And why? Because Republicans don't need Democrats' votes, because Democrats are losing seats to Republicans, because Republicans are better at connecting with voters, because Republicans have a soul, a central organizing ideal, around which everything else flows. Voters see a Republican and they see someone who built a platform on a foundation of religion (even the low-taxes bit is religious in origin, from the 1800s economic darwinist movement thing popularized by Protestants).
Democrats are, on the other hand, a party currently consisting of people running around with planks and trying to build a platform without agreeing on the foundation and shape and building materials. Issues galore have the Democrats, but no discernable central theme or soul. And this is why Democrats are so frustrated today. Because John Roberts is, from what I can see, a good old fashioned conservative, someone whose highest allegiance is to a single ideal --the law, and they have no way to relate to that. Because the best they have is an allegiance to a bunch of positions -- gay marriage, affirmative action, wetlands protection. There is no central ideal at the core of their being.
That being said, my favorite bit from the hearings so far is the funny bit from Charles Schumer:
It's as if I asked you: What kind of movies do you like? Tell me two or three good movies. And you say, I like movies with good acting. I like movies with good directing. I like movies with good cinematography.
And I ask you, No, give me an example of a good movie. You don't name one. I say, Give me an example of a bad movie.
You won't name one. Then I ask you if you like
Casablanca, and you respond by saying, Lots of people like 'Casablanca.'
You tell me it's widely settled that Casablanca is one of the great movies.
Because it illustrates Schumer's frustration, appropriately illustrates the way Roberts won't be direct in his answers, and shows the important idea of movie preferences being Important. Our favorite movies are supposed to be windows into our souls, hints at our unique perspective and experience of the world. I'm not sure how true it is, but Roberts actually replied to Schumer by saying his favorite movies are Dr Zhivago and North by Northwest. So now thousands of movie buffs are probably trying to tease some hint at Roberts' inner life from these movies... since I never saw one and saw the other only once, I am useless in this regard.
But at the end of the day, it's obvious that Bush nominated someone who can do the job, and no one can argue with that. If the Democrats want to make nominees give them more answers and reassure them, and if Democrats want to have justices that suit their ideas, Democrats have to win more elections. And until they get a soul that burns as bright in their hearts as the Republican's soul burns in theirs, that isn't going to happen.