Nomination Could Be Defining Moment for Bush
I could write these things.
Instead, I think I'm ready to go forth my prediction of what is going to happen: After much huffing and puffing, demagoguery, and wild accusations of extremism, whomever Bush will be approved and take his or seat on the Court.
I don't think the Democrats are going to filibuster a nominee. I don't think that is because of any sense of respect for the system. I think it is because there are enough Republicans in the Gang of 14, namely Graham, Dewine, and Warner, who are willing to back out of the deal if the Democrats filibuster. They will make it clear to the Democrats in the Gang that, if the Democrats filibuster Bush's nominee, that they are willing to vote to end filibusters of judicial nominees. The Democrats in the Gang and in the rest of the caucus will realize that they would lose more if the filibuster is lost and will back down. Or they won't back down and the filibuster will indeed be lost.
And if the filibuster is lost, expect all of Bush's nominees, even those like Saad who were blackballed in the deal to be pushed through. Expect a lot more very conservative nominees to be pushed through. The Democrats are playing a losing hand.
The interest groups on both sides will be hooting and hollering at the metaphorical top of their lungs. They will run ads, write op eds, appear on all the news shows calling Bush's nominee either an extremist or judicial giant. They must do this. It is their reason for being. If the liberal groups don't fight with all their might to oppose Bush's nominee, what purpose do they serve? Who is going to donate the money that keeps them going? It is just like how environmental groups must be continuously trumpeting environmental disaster in order to gain contributions. No one wants to contribute to a liberal group like People for the American Way if they don't justify their existence by screaming about issues dear to liberals' hearts. And what could be dearer than a Supreme Court nomination? The same is true on the conservative side. There are organizations that have sprung into being with no purpose other than to defend conservative nominees. They must do so or go out of existence. Think of it as an arms race of interest groups. If one group runs an ad or goes on TV and makes rabid accusations, the other side must run a countering ad and counter the rabid accusation.
So, this summer will be full of hot air coming from these interest groups that are so primed to fight this battle. They've been stoking up for this since the 2000 election and they have to fight or die. They're sharks.
But that doesn't mean that whoever yells loudest wins. The Republicans have the votes and the Democrats have lost their weapon of a filibuster. The only thing that can change is if six Republicans go wobbly on approving Bush's nominee. He doesn't need the Democrats, but I wouldn't be surprised if he got a couple such as Ben Nelson of Nebraska.
Bush's concern doesn't have to be nominating someone that will pass muster with a Kennedy or a Leahy. That ain't going to happen. There is absolutely no one he could nominate whom they would approve. Bush has to worry more about the RINO senators who might get weak knees from listening to the wild accusations that will be hurled at the nominee. Rather than cozying up to Harry Reid, I'd recommend talking to the RINO twins from Maine, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe. Gosh, even talk to Lincoln Chafee. Get McCain and Graham on board. Make sure Arlen Specter is committed. If the RINOs agree to support the nominee, then Bush has got it. He can go ahead and nominate the most conservative person he can find. Since he can't afford to lose the conservative base, Gonzales has to be out. Bush can appoint him to a Circuit Court in his third year of this term if he wants to give Gonzales a judgeship before leaving office. If he wants a Hispanic, Garza sounds fine. That might help getting some of the RINO support, which is more important than the Democratic support.
I, like many of my readers, am disgusted with some of the RINOs and their opposition to things like tax cuts. But we can't drum them out of the party. It still matters who is in the majority in the Senate. And they're there with some of the important votes. So we just have to deal with that reality. We can't wish them away or threaten them with electoral oblivion. That won't work. It hasn't yet. And they're the ones I see holding the trump cards in this battle.
So when Bush makes his ultimate nomination, I am not interested in reading what the Democrats or the interest groups say about it. I'll be looking to see what those weak-kneed Republicans say.