Fight back early. Don't let Republicans set the tone and define the agenda for the nomination hearings. They are already planning to erect straw dogs to pillory and to drag the hearings out for months. Plan defenses, of course, but more importantly plan counterattacks.
Counterattacking will keep the Republicans off balance and disorganized but it will also demonstrate Democratic fortitude. The major reason Democratic polling is off is because of months of passively sitting back and taking it over Health Care Reform. Showing some backbone for the nominee will help Senate Democrats come election time too.