The GOP is taking their role as the opposition party very seriously. In fact, they have already come out against Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, despite the fact that nobody (probably not even Obama) has any idea who that nominee will be. In fact, Souter only confirmed that he will be retiring a few days ago, but already the Republicans are gearing up for an epic fight.
Salon has an interesting article called “The Republicans are against it! Whatever it is” that features some of the negative chatter coming out about Obama’s nominee. According to one Senate Republican, the person Obama wants to put on the Supreme Court is “far to the left”. A conservative group says they are a “hard-left judicial activist”. And another Republican Senator warns that the nominee better remember that judges have to “subordinate themselves to the law”.
As the article says, imagine what they’ll say when they actually know who the nominee is.
Of course, this preemptive posturing is the standard tactic of framing the conversation. For example, the conservative Judicial Confirmation Network is trying to define the current Supreme Court as liberal, even though a majority of the members were appointed by conservative Republican presidents. According to a memo distributed by the group:
While President Obama has said he intends to nominate a moderate or a pragmatist, not a liberal activist, it is advisable to take that statement with a grain of salt. Remember, he thinks that the current Supreme Court — the majority of which is a liberal judicial activist Court — is ‘right-wing’ or ‘conservative.’ If that is his frame of reference (‘liberal judicial activist’ equals ‘right-wing’), then his definition of ‘moderate’ may be equally skewed.
In addition, hit pieces are already being written about some of the potential nominees, using anonymous gossip and innuendo to discredit them, even before Obama even mentions them as potential nominees.
All in all, a classic example of how the media is often manipulated, in order to manipulate public opinion. Given that recent GOP attacks on Obama and his policies have largely backfired, making Obama’s approval ratings soar while painting Republicans as the party of no, it will be interesting to see if it will work this time. The conservatives are definitely pulling out all the stops in a last ditch effort, but that might just make it backfire even worse.