Just a few days ago, the idea of a Democrat filibuster against President Bush's Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito seemed quixotic at best, but liberal bloggers have been working all weekend to try and make the impossible happen, RAW STORY has learned.
Indictations remain, however, that activists will be unable to round up enough votes to block the nominee. But that hasn't tempered bloggers' sails.
On Thursday night, Senator John Kerry (D-MA), after delivering a Senate floor speech against the nomination, posted his third diary at the popular Daily Kos Website (Filibuster Alito) which urged the community to help "stop Judge Alito from becoming Justice Alito." At that time, only the 2004 Presidential nominee and Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) were behind such a move, as numerous reports showed that Alito would have enough votes to be confirmed.
On Friday afternoon, Senator Hillary Clinton's (D-NY) press secretary revealed to Raw Story by email that she was also on board. By late Saturday night, 13 Democrats, in total, agreed to join in.
Bob Fertik of Democrats.com was one of the key online activists who has worked tirelessly to get liberals to dig in their heels and push for action. Fertik sent email messages to many popular bloggers, thanking the ones who were already involved, and cajoling those that were uncommitted or had even blogged against getting behind what looked to be a losing proposition. A 'blog swarm' began shortly after.
At Daily Kos, front page blogger georgia10 has been updating a checklist of Senators that have agreed to vote "no on cloture" and support the filibuster. Senators that need the most "convincing" are marked in bold.
"The intensity of the internet response on this has been beyond belief," georgia10 told RAW STORY in an email. "Constituents have raised so much support for the filibuster--Senators' mailboxes are full, inboxes are overflowing, fax machines are running out of paper, and phone lines are ringing off the hook. Considering each internet activist represents not only their own concerns, but the concerns of millions of Americans, the support for a filibuster is astounding."
All weekend long, bloggers called the Young Turks have been 'filibustering' on a 24-hour video feed as they implore their viewers to call their Senators and tell them to take action.
In an article written for Saturday's Washington Post about 'fiery,' liberal bloggers battling Democrats aiming for the center, Jim VandeHei acknowledged that the filibuster campaign has had "slightly more influence" than earlier efforts.
But despite what a few polls have shown, Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas insists that it's not just liberal Democrats backing the effort.
"This is probably the most united I've ever seen the Democratic establishment, that is, Democrats without offices in the U.S. Senate. Even the DLC is calling for a filibuster. Center, left, right -- all corners of the party agree," Kos blogged on Saturday.
Even if unsuccessful, many on the left just want to see the candidates they campaigned for, and helped elect, go down fighting. After posting the toll free numbers to Congress' switchboard (888-355-3588 or 888-818-6641) on his blog, Steve Gilliard added, "Let's smack them around a bit."