What a difference a day makes

In yesterday’s Washington Post, Peter Baker accused the White House of engaging in a “hurry-up-and-wait” strategy with respect to nominating a successor to Justice O’Connor. Baker chided “the famously disciplined Bush White House” because it “has yet to name a replacement, nor does it look likely to do so for another two weeks.” And he proclaimed that “the delay represents a calculated decision by the president’s team that it is better to take slings and arrows on the front end to try to shorten the time the Senate has to consider a nominee on the back end.”
Today, though, the same Peter Baker reports that President Bush “appears to have narrowed his list of candidates to no more than a few finalists and could announce his decision in the next few days,” according to “informed Republican sources.” Baker goes on to suggest that the “faster pace” is due to Chief Justice Rehnquist’s statement that he intends to remain on the Court. This announcement “clarified the choice facing the president, who can move forward knowing that he has only one seat to fill — that of retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor,” Baker added. But I thought the delay was a calculated move to deprive the Senate Democrats of debating time, nor the result of uncertainty about how many vacancies Bush would need to fill.

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