I think Ed Kilgore may be right on this issue:
This appointment represents the giant balloon payment at the end of the mortgage the GOP signed with the Cultural Right at least 25 years ago. Social conservatives have agreed over and over again to missed payments, refinancings, and in their view, generous terms, but the balance is finally due, and if Bush doesn’t pay up, they’ll foreclose their entire alliance with the Republican Party.
Sure, they care about other issues, from gay marriage to taxes to Iraq, but abortion is the issue that makes most Cultural Right activists get up in the morning and stuff envelopes and staff phone banks for the GOP. And for decades now, Republicans have told them they can’t do anything much about it until they can change the Supreme Court. With a pro-choice Justice stepping down, the subject can no longer be avoided. And thanks to the Souter precedent (and indeed, the O’Connor and Kennedy precedents), there’s no way Bush can finesse an appointment that’s anything less than a guaranteed vote to overturn Roe.
Moreover, if Bush has any willingness to pull a Sister Souljah on the Cultural Right, he’s certainly waited a long, long time to exercise it. Solidifying his conservative base has been the first principle of the Bush/Rove formula all along, and as recently as this week, he proved it again with an Iraq speech that appeared to be aimed almost exclusively at shoring up conservative support for his war policies.
“President Bush must nominate someone whose judicial philosophy is crystal clear. And no one has been clearer about this than the President himself, who said during his campaign that he would appoint justices in the mold of Clarence Thomas or Antonin Scalia. We have full confidence that he will carry out that pledge.”
Let’s get it out there: how many here think that if the President nominates Alberto Gonzales to the Supreme Court it would manifest itself as an unmitigated disaster for the President, the GOP, and conservatives?
And if so, how will you react?
I do. And if it happens, I’m taking up golf. I’m not going to give any money to any Republican party organization, nor any incumbent.
Let me be blunt. If President Bush nominates Alberto Gonzales to fill O