I was reading the report this morning about how the White House will not release John Roberts' tax returns. Turns out they had set this policy for judicial nominations in 2001, but didn't bother to tell anyone.
But then it really struck me why John Roberts was nominated. Many people were preparing for a controversial battle for the next Supreme Court justice, but the Roberts nomination seemed to quash that at first because he seemed like such a good candidate (as evidenced by many quotes from right and left). I don't know if anyone else has noticed, but the way he's being presented is very JFKish, with the way his family dresses, the little kids dominating photos, etc.
Anyway, I realize now that, in the true White House strategic planning approach, this isn't about John Roberts. It's about presenting a "safe" candidate to set precedent in the confirmation process, because the White House knows the next one will be much more controversial and difficult (the person they really would like in there now).
By paving the road now, i.e., setting precedent, with John Roberts, it will be harder to challenge the confirmation of a much more controversial candidate.
We've seen this before. It's brilliant.
As I've said before, we need some Democrats who know how to play a good game of chess. Otherwise, they won't know what hit them (again) until it's too late.