Eleanor Clift's online column for Newsweek is titled "Capitol Letter," but perhaps this week the title ought to be "Sour Grapes." She laments the visual of new Justice Alito sitting in robes to watch the State of the Union address. In the lamest of all possible attack lines (on one of the lamest campaign claims), Clift goes back to whapping on the old uniter-not-a-divider Bush theme of 2000.
The problem with this line (and the original Bush line) is that any Democratic decision to go partisan and "divide" against the president can be (lamely) presented as Bush's failure to be enough of a uniter. But who is the divider on Alito? Republicans did not cast "divisive" votes against nominees they clearly understood to be pro-abortion votes (Ginsburg confirmed 89-3, Breyer confirmed 89-9), but Democrats are unwilling to do the opposite for pro-life justices.
Clift claims: "After half the Senate Democrats voted to confirm Roberts, Bush figured he could lose a couple dozen votes and still get a conservative justice confirmed. Alito will be lucky to get three of the 45 Senate Democrats voting for him. To Bush’s way of thinking, that’s a bigger victory than the 22 Democratic votes Roberts received. Bush is a 50-plus-1 president; he’s not interested in winning bipartisan support for anything."
That, as an attempted declaration of fact, is nuts. Bush would love bipartisan support for Alito, the way Clinton drew bipartisan support from Republicans who disagreed with the liberal worldviews of Ginsburg and Breyer. Democrats are just too indebted/enthralled by the hard-core abortion advocates in their liberal base to offer it.