January 14, 2006


Democrats See Wide Bush Stamp on Court System (ADAM NAGOURNEY and RICHARD W. STEVENSON, 1/15/06, NY Times)

Disheartened by the administration's success with the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr., Democratic leaders say that President Bush is putting an enduring conservative ideological imprint on the nation's judiciary, and that they see little hope of holding off the tide without winning back control of the Senate or the White House.

In interviews, Democrats said that the lesson of the Alito hearings was that this White House could put on the bench almost any qualified candidate, even one whom Democrats consider to be ideologically out of step with the country.

That conclusion amounts to a repudiation of a central part of a strategy Senate Democrats settled on years ago in a private retreat where they discussed how to fight a Bush White House effort to recast the judiciary: to argue against otherwise qualified candidates by saying they were taking the courts too far to the right.

Here's the thing historians will find inexplicable: Democrats find someone like Sam Alito, who's popular in polls and has stirred no significant opposition outside the far Left, to be completely unacceptable; yet they think they can win elections without radically reforming to get themselves back into the American mainstream that the Judge and the GOP clearly occupy. A political party whose collective forehead wasn't bumping up against its own prostate would recognize that its hysterical opposition to policies and appointees who don't raise a murmur from the electorate is self-destructive.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 14, 2006 2:21 PM

The Democrats have been in full-bore Wile E. Coyote mode for some time now, believing there's no reason whatsover to change their process, because this next idea surely will be the one that finally gets George W. Bush (Jack Abramoff is the current weapon de jour for the party), and because as everyone knows, they are far, far smarter than their opponent.

As long as they're content to maintain the absolute belief in their own mental/moral superiority even while their plans keep blowing up in their face and voters shun their party's platform, there's little chance that the basic strategy will change one iota.

Posted by: John at January 14, 2006 3:00 PM

They'll be a lot more annoying if they ever find a way to get their act together again.

Posted by: ZF at January 14, 2006 5:03 PM

"even one whom Democrats consider to be ideologically out of step with the country." This is the phrase that says it all -- the Demos continue to delude themselves that their beliefs are in the mainstream. Well, I suppose they are if you believe that the ACLU, NARAL, and MoveOn.org speak for the mainstream.

Posted by: Morrie at January 14, 2006 7:14 PM

There is no reason for the Democrats to be upset. Alito is a standard issue big government liberal.

Posted by: Bartelson at January 14, 2006 11:33 PM

The first two paragraphs are totally "No $*#^ Sherlock?" and the fact that the Dems haven't grasped that fact until now tells me all I need to know of their future.

Posted by: Mikey at January 15, 2006 2:14 AM

Bartelson, I'm afraid both Roberts and Alito, having reached the top of their profession, will start slip sliding left as the years go by.

Posted by: erp at January 15, 2006 11:30 AM

Hey! We all know the Dems are the 'mommy party', so just how is "whose collective forehead wasn't bumping up against its own prostate" possible?

Posted by: Dave P at January 15, 2006 2:48 PM

How is the Democratic Party different from the Sunni in Iraq? Both are absolutely convinced that they are, in fact, the majority and that only a veritable tsunami of propaganda from the other side keeps the sheeple in line.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at January 15, 2006 4:05 PM

Dear me, that prostate metaphor was...vivid. I must use that some time.

Posted by: Tom at January 17, 2006 6:57 PM

John - It's their stubborn adherence to the notion of their intellectual superiority that lets Bush stomp themm over and over and over again. They can never admit that Bush could come up with a clever strategy; it would violate their entire world view that a conservative could be smarter than them. Thus he'll be able to fool them without cessation right up until January 20, 2009.

Posted by: Tom at January 17, 2006 7:00 PM