The greatest ideological bias of the mainstream media, as any serious person can tell you, is towards the center -- and especially towards politicians who conspicuously, and piously, claim the label "moderate." These are the virtuous pragmatists who, we're told, are cutting through the gridlock, getting things done, reaching across the partisan divide, etc. The politician who stakes a claim to the other side's turf, even for no obvious good reason, is the pundit's best friend.
There are about 93 vacancies in the federal court system today, and next month, George W. Bush is likely to announce his first batch of nominees to fill them. That there are so many vacancies is not, however, a matter of happenstance. For six years, Republicans in the Senate employed every trick in the book -- secret "holds," burying nominees in committee, refusing to hold hearings or schedule votes -- to stall, delay, and obstruct Bill Clinton's appointees to the bench.
When Hillary Clinton went on the Today show in early 1998 to defend her husband against the malefactions of a "vast right-wing conspiracy," she was pitied and disparaged in roughly equal measure. Rightly so: Her husband, it turned out, was dallying with an intern less than half his age. And while the president has garnered more than his share of conservative vitriol, the notion that he was the victim of a conspiracy--a "vast" one, no less--seemed paranoid, the stuff of an especially bad Oliver Stone movie.