Tuesday, May 05, 2009


The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder has a point when he says that advocates of Sonia Sotomayor should have started making a case for her Supreme Court appointment early -- but parts of what he says after that are just ridiculously naive:

...Obama's nominee will probably pass through the Senate fairly easily, but a discredited nominee -- even though she might make it to the Court -- will not....

Based on prior practices, if there is any political calculation involved at all, Obama wants to avoid energizing conservatives. He'd prefer to enervate them. Of course, finding an unimpeachable nominee who is acceptable to the left and doesn't light a fire under the right is difficult.

... This is one time when the White House wants the interest groups to help them frame the politics. (If a consensus choice emerges among liberals and is acceptable to Obama -- watch out!) ...

"Obama's nominee will probably pass through the Senate fairly easily"? Really? On what planet? On what planet is there any nominee the modern GOP would consider "unimpeachable"? And if liberal interest group and Obama get their ducks in a row, "watch out" for, um, what exactly? Lindsey Graham saying he might support the nominee, then backtracking when he gets his pee-pee whacked by Rush Limbaugh?

Marc, Marc ... the GOP's sense of manhood is at stake. There is absolutely no one who would be acceptable to the president and could also be confirmed easily in the current climate. Yes, as you say, Sotomayor advocates should have leapt in early and helped set the terms of the debate about her, but Republicans are going to set the terms of the debate about any nominee -- all they know how to do is craft messages for media consumption, in the hopes of opening up the wallets of the crazy base. This is going to be a fight to the death no matter what.

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