After the debacle nominating his old personal lawyer Harriet Miers to the Court, President Bush has chosen Judge Samuel Alito, a leading light among conservative legal thinkers. The operative question now is: Will this be "Armageddon," as some political analysts claim, the most knock-down, drag-out, knee-to-the-groin, multi-million-dollar alley fight in modern confirmation politics? Or will it be peaceful, more decorous, like the hearings and vote for Chief Justice John Roberts?
Liberals and Democrats have insisted that unless Bush's choice was soothingly squishy and moderate, there would be war. But that didn't happen with Roberts, and it might not happen with Alito, perhaps because early polls showed Alito's nomination was greeted favorably by the people. But that's quite a contrast with the picture being drawn by the press. Let's review some of the tactics the media already have employed:
1. Labeling mania. Reporters can't just describe him as conservative once, but conservative twice or three times. He is "staunchly conservative," "deeply conservative," and "solidly conservative." ABC's Jessica Yellin used the C-word five times in 50 seconds. CBS's John Roberts complained he would "wipe out the swing seat" of Sandra O'Connor on the court.
So what, you ask. He is a conservative, isn't he? True enough, but it points to an outrageous and continuing media double standard. When President Clinton nominated liberal feminist Ruth Ginsburg, a veteran of the ACLU, in 1993, she wasn't "staunchly liberal," "deeply liberal," or "solidly liberal." She was not described as "wiping out the swing seat" of Byron White, one of the two lonely votes against Roe v. Wade in 1973. Ginsburg was instead declared to be "moderate," "centrist," a "consensus builder." ABC legal expert Arthur Miller predicted she would be quite moderate, and he was utterly wrong. She is part of a solidly liberal bloc, voting for socially liberal results like invalidating the sodomy laws and sending the "gay marriage" debate into fast-forward.
Asymmetrical Politics: Republicans Act Like an Unruly Mob, Democrats Like a Regimented Army | Michael Barone