October 31, 2005

Thank You, Mr. President

I always thought Sam Alito would be a good pick but as I read through everything written about him, the more LOVE his pick. And the icing on the cake is the reax on the Left. Their heads are exploding!!!

Decision '08 has a list of the top ten posts at Daily Kos. Very amusing to see them losing it.

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The Confirm Alito Coalition

Well, there are a lot of choices that would have been just as good, but very few that would have been better. Samuel Alito is an excellent pick that will so unite Republicans that it'll be like like the last four weeks never happened.

Frankly, I'm tickled over it.

And I'm signing up for the "Confirm Alito Coalition" over at Blogs For Bush!

alito_200.jpg

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Trick Or Treat?

Hah! Major treat for Conservatives! The word is that the President Bush is naming Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court! Formal announcement to come at 8:00am.

Erick at RedState.org called it yesterday (actually he's been talking about it since Friday). What's even better, he points out that there are 19 Democrat Senators currently still in office that voted in favor of Alito for his elevation to the Circuit Court in 1990. Can't wait to hear the squirming from the likes of Senators Kennedy, Biden and Leahy who thought he was just fine fifteen years ago. Heh.

The verdict from Democrats and Liberal interest groups will definitely be: Scary!!

Happy Halloween!! This should be fun.

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October 28, 2005

A Let-Down For Libs

There aren't too many details at this time. But it looks like one idictment for Scooter Libby, with five counts: obstuction of justice, perjury (2), making false statements (2). None of the indictments relate to an "outing" of a CIA operative. It appears neither Libby nor anyone else in the administration was deemed to have "outed" Valerie Plame. Did anyone, technically speaking? Who knows? We certainly don't know who Robert Novak's source it yet.

The indictments have to do with the investigation. And while we don't have Libby's side of the story, Fitzpatrick deemed that the answers he gave had the appearance of being intentionally misleading. Libby has officially resigned and no doubt will have his day in court.

Legally, I can't really comment on the indictments as I don't speak legalese. I need to look at the analysis of others. There are still a lot of unanswered questions here.

Politically, while this isn't a great outcome for the administration it's basically a big goose-egg for the Democrats and others on the left when compared to the hopes and dreams they had of perp walks, handcuffs, jackets over the head...and oh yes Karl Rove.

The fact is, if you were to ask your co-workers who Scooter Libby is, very few would know. In fact, I guaranty at least one of them would answer: the orange muppet with the google-eyed glasses. Hell, most people don't even know who Karl Rove is but they may have at least heard the name before.

Anyway, we need to wait and see how this plays out to accurately gage the fallout but if I was a Rove-hating Liberal today, I'd be pretty disappointed.

UPDATE: 2:55pm
Listened to the press conference. Here's my take-away:
1) Neither Libby nor Rove nor anyone else knowingly or intentionally "outed" Valerie Plame.
2) Someone's statements or actions did lead to Plame being "outed". Exactly who that person is has not been revealed and that person is not being charged with any crime
3) Prior to Libby's testimony, there was no crime committed. Libby committed a "crime" by saying he first learned of Plame's investigation on a certain date and they have testimony that he in fact knew and said so prior to that. It's this false testimony that "obstructed" the investigation and that is a crime under the rules of a grand jury investigation.

So the ideas that 1) the revelation of Plame's identity was something the White House did to "get back" at Joe Wilson and 2) that this can be extrapolated to a scenario that the whole WMD charge was fabricated by the White House as a justification to got to war in Iraq are completely out the window.

More analysis as this percolates.

UPDATE II: 3:55pm
One thing that I can't quite figure out. By "outing" a CIA operative, you're not saying they worked for the CIA, you're revealing that they were operating "covertly" for the CIA. Near as I can tell, Libby (or any one else, including the reporters) never said or is reported to have said that Plame was a "covert" agent. When asked by a reporter at the presser, Fitzgerald would not say whether or not Plame was, in fact, classified as a "covert" agent.

So was she really, then? I'll have to do some searching around about that.

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October 27, 2005

Preferred SCOTUS Nominee Quiz (Updated!)

I took this quiz on September 29th (almost exactly one month ago) and I got Karen Williams back then, too. I wanted to take it again to see if my answers were any different after the whole Miers mess. Strangely enough, I thought they were when I answered them.

JUDGE KAREN WILLIAMS
JUDGE KAREN WILLIAMS
U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, appointed by
G.H.W. Bush, 54 years old
Lots of recent buzz for Judge Williams, known best
in constitutional law circles for writing the
opinion that said the Miranda warnings are not
constitutional requirements. The Supreme Court
reversed her. If you can't beat em, join em!


New World Man presents: My favorite candidate for the Supreme Court
brought to you by Quizilla

Note: There are sixteen possible results (you have to take the quiz here in order to view them). Thus far Priscilla Owens leads with 26%, Karen Williams is second with 19% and Edith Jones is third with 18%. Harriet Miers is one of the sixteen - with 0% (17 votes).

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Miers Withdraws

Whew. Less than twenty-four hours after my post officially opposing this nomination, Harriet Miers apparently was convinced enough by my persuasive arguments to withdraw her nomination. Seriously, though. It doesn't come a moment too soon.

Michelle Malkin's feelings echo mine (and probably most of the blogosphere):

What a relief. Sad, pensive, what-a-waste relief. Not happy-joy-joy relief.
There will be those on the Right who will be more than relieved. They'll be gloating. Cut that shit out right now! It's time to unite again for a new nominee.

I'm sure the President is angry right now. I hope he takes some time to cool off. This is no time to be playing games by throwing in Alberto Gonzales' name. He needs to pick a tried and true Conservative, originalist, strict constructionist nominee who will make mincemeat out of their opposition. Man, woman, white, black, hispanic...whatever. If the pick is any one that was on the wishboards prior to him picking Miers, Republicans will come together and fight hard. They need to, because so will the Democrats.

I predict that this time next month, Liberals will be kicking themselves that they didn't get Miers.

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October 26, 2005

Uncle!

Color me thoroughly pissed off at this point on the Miers confirmation. I have been a staunch supporter of waiting for hearings before taking a formal position on her nomination. It has been over three weeks since the President made the announcement. I've gone from bewilderment to concern to dismay to digust. I've even tried to come up with rationalizations about things we don't know that would mitigate all the uncertainty.

Back on the 14th I believed that a withdrawal would be an unmitigated disaster. Since then it has become an even bigger disaster. During that time we've become familiar with things that Harriet Miers has written, statements she has made, organizations to which she has belonged and scrutinized everything she has done over the last twenty years or so. Senators who have interviewed her (including some of the President's biggest supporters) are thus far unimpressed.

I would only support this nomination if I can be assured that Miers is a solid pick. Considering what we know at this point, I can't imagine what kind of answers to even the most intelligent and fair questions that she could give at a judiciary hearing that would convince me to support her. I'm sure she's a swell gal and Bush trusts her as much as anyone. But that's not enough.

My sentiments echo those of Edward Whelen today in NRO's The Corner:

I have tried hard to give the White House and Harriet Miers the benefit of the doubt on her nomination and to withhold judgment. But I can no longer do so. The damage from this disastrous selection has gotten worse and worse every day, and there is every reason to think that it will continue to compound.
Mr. President, please swallow your pride and withdraw her name. This needs to end now.

Though I've resisted thus far, I will go on record over at N.Z. Bear.

I oppose the Miers nomination.

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October 21, 2005

Another Miers Post: Sorry, I Couldn't Resist

Back on Monday, I posted a whacky theory on this nomination. Today, Jonah Goldberg posts a snippet of an email he received:

I can’t believe everybody is missing the real story here. Bush doesn’t want Harriett Miers on the Supreme Court – he wants McConnell or Luttig. But he knew that, after Roberts, he couldn’t just send up another white guy, especially for O’Connor’s seat. So he sends up an obviously unqualified woman, knowing that she’ll generate intense opposition from both sides. And here’s where the subtlety kicks in – because her lack of qualifications are so apparent, he knows that the attack against her will be something like, “This is THE SUPREME COURT we’re talking about!!! Quality is what matters! Look at Roberts, he could recite from memory every constitutional case since Marbury v. Madison, and has probably written law review articles about the friggin’ THIRD amendment. How can we settle for anyone less?” So after Miers is forced to withdraw or voted down, Bush comes back with McConnell or Luttig, and says, “OK, you convinced me. I tried the quota thing, but you said it was too important. So I’ve decided just to go with the most qualified person out there.” And for good measure, he might throw in something like, “I’d like to thank my good buddies Chuck Schumer and Pat Leahy for pointing out my error. I couldn’t have done it without you fellas.”

Geez, the man is brilliant.

So it seems I'm not the only lunatic who's considered something like this. Ah, if only.

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Miers Nomination Going Down Like Monica Lewinsky

Sigh. Well, I was hoping for the best - some pleasant surprise, some information that those outside the White House weren't privy too, maybe even just a performance at the hearings that showed a solid, if unspectacular, nominee. As I said, I was hoping. But with every passing day, this nomination is looking more and more like a collossal blunder.

Yeah, I'm going to get a lot of "we told you so"s. But I'd rather come to my own conclusions based on as much information as possible. And the President must shoulder the blame for this fiasco. One day someone (perhaps several folks) will write a book and we'll get a first hand look into how this turned out so badly. But for now, it looks like the White House is standing its ground and we'll have to ride this one out. Unfortunately, it'll probably only get worse.

Byron York writes in NRO about what people close to the process are saying, and the mood right now is pretty pessimistic.

"It's been a gradual descent into almost silence," says a second source of the calls. "The meetings with the senators are going terribly. On a scale of one to 100, they are in negative territory. The thought now is that they have to end....Obviously the smart thing to do would be to withdraw the nomination and have a do-over as soon as possible. But the White House is so irrational that who knows? As of this morning, there is a sort of pig-headed resolve to press forward, cancel the meetings with senators if necessary, and bone up for the hearings."
It's a shame, really. However, now is not the time to keep piling on. The media are having too much fun with this and we don't need to be giving them more grist for the mill.

If the White House is going to move forward, then it's up to the Senators - on both sides of the aisle - to come to their own conclusions. Personally I don't see Miers' nomination surviving out of committee.

So unless something significant happens between now and then, I for one am going to step back and withhold comment. I think this process will be less painful if others do the same.

Update: 10:08am
Krauthammer sees a "face-saving" way out of this mess.

We need an exit strategy from this debacle. I have it.

Sen. Lindsey Graham has been a staunch and public supporter of this nominee. Yet on Wednesday he joined Brownback in demanding privileged documents from Miers's White House tenure.

Finally, a way out: irreconcilable differences over documents.

For a nominee who, unlike John Roberts, has practically no record on constitutional issues, such documentation is essential for the Senate to judge her thinking and legal acumen. But there is no way that any president would release this kind of information -- "policy documents" and "legal analysis" -- from such a close confidante. It would forever undermine the ability of any president to get unguarded advice.

That creates a classic conflict, not of personality, not of competence, not of ideology, but of simple constitutional prerogatives: The Senate cannot confirm her unless it has this information. And the White House cannot allow release of this information lest it jeopardize executive privilege.

Hence the perfectly honorable way to solve the conundrum: Miers withdraws out of respect for both the Senate and the executive's prerogatives, the Senate expresses appreciation for this gracious acknowledgment of its needs and responsibilities, and the White House accepts her decision with the deepest regret and with gratitude for Miers's putting preservation of executive prerogative above personal ambition.

Could it be that simple?

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October 17, 2005

Crazy Miers Theory #642...

Here's another whacky idea. Let's say the White House planned everything that's happened to date on the Harriet Miers nomination. To accept this premise you have to believe that Bush nominated a candidate that he knew most Conservatives would find unacceptable despite personally attesting to the fact that she is a "conservative" and personally against cases like Roe. John Hinderaker of Powerline points out that this last bit of information will unify Democrat opposition to her.

Stay with me here... more...

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Preserving The Constitution Is The Real Goal

A lot of people in the media are framing the Miers debate is terms of Pro-Life forces versus Pro-Choice forces, mostly because the abortion issue has become one of the most contentious between Conservatives and Liberals. But the bigger picture here is the circumstances that led to Roe v. Wade, which goes beyond the issue itself. more...

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October 14, 2005

Some Conservatives Calling For Miers Withdrawal

An article in the Wash Times quote several prominent Conservatives in both Washington and among the punditry who are now emboldened enough to call for President Bush to rescind Harriet Miers nomination. While I will admit that if Miers withdrew her own name, the political firestorm would be quelled somewhat and her critics perhaps satisfied, for the President to pull the nomination would be an unmitigated disaster.

1) The media would paint the President - and by extension, the Republican party - as beholden to a fringe, extreme Right-Wing element who "pulls the strings" of the GOP. This impression will take root with the great numbers of voters who really aren't paying all that much attention to this matter. It will only serve to reinforce a stereotype of the Republican party that the Left and their media enablers will use to their advantage in 2006 and 2008, by scaring off moderate/independent voters.

2) The Democrats would interpret this move as a sign of weakness on Bush's part and be emboldened to ratchet up the "borking" of any replacement nominee, no matter who it is. The bloody battle that the President may have been trying to avoid would only be intensified. If Bush has damaged the relationship with his own base, why should Democrats not kick him when he's down?

3) It's just not right. Miers deserves a hearing even if it already seems like there is nothing she could say to undo the damage done by the attacks on her, compounded by the White House's lame defense of her. Conservatives rail at Liberals for treating Republican nominees unfairly. How can they be equally unfair without being hypocritical?

In the article, Leonard Leo reminds us of the lack of leadership and conviction demonstrated by the GOP-controlled Senate last May:

"I find it highly ironic that many of the same conservatives criticizing the president's nominee were nowhere to be found when it came time to pull the trigger on filibuster reform," said Mr. Leo, adding that he wholeheartedly supports the Miers nomination. "If I'm the president, I wouldn't have a high level of confidence that my boys in the Senate can get the job done."
Rather than dodge the controversy by encouraging the President to kill the nomination now, I challenge the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee to give Miers her chance to make her case. If she fails, they are free to vote "no" and Bush will send another nomination. But considering the shenanigans that resulted in their failure to pass filibuster reform, why should they be let off the hook on this one? It's time they showed some leadership and courage to meet their responsibilities. Bush did his job, they have a nominee. Now they need to do theirs.

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October 13, 2005

The Way It Could Have Gone Down

Considering the information in the last post, it's really hard to gage where this nomination stands. But I wanted to present a quote from Fred Barnes' latest in The Weekly Standard. True, President Bush bears some responsibility for "misunderestimating" the reaction of his base with this nomination. But that reaction, while understandable, has been more than a little unfair. As Barnes explains:

Bush supporters who were angry over Miers should have waited. That's the bottom line. Rather than bellow that Miers isn't qualified and won't turn the Court to the right, they should have given her a chance to prove her conservatism at the hearings. They owed Bush at least that much. Of course it's not too late for Miers, in her testimony, to change their minds. But my fear is that the rift the Miers nomination opened between Bush and his (mostly conservative) followers will be slow to heal. It shouldn't have been this way.
While I have never said that I definitely believe Miers should be confirmed, I have argued strongly that she should at least be given the benefit of a hearing. If after that time, her opponents are still adamantly against her I'll likely join them. But the overall reaction combined with the way it's been handled by the White House has made me wonder if having Harriet Miers withdraw her nomination wouldn't be the least painful course for this process to take. It's a shame that I feel that way, but I do.

UPDATE: 4:00pm
If Miers does withdraw, it will be interesting to read the reaction of some of the most vocal opponents.

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Miers Testimony: The Other Shoe Drops?

Drudge is breaking news of testimony given by Harriet Miers that she considers the Federalist Society "politcally charged" but not the NAACP. And that she once belonged to the Liberal "Democratic Progressive Voters League".

It's getting ugly out there.

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October 12, 2005

Rove To Dobson: Some Candidates Took Themselves Out Of The Running

The Washington Times is reporting that James Dobson, of Focus on the Family, is revealing the "sooper sekret" things that Karl Rove told him about Harriet Miers. Here's the most significant:

"Well, what Karl told me is that some of those individuals took themselves off that list," he said, according to a transcript obtained last night. "They would not allow their names to be considered because the process has become so vicious and so vitriolic and so bitter that they didn't want to subject themselves or the members of their families to it."
It probably didn't help that they had good reason to believe that the seven GOP members of the "Gang of 14" in the Senate wouldn't have stood up for them.

Nice. If this is true then it sheds a little bit of light on this situation.

Update: 10:00am
AJStrata noticed this same juicy bit and weighes in.

Folks, if this is true there are going to be some really red faces on the Hill, at NRO and at Redstate. If they went out on a political lynching because their heros decided not to get pummeled - instead pummeling George and Laura plus Harriet - then those of us who were being cautious will be completely vindicated. I had heard or read somewhere the Janice Rogers Brown, my preferred nominee, had declined since she had just been through the brutal confirmation process and had no interest to drag her family through it again. I doubt she is looking kindly on the anti-Miers crowd right now.
I've seen many of the Big names in the 'sphere look at this Washington Times story and all they seem to be focusing on from Dobson's comments is that Rove told him Bush was looking for a female replacement for O'Connor. They are strangely silent on this other point (about judges opting out of consideration). Although it shouldn't come as any real surprise since many of them would look foolish if this turns out to be the case.

Update II: 1:15pm
It is true, White House confirms.

"the White House acknowledged that some of the people the president considered for the seat of retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor didn't want to go through the grueling confirmation process, and asked that their names be withdrawn."

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October 10, 2005

The Miers Debate

At the risk of seeming stuck on this one topic, I wanted to post this excellent site that lays out every single argument for and against Harriet Miers including the sources of most of them. They're even broken down into "solid" arguments and "questionable" arguments.

If you're inclined to invest the time, be advised that both lists are extensive.

Thanks to Hugh Hewitt for featuring this resource.

UPDATE: 12:00pm
Pundits and Bloggers aside, it looks like the rank and file "base" is supporting the nomination - albeit cautiously.

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Karl Rove: Political Genius or Careless Moron?

Karl Rove has my head spinning here. Love him or hate him (count me among the butt-smoochers), he is quite possibly the most disciplined political operative since Mark Hanna engineered a Republican realignment for William McKinley in 1896. Now the Wash Times is reporting - in an article that highlights dodgy support for Miers in the Senate, at best - that James Dobson of Focus on the Family got assurances from Rove about Miers:

James Dobson -- founder of Colorado-based Focus on the Family and an influential social conservative -- endorsed Miss Miers after a conversation with Bush political strategist Karl Rove. Such conversations have raised concerns that the White House is making assurances as to how Miss Miers would rule on certain cases -- a situation that many think would compromise her independence if she was confirmed to the court.
Senate Democrats, assisted by the always unreliable Arlen Specter, are now calling for Dobson to testify at Miers hearings as to exactly what Rove told him.

OK, based on what we know of how Karl Rove likes to set traps for Democrats that they always seem to fall into, is this recent turn of events by design or purely accidental? Honestly, Rove had to know that Dobson, as the leader of huge lobby group with his own radio show and an inflated sense of self-importance, would open up his big mouth. This kind of sloppiness is extremely out of character for him.

Maybe I'm giving him way too much credit here, but I have to agree with Robert the Llama Butcher that this whole nomination as it's playing out seems to be part of a larger strategy.

I mean, c'mon. Rove feeds assurances to Dobson and Dobson in turn publicy tries to sooth his doubtful followers, prompting Democrat suspicion? It's just TOO easy.

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October 09, 2005

Realities Facing Bush

Alexander McClure at Polipundit examines some of the political realities in the Miers case that probably led to this pick. My favorite: "We have placed ourselves in the same litmus test world as the Democrats have, but from the opposite end. This is not good."

Check out the whole list here.

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"Splitting" Of Conservatives Into Factions Is Troubling

The Anchoress looks at the divisions over the Miers nomination, using the old boxing analogy.

I think Miers is a punching bag meant to strengthen the backs and spines of the GOP, in order to get ready for a big match. I don’t think Bush, managing things from the corner, expected his trainers to take the sparring to a TKO level. If they knock her out, the GOP Senate will not have been strengthened - they will continue to cower and duck and bobble and weave - but everyone else will have been weakened; the president, the next “acceptable” nominee, the conservative pundits who have sneered at their own audience, the conservative movement as a whole…and ultimately the nation.
I heartily agree that the rumbles on the Right mirror an elitism usually reserved for the hard Left. The feelings and emotions of those upset by who was not picked and can certainly understand. But the whiny foot-stamping that clearly only helps the Democrats I cannot.

It should be interesting to look at the Sunday morning show round-up.

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October 08, 2005

Is Bush Trying To Make The Senate GOP Put It's Money Where It's Mouth Is?

Baldilocks has an interesting theory about the President's nomination of Harriet Miers.

I'm betting that President Bush is doing what he usually does: call people out. Why should he put a Janice Rogers Brown up to be savaged by the Democrats if the Senate GOP isn’t willing to stand with him and give Brown cover? If they can't hang, then whose problem is that? The president might as well put me up for nomination.

My predictions: if Harriet Miers is lucky enough to make it through the judiciary committee, she will be voted down by the full senate. Then what? Following the rejection, President Bush makes a phone call to Senator Frist and asks: “now are you willing to fight for the type of candidate that you claim to want?”

Then again, I could be wrong. :-)

Hey, it's as good as any theory I've heard yet.

Also, on a related note: Robert Bork doesn't even like Miers. Sheesh!

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