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Alito Filibuster Was Not In the Cards, Nor the Nuclear Option

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Our /Zogby People's Poll provided info that predicted the defeat of the Alito filibuster effort. The support just wasn't there, at least not in Pennsylvania. No-one wanted that filibuster more than me, so I didn't announce the results of that poll. I didn't want to weaken anyone's passion or zeal for trying. But the poll showed that only 39% of the panelists who took the poll in PA supported a filibuster against Alito, and only 48% even opposed Alito, though 90% of Democrats opposed Alito.

65% of men and 32% of women supported Alito.

67% of Catholics, 74% of born agains, 71% of weekly churchgoers, 80% of Libertarians, 79% of NASCAR fans, 57% of whites and 65% of rural people all supported Alito's appointment.

Not one African American among the 109 in the poll supported Alito's appointment-- 80% opposed and 20% were not sure. People in families with incomes over $75,000 were equally divided.

When it came to support for the filibuster, only 70% of Democrats supported it, compared to 91% of Republicans opposed to it. The Democratic leadership didn't do their job rousing their base. They didn't do their job polling to discover Alito's vulnerabilities, based on the many rulings he'd made. This should have been an obvious project. Identify rulings that affect different demographic bases. Poll on dozens of them to see which ones pull the strongest responses, then hilight those issues in the hearsings, using the media to get the word out. The Republicans acted like marketers in the Alito hearings. The Democrats acted like lawyers. The result was the Democrats were abject failures. This was all about failed leadership.

The blame starts with Harry Reid. Perhaps self-infatuated Joe Biden was the worst, with his fatuous conversation with Alito, when he could have been doing damage to the man by reciting some of his lies, some of his bizarre, extremist rulings.

The poll really showed no strong support for the filibuster outside of progressives and liberals. Not even women mustered 50%. I think part of the problem is the right wingers have successfully labeled the filibuster as both extreme and un-democratic, against the "up or down vote" model of "democracy."

The right wing victory is also a victory for language weaponization, for framing and spin. People saw the filibuster as too strong a response.

People also saw the "nuclear option" as too extreme a response. 55% of all panelists rejected the Republican threat to end the use of the filibuster.

The strongest opposition to the "nuclear option" came from people under 24, women, residents of cities large and small, non-married people (divorced, separated, widowed, civil union) Jewish, non-church-goers,union members and African Americans.

The strongest support for the end of the filibuster came from men, rural residents, Born agains, weekly churchgoers, Libertarians, weekly Walmart customers and NASCAR fans

The filibuster is not dead, but the lesson to be learned is it takes more planning, more advance work on language, on spin, on understanding demographics to win on fights like this. The Democratic party has proven itself incompetent in the most important recent battles-- The 2004 presidential race and the Alito nomination.

The members of the Democratic party deserve to know more about who they are, what they believe in and stand for. The Democratic party should be polling to get a better pulse on the party. The leaders are out of step. But it may very well be that they already know it. If that is the case, it will be up to insurgents within the party to fight to take the party back. I see that happening all across the country. The hundreds of thousands of activists who became politically active during the 2004 elections are now getting involved in state, county an local politics. This is the year they will have to make agressive efforts to take over the local, grassroots level control of their party.

Among democrats in Pennsylvania, at least, a more conservative blue state, the liberals and progressives seem to make up a majority, almost 60% of the party. If they are smart, they will pick the issues that resonate with the 20% of the electorate who are moderates and take back Santorum's senate seat. There are even rumblings of running a more progressive candidate against Ed Rendell, who foisted right wing Democrat BOb Casey jr. on the state and came out supporting Alito's appointment.

It's just about certain that turncoat Joe Lieberman will be facing serious competition come April. It might just happen to Ed Rendell too. It's time for a strong woman to rise to the challenge. It's clear that women are the true strength of the Democratic party. We should be looking to them to find the winners in the November 2006.


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Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind.  Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives  one person at a time was too slow, he founded which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big)  to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project. 

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Rob Kall's Bottom Up Radio Show: Over 200 podcasts are archived for downloading here, or can be accessed from iTunes. Rob is also published regularly on the

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