I see Linda Greenhouse’s front-page NYT “analysis” piece from yesterday a little differently from the way Ramesh Ponnuru and Stanley Kurtz see it. Yes, it’s an unconscionably opinionated piece for the news pages, even under the rubric of “analysis,” as Ramesh notes. And yes, it may have a “this is the best we can hope for from Bush” air about it, as Stanley says. But the real import of the article is that it is the opening salvo in a campaign of seduction. Perhaps Linda Greenhouse has begun to believe her own press–more precisely, what is said about her on the right–and thinks that all she has to do is flirt with John Roberts about all the nice things she might one day say about him in the New York Times, and maybe he will “grow” in office the way some other justices have done. This is the fabled “Greenhouse effect,” and this is Linda’ opening bid to work its magic once again:
“Don’t be like those icky sticks-in-the-mud, those angry little men Scalia and Thomas, Johnny. Be a real man, a big man, a man not afraid to be a little like a woman, a little like Sandra Day O’Connor. If you truly love the Court as an institution, John, as you suggested you did last night, prove it, big fella. If you love the Court, you can change for it, move where it’s moving, not fight the Zeitgeist. You are getting very sleepy . . .”
John Roberts strikes me as a wide-awake fellow with his feet planted on terra firma. I believe he can hold his breath whenever the Greenhouse Gas Cloud comes his way.