Two pieces from the Christian Science Monitor. This one
discusses Gonzales, whose name has been floated by the White House as a possible pick. That's not going over well with Democrats, of course, but it's going over
with Gary Bauer and the far right. And this
one gives an overview of the critical roles of current SCOTUS centrists.
This post from Ed Kilgore over at TPMCafe is getting a lot of online attention, because he pretty much pegs exactly the problem here -- for Democrats, for Republicans, and for Bush:
This appointment represents the giant balloon payment at the end of the mortgage the GOP signed with the Cultural Right at least 25 years ago. Social conservatives have agreed over and over again to missed payments, refinancings, and in their view, generous terms, but the balance is finally due, and if Bush doesn't pay up, they'll foreclose their entire alliance with the Republican Party.
A few voices have bravely piped up, here and there, with the notion that Bush has an opportunity here to boost his legacy immeasurably with a moderate, centrist pick. It's admittedly true; he would probably get a major poll bounce, and start growing some non-existant coattails, if he chose a moderate conservative instead of a Gary Bauer, James Dobson approved one. But that's a pipe dream. Dobson owns Bush; we might as well start calling O'Connor's chair the Terri Schiavo Memorial Seat right now.
Oh, and John Cornyn of all people has a WaPo op-ed calling for "no litmus tests". Yes, that's right -- Senator Cornyn (R-Galapagos) is calling for restraint in discussing federal judges. Restraint by Democrats, of course...
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