Once again, the Poker-Player-in-Chief–who scared me half to death with all that ostentatious consulting with folks like Chuck Schumer and Patrick Leahy!–has pulled off a very good moment:
“We didn’t think he could do it,” writes an obviously relieved Ilya Shapiro of Tech Central Station. “We didn’t think that President Bush could transcend his big-government feel-good politics and nominate somebody in the Scalia-Thomas mold — precisely the opposite of specifically picking the first Italian-American justice, or a black man to replace Thurgood Marshall. No, the President destroyed the patronizing conventional wisdom that O’Connor’s was a ’woman’s seat.’ He defied the identity politics that prescribed adding a ’minority’ to the highest court in the land.
“The President ignored the conservative critics, who were ankle-biting him for even considering his well qualified — if ideologically wobbly — good friend, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. He stared down the liberal pressure groups, who were pushing Ed Prado of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, or Judge Ricardo Hinojosa of the Southern District of Texas, or even Judge Sonia Sotomayor of the Second Circuit (a Clinton nominee, for godsake!). He even brushed aside the inside-the-beltway politicos, who were sagely advising the President to pick someone dependable of lesser profile who would fly under the radar screen, someone like Edith ’Joy’ Brown Clement of the Fifth Circuit.”