Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Whose Side Are You On?
That Supreme Court nominee John Roberts is fairly wingnutty goes without saying--after all, he got the gig, didn't he? But he's sufficiently non-scary (at a glance, anyhow) to pass for the kind of mainstream, bipartisan jurist Bush wants to give the appearance of nominating. So that makes Lindsey Beyerstein's point at Political Animal worthwhile--the goal for Democrats on this nomination probably shouldn't be to defeat it. In a straight up-and-down fight, we lose, and furthermore, this nomination isn't really worth filibustering. (Wait until a liberal justice retires. That'll be Armageddon time.) Instead, the Dems should have two other goals on the Roberts nomination. First, to use the confirmation process to express the party's vision of what constitutes a qualified Supreme Court justice, and second, to establish and expect party discipline, which means punishing those who failed to stand with their party and for its vision after the vote is taken. In other words, to store up a can of whoop-ass with Joe Lieberman's name on it, just in case.

Surely that would be smarter in the long run than knee-jerk opposition now. I got one e-mail last night already and two today from advocacy groups begging me to help oppose the Roberts nomination--and that can't help but give conservatives a club with which to bash us: "You damn liberals, you'd be opposed to anybody Bush nominates." Whether, and how fast, liberals should come out against the nom has sparked some discussion in the blogosphere today. Billmon had the first take; Armando at Daily Kos took issue with part of it.

Karl Who?: For now, I'm continuing to stand by my prediction that Karl Rove is going to get away with it--especially now that the Roberts nomination has come along to take up some of the airtime that would otherwise be devoted to Rove. I am glad to see, however, that the meta-story of the wag-the-dog aspects of Bush's announcement (in prime time, fer chrissakes) is getting some play. Just like in The Wizard of Oz, seeing the levers move takes the mystery out of the Great and Powerful One. Such clumsiness in attempting to redirect the news cycle--effective though it's been--indicates that maybe Rove and his operation are a little bit rattled these days.

The Rude Pundit, who's become the first blogger I read on a lot of days now, raises a good point about the Rove scandal--for the first time in a long time, the Democrats are on the side of the argument that can be summed up in a soundbite, and it's the Repugs who have to resort to tortured explanations that most people don't have time to hear. Of course, the Democrats will find a way to screw up this advantage, but it's nice to have it going for us as long as it lasts.

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