I spent most of the day in the Kremlin, purty-uppin the new house. This meant I listened to an entire day's cycle on NPR (all the while not being able to blog--not an altogether delightful situation). Normally this means hearing essentially the same news repeated by different reporters throughout the day. The battle lines for today's news having been drawn, I really expected more of the same. (Example: Bush nominated Alito. Republicans thinkhe's dandy, Dems are cautious but appear displeased. Abortion. Etc.)
Again today, though, the Dems were the party on-message, the team whose coordination drove the cycle and changed the conversation. At first the discussion seemed to be about abortion, but the Dems weren't going there. They kept to the point about Bush running scared and this nomination representing a massive capitulation to extemists. They emphasized that Americans don't want a fanatic. Rather than focus on the issue as offered by the MSM, the Dems seem to have been similarly taken by the Chittister case (as I was). They were describing Alito as a judicial activist.
All the while, the GOP waffled and wandered. They were in a natural quandry: it's hard to paint the Dems as obstructionist when you torpedoed the last nominee. It's hard to paint the Dems as extremists when the reason you torpedoed the last nominee was because she wasn't extreme enough. The MSM, in their continual he-said, she-said formulation, tried to get the Dems to play their role (as defined by the GOP), but the Dems seemed to be off on their own thing.
By the time All Things Considered came on, the Dems had successfully shifted to the Chittister case as the Bone of Contention. Rather than target Alito, they were going after Bush for being a slave to the right wing and--shock of shocks--NPR was then querying the GOP on that point. Further, they were pointing out that Bush was clearly just trying to cover up for the war and Libby, and that this nomination was about saving Presidential heinie, not serving the public good. All in all--on NPR, anyway--the Dems seem to have the upper hand on the spin cycle.
Let's see if it means anything.