The Republican counterargument will be fourfold: A) He is not very conservative; B) no one knows how conservative he is, and no one is going to find out, because discussing his views in any detail would involve "prejudging" future issues before the court; C) it doesn't matter whether he is conservative—even raising the question "politicizes" what ought to be a nonpartisan search for judicial excellence; and D) sure he's conservative. Very conservative. Who won the election?
Actually D), the most valid argument, is one you will never hear, although the Harriet Miers detour showed what happens if Republican activists suspect that a nominee really might not be onboard the ideological train.
The other Republican arguments are laughable. Of course Alito is very conservative. That's why he got nominated.
Get it? Kinsley says that Harriet Miers got thrown overboard because she wasn't conservative enough. He then says that you know Sam Aliton is "very conservative" by the simple fact that he was nominated. But wait, Miers wasn't conservative, and she got nominated.
So was Miers a conservative who was rejected for reasons other than ideology? Or does the act of nomination not, in itself, signify deep conservatism in the nominee? Kinsley, of course, wants it both ways.
(I know the Miers fight was three whole weeks ago, but it's worth recalling that her rejection was about competence, not ideology.)