Will Barack Obama name the kind of Supreme Court nominee who’ll excite the Democratic party’s progressive base? NBC’s Chuck Todd predicts Obama won’t want to pick that kind of nominee — and fight — this time, given the country’s present highly polarized political climate and signs this is not going to be a good year for Democrats. This segment on Morning Joe once again shows host Joe Scarborough putting some of this in perspective:
What’s likely to happen? Based on Obama’s political history, his performance in the White House so far, and the current political climate (which shows it being a tougher and tougher year for Democrats — partially because the economic numbers and the jobs situation are not what many Americans hoped when they booted out GOPers and put Democrats in):
1. Don’t look for the White House to pick a fight and choose a nominee who is a favorite of Internet liberal bloggers.
2. As the segment indicates, the White House will look for a liberal judge or liberal leaning judge who has a background that can’t be used to hang him/her. Which won’t stop opponents from trying to use something…anything…anyway.
3. No matter who he chooses, Rush, Glenn, Sean and some conservative new and old media pundits will gear up to battle to the end to defeat the nominee because defeating the nominee would further weaken Obama and the Democrats (remember content and issues matter far less in our politics now than politically weakening your foe).
4. The prospect of a GOP filibuster will loom, no matter who the nominee is. Talk show hosts will demand a filibuster.
5. Republicans can lose the PR war if a filibuster takes place and the nominee is widely seen (by mainstream media reporters, commentators and other jurists quoted in print and broadcast media reports) to be a solid jurist, with a record that does not wither amid partisan demonization (that again stems from the idea that you deal a body blow to Obama and the Democrats if their nominee no matter who it may be flops).
6. Obama will have to choose a nominee that will be one that’ll be difficult for Democrats seeking to distance themselves from him or more moderate-leaning Republicans to oppose.
7. No matter who is chosen it will prove a highly divisive battle due to the role of turning issues into hot-button issues to mobilize party bases. So if it comes up before mid-terms it’ll be one more tidbit that will help the GOP to get donations and to get out its base. No matter who the nominee is.
8. Depending on who is chosen and how the confirmation hearings play out, if the fight occurs before mid-terms if could also fire up the Democratic base (which could be fired up if they think Republicans have been excessive) or it could dampen the Democratic party’s base’ enthusiasm to vote during a tough election year.
Can we use the phrase “tightrope walk?”
Now you can follow Joe Gandelman on Twitter.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.