Monday, January 30, 2006

My letter to Cantwell

Dear Sen. Cantwell:

I'm writing to explain why I won't be donating to your campaign.

Moreover, I'll add that I'm a journalist and blogger ( with a substantial readership. And I'll be urging them not to donate to your campaign either.

Your performance throughout the entirety of the Judiciary Committee's hearings on the appointment of Judge Alito was appallingly weak, particularly given Alito's extremist record regarding the expansion of executive-branch powers, let alone his appalling views regarding abortion and reproductive-privacy rights. You really capped it off with your failure to vote with Democrats' efforts to filibuster Alito's nomination.

I've really wanted to support you. Your efforts in the past year to put the brakes on the right's push into ANWR and the Magnuson Amendment were outstanding, if overdue. But Democrats need people in office who understand what we're dealing with when it comes to the conservative movement, people who understand that we're in a real fight. People who will fight when it counts.

History, I think, will demonstrate that with Alito, Democrats needed to fight, and fight hard. And you failed. You should have -- and could have -- been leading the charge in the Judiciary Committee, and throughout. As one of the few women senators, you could have been a real beacon of leadership. Instead, you ran and hid.

I'll vote for you, but not enthusiastically. In the meantime, I have limited dollars to spend on politics. I pick and choose where I donate carefully. And you just crossed yourself off my list.

Best of luck this fall. Hope you win. But you'll be doing it without support from me, and, I suspect, a lot of us.

David Neiwert

UPDATE: It seems that Cantwell lost her Judiciary Committee seat when Republicans regained the Senate majority in 2002. That portion of my criticism was inaccurate; however, it does not blunt my belief that Cantwell should have been helping lead the charge on Alito.

Part of my dismay regarding Cantwell, however, originates with her tenure on the Judiciary Committee (2001-02). She was unfortunately silent during the hearings on Ted Olson, and was snookered into voting for John Ashcroft.

UPDATE 2: Argh. I was mistaken about the Ashcroft vote -- Cantwell indeed voted against him. My apologies to the senator for implying otherwise. I think I'll go take some Ginkgo Biloba and lie down.

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