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Mark - good point, especially now that Santorum is appearing (if you believe the polls) poised to transition back to the private sector. There is no pressure in PA politics on Specter to support Bush, and picking a fight with Specter will just make Rickie's re-election chances that much worse. The shoe is moving to the other foot.


I think I've confidently predicted six of the last two Democratic presidential victories

Don't knock yourself. That's pretty damn amazing! ;)


Didn't Dobson state that Bush had told him he was determined to name a woman, but the one he really wanted had declined? How did Miers feel, knowing she was the consolation prize in the first place?


Mark Schmitt

On the Dobson point, John Fund in the Wall Street Journal seems to have established that this thing about someone withdrawing was a lie to make Miers seem more plausible. And of course she knew it was a lie. (Which raises the question of how she felt that they had to lie and say she was the backup when she really wasn't.)


I guess the question then is, what could be done at this point by of the players to further embolden Specter?

Jon K

I'm still wary. I don't believe the WH is necessarily weakened. Rove seems to have avoided indictment in the Plame thing, which may make him feel comfortable asserting himself once again. That might mean nominating a winger. One thing's for sure: the base will definitely get behind a true believer nominee, especially after the Miers near "disaster" was averted. And we all know the lengths to which the right goes to defend fellow true believers.

Joe S.

I think that your comment on Specter is very important. If not for the spectre of Specter, Bush has an obvious nominee: Michael McConnell. The Talibs love him and the Ds can live with him. He is Talibanic on church-state and abortion, but otherwise would probably be on the "left" side of today's skewed court. He also has fearsome academic chops, and good contacts with D law professors.
But if Specter is stroppy on abortion, even the McConnell option is problematic.


I thought your hunch about Specter was probably a good one, but reading the MSNBC headline it appears the Specter will at least assist his party by expediting the confirmation process.

I suspect the Republican Party would prefer a loud ideological clash where they have control of the levers of power over further flailing about with a crippled President. Any noise this Supreme Court nominee generates probably helps change the subject away from Niger and the coverup in the White House.

What would the outcome of a loud clash over a judicial candidate be, if Democrats try to block a slim majority from pushing the nomination through, and Republicans make full use of their power? I don't believe that the judiciary has the same 3rd rail quality that Social Security had that would prevent the GOP from pushing every power lever available. But I just don't know. Who's thought this through clearly and articulately?


If the White House was trying to keep from alienating Specter, do you think that helps explain why Alito-- from Specter's backyard-- ended up being the nominee?


Specter will no longer feel any obligation to do anything to move the nomination forward.

Because there is nothing to fear humbled Bush administration BUT ALSO because he's had a cancer scare. Facing the really big one of possibly not waking up tomorrow can really make you not give a damn about pleasing the boss man; you may not have any more chances to leave a legacy of what you stood for.


I heard you on Brian Lehrer yesterday. Great segment.


I hear the show to Jay it was a great segment was wondering who you think will run the the 2008 elections for President?


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