A wise and experienced Democrat told me that if the Dems don’t come up with something strong against John Roberts soon, they will lose credibility if they make make too much of a fuss later on. He noted that Roberts and the president are winning the battle for public opinion and that, before long, Roberts will be difficult to assail without a significant cost. Thus, the better course, again in the absence of something much better than what the Dems have now, would be to keep the obstruction to a minimum, so that they can claim to have been reasonable when they oppose future nominees.
This makes sense to me. I had thought that if President Bush nominated Alberto Gonzales, the Dems would behave themselves, holding their fire until Bush nominated a solid conservative. Bush has made a more conservative selection, so the Dems have less incentive to behave well. However, that still may be their best option. (But the wise and experienced Democrat suspects (as I do) that the next nominee will be Gonzales himself).
Here’s the question, though: can the Senate Democrats afford not to go after Roberts big-time? The key liberal interest groups aren’t backing off. Yesterday, the president of NOW publicly compared Roberts to Bork. These folks are “all dressed up,” and the Senate Democrats may pay a price if they deny them “someplace to go.”
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