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Isn't It Relevant Whether Obama Nominates a Good Judge or Not?

Matthew Yglesias:

SCOTUS Strategy: Peter Baker and Carl Hulse report:

The retirement of Justice John Paul Stevens presents a test for Republicans as much as it does for President Obama as they weigh how much they want to wage a high-profile battle over ideological issues in the months before crucial midterm elections. In the aftermath of the polarized health care debate, some Republican leaders said they were reluctant to give Democrats further ammunition to portray them as knee-jerk obstructionists. But they also want to harness the populist anger at Mr. Obama’s policies and are wary of alienating their base when they need it most.

And Matthew snarks:

Note that evaluating the nominee on the merits doesn’t seem to be an option. I think it’s pretty clear that there’s no political reason to think a moderate nominee in the Breyer/Sotomayor/Ginsburg vein would actually fare any easier than someone from a more robustly progressive tradition. The decision about whether or not to launch a no-holds-barred campaign against the nominee will be undertaken for other reasons...

But what Matthew does not snark--and should--is how extraordinary it is that Peter Baker and Carl Hulse don't think it worth noting that Republicans' decision to oppose or not oppose Obama's nominee is unrelated to how good a judge he nominates.

Why oh why can't we have a better press corps?