John Dean warned us about what we see beginning today. George W. Bush has pulled no punches. He has been politically overt about hoping that Roe v. Wade is overturned.
Last September, John Dean had made the argument that the retirement of Supreme Court justices and the expected battles over the confirmation of their replacements should have been more more openly debated during the last campaign. Giving John Kerry the benefit of the doubt, he said that perhaps Kerry saw a danger in "playing politics with the judiciary."
Commenting that Democrats have lost their "bullying" talent, Dean commented that the Republicans, had they lost the 2000 election to a Supreme Court decision, would have "made the 2000 election the central focus of the 2004 election." Instead, Dean refleceted, the Democratic Party, "once a party of flame-throated cantankerous conservatives, no longer is very adept at the squeaky-wheel politics of incivility."
We know that Bush wants to see Roe v. Wade overturned. The only way to do so is for a new decision which would reinterpret settled law. Roe v. Wade is settled law. During the Presidential campaign, the issue of the Supreme Court resonated only with a small number of voters. It may not have scored John Kerry many political points. Yet, if Roe v. Wade is overturned, the public repercussions will be deafening.
My concern comes directly from John Dean's words. The flame in the Democrats' throats seem to have been extinguished by political fears. Their wheels have not been squeaking for quite some time. Will they be effective when the TV ads from the far Right begin? (And the issue advocacy ads have already begun).
LINK- In Washington, the looming showdown between legions of political activists already looks and feels more like a full-scale election than a Senate confirmation. That's no accident; both sides have been gearing up for a confrontation since President George W. Bush's re-election victory in November, if not earlier.
This time, the voters will be the members of the U.S. Senate. And the pressure from outside interest groups on those 100 lawmakers promises to be relentless.
"It's just going to be unbelievable," said former Sen. John C. Danforth, R-Mo., who acted as a chief defender of Clarence Thomas's Supreme Court nomination in 1991.
"The conservatives, especially the religious conservatives, are going to want a nominee who has been pretty much pre-cooked, somebody who they think they can count on, so they're going to be very hard to please," Danforth said. And the liberals, he said, "probably don't want almost anybody who President Bush would nominate."