Monday, October 31, 2005

Alito Nominated, Abortion becomes Prime Issue--Again

The President showed us that he's back in the game. He nominated Samuel Alito of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. And it appears that we're dealing with a superior choice. A few things to think about with this judge. Bush picked him from one of the most liberal Circuits. Having been a lone ranger on that bench, Alito send the message to Bush's base that he remains unswayed in the face of liberal activism. He is young. At 55, he could be on the court for as much as 30-35 years. And he has a paper trail a mile long indicating that he is a thinker, a scholar, and a jurist with extensive experience in the very matters with which the Supreme Court will be dealing. And therein lies the ammo for the Democrats.

Harry Reid told Bush not to even bother with Alito. Which means that Alito probably has the right stuff for the job. And Schumer, Kennedy, Leahy, etc. are all up in arms. Surprise.

And the usual mantras follow: feigned disappointment that Alito is not a unifying figure (meaning that he disagrees with the left), that Bush is sowing the seeds of division (meaning that the Dems don't like (and often can't muster) an intellectual debate over these very serious issues, but rather simply prefer having people blindly agree with them), and that he will "turn back the clock" on various liberties we have worked hard to attain (meaning the left's sacrament of abortion).

And this confirmation will be all about abortion because Alito was involved with the decision of a fairly significant case impinging upon abortion, Planned Parenthood v. Casey. At issue were various abortion restrictions in the State of Pennsylvania involving informing the patient of the risks and complications of an abortion, parental notification, spousal notification, and a 24 hour waiting period. As an aside, it strikes me as particularly strange when Planned Parenthood talks about abortion being "safe and legal" when they oppose informing women about the risks to the procedure, as every other doctor must do for every other procedure. But that aside, Planned Parenthood opposed each of those restrictions. And the Courts upheld them, with the exception of the spousal notification component. Alito dissented only in that regard. He reasoned that the spousal notification requirement might actually get spouses to make decisions together (a novel concept for the pro-abortion left), and might actually make the woman more comfortable with carrying a pregnancy to term. Note well, that this was not a spousal permission requirement, just that they be notified. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, which in this case allowed the rule to be relaxed in cases where the husband was not the father, the husband could not be found, the pregnancy was the result of a reported spousal rape, and of course, the reasonable liklihood that the spouse would harm the wife if notified.

A truly pro-family position by Alito. And an insult to the left. But that wasn't his point. And while I was unable to find the actual text of the case, Wikipedia has some quotes that indicate that Alito was not advocating for abortion restrictions at all, but rather the legislature's right to impose them. A very important distinction. Alito treated the legislature's power to impose restrictions on abortion as he would the legislature's power to impose restrictions on people's rights to operate a motor vehicle. The legislature had various powers available and used them properly, per Alito. That it had anything to do with abortion is secondary. And that's what we want from Supreme Court appointments.

But the Kennedys, Schumers, Leahys, Bidens, Durbins, Boxers, and Reids will oppose anyone who does not stand by Roe and pledge to uphold it no matter what.

So when you hear talk of stare decisis, living document, fundamental rights, and any other term they are using to sound reasonable, be advised that all they are talking about is Roe v. Wade and abortion, perhaps with a little bit of racial and homosexual preferences mixed in.

And I think it's high time we have this fight. We have for too long gone under the assumption that abortion is some uber-right that stands equal to the right to free political speech. We have for too long been hectored into believing that Roe is the only case which cannot be overturned. We have for too long labored under the misperception that the holding in Roe is legitimate, and not a gross judicial overreach. We have for too long allowed to linger the thought that judges can supplant the will of the legislature, or that it is their place to set policy.

This nomination is not about abortion, but the Dems and their cohorts on the far left will make it so. So let's lay it all out on the table. Unless, of course they are afraid to engage in real debate.

UPDATE

Patterico has a great post which includes the Planned Parenthood dissent.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Libby Gets Tagged

Scooter Libby is going to be indicted. The jury literally remains out on Rove. This isn't great, but it's not a nuclear disaster. And inconsistent statements with other witnesses not only does not equal perjury, but is often more likely caused by poor recollection.

Stay tuned. More on this today.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Anticipation

Tomorrow almost certainly reveals whether anyone gets indicted in the ridiculous Plame/Wilson scandal. And per John Hinderaker, we may know very quickly who Bush is tapping to replace O'Connor. For real this time.

Much PR management in a very short amount of time for a White House that has been getting failing grades in the message department. But then again, this White House tends to rist to the occassion in times of difficulty.

We shall see.

The Ugly Stepchild Steps Down, The President Must Step Up

Miers is out, and so ends what will be regarded as a politically destructive chapter in the history of the Bush Administration, which washed away the warm fuzzies of the particularly excellent Roberts nomination and confirmation. And the Administration has Charles Krauthammer to thank for making the ending just a tad easier.

Read this and this before going any further. Then catch the rationale for Miers's withdrawal of her nomination.

Charles Krauthammer has always been one of the best minds in Washington, but predicting the path to (or more likely providing the excuse for) Miers's withdrawal may have done the White House some good.

First things first, though. I supported the Miers nomination because I believed (and still do) that Bush had a surprise in store for the left. But this nomination died as a result of an unfortunately predictable "perfect storm". Conservatives were not comfortable with anyone who was not an established and highly qualified individual in the legal community. Bush and Rove should have seen that coming. And without the support of the base, it made it hard to defend Miers. And given the hanging cloud of the grand jury indictments which may be handed up tomorrow, the Administration has been in a complete mental fog. And lastly, the Administration has, while not in word but certainly in deed, dumped Miers by failing to fight for her nomination. Withdrawal became the perfect solution. Her nomination had lost all energy.

And all of these events are 100% the fault of the President. Since his reelection, his communication team has done absolutely nothing to win the PR war. And look at the successes of the past year: A successful election in January in Iraq. A successful election last week in Iraq to approve the drafted Constitution, and a surprisingly silent terrorist presence. Saddam Hussein on trial for war crimes, looking and sounding like a fool. A great nomination of a Chief Justice to the Supreme Court, and in that regard, a huge promise kept, in the person of John Roberts. North Korea backing down on nuclear weapons (the verification component remains to be seen, but...), the appointment of a no-nonsense diplomat to the U.N. , France working with the U.S. at the U.N. to tighten the noose on Syria and an increasingly belligerent Iran, and the appointment of a supply-sider to as the Fed Chairman. We hear nothing of this from the White House. But here's how the Administration has allowed itself to be defined this year: higher gas prices, an investigation of the senior White House staff about an alleged exposure of an alleged undercover agent as a political payback, FEMA and Mike Brown botching the Katrina relief effort, even higher gas prices after that, and the media's celebration (yes, celebration) of 2000 dead soldiers in Iraq.

About the only thing in the PR department that has gone well for the President has been Cindy Sheehan, and that's only because she is abysmally stupid, vastly overplayed her hand, and became a disaster to her own cause, smiling for the cameras as she got arrested, as if she was at Disney World.

It's time once again for Bush to lead. And by lead I do not mean make decisions. We know he can do that. But a successful presidency is about communication. And if he doesn't do that, his second term will be little more than an asterisk--a wasted 4 years.

Bill Clinton's presidency was a disaster. A retroactive tax increase in his first days, a failed attempt at taking over he health care industry, a first lady who stole the show, a regular series of personal and political scandals, campaign funds illegally collected from China, a series of terrorist attacks on American interests that went unanswered, an impeachment, a series of pardons for criminals because they were donors or friends of donors, state property looted from the White House, and a White House left trashed because of bitterness over a lost election. But he stayed afloat for two reasons: he had Republican Congress in whom the economy had much confidence, and he was a communicator like no other. Clinton, for all of his scandals, and they were many, still managed to stay above the fray, and was able to communicate some degree of confidence to the nation in his ability to get the job done, regardless of the fact that most people perceived him to be a boor on a personal level.

And it is no excuse that Bush lacks a silver tounge like Clinton. He has proven himself an effective communicator when he intends to be one.

So, here's the plan. He needs to appoint a judge to the Supreme Court whose qualities and beliefs are known. And just to be really clear, that judge need not be a woman, despite the unfortunate comments that the First Lady was pushing for a woman. He needs to prepare for a fight, as he needs to put up someone of whom the Senate Minority Leadership will not approve. He needs an originalist, he needs a conservative. Again, Janice Rogers Brown, Edith Jones, Michael Luttig, Sam Alito, Michael McConnell. No Alberto Gonzaleses need apply. Because this nomination needs to be less about gender and race than, say, the law. And the gloves need to come off. Bush needs to lead with a clearly qualified, clearly established, clearly well spoken, and clearly originalist judge. So that when the Democrats oppose him/her, they will be doing so for partisan (meaning abortion) reasons alone, and standing for the cause of judicial activism. Because it is judicial activism, combined with political and personal intimidation from the left that has kept Roe largely undisturbed for over thirty years.

Bush's base won't kill him if he doesn't appoint a woman. And I think that the whole problem of the gender of the justice (which makes about as much sense as not disturbing the balance of the court) will go gently away in a short time. We don't reserve seats on the highest court in the land for people based upon their immutable characteristics.

And then it's time for a new communication team. All of them. Out. They are defensive only, and they set no agenda. They respond to press inquiries in the terms that media use. They do not redefine the debate or lead it, but simply participate. An effective President controls the debate. Clinton (with the help of a willing press, of course) redefined the impeachment as "sexual McCarthyism" and all about sex (rather than perjury). Bush has indeed commanded the debate in the past, but he needs to make it the practice rather than the exception. You can't pin your media strategy on getting lucky and expect to win.

Leadership is messy, hard stuff. But Bush needs to get back in it for good. Because the messiness of real leadership would have prevented the mess that the lack of it over the past year has caused him.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Media - Going for the Defeat Angle

The media pounced on the report of the 2000th dead U.S. soldier in Iraq. Here's MSNBC's posting, noting a "Grim Milestone", and a whisper of the approval of the Iraqi Constitution is mentioned, for "balance" of course. CNN is kind enough to note that the election was also a milestone, presuming that a round number of 2000 dead in 2 1/2 years is measurement of anything. For the Washington Post, it topped the Constitution as well. And as for the New York Times, they are either under new management in the past hour, seeing the number for the story it isn't, or they've been scooped. No posting at all.

That the media keyed in on this number should surprise nobody, and it is equally predictable that they will create another non-sequitur of an issue when the number of dead reaches over 3000 that the number of U.S. soldiers dead in Iraq has exceeded the number of perople who died on 9/11. Which means that the war has failed some media-contrived cost-benefit analysis which states that you can only lose so many people in a war as you lost in the initial strike that started it.

And by that reckoning, World War II was a waste. 2,403 people died at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. In the following four years, 291,557 Americans died across the world fighting the Axis.

Nobody died at Fort Sumpter when the Confederates attacked it (except a horse), but the ensuing war saw 618,000 Americans die.

So spare me the tally. No war is pleasant, nor are there any guarantees of light casualties. But war is a needed thing if freedom is challenged. If we cut and run as the media-left suggest we do, war will still happen, but it will end much quicker, and it will be concluded on our shores.

The media-left would do well to stop advocating for the dead whose sacrifice they do not honor.

The Biggest Under-Reported Story of the Day

Oh yeah, Iraq approved the Constitution. They are going to vote on a representative government before the year is out.

CNN and MSNBC put it beneath Hurricane Wilma and the Death of Rosa Parks. The Washington Post puts it below a story about Bush's damage control (of the damage the media is trying to do to him). ABC puts it beneath a story that the soldier death toll reached 1,999. They are waiting with baited breath to get to 2000, to use the number as some faux milestone to raise again their claim that Iraq just isn't worth the cost it has taken to free it, and perhaps repeat Ted Koppel's showing of the faces of the fallen as part of a Sheehan-esque political stunt--using the blood of the fallen to preach against the mission for which they fought and died. But CBS, to their credit puts it at the top, although immediately following the announcement of the vote results with the note of the death toll. And, of course, the New York Times puts it below a hit piece on Dick Cheney, noting that despite the Sunni opposition, the Constitution did indeed pass. Did anyone hear an "aw shucks?" in there?

This story is gigantic. A formerly dictator-ruled, terror-sponsoring state where the blood of innocent people flowed like the Tigris when they crossed the Maximum Leader has taken the opportunity of his removal to set up a government where the men and women on the street hire and fire their own leaders. They have taken steps to remove themselves from the feudal age of despotic rule into the modern era of enjoyment of God-mandated freedoms and rule of law rather than fiat, and freedom to bicker over politics without fear of state reprisals. 26 million people will be ruling themselves, and a terrorist state is off the map.

This is cause for celebration, regardless of one's political stripe.

But not when the development's status as a victory or failure is determined by who occupies the White House.

Galloway Was On The Take

George Galloway, the leftist British Parlaiment Member who was a vocal critic of the Iraq war appears to have been on the take. Galloway's wife's account had $150,000 in Iraqi oil money deposited in it, with an additional $450,000 being funnelled to one of Galloway's political organizations. All of which proves that his fairly bellicose testimony this Spring before the U.S. Senate denying same was patently false.

The source of the information? None other than Galloway's and Saddam's mutual friend, Tariq Aziz, who really has nothing to lose by talking.

Sen. Norm Coleman will be turning over this information for possible charging of Galloway with perjury. And for his part, the boisterous Member of Parlaiment couldn't be happier to be charged. He invites it.

But if wonder if the Brits will get first dibs on him for treason?

Monday, October 24, 2005

Getting Charged, Getting Even

Bill Kristol's piece on Patrick Fitzgerald's decision was perfect. Joe Wilson and other Clinton lapdogs yapped furiously at Ken Starr when he brought charges against Bill Clinton as a result of statements under oath whose intent was to deceive. Discussions on the meaning of the word "is" are not held by one who innocently misspoke.

But the crime Karl Rove committed is the same one Tom DeLay committed--they both have worked to rip power from the hands of Democrats and through their efforts have dealt them what so far is an unbroken series of fairly embarrassing political defeats.

But what Fitzgerald has done is to complete the debunking of Joe Wilson's narcissistic book, the ironically titled "The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity: A Diplomat's Memoir. A bipartisan panel of the Senate Intelligence Committee began the job last year by disproving many of the allegations he made about false pretenses leading us to war in Iraq.

But if there is nothing to the claim that Rove, Libby, or anyone else made an effort to expose an operative whose identity the government was trying to keep secret, then the perjury/obstruction angle must go with it.

Neither Rove nor Libby nor anyone else for that matter entered the grand jury room uninformed of the law and its relationship to their actions in the Plame affair. Knowing that, and knowing what we know about this event, there would have been no incentive for them to lie. Knowing they didn't break the law, it would not have hurt them to give their account to the best of their memories. Differences in recollections will always happen, and it may help to realize that the people involved likely felt no need to commit any of the details of those events to memory.

But the real stench of this investigation comes from the aforementioned originator, Joe Wilson. Angry that it was he who was outed, as a beneficiary of nepotism, Wilson used his wife as a shield to deflect criticism directed at him. And while we know that civility is dead among the left, it appears that chivalry has joined it.

But political embarrassment of a liberal is not the indicia of crime by a conservative, and statements that don't necessarily agree with those made by others is not evidence of perjury, but of individual recollections and opinions that differ.

Joe Wilson began this mess by publicly uttering falsehoods. But it should not be ended with charges based upon those same incredible allegations from a discredited man who will say anything or use anyone, including his wife, to gain a political advantage.

Intellectual Honesty

Professor David Graeber, a self-described anarchist is being dismissed from Yale as a result of a number of unpleasant interactions with the administration, and just downright poor teaching. The result? A firestorm of nutty student union activity. And while the administration and relevant department heads are saying that it's more than just that, anarchism was probably the thing that prevented a contract renewal. And for good reason. Anarchists are not peaceful people. They advocate the overthrow of our society, and their Ya Basta colleagues who always show up at G-8 and WTO meetings regularly challenge police and riot--notwithstanding the peaceful veneer of their website. Here are some snippets from some of Prof. Graeber's associates.

By contrast, this gentleman mentioned God in his classroom and was fired, just as Ward Churchill was calling 9/11 victims "Little Eichmanns". He is expected to go gently into that goodnight.

Compare and discuss.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Electing the Stupid

Back to Barbara "Senator Mensa" Boxer. From RealClearPolitics comes this David Gelernter article that talks about the dangers of electing the abjectly stupid.

Idiots who bring with them mantras rather than facts have no understanding of the things upon which they pontificate. It becomes dangerous when such people get elected to national office and take on a real policy-making role. Boxer is a complete fool. She tries to make up for her intellectual shortcomings by coming at every issue with a bellicose attitude and a largely irrelevant sound bite.

And while I like to make fun of her, as she does make it easy, her presence in the Senate is a truly frightening one. Lacking the intellect to understand the issues before her and relying upon trite political cliches to keep alive, she has the effect of dumbing down one of the most important processes of society by masquerading as a knowledgable individual.

Pull Miers and You Pull The Plug On a Conservative Court

Jonathan Last at Galley Slaves, links to a particularly great piece by Marvin Olasky about the really destructive battle between conservatives over the Harriet Miers nomination.

I have opined earlier that Bush is out to give conservatives more than they had hoped for in a conservative Supreme Court nominee. But because the box under the Christmas tree appears small, a number of very bratty conservatives are guessing that the present is equally "small," ignoring the possibility that it's a shopping spree at the toy store: a conservative on the Court and a Senate Democratic Caucus in trouble with their special interests for dropping the ball twice on the most key issue of our day.

But if Bush pulls Miers, that stealth angle is lost, making him look weak, and making it much tougher for him to muster the political capital to fight for a known conservative like Luttig or McConnell. And while he may win, so will the Dems. If they put up a fight, their constituents will be pleased. If they lose in a nuclear option filibuster break, they look the victim, further mobilizing their constituents.

This president is not about disappointing conservatives on the big issues. He's not about to do it here. And conservatives may wish to rethink what is an increasingly obnoxious and shortsighted effort to deprive themselves of a double victory which the President is trying to deliver.

Smile Heard 'Round The World

Usually people aren't too thrilled when they get their mug shot taken. But Tom DeLay was beaming yesterday when he submitted himself for booking by Texas authorities in response to Ronnie Earle's indictments. And while many laugh because DeLay robbed the Dems of an opportunity to use a mugshot as a campaign weapon, I think this shows a continuing resolve on the part of DeLay, and should serve as an example to Republicans.

But just as Ronnie Earle went forum shopping for his grand juries, so too did Tom DeLay for his mug shot. DeLay is from Sugar Land, Texas, which is in Fort Bend County, Texas. However, he submitted himself to the sheriffs in neighboring Harris County. And he did so for a reason. As stated above, DeLay was expected to go to Fort Bend County. The media, expecting the perp walk that they had been wanting, were outsmarted. Also, note that there are some pieces missing from the photo, namely the prisoner numbers and the height measurements, among other things that are the hallmarks of a mug shot. And while I'm not certain about the rest of Texas, Harris County doesn't include those things in the photos.

More to the point, DeLay has denied Ronnie Earle the media victory he wants, which was the whole point to this indictment--a gotcha moment that, while unlikely to lead to a conviction, would be very politically costly to DeLay in an upcoming election where his seat appears to be in play.

The matter now is how far Earle intends to take this. As I have argued before, Earle has much to risk in this venture. Besides the political fallout from yet another politically motivated and contrived case, Earle's own office and perhaps even his license to practice could be on the line. It didn't take much for DeLay's lawyer, Dick DeGuerin to charge Earle with prosecutorial misconduct--the act of prosecuting someone who is likely not guilty--a charge not taken lightly. If the State Bar of Texas is satisfied that Earle brought this action without substantial justification, but rather as a political stunt, he could be subject to professional sanctions including the loss of his license to practice.

Of course, there is another fun wrinkle. The indictment was brought in Austin, Texas, and is being heard by Judge Bob Perkins. Austin is Texas's San Francisco, explaining Earle's desire to have the indictment procured and trial conducted there. Judge Perkins is a MoveOn.org contributor, meaning that he's a nut who may disregard the law in favor of a political victory. DeGuerin has asked the judge to recuse himself and has asked for removal from liberal Austin/Travis County because he fears that he cannot receive a fair trial. I'm taking bets from those who say that the judge will grant either motion.

Stay tuned, because if this collapses as I expect it to do, DeLay will come out shining. And Earle and the left by association may be in more trouble than he ever dreamed. Because the only thing of which DeLay is guilty is outfunding and politically marginalizing Democrats on the Texas and national level. Which to the left is the only crime for which capital punishment should exist.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Senator Mensa's Novel and Coloring Book

It's no fun when they make it this easy. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) just finished writing a novel. A novel concept--that she can even write a novel--but I digress.

This transparent political allegory involves Sen. Ellen Fischer, who became so on the back of her husband who dies before he can take office. She goes on a witch hunt after a Hispanic woman judicial nominee and --who are we kidding here?--defeats the nomination. The conservatives are the bad guys, the lefties are the good guys, and the bad conservative judge goes back to her Martha Stewart kitchen in the end. Sorry for spoiling the suspenseful denouement. And she has the self respect enough to report that she and her co-author (frightening that it took two people to put this thing together) got to split an advance of $15,938 for the book--which is much like splitting a Jujyfruit. It seems her publisher has about as much faith in her book as I do.

But this is typical Sen. Mensa. She is an idiot who, in true Derek Zoolander form, misunderstands the issue before her, gets mad about it, and takes an amusing belligerent public position on it.

But I'll let the Sacramento Bee, as quoted in the Washington Times Piece do the rest of the work for me. "Suffice it to say this effort reads more like a cross between a bad romance novel and a soap opera script. The Congressional Record might be more entertaining. And it's free."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

DeLay Dropped the Gauntlet

Ronnie Earle reportedly offered Tom DeLay an opportunity to plead to a misdemeanor crime rather than be the target of a grand jury inquiry, reports the Washington Post.

This is huge.

Accepting the plea deal would mean that DeLay could remain House Majority Leader, and escape any significant consequence for any of the acts alleged. But rather than take an easy hit, he exposed himself to a very serious charge that would likey carry prison time. People don't do these kinds of things unless they are certain they are clean. And the fact that Earle will not comment on any of these developments indicates that he may now be on the defensive, aware that the rest of us are not fooled by this indictment or the means used to get it.

I have my own criticisms of DeLay's fundraising tactics, as some are the kinds of things that give political fundraising the bad stench of which it has reeked for almost a century. But indicting him to make a political point for acts that do not constitute crimes is in itself criminal. This may be Ronnie Earle's last stand. As it should be for a state official who uses his law enforcement power to ply his enemies.

Yet Another Reason to Watch QVC

I've always hated The WB's "The Gilmore Girls". My wife first started watching it at the insistence of one of our best friends, but after a season or two of remarkable restraint of my gag reflex, we dispensed with it. Between the mother, Lorelai's, inability to maintain a functional relationship with a man, Rory's blank stare and staccato recitation of her lines, as if reading them from a teleprompter, and their cute anti-Bush remarks interspersed in the simplistic plots, the show was more than one human being could bear. I would have sided with Newsweek and Amnesty International if I knew that this show was being forced upon prisoners at Gitmo.

But apparently, having activist singer Carole King on the show was not enough to make clear that these people are from the far left. Now they bring on someone who has ensured that our world is a much more dangerous place for our children and who opposes efforts to stop terror: Maddie Albright.

This quote from the executive producer (whom we can blame for purveying this civilization-regressing program) about sums it up perfectly:
If you think she's seems brilliant and sassy strutting around the Middle East, you should try talking to her in person, ...We are very honored, very lucky, and soooo not worthy.
Actually, I think they deserve each other.

Monday, October 17, 2005

The Wrong Messenger

This message of end-times doom and a demand for repentance comes from this person.



That's right, the author of the X-rated autobiography "Sex", the person who went on David Letterman in 1994 and dropped the f-bomb repeatedly before she was ejected, not to return till 2000, the person whose videos (anyone remember Justify My Love?) which even MTV wouldn't play, the "kiss" with Britney Spears...this is likely not the person whose word I would take about holiness and right living.

Stranger things have happened, of course. After persecuting Christians, Paul became one of Christianity's greatest missionaries, risking his life on a regular basis to spread the Gospel. Franklin Graham was a troublemaker before he laid aside worldly ways and chose to be a Christian in his father's tradition. Norma McCorvey (the Roe of Roe v. Wade) rejected abortion and the case she pushed to the Supreme Court in favor of a message of life.

But in this case, and much like Jonah Goldberg when this family-friendly drivel began coming out of her as nothing more than her latest means of self-marketing, I am somehow less than convinced.

Toledo Burning

By now, we've seen the aftermath of the neo-Nazi/anarchist riot that took place in Toledo, Ohio. To put it in a thumbnail, think "day camp version of Rodney King riots".

It's never a good thing when a wholly unredeemable hate group that started and lost the world's most costly war, attempted to exterminate an entire ethnic group, and set the stage for a half-century of global tensions that largely continue today, decides to march in an American town. But on the other hand, it's good to know who these people are and what they believe, rather than allowing their socially carcinogenic beliefs about race and religion to reside subtly within our midst, unchecked because they only whisper evil.

And it is encouraging when citizens come out to make very clear that such sentiments are unwelcome in American communities. Racism and anti-Semitism are the enemies of peace and the foundational principles of American life.

But when people who claim to oppose the Neo-Nazis (and really, we can spare ourselves the "neo" designation) exact the kind of violence in what they claimed was a counter-protest, by destroying ambulances, attacking police who are trying to keep the peace, and destroying the property of their neighbors and local businesses, how does that make them any different than the Nazis they claim to oppose?

The understanding of the events of Toledo on Saturday appears to be that some of the counter protest was agitated by anarchists--the same folk who foment riots at every WTO meeting, who are anti-everything, and oppose civil society in every form. But agitation does not excuse action. The rioters made a conscious decision to do things far worse than the Nazis ever thought of doing that day.

And it makes me wonder just how justified these people thought they were in their anger, and at whom their anger was directed. Was it their neighbors whose doors they kicked in? Was it the people whose homes and businesses they burned? Was it the ambulance crew and police officers who tried to keep the peace and help the injured?

And I wonder why that band of brigands did not just go back to their own homes and set them on fire in a political statement? Instead, because this group of creepy thugs with small minds and big egos couldn't control themselves, they destroyed all that some of their neighbors had, but went back to the comfort of their own homes that night with all of their possessions intact.

I hope that the video footage provides neighbors an opportunity to finger the people who perpetuated this lawlessness. Because the people who did these acts are really no different than the Nazis whom they claimed to be opposing. Because a brown shirt and a swastika are not the only indicia of mindless evil.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Rejected in Iraq






Zarqawi and bin Laden lose to Constitutional government.

The winners?




Friday, October 14, 2005

What The News Isn't Telling You About The Palestinians

I caught a fascinating report from Fox's Jennifer Griffin on Special Report with Britt Hume Tuesday evening, but as Fox does not often post the raw report on their sites, I could only find few blurbs (here and here) that just about tell the story as accurately as Griffin did.

But the gist is this: The Palestinians don't get along with one another, and Hamas is at odds with the ruling authority, to the extent that violence is erupting among the Palestinians themselves. Hamas will not disarm or refrain from public displays of weapons as ordered by Abbas, and it seems that Hamas has no problem attacking and killing Palestinian police. Hamas wants to replace the Palestinian authority with itself. So in a Frankenstinian twist, the monsters the Palestinians created--several groups of terrorists designed to advance the political aims of the PLO under Yasser Arafat and the corrupt toadies who did his dirty work while he washed the blood off of his hands to sign agreements which he did not intend to keep--have turned on their masters and even their own people and are now actually destroying any possibility of Palestinian statehood.

And you won't find that on the front pages of any of the MSM reporting. Because after years of standing up for the Palestinians rights to commit acts of terror on Israel, reporting that they are killing their own just breaks apart the whole image of righteousness that they have spent decades cultivating for this terrorist-led society.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Media's Misplaced Glee Is Nothing New

John Hinderaker has a typically excellent post at Powerline regarding a moronic article by Howard Fineman at Newsweek. Read the whole thing. It brings a refreshing wash of fact over what is a remarkably substandard bit of writing that is nonetheless a fairly accurate indicator of what the left is thinking.

John makes a decent point when he says:

The reality is that the Republican base is holding remarkably firm, in the face of a media onslaught against the Bush administration that has no parallel in modern history...

I would tend to agree with that conclusion to the point that I think that the negative coverage of Bush today is almost exactly as bad as it was this time last year, preparing to go into a very close election, with the media trying to do John Kerry any favor it could to get him some extra points in the Midwest states.

But as with everything else, history has its parallels.

Does anyone recall the fall of 1998/beginning of 1999? Bill Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives in December 1998 and tried in the Senate in February 1999. For the entire time when Clinton fought for his presidency, the mainstream media was there shielding him and attacking the House Managers who prosecuted the case in the Senate. From media coverage attacking the managers and calling the impeachment "sexual McCarthyism", to Hollywood putting together an episode of Law and Order where the writers constructed a straw man scenario that fit the image of the scandal they wished to project, with Jack McCoy asking "have you no shame?!" of an investigator who was going after the Clinton alter ego. All very transparent efforts to defend a politician of whom they personally approved.

The media-left has been on the warpath since at least that long, and probably as early as 1995 after Republicans retook the Congress. I think that their efforts are coming from an increasingly painful realization that their relevance is waning in America, and that they are unwilling to consider that their vision for America conflicts greatly with that of a vast majority of Americans. And any cyclical hiccup for Bush is a reason to take joy.

But such hope is historically chimerical, and the celebration generated from it is typically short lived. Let them have their fun. Being consistently and painfully wrong has its consequences.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Do Conservatives Trust Bush?

Capt. Ed Morrissey's remarks on Harriet Miers are well placed, insofar as the White House has given us nothing by which to gauge her. But I disagree that her nomination is a broken promise by the President. Rather, it is one that conservatives cannot readily verify.

And that opens an interesting question: With all of this desire to vet the nominee for ourselves, did conservatives trust Bush in the first place?

Both the 2000 and 2004 campaigns were concerned with the judiciary, and for good reason. Leftist activist judges have been enacting through opinions the ACLU-left's agenda. It was clear to all that the stakes were and remain high. Either our government of laws loses all integrity as our foundational document loses its meaning with each swipe of the pen of a liberal judge, or we staff the benches of our federal courts with men and women who will apply, not recast the laws of our land.

Bush knows this better than anyone. He saw his father get burned by a judge who turned out to be a liberal sleeper. He saw Reagan have to settle for the increasingly troubling Anthony Kennedy when he tried to appoint Robert Bork. He watched Bill Clinton appoint an ACLU attorney, and he watched the entire court deliberate over whether Al Gore's standardless recount plan in Florida was fair. His understanding of the gravity of this appointment is clear.

And while it gives one pause to think that Harry Reid somehow found this nominee acceptable, we need to look at the bigger picture.

As Newt Gingrich noted, Bush has been true to every campaign promise he made, and even to promises made outside the campaign. He promised to cut taxes and did. He promised to chase down terrorists after 9/11 and did. He promised to invade Afghanistan if it did not turn over Osama bin Laden, and when they refused, he did. He promised to attack Iraq if Saddam and his sons did not step down, and if access to their weapons programs was not given, and he did. He promised education reform, and passed a bill that caused public schools to finally adhere to minimum standards, imposing penalties if they don't.

And he promised conservative originalist judges like Scalia and Thomas. And he delivered Roberts, a known conservative. Notwithstanding the evaluation by Morrissey which I felt was a more than a bit unfair to Roberts, he is the right man for the job. Granted, his paper trail was thin, but that may have made him more attractive to Bush. An impeccable professional record and very few controversial rulings made him an attractive nominee, leaving the Democrats with few issues of substance upon which to base a reasonable opposition to his nomination. In the end, he was easily confirmed.

And Miers will be too. At this point, given that Karl Rove made the mistake of talking to James Dobson who tipped the Administration's hand that Miers is a sleeper conservative whom the left would find unacceptable, Bush's quiet strategy may be becoming a bit clearer.

I have argued that perhaps Miers is a reliable conservative whom the Harry Reid and the Democrats have underestimated given various factors, chief among which is her previous Democratic party identification and a 1988 donation to then-conservative Democrat Senator Al Gore.

But the bigger plan may be to do just the opposite as Morrissey concludes. I believe that Bush may be out to divide the Democrats from their constituents.

As noted above, while conservatives want judges who will simply apply the laws on the books, to the left the courts are all they have to advance their political agenda. And when Miers is confirmed and turns out to be a bedfellow of Scalia, Thomas, and yes, Roberts, the Democrats will be in serious trouble come 2006 and 2008. Because after having filibustered a number of Bush's appeals court judges for years, at the most crucial moment, they will have allowed two pro-life and very conservative individuals be appointed to the Supreme Court in a walk, thus risking the viability of, Roe v. Wade. These far left activists will regard the Democrats' failure to put up anything more than a token opposition as a betrayal. And it will more likely be the left and their checkbooks who do not participate next November.

But if we don't trust the President who has been trustworthy thus far, to do what he thinks is best on an issue which we know he takes very seriously, what does that say about us and the confidence we claimed we had in him over the past five years?

Terrorists Are Counting On the Left

If you support a cut and run strategy in Iraq, you may be comforted to know that you are on the same side as the terrorists.

Read the whole thing. They know that the media is the key to the battle, and there are some fatherly bits of wisdom as to how to conduct a proper terror campaign. Who ever said extremist killers didn't have a soft side?

In any case, for the more stupid, I reviewed the letter which provides a few insights. Zawahiri gets the fact (which the left does not) that his movement is not a local grass-roots movement, but rather a foreign interloper movement:
And it doesn't appear that the Mujahedeen, much less the al-Qaida in the Land of Two Rivers, will lay claim to governance without the Iraqi people.

But his remarks about the Taliban, the type of society he intends to impose on the Iraqis, absent Coalition intervention are particularly revealing, especially given his apparent tacit admission of affiliation with that gang:
We don't want to repeat the mistake of the Taliban, who restricted participation in governance to the students and the people of Qandahar alone. They did not have any representation for the Afghan people in their ruling regime, so the result was that the Afghan people disengaged themselves from them. Even devout ones took the stance of the spectator and, when the invasion came, the amirate collapsed in days, because the people were either passive or hostile. Even the students themselves had a stronger affiliation to their tribes and their villages than their affiliation to the Islamic amirate or the Taliban movement or the responsible party in charge of each one of them in his place. Each of them retreated to his village and his tribe, where his affiliation was stronger!!

He wants to be come more popularly acceptable, and even discourages the use of the kind of public violence and torture that have been Zarqawi's hallmarks (Nick Berg...), because the people generally don't like to line up behind violent murderers with bloodstained hands. Go figure.

But to the left, I encourage you...be a little smarter than the terrorists. Because only stupid people believe that they have a benevolent purpose, that they have a popular following, and that our actions in Iraq have raised up indiginous terrorist groups. As I recall, Nazi affiliation strangely diminished as the allies got closer to Berlin. But if you don't believe me, check the nationality of the terrorists you love. I'll get you started: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of the foreign terrorist movement is Jordanian.

Quashing the Indictment

Fox News has a post of Tom DeLay's motion to quash the indictment against him, based upon Ronnie Earle's several violations of the laws governing prosecutors and grand juries. And here's the letter which DeLay's attorney sent to Ronnie Earle, asking for his deposition. The letter could be a bit of a miscue, as it gives Earle time to consider his answers before his deposition is ultimately taken. But perhaps the strategy is to get a panicked Earle to drop his charges. Interestingly, check the footnote at the bottom of the brief for a clue as to what may be coming for our quixotic prosecutor.

Notwithstanding that, a politically-motivated prosecutor (if you doubt me on it, check this and this for some flavor) has much to fear from this latest development. As I posted below, this kind of thing could likely cost Earle his office, and worse yet for him, his license.

Which raises an interesting question: Once, Ronnie Earle, to make a stupid point, indicted himself (apparently without going blind) for a harmless one day late campaign finance filing. Will he indict himself again for what is appearing to be a significant violation of the law governing his duties as a prosecutor? Will he, on principle, step down temporarily as the prosecutor of DeLay's case? Will he resign his office and even surrender his license to practice if DeLay's allegations against him prove true?

Or will he go down as yet another Joe Wilson, Richard Clarke, or Dan Rather who put it all on the line in the name of liberalism and lost?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Malicious Prosecution

RealClearPolitics has an excellent review of the facts surrounding Ronnie Earle's indictment of Tom DeLay. In a nutshell, Earle has done a number of things that are no-nos in the legal community.

He took his facts to three different grand juries, having been rejected by one of them. He found a grand jury that would rubber stamp his effort to indict DeLay on specious charges. He didn't like what he saw with one grand jury, so he moved to another. And the Constitutionally confused John Birch Society members can hold their fire. This is not double jeopardy. He hadn't been charged yet, so therefore, there was no jeopardy to begin with. While certainly not illegal, and probably not violative of any rules governing professional conduct (which is not to say that it is not morally unethical), he did what we call "forum shopping." It indicates the weakness of Earle's case, and his deperation to tag his political opponent.

Also, per the RealClearPolitics piece, Earle has procured an indictement against DeLay for acts that, as alleged, were not illegal when they were alleged to have been done. Put another way, DeLay did nothing illegal. If he committed them today, he would certainly be in trouble. But DeLay, even though he is a Republican, still has some Constitutional rights, chief among them, those guaranteed by the 5th and 14th Amendments, guaranteeing him substantive and procedural due process rights, which protects one from ex post facto prosecutions. Laws cannot be made, nor can existing laws be twisted to allow for prosecutions of behavior that predated their enactment. We can't make laws to stick people after the fact. It's why Charles Manson did not go to the California gas chamber. Sentenced to death in 1971, the Supreme Court illegalized the death penalty the next year, granting Manson a life sentence. Therafter, in 1976 when the Court changed its mind on the death penalty, impliedly reserving it for murders only, Manson, a prime candidate, still skipped by, as his condition could not be made worse by the law. But Earle, being only too eager to ignore Mr. DeLay's rights has brought up the final issue which is indeed a problem for him.

Malicious prosecution or more generally, prosecutorial misconduct, is a simple term that means that a prosecutor may not prosecute someone whom they reasonably believe did not commit the charged offenses. Prosecutors who use their power to intimidate those who have not committed crimes can be disciplined by the Bar of their state, and depending upon the degree of abuse, deprived of their licenses to practice law.

To be fair, it is one thing for a prosecutor to know that there are holes in his/her case. It is quite another for the prosecutor to target someone whom they reasonably believe did not commit an illegal act, and it is even worse if done to further an objective other than enforcement of the law.

And while I am no fan of some of Tom DeLay's fund raising tactics, the Republicans owe him a debt of gratitude. DeLay has raised funds to keep Republicans in office and winning elections, and thereby has defended the Republican majority. If he committed proscribed acts--after laws making them illegal were passed, of course--then he deserves the penalty he gets.

But if this is what it seems, with Earle prosecuting a man for something that was not criminal when done, on top of his history of prosecuting other political opponents, it may be in the interests of justice to have Ronnie Earle reported to the Texas State Bar and deprived of his right to practice law, or at the very least, removed from his office as a prosecutor.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Conservatives: Stop Being Brats

Drudge has links to two opposing pieces on Harriet Miers: One from Newt Gingrich and one from Charles Krauthammer. And I find Newt's reasoning more compelling than that of Krauthammer, whom I nonetheless deeply respect.

And I'll say again, Luttig or McConnell would have been superior appointments. But as I've said before here and here, Bush may have more going on that just a Supreme Court appointment. He may be out to alienate the Dems from their constituents as a result of their failure to oppose the nominations of two nominees who will very likely turn out to be doctrinaire conservatives to the Supreme Court.

But if Newt writes a piece like he did, putting his reputation on the line, I think he knows about the same thing Bush does. He believes that Bush is as good as his word, which he always has been. And after the business with Mike Brown at FEMA, he is very sensitive to the "crony" accusation, and aware of how his actions might be perceived. He will not make the same mistake twice.

And conservatives' protestations notwithstanding, Bush has a right to pick whomever he wants for the Court, consistent with the promises he has made over the past five years. And while many have said that this opposition has an elitist tone to it, because Miers's education and lack of federal court experience is often cited, I think it has more of a bratty tone.

We certainly do have a right to the kind of nominee that Bush promised. But we don't have any right to demand that the president pick someone pre-approved by us. She will be examined by the Senate--both sides to be sure--and we will find out probably very little about her. And these comments by Ruth Bader Ginsburg (scroll to the bottom) indicate that we will likely learn little more of her than we do now in those hearings. And while that is emotionally unsatisfying, it is life. Just as Bush need not kowtow to the leftist Democratic Senate Caucus when making his nominations, he need not do it us.

But, much like Newt Gingrich, I stand by my prediction that it's the Dems who have the real surprise coming. Let's not create more trouble than we need to be demanding satisfaction from the president we have trusted for the past 5 years.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Don't Go Breakin' My Heart

It seems the conservative consternation over Harriet Miers isn't going away. And past hurts, the greatest of which are named Souter, Stevens, and to a smaller degree, Kennedy, are foremost on their minds. They've been hurt before, and their hearts can't take another let down. And I'm not in the mood for one either.

The Washington Post reports on a few fairly ugly exchanges between conservative leaders and Ken Mehlman and Ed Gillespie.

I hear Bush on the "trust me", because that's all I can do, short of having him ask her the litmus-test questions. Of course, Bush could pull her nomination altogether, causing people to lose confidence in him (and thereby political ammo), replacing her with a very qualified conservative originalist, just in time for a firefight with the Senate minority. Not to mention the fact that it would be very easy for the Senate Dems to declare that the pulling of the nomination was the result of pressure from the "far right", and that the replacement would have been hand picked by (insert name of disfavored conservative activist here).

We are in a position of sitting and waiting. To pull back is to signify weakness. To demand answers on specific matters is to give the Senate Dems free information on Miers that may actually change their minds if she is the sleeper conservative that I am beginning to believe her to be.

I've said this before, but it bears repeating:

I would have loved Luttig or McConnell, but they would have generated a bitter fight. Remember, Bush is aware that any blowback from this nominee will likely begin while he remains in office, forever clouding his presidency and affecting the degree to which he could draw on conservative support for the remainder of his term. It's not that Bush fears a fight, but rather that if the Dems put one up, they have an excuse if Miers is confirmed by the Senate. But if radical Democrat voters and special interests, especially the ACLU, the abortion lobby and the gay lobby, see their Senators allowing two conservatives into the Supreme Court in two successive walks without anything more than a little hot air and a few "nay" votes, Bush wins twice. Most obviously, he puts another conservative on the bench, tilting the balance away from the left. But in a cruel twist, the Senate Dems will be accused of betraying their ideological constituents by allowing two unacceptably conservative judges past their watch, and shutting the court down to the left's agenda for at least a generation. Aside of the bone-chilling screams, checkbooks will close and voters will likely stay home in 2006 and 2008.

Friends, regard this as an investment.

I don't know what this gentle lady brings to the Court, but that is not our call. It is the prerogative of a President who has shown himself to be a very shrewd strategist to pick these people. And while I'd like a little more information, for now, we just have to trust that the President knows the gravity of this appointment and the disaster it can cause if this goes wrong, and that he is appointing someone who will strictly interpret the law.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

More on Miers

The RealClearPolitics take is interesting, disagreeing with the George Will column which many conservatives appeared to be latching on to this morning.

We still know nothing about Ms. Miers, other than Harry Reid likes her so far, and conservatives fear that she will be the ideological twin to David Souter based upon her lack of a paper trail.

But Reid cannot criticize her now, which may have hamstrung any attack which his party may lead. Granted, her credentials as a conservative Christian as Tom Bevan notes above are a typical target for the sleazier of the Dems, but such attacks are increasingly being seen for the bigotry they are. The left's hate for Christians seems to follow a pattern similar to the ideas held in central Europe in the early 1930s about another religious group who had fallen out of favor with the ruling socialists of that day. Their ideological counterparts of this day have just substituted the name of one faith for another. And it's still just as wrong.

And her politics of days gone by are a non-issue. Ignore her Democrat past. It is a red herring that Bush may be using to get her through the process. Texas is a different landscape when it comes to party affiliation, but lay that aside for a moment. The Republicans' biggest hero, Ronald Reagan, was a former Democrat. So was Peggy Noonan. So was a conservative like Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL). And one of the biggest pro-life names nowadays is this one. People change teams, and when it is a polar shift, people tend to stay converted.

And it's true for former Republicans too. John Anderson, a former Republican, ran as an independent in the 1980 general election for President. Both of the votes he got probably took away from Reagan. But after that, he descended into the pit of weirdness. I believe that John McCain (R-AZ) will likely follow a similar track into political obscurity, being denied the presidency and throwing a fit over it. But looking solely at Supreme Court Justices, Earl Warren, William Brennan, Harry Blackmun, John Paul Stevens, and David Souter, all listed as Republicans and appointed by Republican presidents, went left and reliably stayed there.

And while I am not thrilled with the initial impression I take from this judge, let's hold off for just a bit. Bush is not his father. He remembers what happened when his father worked with the Democrats on an economic package in 1991--it cost him a campaign promise and thus his presidency. And this Bush is well aware that his presidency will be marred if he appoints a dud justice in an environment where the Courts are the battleground for the culture wars. Reagan got away with appointing weak characters like O'Connor and Kennedy because the seriousness of appointments was not as clear then as it is now. Bush knows that the continued success of his judicial appointments will be a significant part of his legacy.

But perhaps Bush has set another trap for an overzealous Democratic Senate Caucus. If they somehow suggested that they would approve of Miers believing her to be a moderate, with Bush knowing quite differently, he may have jumped on an opportunity to surprise them. And if she turns out to be a bit more conservative than the Dems are comfortable with before her confirmation, they will have shot themselves in the foot with a cannon, unable to backtrack. And it's even worse if Justice Miers takes her tea with Scalia, Thomas and Roberts.

As I opined previously, we never would have thought even six months ago that we could see a Chief Justice nominee skate through the Senate. Nor would we expect it to happen a second time for an Associate Justice, but a nominee who comes across to the Dems as a "compromise" will most certainly scoot through. Pity for them if she ends up being a reliable originalist/conservative. It will have significant repercussions in 2006 when certain Dems go looking for campaign funds.

This Bush is patient and rather enjoys a good finish at the expense of the Democrats. He won't let the opportunity slip to cause them embarrassment after their behavior over the past five years if he can help it.

Miers and the Court

I've posted before about the pros and cons of the Supreme Court nomination of Harriett Miers. And I am most dismayed at posts from very reasonable people like this who are trashing this nomination before it gets off the ground.

I tend to agree a bit more with Capt. Ed's thoughts and those of Red State. But I find this post from David Frum at National Review Online to be positively frightening. The spine issue is a big one. I think it had something to do with Souter's, O'Connor's, and to some degree Kennedy's "growth" in office. One has to be able to stand up to the temptation that has regularly been present to "tweak" the law.

Frankly, I wish Bush hadn't nominated her either, as the point to these nominaitons is that the President can with confidence state that the person he is nominating is qualified for the job and will not run off with the left side of the court on a crusade to rewrite the laws to fit liberal political views (or conservative political views for that matter). But pulling her nomination now would make Bush look stupid, so he likely won't do that.

It should be very clear to my readers that I am a Christian foremost and then a conservative. But I must disagree with those who want a justice to move the court in any political direction other than neutral apoliticism. It gives me some emotional comfort to know that a judge is ardently pro-life, pro-defense (and anti-civil rights for terrorists), pro-free exercise of religion, and pro-everything else that I am, and will rule on cases that way. And Miers very well may be all of those things, but that does not make her a justice of integrity. It would make her a political hack (see Ginsburg, Breyer, Souter, Stevens, Brennan, Blackmun, Warren, and Marshall, for example). Those principles are very important, but without a certain basis in the Constitution, they have no place in the law, just as abortion, the legalization of sodomy, philosophy and the principles of foreign law, and the expansion of eminent domain powers for the taking of private property for another's private use have no place there either.

The law is what it is.

And to dispel the myth that Antonin Scalia is a right wing hack, I direct you to Texas v. Johnson, where Scalia, true to the original intent of the Framers, considered flag burning which was otherwise not associated with acts of violence to be political expression. And I probably would have voted with the majority as well, despite the fact that I find flag-burning to be a disgrace and the act of America-haters. Regardless of feelings, the law is the law. It's just that the left hates Scalia and Thomas because they are both conservatives, and because they will not permit the Supreme Court to expand the federal reach beyond the Tenth Amendment or to become a third legislative chamber for the legalization of the leftist agenda.

That's why the left says that these justices are extreme: Scalia and Thomas have the audacity to disagree with the orthodox left, and use their influence to ensure that the intent of the framers as laid out in the Constitution is carried out, namely that there be but one lawmaking body (and to the hopelessly confused yes, that is the Congress, not the Courts) accountable to the people, rather than a Star Chamber court accountable to nobody.

Hopefully Harriett Miers agrees with that. Because if she doesn't, Bush, who claimed to understand the significance of this appointment when he was running for office will have blown his biggest campaign promise.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Judith Miller - Protecting Republicans

And if you believe that...

Judith Miller finally got to walk after she talked to a grand jury about a potential leak in the Valerie Plame case. She felt free to speak after Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff, agreed to waive his privilege with her for a second time. So she testified about nothing the grand jury didn't already know and was a free woman. But if anyone believes that the New York Times reporter was protecting confidentiality with a high level member of the Bush Administration, they need to check themselves into the Betty Ford Clinic immediately.

John Hinderaker offers this opinion from the Weekly Standard. In a nutshell, Scooter Libby's waiver was somehow insufficient to allow Judith Miller to remain free, and was a sufficient pretext to cover a more serious issue, namely the fact that in December 2001, Miller may have had an FBI source that clued her in to an impending FBI raid on an organization that ran a charity as a front for funding Islamist terror, which Miller kindly passed on to the organization, giving them time to clean up their act. Her tipping off was a crime the prosecution for which may have been bargained away by giving the name of the FBI source through her attorney.

But there is no way that Miller did three months in jail to protect a member of the Bush administration whose waiver she somehow found insufficient.

Yes, I smell the fish too.

Miers approved by Reid?

I have no problem with the President meeting with Democrat Senators to discuss his nominees, but only with the understanding that he's doing it as part of a formalistic checklist, as opposed to a meeting to come to a (suppress gag) consensus nominee.

And the less I know about this person, the more concerned I become. She has pro-life credentials, which is nice, but my readers should know that I am not concerned about one's political beliefs if I am convinced that those beliefs are left in the car on the way in to the Court. I want a justice who will strictly apply the law and apply law with the original intent of the drafters, not with a meaning that might be read into the text of a law.

Yesterday's post linking to World Magazine's very informative blog was helpful. Her job as a contract drafter is helpful, as contracts tends to be an area of the law that tends much more to that which is "cut and dried" as opposed to artful interpretation.

And her role as a Democrat donating to Al Gore in 1988 gives me little pause. Texas was one of the last Democrat holdouts in the south, and home to some of the most conservative Democrats, like Phil Gramm who later became a Republican. And remember, Zell Miller (D-GA) was a Democrat too. And Al Gore was not in 1988 the populist leftist that he later became. He started as a pro-life congressman from Tennessee, whose father, a former Tennessee Senator as well, was pro-Vietnam, costing him his seat. Al got elected to the Senate, and was a fairly moderate guy. His wife Tipper fought the entertainment industry for producing profane albums, movies and shows, costing him some support in the 2000 primaries. He only turned nutty early in the 1990s, and went overboard by 2000. Earth in the Balance (1992) was probably the watershed moment.

But I am uncomfortable with just how similar the comparisons are to David Souter. But a few valid points have been uttered by others that bear repeating here about the differences between Souter and Miers.

Souter was an unknown quality from New Hampshire. Bush accepted Souter's credentials based upon recommendations from John Sununu, his chief of staff from New Hampshire, and then-Sen. Warren Rudman (R-NH), a Republican in the Chafee tradition. The runup to his hearings and eventual confirmation involved him being asked the abortion question, stating to the press "In a word, no." Which led the Guy Smiley Senator, Joe Biden (D-DE) to say that he couldn't vote for anyone who was not wedded to the idea of terminating unborn children. The comparisons of Souter to Robert Bork were equally encouraging to Republicans/frightening to Democrats. If only we knew...

Of course, the mystery of Miers now has conservatives scared, especially given the fact that Harry Reid (D-NV) is supporting this nomination. Is he stupid or does he know something we and Bush don't? Of encouragement, though, Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is troubled by her nomination. If we can get another intelligent Democratic Senator on the Judiciary Committee to oppose her (Kennedy, Durbin, Biden and Leahy don't count--they're partisan fools), like Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) or Russ Feingold (D-WI) (but I'd discount Feinstein's disapproval just a bit, as she's up for reelection, although to a fairly safe seat. This won't kill her.). It's unlikely, though, as neither of these Senators are much for grandstanding.

But as has been mentioned, Miers is known to Bush personally. She is loyal to him. She has an impressive set of legal credentials on the Texas level. She is certainly no lightweight. And she is a devout Christian. But to me, those things are window dressing. They don't tell me how she will treat the law. Michael Luttig's record would tell me just how safe an option he is, as would Michael McConnell's. Which, in Bush's mind made them liabilities--along with their gender. Because there was a push for a woman, which may have made things worse.

I disagree with the notion that we must have a multi-ethnic and diverse judiciary. Who cares what color or gender the justices are, so long as they faithfully interpret the Constitution from an originalist point of view, and avoid political activism of any stripe. If you have those things, you won't have to worry if a justice is left right or center, because you almost certainly won't get any future Roes, Lawrences, Ropers or Kelos because an originalist does not feel it to be his or her place to add to the law as these cases did, leaving it to the people's elected representatives to make those decisions.

But focusing on a candidate's attributes that have no bearing on her quality as a jurist tends to select people in spite of their qualifications, rather than as a result of them. There is no rule stating that we must replace a woman with a woman, or minority with minority, although this has been the practice.

Bottom line, Bush needed a stronger pick. He has always behaved as if he had no excuses to make for using the executive power. This seems so far to be an unfortunate compromise. We'll see.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Delay - This Is Serious

I wondered when some bright mind would wake up and charge Delay with laundering. And here we go.

The Ronnie Earle conspiracy charge is complete silliness and a waste of taxpayer money. But if the laundering charge is true, it's real trouble. This is perhaps the easiest allegation to understand. It is alleged that DeLay received corporate money for TRMPAC, sent it to the RNC, which returned the funds to TRMPAC, which then sent the money to Texas candidates for office. The problem is that corporations can't donate to the campaigns of candidates in Texas, but the national party can. If Delay has his prints on the checks, or the transactions happened at his orders, there are indeed problems in store.

I'm Praying She's Luttig in a Dress

Harriett Miers. We know nothing about her. Yes, this raises the Souter concern.

I trust Bush to pick a serious strict constructionist, not just someone who appears to be that way. And he knows the importance of the appointment. I just pray he's not hedging to get her in easy. She looks pretty safe for confirmation, as a number of Democrats may have indicated that they feel she is fit. But that's just the concern.

These Dems want carbon copies of themselves. And it worries me a bit if we have someone that they like. But Ms. Miers is known personally to Bush. And perhaps he knows something they don't.

Which would be a good thing, as we know nothing.

ADDENDUM:

Via Hugh Hewitt comes this very helpful series of posts from World Magazine. Miers is a born-again Christian. Certain to upset the Kennedys and Schumers, but does it translate into a conservative/originalist position?

Very hard to say.