Am I the only person positively spoiling for a battle royal to confirm the next Supreme Court justice?
This is not just because otherwise I am going to have a very dull summer. It’s because I believe that Bush will prevail and the left will, at long last, show itself as ugly as it has become.
The Weekly Standard has an excellent three-article package of stories on the coming battle for the Supreme Court, and the theme of two of these pieces is that the coming ruckus has the potential to reverse the Bork defeat.
Fred Barnes distills the strategery strategy lessons of the defeat of one of the most qualified jurists in America. One of the important lessons is that the White House must “control the narrative about the nominee,” something it failed to do for Bork:
“Instead, it was an unfair, over-the-top charge by Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy that became the operative description of Bork. The Reagan team sought to rebut it, but never managed to succeed fully.
“The Kennedy quote:
“’Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women will be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the government, and the doors of the federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens.’
“No doubt any Bush appointee to the high court will be confronted with a brutally unfair characterization like Kennedy’s. But now the Bush White House is ready to combat that with the help of conservative groups that didn’t exist in 1987, including some with millions to spend on TV advertising. At the least, the president and his aides know they have to prevent their opponents from imposing an unfavorable narrative.”
Barnes also points out how the borking of U.N. Ambassador-nominee John Bolton may have helped the White House prepare for the coming Supreme Court battle:
“The Bush White House and congressional leaders fear a different tactic by Democrats, the Bolton ploy. Democrats have stalled John Bolton’s nomination as ambassador to the United Nations by demanding more and more documents and information, some of which the White House has refused to turn over. So instead of filibustering Bush’s choice for O’Connor’s seat, they could demand emails, FBI files, and other documents that Bush would be reluctant to deliver. Insistence on disclosing an entire paper trail could drag out a nomination for months and even succeed in defeating the nominee — that is, unless the White House and congressional leaders have learned a lesson and come up with a tactic to thwart the Bolton ploy.”
Calling the day Reagan-nominee Bork nomination was defeated–Oct. 23, 1987–“a day that lives in conservative infamy,” Bill Kristol suggests that this summer George Bush has an opportunity to not to win one for the Gipper but to do something even the Gipper didn’t quite manage:
“George W. Bush’s has been a Reaganite presidency in the areas of foreign and economic policy. He has impressively adjusted Reaganite principles to deal with today’s challenges. Now he has the chance to once again follow Reagan’s lead by nominating a jurist as impressive as Robert Bork for the Supreme Court. And now he has the chance to surpass Reagan–by getting that nominee confirmed.”