PLACATING THE BASE….Conservative Republicans are getting edgy over the price tag on George Bush’s $200 billion effort to revive his reputation. No surprise there. But at least one senator seems to be genuinely serious:

“It’s not about taking care of the folks that need us,” [Oklahoma Senator Tom] Coburn said in an interview. “But I wouldn’t vote for another penny until we get real about the hard choices of cutting some spending.” In what would be a real break for conservatives, Mr. Coburn said he is also not inclined to vote to extend the Bush tax cuts absent some fiscal restraint.

Griping about spending is one thing, but when they start suggesting they might hold the line on tax cuts, it’s clear that some serious rebellion is in the air.

And what does this mean? That’s easy: a fire breathing social conservative to fill Sandra Day O’Connor’s Supreme Court seat. Bush is going to have to do something to keep the Coburn wing of the party happy, after all.