There's a certain kind of journalism that calls itself analysis. Sometimes it's useful for setting the background and the imperatives the actors are acting from.
Then there's this kind of piece from Peter Canellos. It strings together a few slightly inside-politics tidbits with a few quotes such as this:
"If [Sotomayor's confirmation] takes a month, it does bump things up against the adjournment time," said Dartmouth College political scientist Linda Fowler. "The worry for Obama is less the loss of bipartisan spirit than the time constraints. An acrimonious nomination fight just eats up a lot of time."There was an opportunity here put in perspective the previous two Supreme Court confirmations:
- Samuel Alito - "Samuel Alito is gliding toward confirmation as a Supreme Court justice after a week of hearings..."
- John Roberts - "The White House swearing-in ceremony took place three hours after the Senate voted 78 to 22 to confirm Roberts."
- Republicans are much nastier and more focused in these fights.
- Many journalists are eager or at least willing to adopt the Republican narrative.
I bet there were analyses just like Canellos's before Alito and Roberts, and those fights hardly amounted to anything. Now, there are sixty Democrats (or should be), and the Sotomayor confirmation will most likely take place with keening, wailing, and gnashing of teeth, but it will still happen quickly.
And the analyses will continue unabated and unabashed.