Monday, September 26
There are two schools of thought regarding Bush's next Supreme Court nomination. The first school says the President is in a weakened state with low approval ratings across the board and must therefore appoint a "moderate" to replace Sandra Day O'Connor. According to this line of thinking (currently the conventional wisdom/herd mentality among the majority of the press corp) Bush cannot afford a divisive and bruising confirmation battle.

Robert Bork outlines the second school of thought in today's Christian Science Monitor:

"If the president decides to go with somebody who is moderate, he will not placate his enemies. They will attack him anyway. And he will disillusion his base.... His base is important in getting through legislation he wants."

Now that John Roberts is going to be confirmed as Chief Justice with somewhere in the neighborhood of 75-plus votes, the next Bush nominee is almost certain to face stiff opposition in the Senate. So, the thinking goes, Bush might as well go as conservative as he can.

THE REPUBLICAN GANG OF FOUR: Clearly, Bush doesn't want to put forth a nominee so controversial they will be vulnerable to losing majority support. However, despite all the talk about appeasing moderates like Snowe, Collins and Chafee, from a strategic standpoint they are more or less irrelevant.

The White House really has a target audience of only four Senators: McCain, Warner, Graham, and DeWine. Bush's pick would need to win support from at least two of these to be confirmable - that's assuming every Democrat votes against the nominee along with defections from the three aforementioned Republican moderates.

Even if Democrats proceed with a filibuster, the calculus remains the same: Bush would need support from only two of the Republican Gang of Four to get to fifty votes, which would then allow Cheney to come down and invoke the nuclear option.

THE AMAZING BROUSSARD: Aaron Broussard sucked up about 10 minutes of television time on Meet The Press yesterday without answering charges that he lied about the details of the story he told on national television three weeks ago.

Instead, he went the indignant, how-dare-you-question-me route, finishing off by telling those interested in the truth to "get out of my face." Give Tim Russert credit for bringing Broussard back and alerting his viewers to the fact the guy is a shameless fraud. - T. Bevan 8:45 am Link | Email | Send To A Friend

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