from in front of the TV in my office (C-Span2). The vote is in ... Janice Rogers Brown confirmed, 56-43. The talking heads are talking about the division, she's a conservative ideologue, an activist, the daughter of share-croppers, etc.
But they all missed the story. Here it is: Every single Republican (every stinking one ... in case you missed it) voted for Justice Brown. That would include even Lincoln Chafee (D -- R.I.), and the Maine twins, Sens. Snowe and Collins. And nearly every Democrat voted against Justice Brown. All except one -- Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, who faces the voters of Nebraska in '06.
Okay, so they got that part. Still, consider ...
In this Senate soiree, note the tactics of Democrats like Byrd (voted for Owen) and Ben Nelson (voted for Brown), as compared to the party-line "No" votes of supposed Moderates (put your hand over your heart even when you read the hallowed title, please) such as Hillary Clinton and Evan Bayh.
What gives? What gives is that each of the aforementioned Democrat senators is playing to the group of voters they are most concerned about. Sens. Nelson and Byrd will next face the voters of Nebraska and WV, respectively. Meanwhile, Sens. Bayh and Clinton have their eyes on the Democratic base -- that is, primary voters in the '08 WH race. Yes, I know that Hill is up for reelection in '06, but defying the President on conservative judicial nominees is a no-risk political strategy in New York.
So ... here's how it goes: When you need the votes of the Democratic base, you can be in the minority. If you go after the votes of the Demo base in a national election, though, you will remain in the minority.