Hmph. So the New York Times have taken to Bush's characterization of the Democrats as the "obstructionist party." Oh if only they really were, I would actually agree with them or even Bush.
Facing an uphill battle over the nomination of Judge John G. Roberts Jr. to the Supreme Court, Democrats plan to challenge President Bush's nominee on economic, social and regulatory issues, hoping to use the confirmation process to highlight their differences with the Republicans and exploit them for future electoral gains.[...]
Many Democratic strategists concede that Bush won the opening round of the confirmation battle, through his choice of a nominee who has been praised for his intellect and temperament and by a skillful unveiling that kept everyone guessing about the nominee's identity until an hour or so before Bush and Roberts appeared in the East Room of the White House.
[...] "The other side knew what moves they were making and we were necessarily reacting. . . . We quickly realized this was a candidate who needed further scrutiny. It would have been unrealistic to come out blasting John Roberts. It was time to hold our fire."
In that sense, the Democratic strategy remains a work in progress. The first goal of Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.) has been to maintain a united front of neutrality among his Democratic colleagues and to avoid falling into what they see as a GOP-laid trap to vilify Roberts immediately and appear obstructionist and extreme.
[...]But Leahy suggested that the Democrats' response to Roberts is not an indication that the nominee will have an easy time in the confirmation hearings. Leahy said that, even without having had an opportunity to fully explore Roberts's record, he already has serious questions about abortion and states' rights vs. federal power.You mean actual stances that you don't runaway from because things get 'too hard' and you allow the cheap-shots of the neocon-Republicans and fundie ideologues undermine your resolve to represent your alleged party-platform? Yes, I and I'm sure many others would enjoy seeing you do that during these confirmation hearings. Then we'll know for sure if you're even worth our vote and support, or if we could just sleep-in on election days. Or form a new party--just to throw some ideas out there.
[...]The two sides sparred yesterday over the Democrats' plan to request documents covering Roberts's tenure in the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Former Republican senator Fred D. Thompson (Tenn.), who is shepherding the nomination through the Senate on behalf of the White House, said the administration would oppose such a request, citing attorney-client privilege.
[...]Democrats face some difficult choices, individually and collectively, as they prepare for the upcoming battle, beginning with the issue of abortion. Senate Democrats have signaled their desire to broaden the challenge to Roberts and not to make his confirmation a debate about the future of Roe vs. Wade , which establishes a woman's right to an abortion. But that could frustrate some of the Democrats' most important constituency groups.
Democratic strategists fear that party activists could rebel if Senate Democrats fail to make abortion a central issue. "Women know what's at stake here, and they will make their voices heard during the process and will make their voices heard at the ballot box next November," said Ellen Moran, executive director of Emily's List.
[...]Leahy jokingly dismissed the notion that Democrats have a grand strategy but made clear that he believes the confirmation hearings will be illuminating. An aide to another Democratic senator put it this way: "At the end of the day, we don't know what will happen with Roberts. At the very least, we will show what Democrats stand for."