Pittsburgh, Pa.: Hi, Dan! Great to have you back!
Do you have any sense of why the Democrats would make such a lackluster effort at opposing an alarmingly right-wing judge nominated by an unpopular president? If the Roberts/Alito court proves disastrous, how will they burden the Republicans with it in 2006 and 2008 when they themselves went along with it (remember how no-one could run against the war in 2004)?
More broadly, why are the Democrats still trying to be good little centrists when polls consistently show that independents don't like Bush much more than Democrats do? What popularity he has derives almost entirely from his base, and the Democrats will never be far-right enough to capture them. So why not take a stand and fight to energize their base the way the Republicans do (which in turn drives their invaluable success at getting out the vote)? Is there a complicated and pragmatic political calculation that I'm missing here?
Dan Froomkin: Thanks. Good to be back.
But I don't do Democrats. It's not my job, and they're hard to fathom. If I had to guess, I'd say it's because their elected officials, particularly senators, are too scared to think straight. I suspect that before they say "boo" they ask themselves, "would this make a devastating Republican attack ad?"
Your initial point about the independents is very perceptive and vastly underreported. You are right that over the last year or so, independents have grown to dislike Bush almost as much as the Democrats. Which is amazing.
But what sort of strategy does that suggest for the Democrats? I couldn't say.
*bask bask bask*