I previously made the claim that if Bush could have gotten a clear hard-line conservative (another Scalia, as opposed to a moderate-conservative in the O’Connor/Kennedy mold) confirmed, he would have nominated one in the first place.
And so, I took the position that Bush selected a crony (Harriet Miers) because it was the best he could offer the right: Someone with no record, but about whom he could say to his base “trust me, I know you’ll like her.” Well, his base wasn’t buying it, and took the risk–spitting in the face of Hamilton’s logic–that they could get someone more acceptable on a second try.
OK, so is Alito significantly more moderate than Scalia, as some have claimed? If so, then I was correct in my analysis, and we have a nominee who is conservative, but not hard right–the only kind confirmable (or so I argued). If this is the case, then why are groups on the right suddenly so happy?
Or, is Alito a nominee that Democratic senators “should clearly reject,” as Scott Lemieux says? And if so, then why did Bush pick this fight only on the second try?