It is very difficult to disagree with this David Broder assessment of the politics of Bush’s SCOTUS pick:
Under other circumstances, President Bush’s choice of Judge Samuel Alito for the Supreme Court would have been seen as a bold move by a strong president with a clear policy objective. By choosing a man of superior intellectual heft and an indelible record of conservative views on major social issues, Bush would have been challenging his critics on the Democratic side to test their arguments in an arena where everything favored him: a Republican Senate.
But after the fiasco of the Harriet Miers nomination and the other reversals of recent days and weeks, the Alito nomination inevitably looks like a defensive move, a lunge for the lifeboat by an embattled president to secure what is left of his political base. Instead of a consistent and principled approach to major decision making, Bush’s efforts look like off-balance grabs for whatever policy rationales he can find. The president’s opponents are emboldened by this performance, and his fellow partisans must increasingly wonder if they can afford to march to his command.
Read the whole thing.