This comment by Kevin Murphy deserves its own post:
So, let me get this straight: Bush wanted to avoid a fight with Democrats, so he picked one with Republicans?
I keep hearing that Bush made a good move by dodging a fight with Senate Democrats. Those making this claim need to open their eyes and look at the fight he picked with major elements of his own party.
This wasn’t great strategic thinking any more than Harriet Miers is the best pick for the Court.
UPDATE: Black Jack notes in the comments that it would be more accurate to say that Bush “blundered” into this fight. While I wouldn’t put it past him to deliberately choose alienating his base (which always forgives him) over provoking Democrats, I do tend to think that this was a blunder. I didn’t mean to suggest otherwise in the post. The point of the post is to respond to those who think it was a brilliant strategic move.