Seems like a sound strategy to me:
Facing an uphill battle over the nomination of Judge John G. Roberts Jr. to the Supreme Court, Democrats plan to challenge President Bush's nominee on economic, social and regulatory issues, hoping to use the confirmation process to highlight their differences with the Republicans and exploit them for future electoral gains.
Though it seems to me that these differences shouldn't be exploited solely for electoral gain. It seems to me that Dems should take this opportunity to familiarize the country with a left-leaning interpretation of the Constitution and to make plain the right-wing judicial agenda. I wouldn't mind questions like this:
Q. One of President Bush's nominees to an appeals courty recently said that FDR's New Deal was equivalent to a "socialist revolution." Do you agree with that? If not, can you explain why some of your colleagues believe that the man who created social security was a communist?
Q. Many of your judicial colleagues appointed by President Bush are subscribers to the "Constitution in Exile" theory. Many "Constitution in Exile" adherents believe some fairly extreme things -- that the minimum wage is unconstitutional, for example, and that protections for workers infringe upon an empolyer's right of contract. Some even believe that Congress doesn't have the power to protect our air and our water. Do you agree with them? If you don't, can explain how your Constitutional vision differs from theirs?
Q. Are you aware that the Supreme Court under Rehnquist has often engaged in conservative activism? Did you know that since 1995, the Rehnquist court has struck down more laws, on average, than any Supreme Court in history? The conservative wing of the Rehnquist court has often shown disdain for acts of Congress that have been passed by majorities. Do you consider yourself a conservative activist, or would you uphold acts of Congress involving protections for workers, minorities, and the environment even if you disagree with them?
Essentially such questions would make the Roberts nomination not about Roberts at all. Instead, it would be a perfect opportunity to set the agenda, to get it away from the emotional culture war issues -- and be a month-long informercial for why our values and our issues are better than theirs. If he avoids questions, fine. No bullying, no high drama, just questions about issues that most Americans don't think about. If Dems are smart and unified about it, that would give the news media nothing else to talk about. It would change the national conversation and force republicans to be on the defensive.