This Rasmussen poll on the public’s view of the coming Supreme Court battle highlights the Democrats’ dilemma. Rasmussen found that 58% of likely voters say that Senate Democrats should vote to confirm a qualified conservative nominee. Only 24% say the Democrats should oppose a nominee merely because he or she is a conservative. Even among Democrats, only a slight majority (53%) favor such obstructionism.
So the Democrats can only sell their opposition to the President’s nominee on the ground that he or she is something other than a conservative; this is why they constantly refer to judges they dislike as “out of the mainstream.” The problem, from their point of view, is that none of the candidates under consideration for the Court can be so characterized with any plausibility. When you ask a poll respondent to assume that a judicial nominee is a “conservative,” the respondent will presumably assume that the nominee is not crazy about abortion or gay marriage, will be sympathetic to property rights, and will be slow to discover new “rights” not heretofore noticed in the Constitution. So the Democrats will have to come up with something else to convince voters that a particular nominee is somthing other than a garden-variety conservative, i.e., an “extremist.”
It’s a tall order. Most likely, the outcome of the Democrats’ attacks on whoever Bush nominates will be similar to the results we have already seen of the Democrats’ hysterical and unreasoning hatred of the President; their attacks will, indeed, do some damage to their opponents, but they will hurt the Democrats even more.
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