Okay, so the thing that bothers me is the double standard.
There's one standard for conservatives, a different one for liberals.
Liberals don't have to appoint "stealth" candidates - they can hire a Justice Ginsberg who has a plain record of unabashed liberality.
And by affirming Affirmative Action, liberals don't have to necessarily practice it, while conservatives must practice it even though they don't affirm it. It's an odd world. One could wish for a little more truth in advertising on the conservative's side. I'm as perplexed as anyone on how to allow freedom while punishing prejudice but what rankles is the hypocrisy of pretending to be against quotas while having quotas. Is she the best potential Supreme Court nominee or is she simply the best combination of "female" and "stealth"? What do you think?
It's probably disloyal and/or unfair to say, but the gift of the Bush presidency has had a surreal aspect of looking through a lot of manure hoping a horse will turn up. He's better than the alternative would've been, but he's also never met a pork-lined spending bill he didn't like and he's proposed no marketplace solutions to the problem of health care. The war in Iraq, which, although we can't know how history would've played out had Saddam been in charge, hasn't gone well. And finally, in the words of one of the NRO'ers, his presidency was "all about judges, stupid" and so far it's...well...I don't hear any whinneyin'.
The best way to spin it for him is that his presidency became centered on the war on terror and that that sucked all the available oxygen out of the air for other fights. He therefore raised the white flag on judges, spending, health care, social security, etc. And if demographics continue and voting patterns don't change, this might be the last, missed chance for a conservative presidency for quite awhile. Perhaps his plan is to run up the deficits on discretionary spending so the Democrats can't spend it on permanent entitlements. And on judges? Well, maybe he knows more than we do. Time will tell.