a bigger photograph with three Democratic Senators: Leahy, covering his eyes with his hand, and Kennedy and Biden. If Kennedy had his hands over his ears and Biden his hands over his mouth -- if only! -- we'd have a nice see-no-evil-hear-no-evil-speak-no-evil image, but Kennedy is just looking down morosely, and Biden is definitely speaking. Whatever he's saying, Leahy and Kennedy don't seem to be enjoying it.

Have the Democrats moved into resignation and futility mode yet? I get the sense they have, and if that's what I see in the morning papers today, then I will have missed all the wonderful suspense about whether the pompous politicians could rattle the ragged New Jerseyan.

Still, there are details to perceive and foibles to be mocked. And I will live up to my duties in that regard.

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