Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The Roberts Pick 

Great analysis of the pick on Andrew Sullivan's blog. Is the Roberts pick a sign of a weakened President? Sounds completely plausible to me:
Last night, I saw Howard Fineman call Roberts a 'brilliant' pick on one of the cable shows because he is the most conservative candidate Bush could appoint without sparking a battle with Democrats. As usual, Fineman is astonishingly wrong. A better way to characterize Roberts is: the most moderate and uncontroversial candidate Bush could appoint without sparking a battle with James Dobson and the Christianists.

Three months ago the President would have delighted in jamming an untra conservative like Janice Rogers Brown down the Senate's throat while invoking the nuclear option and spitting in each Democratic senator's eye. Fast forward to this week, when he was forced to accept a late night visit from Arlen Spector, who had the audacity to demand that Bush replace O'Conner with a "moderate justice" in order to "maintain the balance." This the same Spector who was on his knees vowing fealty to the President just last year.

The Roberts nomination is not a sign that Bush is finally getting "sensible" on judicial matters. It's an indication of just how politically weak he's become. Roberts is just conservative enough to squeeze by the Dobson crowd without howls of anger. He is arguably the least conservative of Bush's "short list" of nominees. Clearly, Bush and Rove were terrified about losing this battle to the Democrats and moderate Republican senators. Having lost already social security and with the Rove scandal boiling, such a loss would be too devastating to contemplate.

Roberts may turn out to be an extremely conservative justice who votes to strike down Roe v. Wade and many other liberal favorites. The fact that we're not certain about this must be a bitter pill for Dobson and friends, however."


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