What's the matter with... um... what's the opposite of Kansas?
Gloria Borger outlines why I think the Democrats will continue a downward spiral for some time to come, with a specific focus on their treatment of the Roberts nomination.
The key point comes in the final paragraph:
Here's the question: What's the difference between the nomination of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by President Bill Clinton and the nomination of Judge Roberts by President Bush? Answer: nothing. Ginsburg appeared as liberal as Roberts does conservative, yet she was approved 96 to 3. The GOP decided it would not be a party of useless litmus tests or panderers to special interests. And in the next election, Republicans made it clear she would not have been their choice. That is, after all, what elections are about.Basically, the Dems are so concerned with winning on each issue that they've become obstructionist. They come close to winning on every issue (hence Bush's almost-constantly falling approval ratings), but it's always through a pyrrhic almost-victory. Meanwhile their numbers fall faster than his.
There's no regard for the long-term. The left wing is more concerned with screaming about Bush than about rebuilding their party to prevent another Bush from winning in the future.
As Ms. Borger points out, they can't win on Roberts, but they'll still rant and rave about him. As a result, Roberts will pass with a significantly smaller margin than Ginsburg did—but he'll still pass, and the Dems will be the ones who look bad for it.
There's a lot of room for the Dems to pick up votes throughout the country, a lot of which swung for Bush in '04. Unfortunately for them, the remainder (still a sizeable portion) had been in the Dem column to start. Even if you chase more Republican votes to the center, you can't win if you're chasing your own people away too.