Monday, January 03, 2005

The strategy behind Bush's judicial renominations

The Democrats appear not to understand the point of Bush's exhumation of failed judicial nominees from his first term. Most of the Democrats seem to think that Bush is trying to use the new Republican majorities to ram through nominees who failed earlier.

But that's not the point at all.

On the contrary, what's at work here is a political strategy focused not on the lower courts, but on the Supreme Court. The Republican leadership is very much expecting (perhaps even hoping) that the Democrats will filibuster each and every one of these re-nominees. In setting up this spectacle, the Republicans' goal is to develop a narrative line that focuses not on the extremist view of the judges, but on the procedural issue of the Democrats' "obstructionism." The goal is to manufacture evidence that provides a pretext for invoking the "nuclear option" of killing the filibuster, just in time for the truly crucial nominations to the Supreme Court.

The Democrats need to understand that this is the larger political strategy, and respond accordingly. The DNC need to develop talking points on this topic that every member of the caucus can repeat from memory. They need to mount a concerted media campaign explaining the extremism of each of the candidates they oppose, that consistently points to the huge majorities that favor their social positions, and that focuses on how out of touch with the values of ordinary Americans the Republican establishment is. In short, the Democrats need to keep the media firmly fixed on the larger picture.


zachawry said...

I think your analysis of the GOP strategy is right on.

Your final paragraph, however, assumes competence and coherency on the part of the Democrats. It is baffling to me why anyone who has been around for the past 5 year could even begin to expect such.

Anonymous said...

Just looks like a little wishful thinking to me -- nothing wrong with that -- Lars