Monday, January 09, 2006

Shaken, Not Slurred

Apparently the respected senator from Massachusetts (no, no, the other one) is once again speaking while under the influence of ... well, something stronger than the congressional cafeteria's coffee, that's for certain. In his statements this morning during the Senate confirmation hearings for SCOTUS nominee Judge Samuel Alito, Kennedy inadvertently addressed him as "Judge Alioto" (watch the video here - 435kb .WMV file).

But that is not the beginning of the good senator's dubious ramblings about the president's Supreme Court nominee. As reported across the blogosphere over the weekend, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank remembered some other recent observations by Teddy Kennedy concerning the nomination and Senate confirmation hearings for Judge Samuel Alito.
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), hosting a morning roundtable with reporters, had nothing nice to say about Alito. "We here in the United States are not going to stand for monarchial tyranny," he said, protesting Alito's support for "unfettered, unlimited power of the executive." He faulted Alito for belonging to a group that was "anti-black and also anti-women." Kennedy wondered if "the average person is going to be able to get a fair shake" under Alito.

Briefly, Kennedy rewrote the outcome of the 1964 election. "This nominee was influenced by the Goldwater presidency," he said. "The Goldwater battles of those times were the battles against the civil rights laws." Only then did Kennedy acknowledge that "Judge Alito at that time was 14 years old."
Now personally, I don't remember much about the Goldwater presidency. Must have been before I was born. But I am fairly certain that, far from being "anti-black," Judge Alito has a pretty decent record on civil rights issues.

Luckily for the president's nominee, the sharp-witted senator is keeping an open mind about his decision.
A questioner pointed out that Kennedy sounded like a sure bet against Alito. "I haven't reached a final conclusion," the senator demurred.
Fortunately for the senator, he has a second career to fall back on in case the voters of Massachusetts ever get a clue, one in which sobriety is not necessarily a prerequisite.

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