There is something for everyone here. It can be read variously as 1) the nominee was happy to work for an administration that curried favor with reactionary religious leaders, 2) the nominee was not sufficiently respectful of such leaders, 3) the nominee doesn’t like ingrates or 4) the nominee has a lively sense of humor.
In advance of the hearings, Judge Roberts’ conservative views and philosophy can’t be precisely defined, whether it is done by reading memos or studying his record as a lawyer and judge. It is almost as if Judge Roberts’ career path has been positioned so that one day he could fly as a stealth candidate happily under the radar. This is, of course, nothing more than suspicion and conjecture, but concern is raised by Mr. Bush’s willingness to bet the house on a Chief Justice Roberts.
Would this choice be worse than picking from two of the ultra-right justices on the bench, Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas? Probably not, but what does Mr. Bush know that the rest of us do not? That, of course, is the all-important question for these hearings. Just what sort of conservative is Judge Roberts?
Why not all four interpretations at once? And I’m not sure that Bush does know something the rest of us don’t. Roberts seems to do both top-notch work and whatever best helps his current employers/clients. What will he do when he has no employer/client to answer to? Even he probably doesn’t know.