It couldn't be clearer. The statement wasn't "We would like to thank Sandra Day O'Connor for her service and look forward to an opportunity to participate in the debate over her successor," it was "Don't let the door hit you in the ass and bring on the rapture."
I would love 'strict constructionist' or 'originalist' judges if that meant what I think it means. But it doesn't. When Dobson and the cultural conservatives talk about interpreting the Constitution, they mean they want a judge who will interpret it the same way the religious right interprets and quotes the bible- however it damned well pleases them as long as it fits the current political agenda.
If anyone really thinks Dobson and Tony Perkins care about the Constitution, they need to reassess their faculties. They care about the Constitution in the context that they think liberal activist judges are robbing them from what is rightfully theirs (and in fairness, sometimes they are right). What they really care about is displaying the Ten Commandments wherever and whenever because we are a "Christian Nation."
They care about inserting themselves into family matters of life and death. They care about keeping drugs out of your hands, even if they ease pain caused by illness. They care about treating homosexuals like second-class citizens. They care about prayer in school and keeping "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. They care about ending abortion. They care about making divorces really difficult to obtain. They care about inserting religion into schools and ending the teaching of evolution. They care about a whole host of things, but Constitutional deference is not one of them.
And if the Constitution strictly ruled against everyone of their wishes, and the citizens had a vote and laws were passed making gay marriage legal, abortion legal, etc., do you think they would just give up? Of course they wouldn't- they would try to change the Constitution through amendments. Can anyone else figure out why James Dobson supports a flag desecration amendment? The reason is simple- it is just another step in reshaping the country to their choosing.
It just is who they are- there can be no changing that. Debate doesn't work, as they only recognize brute political force. Have you ever tried to debate abortion with someone from the far religious right? There is no debate. If you agree to end partial-birth abortion, they won't be happy. If you enact strict and universal parental notification, it won't be enough. If you change it to one trimester only, that isn't enough. If you make abortion extremely difficult to obtain, if it is still elective, that won't be far enough. If every state but California outlaws all abortion, do you think all of a sudden they would embrace the Constitution and the rhetoric of 'states rights?' This isn't about compromise or the Constitution- this is about remaking the country in what they view as God's image.
So, with that in mind, it is a little silly to keep pointing to times when the Senate worked differently. These guys don't give a damn, and as we have seen, they are willing to break the Senate rules to get their way. They are perfectly willing to tank the party (or so they say) if someone like Gonzalez is nominated. They aren't going to be happy until they get everything they want, and they have $18 million and a lot of political clout lined up to make sure they get it.
I stole a lot of Cole's post here, so please click on the link for the whole thing. The Republican Party has been hijacked by the Dobsonites, and thus Bush will not nominate a mainstream conservative in the image of O'Conner, he'll nominate a radical right winger because Dobson and Company have complete control of the agenda.