ROBERTS' RISING FORTUNES: I'm not buying the mainstream media's spin to the effect that the Democrats have accepted that Roberts is a nominee they can't derail. To be sure, the positive comments of centrist senators like Feinstein are probably sincere. You can be sure, however, that the left wing of the party will leave no stone unturned in the coming weeks to find evidence that gives them the rationale to go all out against this nomination. The reasoning on the left goes like this: "We've got to go after Roberts very hard, because if he refuses to get specific during the hearings (as Ruth Bader Ginsburg did), we'll have no logical basis for going ballistic against Bush's next nominee, who will probably be more ideological." It's important to be clear-eyed about the fact that the left knows the Supreme Court is their last hope at this point, for advancing an agenda by judicial fiat that the American people continue to reject: especially on hot-button social issues. So if the Dems seem to be playing nice now, their goal is to look and sound moderate so that when they go for blood it won't look like that was their strategy all along. In particular, watch Barbara Boxer. Her vicious personal attack against Condi Rice was Sunday school stuff, compared to what she'll try against Roberts. Even so, it's hard to figure how the Dems can defeat Roberts, who appears to be eminently unborkable. Even Senator Byrd is singing his praises, perhaps because the old coot plans to run for re-election and his popularity among the folks back home has dropped considerably.