James Leroy Wilson's blog

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Bush (Wisely) Plays It Safe

Tom Knapp is right on about the Roberts Supreme Court nomination:

Smooth move, and I mean it, for Bush. He picked an appointee whose previous Senate confirmation went well, even with Democrats. He's effectively put Roberts's career prior to 2003 off-limits for criticism. "If he was good enough for unanimous confirmation in 2003, why isn't he good enough now?" To effectively fight this, the Democrats are going to have to concentrate on a) Roberts's opinions and rulings since 2003, and/or b) "previously undiscovered" material.

I don't think the Democrats can win on this one. As a matter of fact, I'm not sure they should even try.
Bush will probably have the opportunity to appoint replacements for Rehnquist and possibly Stevens before 2008 ... and he's hoping the Democrats step on their own collective crank this time so that he can roll over them with bolder appointments next time.

If Senate Democrats are smart, they'll roll out the red carpet, put on their best smiles, effusively endorse and overwhelmingly vote to confirm Roberts. They should save their ammo for the much more meaningful fights that are probably coming their way.

I would add that obstructing this nomination will only serve to rouse Bush's conservative base, reminding them that, no matter how disappointing and scandal-plagued the Bush Administration is, the Democrats are far worse if they can't even accept Roberts, of all people!

Bush is hurting right now. Accepting Roberts will not rally the conservative base, which is not exactly enthused by the nomination anyway; obstructing it will inspire conservatives to fight for Bush not only over Roberts, but Iraq, the Plame Game, and other things they have so far been less than enthusiastic about. It would renew a sense of partisan loyalty that had been declining.

It is time for the Democrats to be reasonable. But that's still a tall order.

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