[A]ll the rhetoric has done little to polarize the public, even in an age in which sharp divisions are common. Not surprisingly, Republicans are generally united in favor of Alito's confirmation, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. More notable, given the possibility of a near party-line vote in the Senate, is that rank-and-file Democrats are almost evenly divided. The poll found that 40 percent of Democrats said Alito should be confirmed, while 39 percent said he should not. Self-identified liberals were almost as divided, with 38 percent saying they favor his confirmation and 44 percent saying they do not, with the rest undecided.I wonder what accounts for such placidity amoung Democrats. Are they tired of the usual rhetoric about how conservative judges mean to take away our rights? Do they buy the conservative presentation of the judges as humble interpreters of the law? Or are they just practical and resigned when they see that the President has the appointment power and a majority of the Senators?
Of course, some people -- not Democrats, generally -- did get stirred up about the Harriet Miers nomination but that wasn't at the confirmation hearings stage, and that involved the gaffe of picking someone who lacked qualifications.