Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is showing himself to be quite the savvy political operator. His latest move is to propose some of his Republican colleagues as good SCOTUS nominees. Specifically, he suggests that Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Mel Martinez of Florida, Mike DeWine of Ohio and Mike Crapo of Idaho would make good Justices.
This move is close to political genius, given the place Democrats occupy in Washington today and the partisan bitterness infecting everything (well, everything except sentimentality about animals). First of all, it gets the Democrats out ahead of the news cycle on the SCOTUS nomination issue, and provides a "hook" for the media to develop an altenrative narrative to the usual "Bush action / Democrat reaction" line, which has become the standard formula over the last two and a half years. Second, Reid's proposal demonstrates an unimpeachable anti-partisan attitude, thus blasting the notion that the Democrats are doctrinaire obstructionists who are unwilling to work with the majority across the aisle. Relatedly, it demonstrates that finding a compromise SCOTUS nominee is a real option -- which will make it far easier to pin the blame on the Republicans for the partisan fight if (or, rather, when) Bush chooses to nominate an underqualified ideological extremist. Finally, it represents direct outreach to those specific four Senators, which hopefully will encourage them to vote their conscience when they disagree with the policy dicta being promulgated by the White House.