Keep Kicking Them In The Teeth

by digby

Village elder legal expert Stuart Taylor is at it again.Just as he laid the groundwork for the pervasive village viewpoint that Obama cannot prosecute those who ordered torture (and actually should keep torture in the arsenal) he's laying down the framework for an argument that should she decide to retire, Obama can't replace Ruth Bader Ginsberg with a liberal.

Conservatives concede that the Democrat-led Senate would almost certainly confirm any Obama nominee, absent any damaging revelation. But the more liberal the nominee, the more contentious the confirmation hearings will be. The president's stance as a consensus builder might suffer if his first choice seems likely to support liberal causes such as gay marriage.

Conservative critics sense a preference for liberal "judicial activism" in Obama's claim that "the truly difficult" legal cases "can only be determined on the basis of one's deepest values, one's core concerns, one's broader perspectives on how the world works, and the depth and breadth of one's empathy." He voted against Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, complaining that the two Bush appointees had sided with "the powerful against the powerless." When it's Obama's turn to pick a nominee, he'll either sacrifice some political good will or he'll upset his base. There's not much middle ground.

Yes, that sounds like measured analysis until you recall that he was a Paula Jones warrior who just a couple of months ago said:

Obama will have a choice: He can give the Left what it wants and weaken our defenses. Or he can follow the advice of his more prudent advisers, recognize that Congress, the courts, and officials including Attorney General Michael Mukasey have already moved to end the worst Bush administration abuses -- and kick the hard Left gently in the teeth. I'm betting that Obama is smart and tough enough to do the latter.

Taylor always writes from the perspective of being Obama's bff, as if he's giving him good solid centrist advice as a pal. But he's a conservative who uses his "journalistic" perch in the media to slant the debate to the right on legal issues. In this case it's obvious that he's building the pressure for Obama to pick someone who liberals will hate so that he can preserve the (non-existent)goodwill of the Republicans in the senate. It's pretty clear that he will be expected to nominate moderate judges who aren't considered "activists" or risk a full blown hissy fit of epic proportions and once again be said to risk his agenda. ("Give me everything I want, or I'll accuse you of partisanship!") If Obama worries about that, he'll end up pushing an already right wing court further right, and that is unthinkable.