When your presidency is a miserable failure, when only 42% of Americans approve of your job performance, when only 38% of Americans think the country is on the right track under your leadership, when you're one misstep away from lame-duck irrelevancy, then what this guy says is true:
On another level, the conservative movement has made it clear to President Bush that they have worked too hard for too long to have another stealth candidate like David Souter put up. For those who don't remember, the first President Bush's chief of staff John Sununu told his boss and the conservatives to "trust me" that Souter was -- indeed -- conservative. Well, we trusted Sununu and we got duped. That is not going to happen this time if conservative leaders have anything to do with it -- and they do. This is why current Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is not acceptable to most conservatives because he is a great unknown.
One of the main desires of the conservative movement is to overturn Roe v. Wade and send the question of abortion back to the individual states. And there are so many other issues that need to be decided at a state legislative level, not by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The bottom line is, Patrick Leahy can hyperventilate on C-SPAN, Diane Feinstein can say the sky is falling, and Ted Kennedy can squeal like pig; it does not matter. George W. Bush does not need the vote of one Democratic senator to change the face of the Supreme Court. It is up to him.
So, Mr. President, the start of a return to judicial sanity in this country depends on you. And as they say in Texas -- it's time to dance with the one who brung you.
Aside from all the factual inaccuracies in the column (trust me, if you read the whole thing, that's an aside big enough for Ron Albertson), the thrust is true: if Bush nominates a mainstream conservative, his base will feel betrayed. If Bush loses his base -- even for just the month of July -- his poll numbers will fall too far to ever recover. Even Brit Hume won't be able to wax romantic about the popular President Bush when his approval rating plumbs the low 30s.
I'm not nearly knowledgeable enough to say who might be in, but says right here that Gonzales is out.