RWN In Howard Kurtz’s Media Notes Plus A Preemptive Strike Against Alberto Gonzales

I made Howard Kurtz’s Media Notes in the WAPO again. This time it’s for my post commenting on Bill Kristol’s speculation that it’ll be O’Connor stepping down instead of Rehnquist.

The lion’s share of the post was spent railing against the possibility of Bush selecting Alberto Gonzales for the SCOTUS. I did note that it’s entirely possible the nomination could be defeated if Dems voted en masse against Gonzales and Republicans felt the heat from conservative lobbying groups.

Kurtz says that he’s “not positive the Dems would go to the mat against the less-than-hard-line Gonzales.” I’m not 100% positive that they would either. In fact, if they were smart, they’d welcome a Gonzales appointment.

But…

— The Democrats are in pure knee-jerk opposition mode right now
— They’re sure to strongly oppose anybody Bush puts up for the SCOTUS
— It would be particularly galling to them to see Bush put up the first Hispanic nominee
— 35 of them voted against Gonzales to be AG
— The loony liberal base hates Gonzales because he’s Bush’s buddy and because of the “torture memos” he wrote. Sure, to the average person, there’s nothing wrong or incriminating in those memos, but to the left it makes Gonzales another Torquemada.

Would that equate to 45-50 Democrats voting against Gonzales? I think it’s likely that it would. Then the pressure would be on the Republican Senators, who’d be lobbied by conservatives — already angry conservatives, I might add, who’re furious that they were sold out in the gang of 7 debacle — to vote against Gonzales and defeat the nomination. All I can say is that it wouldn’t be a fun spot to be in for guys like Rick Santorum and John Kyl who are up for reelection in 2006. Do you cheese off the President whose support you want during the election or the people who’re most inclined to contribute money and vote for you next year? It’s a tough call.

Know what would make it even tougher? If people like James Dobson and Rush Limbaugh were to publicly say that if Gonzales were to be confirmed to the Supreme Court, that any Republican Senator who voted for him shouldn’t be supported by conservatives for reelection in 2006.

On the other hand, maybe that last part is just a nightmare scenario designed to circulate and scare the White House off from nominating a moderate like Gonzales. Of course, a little preemptive lobbying along those lines on the part of people like Rush, Dobson, Hugh Hewitt, National Review, etc., etc., could insure that Gonzales isn’t ever given the nod in the first place and almost insure that a conservative justice would get that spot.

It certainly wouldn’t be a bad idea…hint, hint…

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