UPDATED 2:21 PM PACIFIC TIME: Cloture vote is Monday, 4:30 pm Eastern. Breaking news: after saying she wouldn't support a filibuster, then going back on the fence, DiFi has committed to vote no on cloture!! Good on us!! Similarly, Clinton is back on the good side.
On the dark side, Conrad has announced he's anti-filibuster and might be pro-Alito. Punish him. Remarkably, Chuck Schumer has been using MoveOn to ASK voters to flood the switchboards in support of a filibuster, to bolster the weak-kneed!!
Bold Senators below are my "hot buttons" to call now. Lists below are updated.
Thanks, readers, for all the input!!
OVERVIEW: Senate Minority Leader made a huge blunder by telling the Democrats that Alito is a “conscience vote” instead of calling for party unity. Nevertheless, John Kerry is considering leading a filibuster – but wants to know he has 41 votes first. The current vote count says he’d lose: we don’t have 41 votes to avoid cloture. We need to help him find those votes.
So, here's the game plan:
First, sign and e-circulate the John Kerry filibuster petition.
Second, start making phone calls. The Capitol switchboard, toll-free, is: 888-355-3588. Even over the weekend, fill the voicemail boxes. Then we'll start with emails (I'll post those links later).
Call the right people, tell them you want a filibuster of Alito, and that you’re paying attention to which Democrats really fight and which ones just pay lip service. Ask for a filibuster even if there aren’t a guaranteed 41 votes against cloture, because at least we could see clearly which Democrats are real fighters, and which ones are Vichy accommodationists who need to be replaced in their next primaries.
Here are the details of how the key Senators break down:
Three Democratic Senators have announced they will vote to confirm Alito. I doubt they can be convinced BOTH to change that vote AND to support a filibuster, so don’t waste much time on them, but one call to give them a ration of shit might be worthwhile. They are:
Nelson, Ben (V-NB)
Johnson, Tim (V-SD)
Byrd, Robert (V-WV)
Six Democratic Senators now are splitting the difference, suggesting in various ways that they oppose Alito BUT WON’T SUPPORT A FILIBUSTER. We need to work hard to change their minds, because a vote for cloture (i.e., against filibuster) IS a vote for Alito. Hammer them with calls and emails. These “I was against Alito before I was for him” Senators are:
Obama, Barack (D-IL). Obama is "rumored" to be OPPOSING any filibuster for "strategic reasons." We must tell him to stop fighting Kerry and SUPPORT a filibuster.
Landrieu, Mary (V-LA)
Salazar, Ken (V-CO) (Late Friday: Staffer insists he's definitely not supporting a filibuster. Pester him for the hell of it but don't waste much time. He makes the Vichy list of Dems to unseat for being unresponsive to his base.)
Joe Biden (DE) (remind him that if he wants to be President, he needs our votes in the primaries, and WE WANT A FILIBUSTER NO MATTER WHAT.
Dorgan, Byron (ND)(Actually, Dorgan says he OPPOSES A FILIBUSTER and MIGHT EVEN SUPPORT ALITO. Hammer him.)
Conrad, Kent (ND), who was undecided, said on Ed Schultz that he is AGAINST filibuster and MIGHT EVEN SUPPORT ALITO. Let's punish him. Remind him of Tom Daschle, who took an “accommodationist” stance and lost his seat as a result.
Unknown Quantities: Make Them Take A Stand:
Several other Democratic Senators MIGHT oppose a filibuster; we just don’t know. We need to call their offices, ask whether they’ll support a filibuster, and pester them until they commit to it. (If you get a firm answer one way or another from any of these, please post it here as a comment and I’ll update the list.) These “question marks” are:
Bayh, Evan (IN)(Remind him: if he wants to be President, he needs our support!)
Cantwell, Maria (WA)(Should be low hanging fruit -- liberal D, blue state)
Dayton, Mark (MN)(no on Alito, but undecided on filibuster. LOW HANGING FRUIT!)
Levin, Carl (MI)(no on Alito, undecided on filibuster. LOW HANGING FRUIT!)
Lincoln, Blanche (AR) (opposes Alito, undecided on filibuster. LOW HANGING FRUIT!)
Nelson, Bill (FL): No on Alito but an intern says he opposes filibuster. LOW HANGING!
Pryor, Mark (AR) undecided on both Alito and filibuster.
Lautenberg, Frank (NJ)
Menendez, Bob (NJ) America’s newest Senator: let’s urge him to start right!
Rockefeller, Jay (WV)
Hey, Anyone Might Be Saved If They Hear the Gospel...
Three Republican Senators haven’t announced yet whether they’ll support Alito and are moderate enough that they might be worth a phone call. They are:
Lincoln Chafee (RI)
Susan Collins (ME) (? If anyone knows whether she’s declared, please tell me.)
Olympia Snowe (ME)
Presidency-Seekers We Hope Are Sufficiently Sycophantic:
Finally, we need someone to actually do a filibuster. John Kerry is thinking about it, but needs to be convinced to do it EVEN WITHOUT 41 VOTES. Other Democratic Senators who are considering running for President, and who therefore need to build up their base by showing some spine and should be pestered about helping a filibuster, are:
Russ Feingold (WI)
Finally, Harry Reid needs to be told (a) to rescind his “conscience vote” directive, and to make Alito a party unity vote; and (b) to back a filibuster EVEN IF there aren’t 41 votes to support it.
Muchas gracias to Bob Fertik and his commenters at democrats.com for a lot of good info and ideas I stole and updated here.
Now, go get ‘em!!