Nice column title — for Marc A. Thiessen in The Washington Post. Of course, it assumes Obama's nominee will not make it, and I'm not convinced of that. Nevertheless, it's a risk to be the person who gets thrown out there to the beasts in the political arena. But you may get through it, and if you do, you're there for life, just like Clarence Thomas, who survived a more vicious thrashing than anything that could plausibly happen to this new character.
The reason I think the nominee might make it is that Donald Trump is the likely GOP candidate for President, and he can't be trusted to nominate a truly conservative person. Efforts at getting a reliably conservative Justice often fail anyway, and I don't expect Trump even to want a hard-core Thomas/Scalia-type conservative. Trump isn't opposed to abortion rights and gay rights and the rest of the things that torment social conservatives. That's my reading. I could be wrong. But my point is: The Senators, thinking about how they want to play out their roles in the Theater of Confirmation, should be able to predict — if and when Trump becomes the Republican nominee — that the next President isn't going to give them an old-time conservative. It doesn't matter who wins the election — Hillary or Trump — there's no one to hold out for.
The GOP Senators should be looking at: 1. The political benefit to be squeezed out of the drama of wielding the confirmation power, and 2. Who Obama actually nominates. Obama may pick someone moderate, because he predicts the GOP Senators will figure out that it's in their interest to take that person and to look good exercising their role in a dignified, elevated fashion. But Obama might predict that behavior and go for someone liberal enough to trigger a bad-looking response from the GOP Senators. What does Obama want more — another person of his choosing on the Court or to muck up the GOP in the fall elections?
That's how I'm thinking. Thiessan, by contrast, thinks that anyone who accepts the nomination is committing career suicide by serving as "Obama’s pawn in an unwinnable fight." Thiessan is obviously in the game himself. I think I'm looking at the chessboard from a more distanced position and seeing quite a few moves and many different outcomes — including the one where a failed nominee gains stature and goes on to write and comment on the legal/political scene in a vigorous, rewarding post-nomination career.