Jewish World Review July 22, 2005/ 15 Tammuz, 5765

Wesley Pruden

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When even Borking might not work | Nothing is more infuriating in politics than a clean adversary, a certifiable good guy with real qualifications and no convictions for murder, child-molesting, bank robbery, or kidnapping.

If you've drawn an adversary who hasn't even inconvenienced an abortionist, the crime of crimes in the lexicon of the defeated left, you're entitled to fight dirty.

The size of the Democratic dilemma is almost beyond measure. The usual suspects have bankrolled bile against the day when George W. Bush would roll out his first Christian to be fed to the media lions, and the president introduces ... John G. Roberts. The only crime the Democratic forensic analysts can find so far is that he's a regular churchgoer, which is certainly bad, but not yet indictable.

Now what?

The organizations that have stockpiled mud, tar, pitch and various lethal toxins — People for the American Way, the National Abortion Rights Action League, the American Civil Liberties Union and various preachers with pews but no bottoms to sit in them — are particularly hard against it. They've raised a lot of money and their contributors expect to see somebody's corpse rotting soon in the sun. The bile merchants have got to find something to spend those millions on.

Charles Schumer, the other senator from New York, complains that Judge Roberts "does not have a long and fulsome record — he's only had two years as a judge." Indeed, the only "fulsome" record in these judicial matters is that of the senator himself. (Note to the Schumer soundbite-writing staff: "fulsome \ ful-sam \ adj: offensive, esp. from insincerity or baseness of motive; disgusting.")

Some of our pundits, who confidently expected the president to give them someone who could be tarred, feathered and eviscerated with the gusto of an Islamic holy man, are working themselves in a lather with borrowed soap. "Judge John G. Roberts could turn out to be Antonin Scalia with a Washington Establishment smile," fumes E. J. Dionne Jr. in The Washington Post. Or maybe not: "He is almost certainly a William Rehnquist for the 21st century." Hmmmmm. Maybe not that, either: "And he certainly is David Souter turned on his head — a stealth candidate whose winning personality disguises intense conservatism, not moderation."

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Somebody clearly has to do something. The Bush administration, writes Mr. Dionne, echoing the panic in the streets of Cleveland Park and the desperation at a dozen Georgetown dinner tables, will sneakily frame the debate "in terms of [Mr.] Roberts' ample qualifications, his bipartisan group of friends, his fine education and his lovely family."

The only way to stop such a knave is to "lift the argument to the level of principle." In liberalspeak, an appeal to principle means anything goes. Clearly, a-borking we must go. Mr. Schumer, from whom many outrageous and silly things are expected, hinted late yesterday that the Democrats have a stealth strategy in mind. He demanded that the administration turn over reams of legal memoranda written by Mr. Roberts when he was a government lawyer. This sounds reasonable, but isn't, because no administration could agree to such a fishing expedition. Mr. Schumer knows this, of course, and he further knows that if the White House would be so foolish as to agree the demands would only accelerate. Next the Schumer Democrats would demand the Roberts academic records, including whose pigtails he pulled in the first grade, his junior high school report cards and the size of the shoes his mama bought for his high-school graduation.

The shrewder Democratic pols and their brighter liege men in the media understand what has happened to them. First they lost their domination of the media; the New York Times, The Washington Post and the television networks no longer dictate what Americans read, watch and listen to, and now they're learning what happens when you lose a succession of national elections with no realistic hope of turning things around soon.

Experience teaches even Republicans a thing or two. Borking won't be so easy this time.

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JWR contributor Wesley Pruden is editor in chief of The Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.

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