Carville: Alito "Completely Enamored with Power"

As we detailed here, on yesterday's Today show Matt Lauer yesterday blurted out in the midst of an interview "let's face it, [Alito] is an ultra-conservative."

If that weren't slur enough in the liberal mindset, Dem strategist James Carville continued the assault on this morning's Today, accusing Alito of being: "completely enamored and impressed with power."

Carville and consulting sidekick Paul Begala were in to chew the fat with Katie Couric over the Alito hearings and the pair's new book, "Take it Back," their prescription for reforming the Democrat party and the country at large.

A leitmotif of the interview was Katie Couric's exasperation with Democrats. Exasperation at Dem failure to sufficiently rake Alito over the coals, exasperation at Dems for ignoring the Carville-Begala bromides for recapturing power.

Katie began by citing the pointed headline to Elisabeth Bumiller's article in today's NY Times: "But Enough About You, Judge; Let's Hear What I Have to Say," and went on to read the first para:

"The Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. were supposed to be about the judge, but on Tuesday it sometimes seemed as though somebody forgot to tell the senators on the Judiciary Committee."

In their indictment of senatorial gasbaggery, Katie and guests alike offered up Joe Biden (D-DE) as Exhibit A. Katie referred to his "bloviating" while Carville diplomatically agreed that Biden is "loquacious."

While the tone was light, Katie seemed genuinely frustrated that, in preferring the sound of their own voices to the asking of tough questions, the Dems had let Alito off the hook. "Is the process broken? What purpose does it serve?" she complained. Is Katie concerned for good government, or simply experiencing liberal nostalgia for the auto da fes of the Bork and Thomas hearings?

Begala stated as a matter of fact that Alito would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, and accused him of being "intellectually dishonest" for not admitting it.

It was when talk turned to the NSA surveillance matter that Carville took his shot, claiming that Alito:

"is completely enamored and impressed with power. Government power, corporate power. He doesn't have a record of standing up for the little guy."

That was Carville's way of predicting that Alito would side with the government in surveillance cases. I might argue that the best way to "stand up for the little guy" is to try to prevent him from being blown to bits by terrorists trying to kill him, and if that means listening to Al-Qaeda & Friends, so be it.

Talk turned to the Carville-Begala book. The basic theme is that Dems need a "spinal transplant." The problem, claim the authors, isn't that Dems are too liberal, it's that they are "too weak."

By "too weak," I actually thought Begala was going to say that Dems need to make clear that they will aggressively defend America against its enemies. Silly me. He meant virtually the opposite. Dems need to stand and more forcefully defend . . . their liberal ideas, such as their opposition to the war in Iraq! So Dean, Kennedy, Pelosi, Schumer & Co. are insufficiently outspoken in their liberalism. Who knew?

Katie seemed clearly frustrated that the Dem party wasn't her guests' recommendations quickly enough. Carville explained that the Dems were a grassroots party, and that support for his ideas had to be built from the grassroots up. Asked Katie, the skepticism in her voice unmistakeable: "is Howard Dean the man to do that?"

Carville took a gratuitous swipe at the GOP, claiming it was a top-down party, and that if he wanted to impose his ideas, all he'd have to do is make a big contribution, get in to see Rove, and have it done.

An aside: while flatly asserting that Alito would be confirmed, Begala trotted out the hackneyed proviso: "unless he's found in bed with a dead girl or a live boy."

My, my. Shades of homophobia, Mr. Begala?

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.