The Corner

As Alito Begins

This is pure theory, as I don’t know the man and don’t know anything about his private meetings on the Hill. But this whole business about how he’s no John Roberts and he’s going to have a much rougher time and all that may just be a fantastic job of White House and Republican spin. Alito’s own performance when Bush announced his nomination was as dazzling as Roberts’s was. He’s been a judge for 15 years, and so speaking in public is entirely familiar to him. And as is always the case, when the public is actually watching these hearings, the dramatic structure of them always tends to invoke sympathy for the person testifying –in part because the senators invariably come across like hectoring jerks. Don’t be surprised if, by the end of tomorrow, you’re hearing the same kind of talk about Alito that you heard about Roberts during Day 2 of his hearings. Oh, and all this nonsense about how he’s going to be beaten up about the wiretapping stuff–that’s precisely the kind of question he cannot answer, so the Democratic senators are going to appear to be even more bullying and nasty if they keep yelling at him about it.

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