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Souter Retirement: Republican Opportunity or Uh-Oh?



Will David Souter's retirement from the Supreme Court unite or further divide the Republican Party? (PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

The retirement of Supreme Court Justice David Souter comes at a time when the national Republican party finds itself in a state of flux -- caught between an establishment wing who is seeking to re-brand it to make it more attractive to independents and a conservative base that wants a return to the roots.

Will President Obama's next nominee to the Court help unite the Republican party to oppose a common adversary or further expose the rifts that divide it?

Most party strategists we spoke to in the wake of the Souter announcement argued the former scenario is more likely -- dependent of course on Obama picking someone who most Republicans believe is too far to the left ideologically for the Court.

"From a party perspective it's a good thing because it's another issue that will galvanize Republicans the same way the budget issues have earlier this year," said Sara Taylor, former political director in the Bush White House.

Jim Dyke, a Republican consultant based in South Carolina and an adviser to Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, called the nomination "an opportunity for the minority party to represent a majority of Americans who oppose judicial activism" but added that Republican would do well to wait until a nominee is chosen "before passing judgment lest they lose credibility with the American people."

Another senior Republican strategist granted anonymity to speak candidly said that a Supreme Court fight will be good for fundraising -- particularly among low-dollar donors who feel passionately about judges (and judicial activism).

Despite the generally optimistic tone adopted by many Republicans, there is obviously real peril present for the party in the Souter situation as well.

Recent history suggests a disconnect between the Senate's generally open-minded approach to nominees and the party base's more ideological and confrontational stance -- and it is worth watching how that potential dissonance plays out.

Remember back to President Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers, a pick initially applauded by most (though not all) Republican senators before it became clear that the conservative grassroots were unhappy with the selection. Heeding the calls to action from the base -- as well as conservative commentators -- most Republican senators changed their collective tune, making it clear to the White House that the Miers nomination was politically dead on arrival. (Miers eventually withdrew from consideration roughly three weeks after she was nominated.)

With the further elevation of conservative voices within the party -- hello Rush Limbaugh! -- it's not difficult to see a further fracturing of the GOP if Obama picks a Supreme Court nominee with whom the base is deeply unhappy but the establishment wing of the party (including a majority of Republican senators) believe is acceptable.

Limbaugh himself said that Republicans will do "the right thing for themselves any time they attempt to contrast themselves with Obama." He added that the more intriguing development to watch will be "all the wackos on the left trying to influence Obama on his pick."

A split within the GOP on the nomination, which could feature movement conservatives like Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford on one side and establishment figures like former governor Mitt Romney (Mass.) and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty on the other, would be something close to an unmitigated disaster for a party trying to united behind a few core principles to prepare for the 2010 midterm elections and the 2012 presidential fight.

Put simply: no matter who President Obama picks as his next Supreme Court nominee, this moment will likely be viewed in retrospect as a clear "gut check" moment for the GOP. Do they stand and fight as one? Splinter? Or take a pass entirely?

By Chris Cillizza  |  May 1, 2009; 11:49 AM ET
Categories:  Republican Party  
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Comments

Woops, make that "the Republicans' self image issue will go on and on and on."

Possessive apostrophe problem.

Posted by: dognabbit | May 4, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

You nailed it, Chris. Obama's a savvy politician. He will, as you wrote, pick a "Supreme Court nominee with whom the base is deeply unhappy but the establishment wing of the party (including a majority of Republican senators) believe is acceptable."

And the Republican's self image issue will go on and on and on.

Posted by: dognabbit | May 4, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Republicans take a pass? Are you kidding?? I’ve never known them to pass up an opportunity to make histrionic, wild-eyed, red faced, spitting spectacles of themselves. Hell, they went into immediate rant mode as soon as Souter announced he was leaving!

Posted by: thebrink | May 4, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Yo if there is a lib in the White House it is pretty obvious that he is goin' 2 pick someone one the left of the spectrum. But with Obama it could be different. i do not think Obama is one of those bias people.

Posted by: surferfox24 | May 3, 2009 2:17 AM | Report abuse

I would just like to see some hearings were the candidate is asked about porn and yelling hi ho silver.. now that's good theater.

Posted by: newbeeboy | May 2, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Thomas and Scalia would’ve probably agreed with the Dredd Scott and Plessy decisions if they had a chance to vote on it.

Obama should appoint a very young (not older than 55) and very liberal jurist (as far on the left as Scalia and Thomas are on the right). He’s got the votes and political capital to do it.

Posted by: sgtpepper23 | May 2, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

"Just to clarify the meaning of Souter's Kelo decision, suppose I own 200 acres and choose not to build on it, but to operate it as a nature preserve. Suppose someone else would like to build a shopping mall on that land. Who will Souter award that real estate to? Why? Is this really "the rule of law", "under the Constitution"?
Posted by: douglaslbarber "

Well, the decision was a bit more complex than that, and fit into a very long line of such eminent domain decisions. As there were several other such eminent domain processes going at the time and this was the case taken, it probably means less than it seems. The particular case boiled down to, can the government do it, and the decision was, yes they can. anything beyond that, like should they do it and under what further constraints didn't get addressed and therefore didn't get decided.

Had the case turned on what other considerations might have been appropriate, (like was the original project an attempt to truly clean up a largely blighted area, (the property in dispute was more or less the only bit of light in a really dismal industrial area) there might have arisen a different decision, especially if the two Ohio cases had gotten dragged into it in a different form, (like, because the definition of blighted was left to the same group of politicians who were trying to take the land for their more wealthy friends, as in Cincinatti, and up on Lake Erie) the Court might have ruled that THAT part of the process needed to be determined by a court, an independent Government Entity, or an election.

The last I saw, that forlorn house in Norwood is still out in that demolished area, and still standing.

Posted by: ceflynline | May 2, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

For the good of the body politic, the Republican Party should perform apoptosis.

Posted by: PoliticalCommentator | May 1, 2009 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Just to clarify the meaning of Souter's Kelo decision, suppose I own 200 acres and choose not to build on it, but to operate it as a nature preserve.

Suppose someone else would like to build a shopping mall on that land.

Who will Souter award that real estate to? Why? Is this really "the rule of law", "under the Constitution"?

Posted by: douglaslbarber | May 1, 2009 9:16 PM | Report abuse

no problem. by summer senator franken will have taken his seat. obama will make a pick that no democrat can turn down not even democrat #60 arlen specter. remember:
if arlen specter is going to run in the democratic primary for re-election in 2010
he'll have to perform like a democrat when it comes to voting in the senate. he knows that, but the republicans wapo haven't figured that out yet

Posted by: surlydoc | May 1, 2009 7:21 PM | Report abuse

"psst, I heard on Fox News that's he's going to nominate William Ayers to the Supreme Court? Why does this Indonesian/Kenian Muslim hate America so?"

Fox News is an Indonesian Kenian [sic] Muslim?

Posted by: thrh | May 1, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Michael Steele, called the nomination "an opportunity for the minority party to represent a majority of Americans who oppose judicial activism" but added that Republican would do well to wait until a nominee is chosen "before passing judgment lest they lose credibility with the American people."


Ponder those words: 'We're going to oppose the nominee, whoever it is, but it might be well to wait until we know who it is.'

Shows about as much open-mindedness and fairness as I would expect.

Posted by: thrh | May 1, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

As for Souter, I give you Kelo v. City of New London. This decision, which he wrote, holds that a local government may seize your real estate if it determines that it can get more tax revenue by selling that real estate to someone else.

I see many here saying that Souter is really a conservative justice. Without some definition of the terms "liberal" and "conservative", that's a claim devoid of content.

With regard to Kelo, these sorts of things are allowed to stand, and become precedents which other decisions elaborate, because only a minority of property owners will ever suffer the egregious robbery to which Souter subjected Kelo.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | May 1, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

psst, I heard on Fox News that's he's going to nominate William Ayers to the Supreme Court? Why does this Indonesian/Kenian Muslim hate America so? Odumber makes baby Jesus cry...

Honestly, do you think it's even possible for Obama or the democrats to compromise/reason with such people as the above poster?

They've made up their minds and there's nothing that can be said or done to win them over. With that said I think they should just be ignored. I say let them write them off and leave them to their childish insults, 2 minute hate fests, and wild exaggerations and let the adults worry about governing.

Posted by: cjpotter19 | May 1, 2009 2:13 PM.
______
What he said.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | May 1, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

king_of_zouk asked, "I wonder if Lenin or Trotsky are available."

Lenin is, on McCain's theory that if Alan Greenspan died it would be well to prop up his corpse and keep him as Fed chairman.

Moreover, Lenin's embalmed corpse would be at least as actively involved as Justice Thomas in oral arguments before the court.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | May 1, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

I don't see the Republicans playing any real role in this confirmation process (despite what the MSM will pretend they have)--beyond the usual Jay Severin-type bigoted screaming and hollering "the nominee is a communist" and the usual stuff.

BHO easily has the 60 votes to beat a filibuster: it would be suicidal for Arlen to show his "independence" by voting against cloture on this, and, if the pick is a woman, it is hard to see how the two female Maine senators could vote against a well qualified woman, even if they disagree with her (Maine don't play dat).

A black female nominee would dramatically change the dynamics on the court and make for some interesting court conferences with one conservative justice. The leader of the Hillarians would also be interesting.

BHO has a free swing on this, NOT hold back; he should go for it and pick whomever the _____ he wants.
__

Winners
David Souter (superb service to his country)
BHO (for a great 100 days speech)
Mrs. W.J. Clinton (for finally finding a positive outlet for all that pants-suited nuclear energy)
Gene Robinson (for a great column today on the state of the GOP and the importance of a two party system)
Robin Givhan (for a great analysis of Mrs. BHO's style (much to the dismay of Dianne72))
Janeane Garofalo (for speaking out about the teabaggers and schooling Jack and CTU last week on the Bill of Rights (and then getting yelled at))
Noted architect Paul Kersey (but, other than that one desert housing development he did in the 70s, did he ever actually design anything?)

Losers
Boehner (for producing a bizarre greatest [anti-BHO] hits video that suggested the Congressional Hispanic Caucus were terrorists)
Jay Severin (for singlehandedly showing why we need a Fairness Doctrine--thankfully his station's management stopped his anti-Latino madness, at least for now)
"Super-patriot" Hannity (for, after mouthing off about waterboarding, turning down Olbermann who was willing to pay a charity $1000 for every minute Herr Sean could withstand very soft faux-waterboarding (not the real thing) conducted by a personal friend)
Teabaggers
Juan Williams
Bret Michaels (never heard of him, and his show is a waste of spectrum)
Jack Wilson (for, IMO, not even clearing his holster)

Posted by: broadwayjoe | May 1, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

(1) Souter was never a liberal. I'm not sure the court has any liberals now, except for Ginsberg.

(2) Chris and the rest of the media are HOPING for a fight, it helps sell newspapers.

Posted by: dotellen | May 1, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget WA Gov Gregoire. She served as our State Attorney General before becoming the Gov.

There are many qualified women who could do a far far better job than certain sitting US Supreme Court Justices - not just Clarence Thomas.

Posted by: WillSeattle | May 1, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Two features of the present environment make this a time when Republicans will not get as much sympathy as they ordinarily might over "social issues" (right to life, only heterosexual marriage).

Those features are 1) the economic collapse and 2) national soul-searching over Bush interrogation policies and more broadly over his assertions of unprecedented executive authority.

My theory is that many who sympathize with Republican social policy positions will implicitly assign them a lower priority than they normally would, given the wolf at the door and the sense that we didn't exactly do ourselves morally proud under the most recent president who shared their views on social issues.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | May 1, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

I don't see the party splitting at all. It is consolidating. The only difference of opinion is on how to bottle and sell the poison.

Posted by: nodebris | May 1, 2009 2:11 PM
*****************

More charitably and accurately, it's distilling. What the hardcore don't get is the imperative of brand: they think their tea bagging is sufficiently stimulating to carry the day and they love to kid themselves about how well they're doing. From Rove to the radio blowhards to rabid bloggers, they've repeatedly shown a willingness to lie to themselves about their true position vis-a-vis the voters. Witness Rasmussen's "generic Congressional voting" poll today.

Posted by: abqcleve | May 1, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

"Will President Obama's next nominee to the Court help unite the Republican party to oppose a common adversary or further expose the rifts that divide it?"

gosh chris....you make it sound like war.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | May 1, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

dbw1 - OK, here's your homework assignment. I think we can all agree that Justices Roberts and Alito are conservative jurists. So, how about you back up your claim? Go find that deluge of editorials. Heck, I'll take ONE. Quotes from blogs, Kos, or Huffpost don't count. Gold star if you can find it in a nationally known paper (NY Times, WaPo, Chicago Tribune, LA Times, etc.)

BB

dbw1 wrote: "Ever notice how a President can nominate the most left-wing candidate available, and never risk a single editorial in a major newspaper calling for him to nominate someone 'more mainstream'? But let him dare to nominate a moderate-to-slightly right-of-center candidate, and suddenly there will be a deluge of cries from the MSM about how "extreme" the candidate is."

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | May 1, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

This nomination should help peel a few more GOPers from their fast-shrinking ranks.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | May 1, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

They will be the party of NO once again. Can't teach an old dog new tricks. We will just have to move on without them. No biggie.

Posted by: jfern03 | May 1, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

The Republican Party has become a bunch of repulsive, negative, corporate lackeys who have no regard for the everyday American citizen.

An Independent

Posted by: aeaustin | May 1, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

I guarantee the Senate Republicans will fillibuster ANYONE Pres Obama nominates. This in spite of the fact that there doesn't exist a judge who is as far to the left as Sam Alito is to the right and the Democrats were forced to eat that nomination.

Just watch; he could appoint the re-incarnation or Thurgood Marshall and the Senate Republicans would try to block him.

Posted by: maggiee | May 1, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Souter was nominated by a Republican president, confirmed by a 90-9 vote in the Senate, with two of the nine nay votes being Kennedy and Kerry.

In Re Gore, probably one of the most "activist" rulings the USSC has ever made, Souter affirmed his conservatism, though not his Republicanism. That he is considered a "liberal" judge only goes to demonstrate how far to the right, in the political, though not the judicial sense, Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Roberts are.

Posted by: wstander | May 1, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

to dbw1:

Please to cite one decision in the last 10 years that proves your point...

P.S. 'Activist' decisions go both ways. Research "Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama v. Garrett"

Posted by: hamptontonyc | May 1, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

If a Republican in the DC objects to an Obama SCOTUS appointee, does it make a sound?

Posted by: DrainYou | May 1, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Most of the people blogging here have no clue as what a liberal judge is. There is not a liberal judge one among the Supremes these days. William Douglas was a liberal and no one on this bench is a liberal. Remember the Clinton appointees where moderates... because they had to be approved by a Republican judiciary committee. Expect a pragmatic moderate for this choice and watch the rightwing-nuts make fools of themselves with their knee jerk reactions.

Posted by: bradcpa | May 1, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Like someone stated in the article, all the right wing pressure groups will use the nomination process to extract more donations from the faithful.

Posted by: maggots | May 1, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Obama could nominate Attila the Hun and the republicans in the controlling positions in the party would decide that he was a socialist at heart and oppose him. Likewise Lenin AND ESPECIALLY Trotsky. This is another chance for the long knives to self lacerate heir party in order to bleed out all of the less than true believers.

That they think Barack would have the slightest reason to listen to them, given that Souter's retirement is only quasi-official anyway, and they are already screaming, "Don't You Dare nominate anybody we won't like!"

Of course, being an ex legal professor, Barack can probably take the ABA list he supposedly will get, check off a dozen or so of the names on it he already knows and can work with, and send them off to be vetted.

The Parties in power in THAT party will object to them all.

After all, if they are acceptable to a mostly Centrist Democrat, they ipso facto aren't acceptable to the Radical Right.

When you know you can't win, go looking for a different game.

Posted by: ceflynline | May 1, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

IlDem:

Actually, an "activist judge" is someone who issues decisions that can only be supported by the blank spaces in the Constitution.

Is it too much to ask a judge to read the Constitution, and make his or her decision according to what IT says....and not according to their political leanings?

I would think that's something we could all embrace regardless of party, but apparantly it's now become "extreme" and "intolerant" to actually cite principles from the Constitution.

Posted by: dbw1 | May 1, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Ever notice how a President can nominate the most left-wing candidate available, and never risk a single editorial in a major newspaper calling for him to nominate someone 'more mainstream'?

But let him dare to nominate a moderate-to-slightly right-of-center candidate, and suddenly there will be a deluge of cries from the MSM about how "extreme" the candidate is.

Conservatives can only hope that Obama's appointee turns out to be as reflective of the views of the President who nominated him as Souter was....

Posted by: dbw1 | May 1, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

More of the same retread and tired propoganda - "activist judge". An activist judge is nothing but a judge that does not rule the way you want him to rule. Simple concept which I guess is why it appeals to "the base", most of whom are simple.

Posted by: ILDem | May 1, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

The biggest knee-slapper of the day was Obama saying he will replace Souter with someone who shares his respect for "constitutional values".

In liberal-speak, that means the new justice will have to light a match to our actual Constitution and Bill of Rights, and promise to only embrace the 'constitutional values' liberals have invented out of thin air in the past 50-60 years.

Could someone please get Obama a copy of the Bill of Rights that has not had the 10th Amendment snipped out? Perhaps he and his conference table full of 'czars' can begin their next meeting with a quick read.

Posted by: dbw1 | May 1, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

It would be best for the republicans if they start to train their base that the party is going to head to the left and begin picking up moderates, grow the party.

But, as of now, this simply won't happen.

If they want only to please their hard right base, then blocking a supreme court nominee would do the trick, but the price of doing so is disenchanting everyone else.

Posted by: yarbrougharts | May 1, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Obama would have to appoint a dedicated COMMUNIST to even halfway BALANCE the Roberts/Alito/Thomas/Scalia right-wing fascist crew. Maybe a former SDS Weatherman or Black Panther would come CLOSE to equalizing one of those guys.

Posted by: DrainYou | May 1, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

"there's no hate like liberal hate" -- LOL.

Everytime I see an R politican start ranting about the horrible gays, the horrible blacks, the horrible mexicans, feminazis, what have you -- in short, everyone but rich white guys, I always remember that these are people who really, really, know how to hate.

To the goober who wrote this, why don't you ask Arlen Specter about the death threats from his fellow party members?

Posted by: drindl | May 1, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

"there's nothing here but hatred for Republicans, down to a man (or woman)."

Not down to the individual level. It's just that you all get annoying when you decide to collectively do what Limbaugh or Hannity tells you to do.

Posted by: DDAWD | May 1, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Republicans don't need any opportunities to unite. The conservatives have already frog marched every one who isn't 100% with them out of the party. I suspect that Obama will nominate a reasonable candidate, conservatives will throw hissy-fits (ignoring their previous cries for "up or down votes"), the candidate will be confirmed, and Republicans will just be further exposed as obstructionist ideological stooges.

Posted by: mbmclaughlin | May 1, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

The Republican Party may be united by a battle over Suter's replacement, but that unification will be of the extreme right and far to the right of the vast majority of Americans.

The result will be a united extreme right wing group incapable of drawing people from the middle. Even younger fundemantalist Christians are walking away from them.

The GOP is purging its moderates. Stupid is as stupid does.

Maybe what will come about is a new political party of moderates in the center leaving the extremes of the right and the left out there in la la land. The country needs doers and problem solvers -- not the la la land crazies.

Posted by: wj_phillips | May 1, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Right now, the Republican's worst enemy is themselves.

Because there isn't ONE Republican party, there's two.

The first is the hysterical, pseudo-christian cult characterized by Palin, Limbaugh, et. al.

The second is actually a political party made up of Republican moderates who are focused on fiscal issues and getting things done.

The former makes for great tv and garners a small core of voters.

The latter is a bit duller, but appeals to the real world USA demographic of a population shift to immigrants, and teenagers just reaching voting age.

The task for the RNC, if they don't want to be eclipsed by independents and libertarians, is to reach out to the new demographic.

In 4 years, the frantic ranter branch of the Republican party is likely to be seen as anachronistic and cute, sort of like the whigs. I wouldn't place my bets there if I were the RNC.

Posted by: ian807 | May 1, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Most of the Republican comments I've seen so far lead me to believe that they aren't even going to wait to see who is nominated, but are already plotting to filibuster whoever Obama picks. Their strategy of obstructionism will continue to make them less and less relevant to the political process.

Posted by: fletc3her | May 1, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Maybe, just maybe, it will occur to the Republicans during this process that their ideas have failed at the ballot box. Trying to push down the throats of the American people another right wing wacko will not endear the party to anyone but their already dwindling constituencies. Holding on to a base that is shrinking will only get more and more difficult, until the Republicans are reduced to nominating only the insane.

Posted by: merrylees | May 1, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

yeah, republicans are united-----
like the fundamentalist sects living in Utah.

their way or the highway.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | May 1, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

More of the same retread and tired propoganda - "activist judge". An activist judge is nothing but a judge that does not rule the way you want him to rule. Simple concept which I guess is why it appeals to "the base", most of whom are simple.

Posted by: ILDem | May 1, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

dwane:
is there a republican base anymore?
repulsives better think twice before they alienate anyone else by their actions.

we will extend our hand if you unclench your fist ----
republicans.......
President Obama has done more than any other President in extending that hand to the repulsives.
Nothing but insults, downgrading, blatant disregard.
I am truly beginning to think every republican is prejudice.
Prejudice. Every republican. From New Hampshire to San Francisco.
Why? Because republican words and the republican actions (of late) with our new president ----speak it and show it.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | May 1, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

If the Repubs think they're going to be getting another right-wing lunatic fringer judge like Tony Scalia or Thomas then they are sadly mistaken.


In the addled minds of these wingnut goons, unless you oppose reproductive freedom and support stealing elections, you're an extremist.

No wonder their movement has collapsed

Posted by: DrainYou | May 1, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

"You know what they say: there's no hate like liberal hate." caught my attention.

I admit, there is a visceral dislike among us liberals toward that 30% of America that consistently approve whatever advances their limited "values." They seem to have little interest in the larger issues of this secular nation, and keep coming back to their support for banning abortion, advancing creationism, making sure gays don't get equal treatment as citizens and ominously warning about "socialism."

It's not just "liberals" who have rejected that 30% as the last two elections show that independents and one-time Republicans have migrated away from what the Republican Party is selling.

But if you want to catalogue examples of hate, I invite you to consider the racist--yes, racist--attempts to smear Obama during the campaign and to this day. Do you really think that the point you "patriots" are making in challenging whether Obama is a native-born citizen is a matter of the Constitution? To the contrary, the real message is that he is not a real American, he is the "other."

The problem with the remnant of the Republican Party as it is now constituted is that when you make conservative religious values the basis of your secular politics, you lose most of America. It also tends to make you hateful, since you are dealing with souls not citizens. However appealing it is in the south and some of the mountain states to expect society to mirror the established religious values, for the rest of the nation the standards are different.

You might be surprised to learn that America is less white, less Christian, younger and inclinded to let personal values remain personal rather than be made into law.

For the rest of us, you have excluded yourselves from secular society.

Posted by: gratianus | May 1, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

It seems the Republicans are already united. It is just that there are not many of them. Another divisive tirade is not likely to add to their numbers. Everyone already knows their ideology and has either embraced it or rejected it.

Incidentally, could you fix the comment section to put the sign-in link at the end of the "Post a Comment" section like other contributors have done?

Posted by: cdierd1944 | May 1, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

What a dope.

Posted by: FridayKnight | May 1, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

To linguist64:

Would you at least accept the fact that the GOP's problems have all been caused by George Bush? You can blame liberal hate all you want, but the fact of the matter is that you all followed a man who did NOT follow any GOP/Conservative principles.

For point:

1. Compare No Child Left Behind with this 1996 GOP Party statement - "Our formula is as simple as it is sweeping: the federal government has no constitutional authority to be involved in school curricula or to control jobs in the work place. That is why we will abolish the Department of Education, end federal meddling in our schools, and promote family choice at all levels of learning. We therefore call for prompt repeal of the Goals 2000 program and the School-To-Work Act of 1994, which put new federal controls, as well as unfunded mandates, on the States. We further urge that federal attempts to impose outcome- or performance-based education on local schools be ended."

2. The prescription drug plan (a massive federal spending initiative) reeks of LBJ.

3. A special session of Congress to interfere in Florida's state right in the Terry Schiavo case reeks of liberal Democrat.

4. Finally, what about 'Nation Building' that President Bush derided at every step on the campaign trail in the fall of 2000? Need a reminder?

Oct 11, 2000:

"I don't think our troops ought to be used for what's called nation building."

"Absolutely not. Our military is meant to fight and win war. That's what it's meant to do and when it gets overextended, morale drops."

The fact is that you got in bed with a man who went against almost every GOP principle and folks like you called folks like me a 'traitor' and 'unpatriotic' when we disagreed...

Posted by: hamptontonyc | May 1, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

calfer:

republicans with democratic leanings or
democrats with republican leanings.

is that a moderate?

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | May 1, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

The litmus test will be the usual:
Rove v. World.

Posted by: newbeeboy | May 1, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

The shrewdest move would be for Senate Republicans to unanimously support the President's nominee.

This would utterly confound expectations and to a large degree deflate Democrats' arguments that the GOP unthinkingly opposes anything associated with the President, and allow the GOP to position themselves as reaching out to the President in the spirit of bipartisanship. From there, the GOP would be in a much improved position to selectively oppose specific items of the President's agenda, always able to point back to unanimous support for the SCOTUS nominee as proof of the GOP's good faith in opposing whatever item came up.

"But wait," you say, "rolling over on the SCOTUS nominee would alienate the GOP base!" True, there's a risk of that, but the base has nowhere to go. "Ah," you say, "but what if these voters get so angry at GOP Senators rolling over on the SCOTUS nomination that, come election time, they stay home--then your strategy has backfired!" It's true that taking a pass on fighting the nomination would run the risk of alienating some hardcore conservative voters, but--assuming the nomination vote comes in fall '09--there'd still be plenty of time to mend fences as well as to rally the conservative base prior to the '10 cycle by challenging the President on other issues. Besides, if voting en masse for the President's nomination buys credibility with independents plus moderate Republicans who are disgusted by the far-right's domination of the party and their incessant hostility to President Obama (and, assuming the nominee is a woman and/or minority, also buying credibility with these constituencies, who are crucial to any GOP plan to reserve its fortunes), then it's worth risking alienating some of that shrinking, angry base.

There's scant upside in opposing the President if his nominee is assured of confirmation (unless that nominee is manifestly unqualified). If the GOP needs some cover with it's base, then voice loud opposition in Committee, and once the nominee clears committee, announce that "having been recommended for confirmation by the Judiciary Committee, we Republican senators believe the President is entitled to deference in matters of judicial nominations." That would make a show of pragmatism and flexibility and better the position the GOP for inroads in '10.

Posted by: dwanebivens | May 1, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

hamptontonyc: i am laughing. good move.

kevrobb---ah, the infamous Roe vs Wade situation. Well, the same sex marriage issue (at the state level) is going to change constitutional "stance" on Roe vs Wade.
My goodness, what would the supreme court do if Roe vs Wade gets solidified in law whereby no change will ever take place.
No over-riding Roe vs Wade.
Ever.
Why? Because states are legalizing "same sex marriage".
Are there constitutional dots here to connect?

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | May 1, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Since when is the GOP's problem that they're not united? Haven't they been able to muster virtually unanimous opposition to Obama's agenda? The question should be, even if the GOP is united, does it matter?

Posted by: qkanga | May 1, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Chris, first, please name those who represent the moderate wing of the Republican Party because, to me, this party has only one wing: the extreme right. Secondly, no matter who Obama picks, the Republicans are going to claim that he or she is "too left-wing." So, I believe that your article is not quite accurate.

Posted by: carlfer | May 1, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Socialist seems to be the new Repubatard catch word. I am wondering if most Repubatards even know the meaning of the word..Yet the media idiots like Rush limpball and Bill Oliely are doing the thinking for most of the right-wing-nuts anyway! Most Republicans can not think for themselves....If the nominations galvanize the Repubican party to veto every nominee the Democrats name. I believe this will be the nail in the coffin, for we Americans are sick and tired of them placing the Republican Party before our country!!

Posted by: nallcando | May 1, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

PS I agree with bigbrother that the GOP establishment is tiny, weak and practically inaudible next to the rabid, hate-fueled, teabagging base.

Posted by: kevrobb | May 1, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

"Republicans would do well to wait until a nominee is chosen "before passing judgment lest they lose credibility with the American people."

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

What "credibility?!"

That's a good one!

Posted by: novatom1 | May 1, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

pharmgurl wrote:

"He is abusing his Executive Powers by ignoring laws as he sees fit"
---------------------------
No response necessary...

Just wanted to move it to the top of the post for others to laugh at.

Posted by: hamptontonyc | May 1, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

If the party of No Nothings tries to bring their hatred of America's strong Middle Class into this debate and be obstinant about it, they are going to get a world of hurt piled on them.

You can take that to the credit union (since the CEO of Bank of America just got his notice given to him by we shareholders).

Posted by: WillSeattle | May 1, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

The GOP establishment secretly loves liberal judges as they keep the base goobers sending in their collected nickels and dimes.

The whole plan of the GOP leadership is based on talking about abortion endlessly without ever doing anything about it.

What would be the ultimate political disaster for the GOP? The overturning of Roe V Wade.

I understand their perspective because I come from the exact opposite one. As a foreigner whose only interest in US politics is stopping the runaway US war machine, I welcome conservative judges because conservative judges create liberal voters.

I'd love to see abortion banned in the US. Because in the next election after that, the evil right would be utterly wiped out.

Posted by: kevrobb | May 1, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

cheer up...
we could have another
hair & coca cola moment.....


Posted by: TheBabeNemo | May 1, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

linguist (smiles)---
the usual suspects have not all logged on yet.

wait.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | May 1, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

You have to wonder what info Cillizza is seeing that nobody else gets to see - or what he's smoking that nobody else gets to smoke.

Last I heard, the Republican party had solidly rejected any notion of centrism, viz the total non-cooperation with Obama and the celebrations at Specter's "defection." Centrist talk is cheap. Centrist action is nonexistent.

And since when is the hateful, bigoted and ultra-religious current core of the party its "roots?" That part of the GOP only got started after Nixon started his Southern Strategy. Reagan and Bush I pandered to them without giving them much. Only during Bush II did we see them take over the party completely.

Now there are so few old-school Republicans left in the party that a return to its actual roots is nearly impossible. We've already witnessed the revolution. Now we see the consequences.

I predict that the party is either done for good or until 2014 at the earliest. Obama will have to very be unpopular AND the GOP will have to have attractive, non-divisive options on offer to get anywhere at that point. But I have a hard time seeing them doing that. Who are the moderate leaders? Anyone?

Posted by: bigbrother1 | May 1, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Wow. The amount of ugliness and vitriol on this comment board is simply astounding. I've read or skimmed every one of them, and there's nothing here but hatred for Republicans, down to a man (or woman). When my relatives in the midwest think I'm exaggerating as I tell them how hateful and bitter liberal Democrats are in Washington, THIS is the kind of stuff I show them. Just to be clear, Democrats are the party of "help the poor, take care of the elderly, love your neighbor," right? Pardon me if I don't take a left-of-center politico's word for it that the GOP is dead. You know what they say: there's no hate like liberal hate.

Posted by: linguist64 | May 1, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

I had to laugh at the "Judicial Activism" guy from this article. Republicans have no problem with Judicial Activism, as long as the Activist Judge rules in their favor politically. Scalia is a poster boy for this.

Posted by: VTDuffman | May 1, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

This article is another waste of bandwidth. To summarize, "this could help, but it could hurt." Great analysis.

Posted by: jtarley | May 1, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Given the GOP's recent track record, we can all be confident that whatever they do, it will not be the in the nation's best interest.

Posted by: mhitchons | May 1, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse


"caught between an establishment wing who is seeking to re-brand it to make it more attractive to independents and a conservative base that wants a return to the roots"
----there is nothing the GOP can do.
They are passing into history.
They cannot get more attractive to anyone.
And if they believe that the solution, in any form or matter, is to "return to the roots".........heaven help us all!
it's precisely those roots that destroyed us today.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | May 1, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

"Demonrats" from a poster here. No wonder the R party is in the toilet. it belongs there.

"On Wednesday, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) released a fearmongering video, asking if Americans "feel safer" under President Obama. But one image in the video has caused outrage in Congress. After a shot of Obama shaking hands with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the video cuts to an image of Obama meeting with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus:"

Nice way to win back hispanics, Boner. Call hispanic in congress terrorists. Nowhere for the R party to go but down and down until the last member dies from not being able to figure out how to breathe.


Posted by: drindl | May 1, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

" "an opportunity for the minority party to represent a majority of Americans who oppose judicial activism""

Activism like Brown v Topeka; one man, one vote; Loving v VA

Posted by: edlharris | May 1, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

I will be shocked if a majority of the Republican leaders don't fight whoever Obama picks. They've shown no willingness to work with the President thus far; I don't see that changing.

Posted by: mikem1 | May 1, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Why are we so concerned about whether or not the repubs will fillibuster? A few years ago, they were arguing that ALL judicial nominees DESERVED a straight up or down vote and threatened to get rid of the fillibuster as a procedural option and force an immediate up or down vote. So surely, in this case, while they may object to the nominee, they will stand on their principles and will likewise call for a straight up or down vote, right?

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

Ok, sorry, I'm picking myself up off the floor now. The only question is whether or not the media will hold the repubs to this belief they espoused just a few years ago.

Posted by: PeixeGato1 | May 1, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

I see in another report that conservatives are now attacking Gingrich. That means they're now eating their own. I wonder if Newt is better fried or roasted on a stick? And do they fight over the eyes? Just think, they could feed the masses for at least a year if they started on Limbaugh...

Posted by: Byrd3 | May 1, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Better Headline:

Which Way Will the Whigs Wag?

Posted by: Spectator | May 1, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

"hayden1 wrote: The Repubs would certainly love Lenin. He liked torture and assassination.
---------------------------
The Demonrats would certainly love Lenin, Trotsky, or Stalin. They liked speading the wealth, show trials, and exterminating their political opponents.

At the very least, 0bama would name any of their to be his Chief of Staff.

Oh wait, he already did..."

---------

psst, I heard on Fox News that's he's going to nominate William Ayers to the Supreme Court? Why does this Indonesian/Kenian Muslim hate America so? Odumber makes baby Jesus cry...

Honestly, do you think it's even possible for Obama or the democrats to compromise/reason with such people as the above poster?

They've made up their minds and there's nothing that can be said or done to win them over. With that said I think they should just be ignored. I say let them write them off and leave them to their childish insults, 2 minute hate fests, and wild exaggerations and let the adults worry about governing.

Posted by: cjpotter19 | May 1, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

I don't see the party splitting at all. It is consolidating. The only difference of opinion is on how to bottle and sell the poison.

Posted by: nodebris | May 1, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

How the Republicans react will not be as important as how the public reacts. Will the Republicans be seen as expressing sincere concerns or will this be another opportunity to label them as the "Party of No"? In other words, will they participate in good faith or will they obstruct?

Posted by: gshpc | May 1, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

hayden1 wrote: The Repubs would certainly love Lenin. He liked torture and assassination.
---------------------------
The Demonrats would certainly love Lenin, Trotsky, or Stalin. They liked speading the wealth, show trials, and exterminating their political opponents.

At the very least, 0bama would name any of their to be his Chief of Staff.

Oh wait, he already did...

Posted by: NeverLeft | May 1, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

A big chance for the GOP to again stick to a huge "NO". I think it will work out as well for them as their 14 page budget proposal, or the defection of Arlen Spector, etc. If they keep being this darn lucky, they may not make it to the next election…

Posted by: blackmask | May 1, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

This is a huge opportunity for the Democrats. Obama will nominate a woman with a deep resume who is moderately left of center. The Republicans will forecast the end of days while most of the country will say what is the big deal, she is qualified and she replaces a moderate liberal.

Remember that it took many years of hard work, supported by blind, deaf and dumb Democrats to make liberal into a four letter word. Now that the Democrats are working on making Republican synonymous with Southern, redneck, inbred, dangerous religious lunatic, this is one more opportunity to make the label stick. And the best part is that the Republicans will essentially do it to themselves.

Posted by: caribis | May 1, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

How the MSM can paint this as an opportunity for republicans is quite amazing. Whatever happens, it's all good for republicans. Except it isn't.

No matter who Obama chooses, they will react with the same hysterical hissy fits, foot-stomping, head-banging and whining tantrums. It will get their teabagging base all riled up and more red-faced shrill, and repellent -- and drive further away any sane independent.

Posted by: drindl | May 1, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Left OR right... up OR down... win OR lose... sink OR swim... unite OR split.

Posted by: whocares666 | May 1, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Who cares what the regional republican party does? They don't have enough votes to do anything. They are a penis without testicles.


Posted by: bobnsri | May 1, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Pres. Obama's court pick is a no-brainer. The Hispanic woman (Sonia Sotomayer) will be his pick because it's a two-for. She's Hispanic and a woman. Also, if the Republicans attack her it will solidify Hispanic support of the Democratic party for future elections.

Posted by: PostReader39 | May 1, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

This is a great opportunity. We can't lose. First off we get a new, young, liberal justice. Second when the republican thugs start ganging up on him/her in the confirmation hearings. the public, who have had enough of their mean spirited, obstructionist ways, will pay then back in spades cone the next election. This is so great, that I am going to wet my pants.

Posted by: adrienne_najjar | May 1, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Republicans will oppose anybody that Obama picks because his nominee will not be a conservative. However, since he doesn't really need Republican support any longer to get his nominee approved, it will all be for show anyway. Perhaps they can organize for another tea party in protest.

Posted by: jayelle5 | May 1, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

If Obama puts up a candidate that is either female and/or a minority I see the distinct possibility that the Republicans attack with their usual tone-deafness - see for example the truly ignornant accusations of NC Congresswoman Virginia Foxx's attact against Mathew Sheppard saying his brutal murder was a hoax. This could actually highlight how small-tent nature of the GOP. If it's a white male liberal judge the GOP might have a chance to score some points but if it's any kind of minority I think they run the real risk of looking like the angry white crowd that we saw at the McCain/Palin rallies and the Tea Bag events. If it is a minority candidate the Elephants will have to move with cat-like precision and and use effective pin-point arguments instead of simply banging their opponents over the head with blunt instruments. Given the Republicans' recent past I can easily see them doing the later instead of the former.

Posted by: dre7861 | May 1, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

It's a wash. They'll take a pass.

Posted by: soonerthought | May 1, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

"The retirement of Supreme Court Justice David Souter comes at a time when the national Republican party finds itself in a state of flux -- caught between an establishment wing who is seeking to re-brand it to make it more attractive to independents and a conservative base that wants a return to the roots."

You mean the Taliban?

Posted by: drindl | May 1, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

"Jim D*ke, a Republican consultant based in South Carolina and an adviser to Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, called the nomination "an opportunity for the minority party to represent a majority of Americans who oppose judicial activism" but added that Republican would do well to wait until a nominee is chosen "before passing judgment lest they lose credibility with the American people."

Too late.

Posted by: drindl | May 1, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

I disagree there are significant differences between the GOP establishment and conservative base. Conservatives and right-wing ideologues are the vast majority among Republican Representatives, Senators, former Bush administration officials and ordinary folks.

There are few true moderates left in the Republican party who seek genuine efforts to win independents. Conservative party leaders think they can fool some people by pretending to represent individual rights, limited government, free enterprise and fiscal responsibiity.

Yet the policies of the Bush-Cheney administration, overwhlemingly supported by the party establishment and conservative base, completely undermines any claims to sincerely stand for these principles. The main hope for a GOP political revival on the national level depends upon the quite plausible scenario whereby the Obama administration, Democratic majorities in Congress overreach themselves, enact unpopular policies, such as cap and trade, a health care mandate, which creates major new financial burdens for tens of millions of people, most of whom currently having at least some difficulty making ends meet.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | May 1, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

JakeD - I think it'll work out about the same as with Alito and Roberts. Both clearly conservative justices who faced pro forma opposition from the Democrats. So, there will be an attempted filibuster that will get the obligatory 30 or so votes. Providing that Obama doesn't nominate someone with a skeleton in her closet. I'm going with conventional wisdom that it'll be a woman.

Losthorizon - so what does it say about you that you hang on the intern's every word and comment on the blog? Add to the discussion or get lost.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | May 1, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

A few principles here, a lot of dogma there, and all that's left to the republicans is this silly political gamesmanship they can't seem to escape.

If Obama picks a liberal freak the republicans will behave one way. If Obama picks a centrist moderate, or even (remotely possible) a center-right candidate ... the republicans will behave exactly the same way.

This script is already written. It does not matter the candidate or the candidate's credentials. For the republicans it is the game that matters, and that's all they have and all they know how to do.

Did you you know that Boehner is against co2 caps because the jury is still out on whether or not co2 is a carcinogen? That he also believes cows emit "more co2" than cars?
Can you believe that? Have you ever heard anybody claim that co2 was a carcinogen?

I'm not trying to make a point about how right or wrong he is to oppose the carbon caps, what I am saying is that apparently this man high up in the republican leadership does not know the difference between "greenhouse gas" and carcinogen, nor does he know the difference between co2 and methane.


This is the kind of mind leading the GOP now. This is the kind of mind following him. They're too stupid and too ignorant to do anything but play their game. They're even too stupid to know when they're losing.

Posted by: katavo | May 1, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

++++++++++++++++++
"From a party perspective it's a good thing because it's another issue that will galvanize Republicans the same way the budget issues have earlier this year," said Sara Taylor, former political director in the Bush White House.
++++++++++++++++++

Hahaha, that's a good one. They galvanized themselves into a filibuster-proof Senate majority, into Rush Limbaugh as the recognized party leader, and nearly below the 20th percentile in national party identification.

Keep on keepin' on, galvanize all you can, GOP. Galvanize your sorry buttocks all the way into just an unpleasant memory.

-Wexler

Posted by: WWWexler | May 1, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Recent events with President Obama's violation of Contract Law in regards to the GM bailout--oops! I mean government seizure--indicates his total disregard for our U.S. Constitution. He is abusing his Executive Powers by ignoring laws as he sees fit. His appointees/Czars indicates he will circumvent any election process since they are only accountable to Him. The new Supreme Court judge nominee should be selected on the basis of the best qualified, experienced and unbiased representative of Constitutional Law. He/she selection should not be based on the 'tokenism' of race, nationality or gender. Unfortunately, He will likely make His decision for a Supreme Court judge based on these discriminatory factors; His Democratic Party allegiance; to legislate His personal Socialist idealogies; and once again, to impress His Press with His latest and "brilliant" performance as Washington royalty. A Supreme Court Judge has incredible power to impact America for generations to come. Only under God we trust.

Posted by: Pharmgurl | May 1, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Is this an opening for the GOP? Frankly I don't see how this is ANY different than what they've been doing the past few months on everything from Obama's cabinet nominees, to recent legislative intiatives, to everything Obama does or say in his capacity as President.

I'm sorry Mr. Cillizza but I don't see how this will be any different.

Here's what I think will happen.

The GOP will find a reason to oppose whoever Obama nominates, no matter how trivial and absurd. If they have to seize on one statement or judgment made years ago and if they have to spin it and take it completely out of context in order to do so they'll do it. They will feign outrage and will fill the air with hyperbolic threats of the coming of America's destruction.

But ultimately, none of it will really matter.

Whoever Obama nominates will go through and all the inevitable conservative outrage over this will be quickly forgotten after they find something else to be outraged over.

This is the problem about throwing a huge fit and fighting over absolutely everything. Eventually people will just come to expect it as a given and stop paying attention.

Honestly is anyone surprised anymore when the GOP opposes something Obama does? It's a given.

The answer to the GOP's problems is not opposing the Democrats, no matter how often and how loudly they do it. It's too easy. The only solution to the GOP's problems is to reform their party from within. They have to set their own house in order before they can expect anyone who isn't already in their base to listen to them.

Problem is the only people they do seem to be talking to is their base.

Posted by: cjpotter19 | May 1, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Republicans as united as possible. Their problem is monolithic thinking. How much more they can come together?

The vision of bunch of old white male quished in a small room make me feel like throwing up :-)

Posted by: SeedofChange
=============================================
LOL!

Posted by: st50taw | May 1, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Headline: "Obama Supreme Court Opening Good Thing for GOP, Top GOP Strategists Say"

I look forward to other incisive stories such as:

"Chipotle Snack Wrap 'Yummy', McDonald's Ad Execs Say."


Posted by: icoleman | May 1, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

If the Democrats have 60 votes in the Senate, does it matter what the Republicans think of the nominee?

Posted by: skrut003 | May 1, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Chris you take me back 35 years to those college papers of “compare and contrast”. As much as I would like to see a real liberal be nominated to court (such as William O Douglas) just to throw out some really interesting opinions, I think Obama will select someone who will confound the Republicans. Obama has been doing a masterfully job of making the Republican party seem like a slave to its radical fringe of Limbaugh and Cheney so why not keep it up. I think as long as Republicans keep up this irrational double down approach the more victory’s are going to accrue the Democrats.

Posted by: bradcpa | May 1, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

second thoughts: What about a 'cafe con leche' Latina??? Talk about divide and conquer..... Don't underestimate BHO

Posted by: yamamah | May 1, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Cillizza

Do you do any work for Newsweek Magazine, because you are doing great job with gossip?

Posted by: BOBSTERII | May 1, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

President Obama better not appoint anyone whose credentials on Roe v Wade or other liberal issues is questionable or he will face problems from his own party- you will hear loud and clear if he does the mantra-"who won this election?"

I sincerely hope that the Republicans will have a candidate they can fight and lose on as that will most likely mean we have a good choice for the Court.

Posted by: peterdc | May 1, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it sad? The poor Republicans are so clueless that they need something they can get up arms about just to be noticed.

We all know that's what will happen. Obama will nominate a moderate, and the Republicans will try to rally their conservative minority by getting them up in arms.

Republicans, how about some real solutions to real problems? Most of all, how about caring for ordinary people, not just the superrich who tanked the economy and laid everybody off?

Posted by: tinyjab40 | May 1, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Is this really good news for Obama? I'm not so sure. Picking a new justice takes attention away from his broader agenda and could galvanize Republicans and moderates, especially if a liberal judge is picked.

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: parkerfl1 | May 1, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

There is a 100 percent chance the Rebooblicans will totally screw this up.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | May 1, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

We took it in the shorts from the GOP for eight years while they mocked us because they were able to steal the presidency: "Now we get to appoint some conservative justices!" And we were barely able to prevent losing the court to them.

This election was as much about the Supremes as Iraq or the economy, to me. We stood on the razor's edge for eight years.

NOW IT'S OUR TURN. Get used to it. The GOP is just lucky it was Souter instead of one of the troglodytes. We won't be able to reshape the court ... this time.

But there will be other times in the eight years to come. How does it feel now the shoe's on the other foot, huh?

Posted by: laboo | May 1, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Yamamah: nice to see we're on the same line at the same time.

Posted by: archaeoman | May 1, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Imagine a centrist Hispanic candidate, preferably a woman, who shares Obama's views on Roe vs. Wade... Now imagine the Republicans trying to find a unified and constructive way to respond to that candidacy...
Those optimistic Republican pundits sound pretty delusional to me.

Posted by: archaeoman | May 1, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Permit me to throw a curve ball: What if Pres. Obama nominates a female; a latina who hugs the center pole???

Posted by: yamamah | May 1, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

jbtripod:

Souter was supposedly a "centrist" too and appointed by Bush41. I think you just made the case for a Republican filibuster. Perhaps you've forgetten that Obama (as Senator) joined the fillibuster of Alito last time around?

Karma is a b*tch.

Posted by: JakeD | May 1, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Chris:

Republicans as united as possible. Their problem is monolithic thinking. How much more they can come together?

The vision of bunch of old white male quished in a small room make me feel like throwing up :-)

Posted by: SeedofChange | May 1, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Once again, the Post's favorite intern, Chris Cillizza, proves all he can do is write gossip.

A real article would have discussed potential candidates, and the effect they would have on the Court. This? This is garbage.

Souter's retirement is not an "opening" for the Party of No to unite, it's just another opportunity for them to dig their grave deeper with more fear-mongering, lies, bigotry, and hate.

America turned away from the GOP for a reason, and it wasn't the "liberal media", but it's great to see wingnuts believe that, because the longer they go without recognizing the real problems they have, the longer they stay out of power and more time President Obama has to undo the damage they caused.

Posted by: losthorizon10 | May 1, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

The three options Chris presents seem a little disingenuous:

"Stand and fight as one" is code for, establishment wing totally caves to and becomes door mat for angry populist base, blindly opposing any nominee.

"Splinter" is code for, establishment wing open to voting for the president's choice, angry populist base even angrier because they've been cheated of a fight.

"Take a pass" is code for, establishment wing open to voting for the president's choice, and for some reason the populist base just can't get that interested about it one way or the other.

To me, the "splinter" version, as described above, shows more moral and political courage from the Senators; the supposed "take a stand" version (to use Chris's misleading phrase) shows the Senators have no courage or leadership left at all.

Posted by: fairfaxvoter | May 1, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

the GOP has taken a great fall-
and all the king's horses and all the king's men cannot put it back together again.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | May 1, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Chris,

There is already quite a buzz about Sotomayor and about 5 other female judges. Strategically speaking, wouldn't Obama's nominating a QUALIFIED woman (R.I.P. Ms. Miers) back the GOP into a corner, leaving them open to charges of being a party of Southern White Males if they opposed her?

Posted by: sverigegrabb | May 1, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

It's more likely to be "uh-oh". The GOP can't stop itself from compulsively self-destructing by expelling anyone who is to the left of Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robertson. However, despite all the dire threats the right is bleating about (none of which have materialized yet), Obama is likely to select a centrist moderate as the nominee; it will tick off the left-wing without endangering the confirmation and the SCOTUS ideological slant (right) will remain unchanged. The sky will not fall, the world will not end, and only the chest-beating, clothes-rending, moaning and wailing right wing will still be screaming about it 10 years from now even though nothing substantively changed. Those people are screaming loudly because they've gone politically deaf dumb and blind. If they keep this up, they'll be extinct as dinosaurs in another generation.

Posted by: windrider2 | May 1, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if Lenin or Trotsky are available.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | May 1, 2009 12:10 PM |
------------
The Repubs would certainly love Lenin. He liked torture and assassination.

Posted by: hayden1 | May 1, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

The GOP doesn't need any more issues to rile up the base. They've been permanently riled up since before Goldwater. They're the folks who loved Tail Gunner Joe and profess to be the moral arbiters of the nation. The longer the GOP shows fealty to the Neocons and moral absolutists, the smaller their share of the vote will be.

Posted by: kcbob | May 1, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if Lenin or Trotsky are available.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | May 1, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse


I thought Miers was seen as basically not suited for the job because she was such a judicial light-weight?

Oh that's right, it's ALWAYS more important for "Republicans to do the right thing for themselves" than the good of the country.

Party-over-country once again is how this will play out.

Grand
Old
Pity

As a partisan Democrat I want to encourage the GOP to become more hard core and less mainstream. Embrace negativity. Stand for obstructionism. So far it's worked wonders in '06 and '08. I hope the same results in '10 and maybe even '12, unless The Whigs make a comeback by then.

Posted by: tony_in_Durham_NC | May 1, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans' work will be further complicated if Obama nominates Sotomayor as she would be the first Latina on the court. She's also a centrist and was first appointed by Bush 41. They would have a tougher time messaging than if the nominee is white.

Posted by: jbtripod | May 1, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Chris: does this mean the addition of a "Top 10 Potential Supreme Court Nominees" to The Line, today?

(Make sure you include at least one or two alleged Socialists so the conservitrolls who lurk here will have something to chatter about.)

Posted by: Gallenod | May 1, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

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