Despite threats from the Far Left and Massachusetts, Senate Democrats came to their political senses and defeated their leadership's attempt to filibuster the confirmation of Judge Samuel Alito. Senator Kennedy, whose political capital (and control of the Democratic machinery) in Massachusetts allowed him to join Senator Kerry's initiative, inveighed against the federal appeals court judge, calling him a threat to all liberties that Americans held dear. Reuters has details.
It seems to me that Senator Kennedy would have been well-advised to have done a better job during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings. Of course, while he was there, he spent more time demonizing Judge Alito's person than his politics. It must be nice not to have to face a real election.
Thoughtful commentators from all over the political spectrum have been able to find fault with Judge Alito's philosophy and/or politics, but as his high ranking from the American Bar Association shows, he is higly qualified. In the end, that's what the full floor vote in the Senate means: While the Judiciary Committee hearings weigh a candidate's qualifications, the full floor vote should be completely open to ideology. Instead, the chicanery of the Democratic Party has, unfortunately, turned the full floor vote into an exercise in partisanship.
Like it or not, the Democratic Party's leadership is drifting away from the American mainstream. I doubt that the GOP has some sort of plan or conspiracy to turn America into the next Nazi Germany, despite what Cindy Sheehan or Hillary Clinton will have you believe. However, they are the dominant party, which usually means they will fall into corruption. If the Democratic Party cannot come to its full senses and keep the GOP accountable, then the ensuing mess will be just as much their fault as that of the Republicans.