Here's how Dianne Feinstein expressed herself after the hearings: "I'm sorting out what I feel now." Because, as she made it clear everytime she got her turn at the microphone, it's all about feelings.
And here's an icky quote:
"Part of the reason people are conflicted is because Roberts has shown just enough leg to get a second date," said one Democratic strategist, speaking on the condition of anonymity so as not to give away internal party deliberations. "No magic moment has occurred where you could say, 'Oh, we can't put this guy on the bench.'"I love the idea that in private, the Democrats discuss politics in sexualized language. (No wonder Wonkette is so popular.)
Anyway, let's assume it is all about political interest, and there's not a fiber of principle in their decisions, or that any fibers of principle are interwoven with politics because it's politically advantageous to seem principled. On that assumption, what's a Democratic Senator to do? I'd say they should express their deep reservations, invoking issues that matter to their constituents, but still vote for him, and say that it's because of the agile mind their astute questioning enabled him to display at the hearings. This should be combined with a warning to Bush that he needs to nominate someone more moderate to replace O'Connor.
Voting against Roberts will make Democrats look as though they think the judiciary is a thoroughly polical institution. They would seem as though they are degrading the courts. Bush nominated a man who will appear to ordinary people to be scrupulously judicial, and their complaint about him will seem to be that they don't want a real judge, but a political ideologue. Yet they want their position to be against the ideological judge. How will that make sense to people? They need to vote yes. As someone said in the comments yesterday, if they vote no now and Bush nominates a very ideological conservative to replace O'Connor, no one will believe them when they cry wolf the second time. Roberts should go through, and the Democrats should position themselves to oppose the O'Connor replacement, especially if Bush goes hard right.
I wonder if the Bush people are sitting back with more than one potential nominee, and they're waiting to see what move the Democrats make. Which move do you think will make Bush's next move more right wing?