The Moose observes that W could face some difficulty because of his friends.
It appears from all the chatter that W. is seriously considering the selection of his old buddy the Attorney General for the SCOTUS. The Moose remains skeptical that he will take this course, but anything is possible.
However, should he nominate Gonzales he will be in a heap of trouble with his religious right base. They have been counting on a reliable vote against Roe, and Gonzales is not that. This could be perceived as a betrayal by the social conservatives that is similar to the father's violation of his "no new taxes" pledge to the economic right. The political safety net for this President has been his loyal right wing supporters.
If he alienates them, he will no longer have a rock solid Republican base to keep his popularity in the high forties. On the other hand, if he chooses two or three hard core right winger judges, he could suffer from a public backlash against the radical transformation of the Court.
Fred Barnes, one of the President's most prominent conservative supporters makes a significant point in an editorial in the new Weekly Standard,
"Bush has promised to pick judges, including to the Supreme Court, who understand the role of judicial power and the limits that must be placed on it. There's a name for such people--conservatives. To pick someone for the Supreme Court who doesn't fit this description would amount to betrayal by the president of his most reliable supporters, the very people who have believed in him the most.
"We don't expect the president to break his promise--quite the contrary. True, Bush exacerbated the controversy over the possible nomination of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, a close Bush friend. He jumped on conservatives who, without attacking Gonzales harshly, recommended that he not be the president's first Supreme Court pick. At the same time, a senior Bush adviser was urging journalists to read Federalist No. 76, in which Alexander Hamilton advised presidents against naming cronies to high positions. Hamilton's view didn't prevail when Bush made Gonzales attorney general, but we suspect it will on the court vacancy. It certainly should."
Given Barnes' sources, it is likely that the "senior Bush adviser" is either Rove or someone who works for him - so this observation could be significant. And speaking of Rove...
It seems that Brother Rove has had several dates with the grand jury and at the very least he may be a "leaker" - with or without criminal vulnerability. And the President has made it clear that "leakers" concerning the Plame affair will be punished. It is unlikely that the Prosecutor would throw a journalist in jail if he isn't on the trail of a much bigger fish. And you can't get a bigger barracuda than Rove.
Rove is to W. what Lee Atwater was to the father. Perhaps Rove is even more significant than Atwater because he "created" Bush as a candidate for Governor and then for President. When Atwater left Bush's orbit due to illness, the Administration was deprived of its political acumen which led to it eventual decline. If Rove had to leave due to his role in the Plame case, the son's Administration and the GOP could suffer a similar fate. He is the President's political eyes and ears. He is the political antenna. He is the closest this Administration has to an indispensable man - even more so than Cheney.
To lose Rove at this critical moment would be disastrous. The President could even go off and alienate the base.
Heaven forbid! --