Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Sacrificial Lamb for O'Conner Seat?

Redstate is suggesting that Bush might put up a sacrificial lamb for O'Conner's seat.

Interestingly, I'm told the White House is more and more leaning toward a sacrifical lamb to call that bluff. They'll put up a good conservative, have the Dems vote against the nominee, and then put up someone else with similar views daring the Dems to block the second nominee too.

I just hope that if Bush is going to try this that he first puts up Brown. I would hope that she would get through, but if not, at least it would be interesting and help the second nominee get through.

13 comments:

Charles Iragui said...

Identity politics have played a large part in Bush's admin, not cynically but because the pres likes diversity. Rove plays to this instinct because it's good politics.

Also Bush doesn't usually play complex games; he just controls info, stays on message and manages timing opportunistically.

Bottom line prediction: no sacrificial lamb, but rather a conservative (but not shockingly), Hispanic and/or woman.

J. Li,

Like your analysis on Dems. They have clearly been dividing the roles amongst themselves: Biden and Kennedy lead attack, Leahy plays Mr. Moderate (eg Schumer was reined in between Day 1 and Day 2). They have played this round pretty well and by strategically voting Yes/No they will come into Round 2 with their fight intact.

I am not shocked that political considerations are influencing the process. The judiciary has grown significantly in its impact on citizens. Hopefully we'll be moving away from this.

Rove would like the judicial filibuster to be snuffed out by Dem overreaching. This is the battle of appearances that both sides are preparing for: who's to blame for the unsightly controversy?

Bottom line prediction: Dems have the media, so Bush/Rove will be VERY careful in their choice (ie NO Alberto Gonzales).

GULC Law Student said...

To what end, though?

Sure, you can throw a crazy or two against the wall to see if they stick, but why bother? Bush has indicated with Roberts that he's able to find nominees that are acceptable to Republicans and will not be fillibustered by Democrats.

In a time when both Congress and the President have dramatically lowered favorability ratings, would it really be wise for him to start playing games of "chicken" with Supreme Court nominees. Isn't he better served showing how Congress and the President can, more or less, work together?

I'd be surprised if he did anything other than what he's been doing lately... just play it straight and low-key. No head games, no tricks.

Charles Iragui said...

Law School Student,

You could be right, but Dems have signalled that anyone more conservative than O'Connor will draw sharp reactions. Also, the Dem strategy this year is to oppose everything Bush/Reps do - even Roberts isn't going to get many Dem votes (compared to a tradition by which most nominees receive 90+ votes).

Paleocon said...

Republican identity politics are not cynical? Wow, that's incredibly naive. The Republican Party has been obsessed with building their share of the Hispanic vote (and the black vote to an extent) for the past 7-10 years. The more I hear Bush, the more I understand that he is a pawn of the Republican machine. Just listen to Lyndon Baines Bush's speech in NO again.

Charles Iragui said...

Paleocon,

Always be cynical! But sometimes motives are not just self-interest; at the very least they also include preference; maybe they truly have moral bases.

Given the 3-for, 5-against split of Committee Dems and given that the Judiciary Committee membership is generally considered more extreme than the Senate itself, I would wager we'll see 50% of Dems voting for Roberts, or roughly 70-75 votes in his favor.

Charles

D said...

Charles said: "Bottom line prediction: Dems have the media..."

I know this thread isn't about the media, but I have to comment. If by "the media" you mean The Nation and Z Magazine, then yes, the Dems have the media -- although the true left press isn't really comprised of big Democrat fans.

But if by "the media" you mean the MSM, I disagree. Just a few examples: the NY Times and Washington Post were two of the administration's biggest cheerleaders prior to the war (think Judy Miller, et al.). Fox speaks for itself. And let's not get started on talk radio.

When oh when will the myth of the liberal media finally be put to rest?

-Dave Lane

D said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Charles Iragui said...

Dave,

Short hand, I assure you. I meant no disrespect but simply believe that reporters tend to be Democrats and that the reporting shows it. This is not a reproach but a statement of an important political reality from the Republican side.

You are free to disagree and certainly the media have become much more complex in the last 15 years. Still, roughly, I always handicap the analysis the press is giving, which means assuming that the truth is a couple degrees towards the Reps.

best,

Charles

D said...

I think it is probably true that most print media reporters are Democrats, but I'm not sure about television, and seriously doubt that's the case with radio.

In any case, the owners of the newspapers tend to be conservative, corporate, and have tons of cash that they care a lot about. Whether the reporters or owners have more effect on content is an interesting question, but either way I think the handicapp might be a wash.

best,
Dave

paleocon said...

Charles,

When a supposed "conservative" jumps on the diversity buzz-word bandwagon (witness Bush's latest comments on the SCOTUS vacancy), I find it difficult to believe that it comes from a moral basis.

No one is able to explain why diversity is a good thing per se, why it's an end we should be striving to achieve, certainly not Dubya. He's simply nodding along with the elite, who, sometime in the 90s, discovered the magical blessings of diversity (which they assiduously avoid when choosing where to live or send their children to school). In short, Bush doesn't even know what he's saying.

Anonymous said...

Paleocon,

First. Diversity (active recruitment across ethnic, sex and class lines, in order to achieve balance, without compromise on qualifications; distinguish from affirmative action) is certainly a Bush policy. It would seem that it is a Bush preference. Perhaps you are right and it is a just cynical gesture for political advantage.

Second. I personally believe that diversity is a principled and wise policy. People in all groups benefit from this conscious choosing. Given our history of legal and social discrimination and, I believe, given the natural tendency of humans to place themselves in these categories, the appointer is well advised to consider the signal that the team sends out. Even wrongly, people draw conclusions about exclusivity. Often, sadly, these sort of conclusions are not false...

We are imperfect and this prudent, harmless policy sensibly forestalls needless conflict.

Charles

paleocon said...

Charles,

You don't seem to be arguing why "diversity is a strength of our country," as Bush recently stated, but rather how the existence of diversity must be accommodated. It's a subtle, but, I think, important distinction.

Bush would annoy me far less if he simply stated a belief that all institutions of government should roughly represent different racial groups in the country. (Bear in mind, however, this would be a tacit admission that a "color-blind" society is impossible.)

Charles Iragui said...

Paleocon,

This Bush comment is one way to address the divisions in society: glass half full. This type of language is pernicious to the extent that it seems to focus on the differing abilities one attributes to groups. In this case I think he is simply acknowledging the positive aspect of social division: different perspectives.

Still, the positive value of these different perspectives, I would claim, is far less significant than the danger of not giving SOME reasonable representation to the various groups. It is equally important that no compromises in qualifications be made as all the positive signal would be lost.

Reasonable representation is not the same as proportionality, but it is honestly not "color blind" either.

Charles