Monday, October 31

REPORTS: RNC BLOGGER CONFERENCE CALL

Bulldogpundit does a nice write-up on a conference call he participated in that was organized by Patrick Ruffini and hosted by GOP Chairman Ken Mehlman, and with principal content devoted to the Alito nomination. Included in the post are links to write-ups by two other call participants, John Hawkins ("Right Wing News") and Eric Erickson ("Redstate.Org").

This blogger, for one, really appreciates it that these fellows share this information!

FOLLOW-UP: The Anchoress provides additional links regarding the teleconference.


SOME EYES ON MCCAIN; MY EYES ARE ON FRIST

It is Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) who I will be focusing on to do his job and lead the Republican majority in the Senate in ensuring that the Alito nomination is given an up or down vote and that the vote itself is favorable; and, moreover, that if it is needed that the "Constitutional Option" is employed against obstructionist, liberal Democrats. High time Frist proved himself. This is as good a time as any.

Power Line has more.


WILL RINO/GANG-LEADER MCCAIN STAND TALL ON ALITO?

This post by Leon H. at REDSTATE.ORG is precisely why I'm an avid reader of that site. The analysis is brisk and provocative.

Will Arlen Specter betray the Alito nomination owing to his preeminent position on the Senate Judiciary Committee as an avid Pro-Choice Republican? Will John McCain shed his well-earned RINO credentials to grandstand before the Republican majority in the Senate in order to enhance his presidential aspirations and recoup political capital lost in the Gang of 14 cave-in?

Film at Eleven!

FOLLOW-UP: Speaking of John McCain! (Courtesy of Wizbang!)


POLL ON ALITO'S NOMINATION AT HUGH HEWITT'S SITE

Here's an online poll at Hugh Hewitt's blog (with an assist from Patrick Ruffini) on your reaction to the nomination by President Bush of Judge Samuel Alito. Are you pleased or displeased, and, if the former, would you be in favor of the so-called "Constitutional Option" should Senate Democrats filibuster the nomination?

RESULTS OF POLLING TO-DATE

D.J. DRUMMOND SEEKS A RAPPROCHEMENT

D.J. Drummond, a talented, well-regarded, Houston-area blogger-journalist and widely-read at the "Polipundit" site, is calling for a rapprochement among conservative bloggers on the heels of the Harriet Miers' controversy. D.J. is rightly concerned that the bad blood coursing through portions of the center-right/right-of-center galaxy of the blogosphere may persist unless the conduct of the Miers' debate and the damage it inflicted are addressed and ways of repairing it found. On this score, I say good for him.

D.J. writes:

One of the more regrettable effects of the Miers feuding here at Polipundit.com, and in the Conservative Movement in general, is the way that specific individuals were treated. Without relighting old fires by pointing to specifics, grossly undeserved insults were thrown at Conservatives by other Conservatives, purely spiteful articles were written and broadcast, and once the nomination was withdrawn, there were many on both sides which wished to continue the fighting. While it is certainly wise to pursue ways to put the matter behind us, and to repair the damage done, it would be very foolish, as some are trying to do, to ignore that real damage has been done, and that victories in the future depend on addressing the present condition.

The issue is not Miers now, but the Conservative Movement. Demanding people ignore the fact of very real injuries is simply not reasonable, nor would it be wise for people to seek to continue the feud. The question at hand is not an argument over things done, but the question about what to do to heal and regain momentum.

Of course, D.J. Drummond and certain other top-of-the-pyramid conservative bloggers with huge readerships (Hugh Hewitt certainly comes to mind) share to a degree in the manner in which the debate foundered on the rocks of ad hominem attacks and ridiculous claims that if one took issue with the selection by the president of Harriet Miers and urged the president to withdraw her name, then one was necessarily disloyal to the president, the Republican Party, the Conservative Movement, and, as Hugh charged in a preposterous fit of pique on his radio talk show, by definition in favor of Hillary Clinton's candidacy.

Hugh, to his credit, eventually published a mea culpa of sorts; but then he turned right around and offended a number of us on the Right by publishing an Op-ED piece in, of all places, "The New York Times." Persist in pummeling us if you must, Hugh, but not in the Gray Lady, as that's piling on. You may think the NYT gives your viewpoints gravitas in assailing fellow conservatives who disagreed with you over Miers, but it does not. Some ego-trips should be forsaken in the interest of maintaining your enviable political stewardship in the blogosphere.

But, to D.J.'s question:

While we can dispute their number, there are Conservatives who voted in 2004, who are now inclined to sit out the next round. There are Conservatives who feel that they have been mocked and degraded, simply for their own principles, no less valid than the ideology which won the day against Miers. The Liberals, never reluctant to press an advantage, will certainly press this opening.

What, do you think, is the best thing to do to repair the damage?


First off, Mr. Drummond, dispense with "the idealogy that won the day" posturing when you're trying to broker a resolution. Either broker one in a diplomatic fashion or remain an editorialist espousing your views; but, please, don't mix the noble effort of the former with the polarization that ensued from the latter. You supported the president and wanted to see the process followed right on through to an up or down vote in the Senate. Fine. I understand your viewpoint and respect your right to give voice to it. I, on the other hand, felt betrayed by a president who earned my vote by committing to, if given the opportunity, the nomination of a SCOTUS candidate in the "Scalia-Thomas mold." "Trust me" was attached to her nomination and, sorry, but I'm not a trusting soul, particularly when the nominee is a virtual cipher and there is not a body of evidence attesting to her Scalia-Thomas affinity. Nor am I a "bastard" for thinking as I do.

Now then, on to possible solutions, at least within the context of the woof and warp of conservatives who blog and decry judicial activism.

1) A return to "civility" is devoutly to be wished.

2) In what I expect will be near universal support among conservative polibloggers for Samuel Alito, the heavy-hitters in our midst should demonstrate the same loyalty and grace to polibloggers in the "tail of the blogosphere" who read, link, and trackback their posts (and blogroll their sites) that Harriet Miers showed the president in her prudent, selfless withdrawal as nominee to the SCOTUS. If more firepower would be a welcome event on behalf of the Alito nomination (and other important agenda items of the Conservative Movement), then draw us in and make the tent bigger. Give legitimacy to our viewpoints by recognizing us through links. Bush and every other president before him have won office through building and sustaining a coalition. The big-gun polibloggers need to be less a "West Wing" clique and more overseers of a broad-based coalition. Hierarchies are fine and top-of-the-pyramid positions in the blogosphere have been well-earned. Just broaden the base and recognize that lofty bully pulpits require solid foundations.

3) There should be a greater frequency of the polling of conservative polibloggers in determining their hot buttons and political opinions and such polling should be conducted using a broader base. Patrick Ruffini, John Hawkins, Glenn Reynolds, N.Z. Bear, and Professor Bainbridge have led in this area and are to be commended. But better, broader polling would give encouragement to the smaller readership blogs that their work on behalf of the conservative cause has merit and that that work should be given a larger voice. There is strength in numbers. As Hugh Hewitt wrote in his book "BLOG":

The "tail" is simply the 95-99 percent of blogs that are not giant traffic getters. These are low- or medium-traffic generators, some getting ten visitors a day, some a hundred, some a few hundred. Their traffic is steady, but it isn't growing at a great rate, if at all.

"The power of the tail" is the aggregate number of visitors, not to any particular blog within the tail, but collectively to all blogs on the tail, and the fact that these low- or medium-traffic blogs generally enjoy the trust of their visitors.

If a point of view or product makes its way throughout most of the blogs in the tail, the audience for that point of view or product will far outstrip even the largest audience for the biggest blogs.

What those of us in the "tail of the blogosphere" just witnessed in the Miers' brouhaha were the top-tier polibloggers engaged in internecine warfare and in that woof and warp of political controversy and bilious broadsides on the Right we were relegated to the position of onlooker -- hand-clappers on the respective sidelines, cheering one side or the other, but not allowed out onto the playing field. After all, if D.J. wants to do no more than broker a rapprochement among the principal architects of the Miers' controversy in the conservative galaxy of the blogosphere, all he need do is get the top dozen or two dozen of the conservative polibloggers to make peace with one another and to rally behind Samuel Alito. I suspect that won't be hard to do and with today's announcement by the president I suspect that the "Friendship Bridge" has already been erected (or is presently under construction).

4) The question becomes is D. J. Drummond a bold diplomat and a "big picture" guy like the president he's dedicated himself to? The grandest gesture of unity and peace-making would come from the forging of a grand center-right/right-of-center coalition of polibloggers in the blogosphere. And the fine examples of mentorship and stewardship by major, top-tier bloggers that would follow in drawing we in the tail into such a unified coalition would form the catalyst for the building of many more combat divisions on the Right, rather than the regrettable divisions in the Right born of needless internecine warfare. After all, it shouldn't be all about artillary fire. Isn't it high time that the foot soldiers be drawn into the campaign?

FOLLOW-UP: The Blogs For Bush site is posting on the formation of a coalition to back the Alito nomination and that activity has merit; however, do understand in my post that I'm suggesting a much broader, more comprehensive coalition in the blogosphere to advance the Conservative Movement and with identified, prioritized agenda items and the delegation of responsibilities by high-powered, blogger-stewards who embrace "the tail."


PROOF POSITIVE THE PRESIDENT HAS HIT A HOME RUN

Members of the left-wing Democratic Party cabal and their apologists have responded predictably to President Bush's nomination of Samuel Alito and the following provides proof positive that this time around the president has hit one out of the ballpark!

From Senator Ted Kennedy:

Rather than selecting a nominee for the good of the nation and the court, President Bush has picked a nominee whom he hopes will stop the massive hemorrhaging of support on his right wing. This is a nomination based on weakness, not on strength.

Although he is clearly intelligent and experienced on the bench, that is only the beginning of our inquiry. If confirmed, Alito could very well fundamentally alter the balance of the court and push it dangerously to the right, placing at risk decades of American progress in safeguarding our fundamental rights and freedoms.


From Senator Harry Reid:

The nomination of Judge Alito requires an especially long hard look by the Senate because of what happened last week to Harriet Miers. Conservative activists forced Miers to withdraw from consideration for this same Supreme Court seat because she was not radical enough for them. Now the Senate needs to find out if the man replacing Miers is too radical for the American people.

I am disappointed in this choice for several reasons. First, unlike previous nominations, this one was not the product of consultation with Senate Democrats. Last Friday, Senator Leahy and I wrote to President Bush urging him to work with us to find a consensus nominee. The President has rejected that approach.

Second, this appointment ignores the value of diverse backgrounds and perspectives on the Supreme Court. The President has chosen a man to replace Sandra Day O’Connor, one of only two women on the Court. For the third time, he has declined to make history by nominating the first Hispanic to the Court. And he has chosen yet another federal appellate judge to join a court that already has eight justices with that narrow background. President Bush would leave the Supreme Court looking less like America and more like an old boys club.

From Senator Charles Schumer:

It is sad that the president felt he had to pick a nominee likely to divide America instead of choosing a nominee in the mold of Sandra Day O'Connor, who would unify us.

From Michael Moore's site, in profiling the nominee:

Politics: Hard right, conservative, anti-abortion

From the DailyKos site:

Update [2005-10-31 9:33:18 by Armando]: Law Professor Jonathan Turley:

TURLEY: There will be no one to the right of Sam Alito on this Court. This is a pretty hardcore fellow on abortion issues.
They don't call him "SCALITO" for nothing.


FOLLOW-UP: Jason at Polipundit points to additional reactions from the whacky Left.

COME ON, MR. HAWKINS! UPDATE YOUR LIST !!!

John Hawkins of the esteemed "Right Wing News" blog did another of his list of 200 right-of-center bloggers' polls last night -- "Most & Least Desired Nominees For The Supreme Court" -- and enjoyed yet another under-whelming response -- 37 bloggers or 18.5% of those polled.

Come on, Mr. Hawkins, how about reviewing that mailing list of yours against respondents over your last half-dozen to dozen surveys and strike some consistent non-responders and add some right-of-center bloggers who would respond more consistently (hint ... hint) and delight in the process.

It gets so frustrating!

NOTE: I was going to send you an obseqious e-mail, but you indicate at your site that e-mailers to RWN should not hold their breath in awaiting a reply. So I've chosen to beg publicly!


LETTER-WRITING CAMPAIGN SHOULD COMMENCE

First off, let me say that it is nice to have Hugh Hewitt back in the fold. Hugh supports Samuel Alito, as I suspect virtually all conservative bloggers do, and it's great knowing we'll all be pulling from the same end of the rope again. The brouhaha over Miers is history now. It's time to join forces behind President Bush's stellar selection (God, how I love writing that).

In the post I've linked to, Hugh provides addresses for the Senate Republicans who are a concern -- members as they were of the "Gang of 14" -- with respect to whether or not they'll rally behind the president's nominee early and not buckle under the hurricane-force winds of outrage that will blow through the Senate chamber as a result of a bona-fide conservative jurist in the Scalia-Thomas mold being nominated.

I hope conservative readers of this blog will commence a writing campaign.

OF HELP TO MY READERS:

Here's a link for those of you who want to e-mail Senators.

Here's a link for finding addresses of Senators.

Here's a link for an easy way to contact Senators (or, better yet, here).

Important set of phone numbers (courtesy of ProLifeBlogs).

FOLLOW-UP: Polipundit's analysis of the fight ahead in the Senate is a MUST READ and he provides aessessments of individual Senators. (H/T: Frank Laughter at Common Sense Junction).

FOLLOW-UP II: Patterico points to what he terms "Ground Zero" of the upcoming Senate fight over the nomination of Samuel Alito and provides an important analysis.

FOLLOW-UP III: If you're a Pro-Lifer, as I am, you should be heartened by the Alito nomination, as ProLifeBlogs reports.

FOLLOW-UP IV: Polipundit updates his earlier post (see above) and includes a link to NRO.

THIS BLOG WHOLEHEARTEDLY SUPPORTS JUDGE ALITO'S NOMINATION

In nominating Judge Samuel Alito to the SCOTUS, President Bush has fulfilled his commitment to his conservative base to nominate justices to the United States Supreme Court in the mold of Scalia-Thomas -- i.e., originalists committed to strict interpretation of the Constitution, rather than judicial activism born of invention. Judge Alito will make a superb conservative addition to the Court and I commend the president on his excellent choice and I commit my support to him and to Senate Republicans, who I expect to rally around the nominee and to ensure that Judge Alito is confirmed. The GOP had better get the job done. There had better be splendid leadership and toughness of purpose. If, as expected, the Kennedy-led, mindless-Reid cabal is intent on all out war pitting the Left against the Right, then bring it on.


JUDGE SAMUEL ALITO GETS THE NOD

The Associated Press (AP) has reported that President Bush has named Judge Samuel Alito of the 3rd U.S. Court of Appeals this morning as his nominee to the United States Supreme Court to replace the seat being vacated by outgoing Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Conner and in the wake of Harriet Miers' -- his original nominee -- withdrawal.

Unlike Miers, who has never been a judge, Alito, a jurist from New Jersey, has been a strong conservative voice on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals since Bush's father, former President George H.W. Bush, seated him there in 1990.

Judicial conservatives praise Alito's 15 years on the Philadelphia-based court, a tenure that gives him more appellate experience than almost any previous Supreme Court nominee. They say his record shows a commitment to a strict interpretation of the Constitution, ensuring that the separation of powers and checks and balances are respected and enforced. They also contend that Alito has been a powerful voice for the First Amendment's guarantees of free speech and the free exercise of religion.


As expected, obstructionist liberal Democrats are already posturing for a fight in the United States Senate to block confirmation of Alito, who they view as too conservative.

The Washington Post (registration required) reports:

Some Democrats, including minority leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev), have threatened to oppose Alito, however. Immediately after the announcement, the liberal activist organization People for the American way announced the launch of a "massive national effort" to prevent Alito's confirmation.

In nominating Alito, President Bush is able now to make a strong case for confirmation that he was hard-pressed to do for Harriet Miers. Alito's resume easily trumps Miers'.

As WaPo reports:

Bush, fresh from withering criticism of Harriet Miers for her lack of judicial experience, stressed Alito's many years of litigation experience, first arguing 12 cases before the Supreme Court and then as an appeals court judge. Bush said Alito was the most experienced nominee in 70 years. Fresh from questions about Mier's intellect, Bush highlighted the fact that Alito went to the Yale Law School, where he was an editor of the prestigious law review. Bush called Alito "brilliant."

Alito's resume, including his service in the Reagan administration Justice Department, is very much unlike Miers', who had no appellate experience, and very much like that of Chief Justice John Roberts, who had lots.

Like Chief Justice John Roberts, Alito served during the Reagan administration in the office of Solicitor General, which argues on behalf of the government in the Supreme Court.

Unlike Roberts, he has opined from the bench on both abortion rights, church-state separation and gender discrimination to the pleasure of conservatives and displeasure of liberals.

While he has been dubbed "Scalito" by some lawyers for a supposed affinity to conservative Justice Antonin Scalia and his Italian-American heritage, most observers believe that greatly oversimplifies his record.

Alito is considered far less provocative a figure than Scalia both in personality and judicial temperament. His opinions and dissents tend to be dryly analytical rather than slashing.


Am Associated Press profile of Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr., published in the New York Times (registration required), contains the following (as excerpted):

Dubbed "Scalito" or "Scalia-lite," a play not only on his name but his opinions, Alito, 55, brings a hefty legal resume that belies his age. He has served on the federal appeals court for 15 years since President George H.W. Bush nominated him in 1990. Before that Alito was U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey from 1987 to 1990, where his first assistant was Michael Chertoff, now the Homeland Security secretary. Alito was the deputy assistant attorney general in the Reagan administration from 1985 to 1987 and assistant to the solicitor general from 1981 to 1985. His New Jersey ties run deep. Alito, the son of an Italian immigrant, was born in Trenton and attended Princeton University. He headed to Connecticut to receive his law degree, graduating from Yale University in 1975. Among his noteworthy opinions was his lone dissent in the 1991 case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, in which the Third Circuit struck down a Pennsylvania law that included a provision requiring women seeking abortions to notify their spouses.

Former appellate judge Timothy Lewis, who served with Alito, has ideological differences with him but believes he would be a good Supreme Court justice. "There is nobody that I believe would give my case a more fair and balanced treatment," Lewis said. "He has no agenda. He's open-minded, he's fair and he's balanced."

On the bench, Alito is known to be probing, but more polite than the often-caustic Justice Antonin Scalia, to whom he is sometimes compared. In high school, he competed in debate with his younger sister Rosemary. His style is considered quiet and thoughtful.


FOLLOW-UP: One can never do better than to read Michelle Malkin and she provides a wealth of links here on the Alito nomination.


Sunday, October 30

HERE'S HOPING ...

THE DEVIL'S IN THE DETAILS

The Washington Post (registration required) isn't much off the mark in its editorial today in describing those shortcomings of the president and oversights in his and his team's planning that have come to bedevil him and his administration early in his second term. Of note is that WaPo is fair-minded in its reference to the federal indictment handed down against Scooter Libby and, in terms of the war in Iraq, it faults the president more for a failure in planning for a reconstruction than for the merits of the invasion itself.

While not a litany that conservatives would wholeheartedly agree with, on substance it's far from a hit piece and more balanced than one might anticipate.

Excerpts follow:

But unquestionably Mr. Bush is in trouble, and if he is to recover, he needs to acknowledge the root causes of his misfortunes. There may be less to learn from the indictment of Mr. Libby, whose alleged perjury appears to be the result of his own miscalculations, than from some other recent stumbles. Ms. Miers's failed Supreme Court candidacy, for one, is emblematic of a broader and persistent Bush failing: a lack of intellectual seriousness, which goes hand in hand with his excessive trust in loyalists.

Mr. Bush's impatience with policy minu-

tiae also leads him to advance positions without thinking them through. He prefers to offer bold ideas over effective ones, to take credit for easy victories without making hard choices. He has cut taxes and said he wants spending to be cut, too, but his officials have no plausible scenario for how the budget can be restored to balance. He set out to reform Medicare, the most ruinous of all the entitlement programs, and ended up with a law that made it vastly more expensive. He invaded Iraq in the hope of spreading democracy through the region, among other reasons, but his officials failed to plan for reconstruction. In confronting al Qaeda, Mr. Bush rightly grasped that this was a new kind of war that demanded new ways of fighting. But he pursued that broad conviction with a counterproductive indifference to substance, taking positions on civil liberties that harmed U.S. standing and that the Supreme Court later ruled untenable.

If Mr. Bush is to revive his presidency, there can be no substitute for sweating the detail; the choices that reach the president's desk are never going to be the easy ones. A host of issues awaits his attention, from China's military buildup to militant Iran, from post-hurricane reconstruction to the recommendations from his tax commission to the Supreme Court vacancy. Each of these represents an opportunity for Mr. Bush to reassert his authority by advancing the nation's interests. But to do that he needs to grapple with hard issues in fresh, creative ways -- a challenge that may in turn require him to recruit fresh thinkers to his inner circle.





POSTSCRIPT: The WaPo editorial does not mention the illegal immigration/porous borders problem in terms of "the host of issues that await his (the president's) attention." That is a careless, but telling oversight. No doubt if the Congress and the president had their way, the indifference would continue unabated and the "poor people willing to do jobs that Americans refuse to do" canard would continue to justify an invasion born of the need for so-called "cheap labor" that is, in point of fact, taxpayer-subsidized labor, as well as the desire for Latino voters without, were politicians to have their way, the need for any I.D. at the polling place. But Americans in both Red and Blue states -- indeed more than just a simple majority -- are fed up and view Homeland Security and 11+ million illegal aliens in our country as a gross contradiction in terms. They're not fooled by the rhetoric. They know national security is threatened. They want something done, and they want it done now, and they want tighter border enforcement first, long before they'll entertain amnesty disguised as Guest Worker Programs -- programs that the federal government can't possibly manage any better than it does its other White Elephants. Border security shouldn't get short shrift in the MSM and particularly on the editorial pages.



THE PRINCE OF RAILS

I'm convinced that the last thing President Bush needs on his plate right now is a lecture from the Prince of Wales on how best to show more tolerance to Islams. The Anchoress terms the prince "daft," and a congenital "do-nothing." Frank Laughter, on news of the Prince of Rails' intentions, found his systolic reading going through the roof!


IS IT GOING TO BE SAMUEL ALITO?

Hyscience points to Bill Kristol's prognostication that President Bush's post-Miers-withdrawal nominee to the SCOTUS will be Samuel Alito. Insiders, however, are claiming the president has distilled his short list down to but two choices -- Judges Samuel Alito of New Jersey and Michael Luttig of Virginia -- without claiming one or the other as a certainty. Apparently the distaff side of the short list has been abandoned. I still hold out hope for my choice: Janice Rogers Brown.

Interesting is that Harriet Miers is spending the weekend at Camp David with the president to help him in his selection process. What a task: discerning among the candidates who offers those things that Miers, herself, did not! Isn't that carrying a cross a second time up Golgotha? I feel for her and continue to applaud her selfless act of patriotism in serving the best interests of President Bush and the nation.

FOLLOW-UP: Patterico -- say it isn't so, PLEASE! The president kow-towing to Pro-Choice Arlen Specter of all RINOs?

FOLLOW-UP II: Another perspective on Arlen Specter from Polipundit.

FOLLOW-UP III: Bulldogpundit weighs in on Samuel Alito and Arlen Specter and pulls no punches.

NOTE TO READERS: President Bush has returned to the White House from Camp David and could possibly make an announcement today on his new nominee in order for media coverage Monday morning.

MS-13 -- A NOTORIOUSLY BRUTAL GANG OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS

Captain Ed links to a Los Angeles Times' piece on the brutal, illegal immigrant gang, Mara Salvatrucha -- known in its abbreviated street parlance as "MS-13" -- whose "50,000 international hardcases" operate in at least 33 states now and is, as Captain Ed duly notes, a product of failed immigration policies, porous borders, and an egregiously misguided past declaration of amnesty for illegals within our midst. As I have written any number of times, not all illegal border jumpers are hapless lettuce-harvesters trying desperately to improve their lot in life, as open borders' apologists would have you believe.

This writer has covered MS-13 in a number of posts and devoted particular attention to the brutal killing of a Houston-area toddler, Aiden Naquin, who was allegedly gunned down at near point-blank range by a 19-year-old Salvadoran MS-13 gang member, Miguel Angel Castro, while the little boy sat strapped into a child's safety seat in the backseat of his father's car.

And know that this gang was sent to the Arizona desert to target Minutemen.

Keep this gang and its brutal, nefarious activities in the forefront of your mind when you eventually weigh the pluses and minuses of whatever immigration reform legislation the Bush Administration eventually endorses next year. And I encourage you to insist of your Congressmen that much tighter border security enforcement be implemented first before any amnesty for illegals disguised as Guest Worker Programs are trumpeted by misguided elected officials bowing to pressures from business' and Latino activists' interests.


INTEMPERATE CRITICISM OF GEORGE BUSH -- SCOOTER LIBBY USED AS A HAMMER

The Houston Chronicle's Washington D.C.-based columnist, Cragg Hines, is this newpaper's long-standing poster boy for its left-leaning political slant and what it chooses with a modicum of discretion not to publish on its editorial pages, it has Hines do in his nasty-gram Op-Ed columns. And Hines, you should no, has no use for certain of us right-of-center bloggers who he has previously termed neander-bloggers and card-carrying members of a Houston-area coven.

This morning's hatchet-piece, published in the Sunday edition's "Outlook" section, is vintage Cragg Hines. He opens:

So this is the administration led by a man who repeatedly swore "to uphold the honor and the dignity" of the presidency. That super-righteous routine, which was to be performed by George W. Bush with his hand on the Bible, is now laughable.


The only thing "laughable" is Hines' outrageous statement. Bush has not been impeached, has not pontificated on what the meaning of is is before a Grand Jury, has, in the Reagan tradition, worn a suit of clothes while working in the Oval Office, has not engaged in sexual trysts with White House interns, and has diligently apllied himself to the nation's business, including the global war on terror, rather than being distracted, as was his predecessor, by the consequences of rank appetities.

The first paragraph of Hines' column alone qualifies it for duty at the bottom of a bird cage. But, alas, it gets worse. And no surprise that he tries valiantly to paint the president with a broad stroke of corruption and scandal on the basis of an indictment just returned against Scooter Libby, Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff.

Hines writes:

Possible criminality aside and earlier denials notwithstanding, it is clear that both I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who resigned as Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff after being indicted Friday, and Karl Rove, the deputy White House chief of staff who remains under investigation, trafficked in the identity of a CIA operative.


Possible criminality aside means that Scooter Libby is supposed to be innocent until proven guilty (but Hines doesn't want to let that sort of quibbling get in the way) and earlier denials notwithstanding means that even if Fitzgerald was admittedly unable to find any evidence that any federal laws had been violated -- i.e., the original grounds for the investigation -- in the so-called "outing" of a CIA operative, Hines then chooses to term the legal conversation between two high-level Bush Adminstration officials carrying top security clearances trafficking. Nice try, Cragg, but your dog don't hunt.

Clearly, Cragg Hines is unsatisfied with and disgruntled over Fitzgerald's findings or lack thereof. And he fails in the bitterness of his column to heed the words of Fitzgerald:

But I think what we see here today, when a vice president's chief of staff is charged with perjury and obstruction of justice, it does show the world that this is a country that takes its law seriously; that all citizens are bound by the law.

But what we need to also show the world is that we can also apply the same safeguards to all our citizens, including high officials. Much as they must be bound by the law, they must follow the same rules.

So I ask everyone involved in this process, anyone who participates in this trial, anyone who covers this trial, anyone sitting home watching these proceedings to follow this process with an American appreciation for our values and our dignity.

Let's let the process take place. Let's take a deep breath and let justice process the system.
So take a deep breath, Cragg, what you claim to be true was, in point of fact, not proven whatsoever by the Fitzgerald-led, two year investigation and no indictments were returned to that effect by the federal grand jury. Indeed, your claim is and remains unfounded:

What emerges from the scenario laid out in the Libby indictment is that the Bush administration was most interested in discrediting former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, husband of Valerie Plame Wilson.

Ambassador Wilson's sin in the eyes of the White House was coming up with an answer that the administration did not want to hear: that there was no credible evidence that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had been seeking uranium ore in the African nation of Niger. That was based on a trip Wilson made to the region in 2002 at the behest of the CIA. Wilson's report put yet another chink in the administration's argument that Saddam Hussein had and was developing weapons of mass destruction.


It only emerged in your twisted, MSM-style way of distorting fact and pandering to the Left's fictions, Cragg.


OF CONSERVATIVES AND NEOCONS AND BRENT SCOWCROFT

Today's Houston Chronicle carries a Charles Krauthammer column that is scathing in its response to Brent Scowcroft's well-publicized opposition to the war in Iraq and, for that matter, Scowcroft's unwavering conviction that any form of regime change is wrong. Scowcroft was National Security Advisor under Bush '41. Krauthammer is unsparing:

Of course, Scowcroft's opposition to toppling Saddam is neither surprising nor new. Indeed, we are now seeing its third iteration. He had two cracks at Saddam in 1991 and urged his President Bush to pass them both up — first, after Saddam's defeat in the Gulf War when the road to Baghdad was open, and then, days later, during a massive U.S.-encouraged uprising of Kurds and Shiites when America stood by and allowed Saddam to massacre his opponents by the tens of thousands. (One of the reasons for Iraqi wariness during the U.S. liberation 12 years later was the memory of our past betrayal and suspicions about our current intentions in light of that betrayal.)


Terming Scowcroft a foreign policy realist, Krauthammer goes on to define such "realists" in these terms:

Realists prize stability above all, and there is nothing more stable than a ruthlessly efficient dictatorship. Which is why Scowcroft is the man who six months after Tiananmen Square toasted those who ordered the massacre; who, as the world celebrates the Beirut Spring that evicted the Syrian occupation from Lebanon, sees not liberation but possible instability; who can barely conceal a preference for Syria's stabilizing iron rule.

Even today Scowcroft says, "I didn't think that calling the Soviet Union the 'evil empire' got anybody anywhere." Tell that to Natan Sharansky and other Soviet dissidents for whom that declaration of moral — beyond geopolitical — purpose was electrifying, and helped galvanize the dissident movements that ultimately brought down the Soviet empire.

It was not brought down by diplomacy and arms control, the preferred realist means for dealing with the Soviet Union. It was brought down by indigenous revolutionaries, encouraged and supported by Ronald Reagan, a president unabashedly dedicated not to detente with evil, but its destruction — i.e., regime change.

For realists such as Scowcroft, regime change is the ultimate taboo.


Scowcroft, writes Krauthammer, is undeterred in his criticism of the Bush Administration and the neocons he's convinced pushed the president into taking out Saddam, embroiling the United States in a difficult and costly war in the Middle East.

Krauthammer concludes with this dagger to the heart:

It is not surprising that Scowcroft, who helped give indecency a 12-year life extension, should disdain decency's return. But we should not.


From the piece in "The New Yorker" (linked above), Scowcroft's pessimism about the efficacy of the war in Iraq is described in kinder terms:

He is not terribly optimistic. He feels very heavily the weight of history, and history isn’t telling him that things will turn out well. He’s hoping they will, I believe, and, from what I can tell, this is a sincere hope, even if a good turn of events in Iraq would prove him wrong in his analysis. This is an eighty-year-old man who wants to see his country safe and secure and prosperous. I’m not sure he’s right, of course—sometimes the realists overestimate the difficulties that come with change. But I think it’s fair to say that the country would be better off if Scowcroft was at least heard out by the current Administration.

The "New Yorker" article probes the so-called "rift" between traditional conservatives and the so-called neocons over the war and the belief by some conservatives (e.g., George Will) that many of the neocons (e.g., Paul Wolfowitz) are "liberals with guns."

Are the conservatives turning against the neoconservatives?

They’ve been doing so for some time. Just read George Will. Their complaint is that neoconservatives aren’t conservative; they’re liberals with guns. Conservatives tend to take Scowcroft’s more jaundiced view of human nature. Paul Wolfowitz, on the other hand, is a liberal, but a liberal who believes that transformation can be brought about by force, not just persuasion. Obviously, there are other breaches within the Republican Party, on the Harriet Miers nomination, on spending, and on and on.


Both sides, in their support or criticism of the war, come across as a touch extreme, but if the terrorist insurgency in Iraq can eventually be corralled, the WMDs issue as an ill-founded, faulty intelligence-based pretext for war will simply become the background noise for a stunning foreign policy victory in a part of the world that has been known for any number of diplomatic peace initiatives that proved as hollow and failed as the covenant Neville Chamberlain forged with the devil incarnate. To Bush's credit, he has braved the criticism and persisted in his unflagging belief that freedom and liberty must prevail in the face of the harsh realities of Islamofascism-spawned terrorism.

POSTSRIPT: This post at "Big Lizards," which includes a link to "stirring words" published at "Iraq The Model," is apropos of why Scowcroft's criticism of George W. Bush may be misplaced. Do read it.


Saturday, October 29

TERRORISM AND INTOLERANCE

Michelle Malkin publishes and links to sad tidings of terrorism in New Delhi, India, and Indonesia. And yet so many nations continue to refuse to enter the global war on terrorism and even flaunt their misguided pacifism.


OF HALLOWEEN, UNWANTED TRICKS, AND THE ACLU

Greg Wallace of "What Attitude Problem?" wrote a very thoughtful post earlier in the month on Halloween, its traditions, our era of political correctness, and asked and responded to the following questions:

Have Christians made Halloween into something it really isn’t? And in doing so, have we lost the opportunity to show our humanity to the world?

In this post, which I encourage you to read in its entirety, Greg cites the pastor of his church as having announced to the congregation that a Halloween night alternative -- a "Harvest Festival" -- in lieu of the traditional trick-or-treating would be planned. Greg had a problem with this concept, for reasons which he explains in depth, and concluded his post with this observation:

Maybe I just don’t get this whole Christianity thing, even after all these many years. But it seems to me that we have nothing to fear on Halloween – or any other night, but especially on this night – or God’s simply not God and this whole thing is just a sham. And we’ve been putting each other on all these years. In that case the kids can go trick-or-treating, anyway.


I felt compelled to leave a "Comment" (I'm a regular reader and fan of Greg's):

My sons are adults now, but we would always accompany them on Holloween and check their Trick Or Treat bags to remove anything that was unwrapped or that concerned us. However, if they were young ones in this day and age, my wife and I would opt for the church event you spoke of in your post. It's just too risky to do otherwise. That's why food products and medicines are packaged differently now then when we were young. And mistrust is better than foolhardiness when it comes to your child's safety. You may not be aware, Greg, but one major problem on Halloween night now is that convicted child molesters try to decorate their homes to attract children. Some cites have enacted ordinances that registered sex offenders cannot decorate their homes for Halloween. When we were children the pervasive drug culture didn't exist. Nowadays, you cannot be sure that someone isn't handing out candy that's been injected or laced with drugs. It's a different world and prudence must dictate. Yes, it is a shame. But what is shameful is when parents turn their children loose on Halloween and play a form of Russian Roulette with their children's lives. You just don't know who lurks in the neighborhood.


Now, today, I find this disturbing (albeit not surprising) information posted at Stop The ACLU, from which I quote:

The ACLU are such an intelligent bunch aren’t they? Sex offenders like candy and trick or treating too. Now why in the world would someone not want a convicted sex offender to disguise themselves, and lurk around the neighborhoods with all of children? Once again, the ACLU are looking out for freedom.

O.K. thats enough sarcasm for me today. Another typical, and predictible position of the ACLU, to protect the most perverted scum in society to be able to prowl the streets for victims. Seems that whenever an official tries to protect the general public, especially children, the ACLU want to obstruct them. Another ACLU trick for a pedophile treat. Makes me sick.


Is it surprising then that our churches endeavor to protect young ones from traditions that have been subverted by predators in our midst? Goodness, even seemingly innocuous grannies in the neighborhood can prove worrisome to parents in this day and age.


JANICE ROGERS BROWN

The results of a poll taken at the Polipundit site (published today) are encouraging from my perspective, as I've gone on record all along in this blog of favoring Janice Rogers Brown as the nominee I would most like to see on the SCOTUS. Appears many others feel the same way. The pollster, however, seeks to avoid a knock-down, drag-out, war-of-the-worlds in the U.S. Senate.

Writes Polipundit:

My personal choice would be Judge Karen Williams. She’s 54, a Scalia-Thomas clone (when her Miranda-overruling opinion went to the Court, they were the only Justices to uphold it), backed by Gang-of-14 member Lindsey Graham, and in the middle of the list above - at the perfect mean between conservatism and confirmability.

NOTE: Here are my previous posts endorsing Janice Rogers Brown:

She made the top of my list here.

Here I indicated my preferred pick was in lockstep with The Anchoress' choice.

In the first paragraph of this post, I pont to Janice Brown.

Here I speak of Janice Rogers Brown as someone esteemed by President Bush's conservative base.

I offer in this post that Judge Brown is my "preferred choice."

And, back on October 3rd, on the very day Harriet Miers' nomination was released to the press, I made known my disappointment that the president had not selected Janice Rogers Brown or someone like her.


THE CHANGING FACE OF EDUCATION IN AMERICAN CLASSROOMS

Ilona at True Grit provides a good example in this post of what Peggy Noonan and The Anchoress have been compelled to write about with such passion in the past 48 hours -- i.e., that there is something fundamentally amiss in our country and its institutions, and things seem to be getting worse by the minute.

It provokes one to call to mind the raging jeremiad by fictional T.V. news anchorman Howard Beal in the movie, "Network":

I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It's a depression. Everybody's out of work or scared of losing their job, the dollar buys a nickel's worth, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter, punks are running wild in the streets, and there's nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there's no end to it.

We know the air's unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit and watch our tee-vees while some newscaster tells us today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that's the way it's supposed to be. We all know things are bad. Worse than bad. They're crazy. It's like everything is going crazy.

So we don't go out. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we live in gets smaller, and all we ask is, please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my tee-vee and my hair-dryer and my steel-belted radials, and I won't say anything, just leave us alone.

Well, I'm not going to leave you alone. I want you to get mad. I don't want you to riot. I don't want you to protest. I don't want you to write your congressmen. Because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write. I don't know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the defense budget and the Russians and crime in the street. All I know is first you got to get mad. You got to say: "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more. I'm a human being, goddammit. My life has value."

So I want you to get up now. I want you to get out of your chairs and go to the window. Right now. I want you to go to the window, open it, and stick your head out and yell. I want you to yell: "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this any more!"

Not so dated is it? The movie was released in 1976. Just substitute some of the main themes then -- unemployment, inflation, depression, the Russians -- with abortion, terrorism, illegal immigration, high fuel prices, same-sex marriage and judicial activism today.

The Anchoress' piece isn't so far from award-winning screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky's themes. It's still all about "angst" -- that unsettling feeling that things aren't right in our world and in our lives.


A DRAWN SWORD MUST TASTE BLOOD

I linked yesterday to this post of Frank Laughter's in which, true to form, he pulled no punches in the context of the Libby indictment in writing in its aftermath:

Fitzgerald held a press conference today and proved a point I’ve made in the past. There’s a serious problem with the ’special prosecutor’ concept. As far as I can tell, there are three groups of people that think the rationale exist to justify an investigation of this nature that runs for two years or more. 1st) Lawyers love it because it pumps money into their profession. 2nd) Democrats love it when Republicans are in office and Republicans love it when Democrats are in office. 3rd) Then, we have the freaking idiots and morons mentioned above.


Seems Frank's spot-on criticism of the "special prosecutor concept" anticipated this hard-hitting piece by David B. Rivkin, Jr. and Lee A. Casey, published in today's edition of the Washington Post:

It is clear that, at least by sometime in January 2004 -- and probably much earlier -- Fitzgerald knew this law had not been violated. Plame was not a "covert" agent but a bureaucrat working at CIA headquarters. Instead of closing shop, however, Fitzgerald sought an expansion of his mandate and has now charged offenses that grew entirely out of the investigation itself. In other words, there was no crime when the investigation started, only, allegedly, after it finished. Unfortunately, for special counsels, as under the code of the samurai, once the sword is drawn it must taste blood.

The age of special prosecutors, of course, began with Watergate. Since that time, a series of "independent counsels" and "special counsels" has left a trail of ruined lives but very few well-founded convictions for serious federal crimes. Republicans were thoroughly disillusioned with the system by the close of Ronald Reagan's second term, and many Democrats came to agree by the time President Bill Clinton left office. The independent counsel statute was not renewed and is no longer in effect. But the attorney general may still appoint special counsels as an administrative act, and this is how Fitzgerald took office. He should be the last.

Nice job, Frank. Good follow-up, WaPo!


FOLLOW-UP: Jay Tea at Wizbang! offers his thoughts on Libby's situation and I think he's being very judicious and reasonable.


TRUE NORTH -- GETTING OUR BEARINGS BACK

The Anchoress has put up a well-thought post this morning, in part a reply and amplification of a sobering, plaintive Peggy Noonan piece in WSJ's OpinionJournal on the trouble America finds herself in these days because of the resignation and abnegation of its elites; but, in this writer's view, The Anchoress brings to the subject a much greater depth of feeling and insight, and, to be sure, the marksman's keen ability to find the target and repeatedly hit it.

She writes about the sinister "deconstruction" of our institutions, our culture, and our value systems, terming it "a painless coup," and the sense of overwhelminging discouragement and disillusionment among those who sense viscerally that something has gone awry and is completely out of kilter in our country, but who choose to pull back from peering into the abyss by anesthetizing themselves through a purposeful preoccupation with "distractions" -- "the television, the radio, the magazines, the talkshows, the films, the fashions, the escapist entertainment, even the internet."

Do read her, as this is for me among the best posts she has ever published, and that is no small accomplishment since she's made excellence her stock in trade. Her prescriptions are worthy of reflection and her penchant for underscoring the Eternal Truths noble.


Friday, October 28

CONGRATULATIONS, PETER

Peter Brimelow of VDARE Blog is quoted in the Philadelphia Inquirer for a well-thought piece he wrote on the pressure towards bilingualism. Congratulations to Peter! Nice to see an example of the MSM endeavoring to be "fair and balanced."


LEWIS "SCOOTER" LIBBY INDICTED

The Associated Press (AP) reports that a 5-count indictment has been returned against Vice President Cheney's advisor, Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

Vice presidential adviser I. Lewis "Scooter' Libby Jr. was indicted Friday on charges of obstruction of justice, making a false statement and perjury in the CIA leak case.

Karl Rove, President Bush's closest adviser, escaped indictment Friday but remained under investigation, his legal status a looming political problem for the White House.

The indictments stem from a two-year investigation by special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald into whether Rove, Libby or any other administration officials knowingly revealed the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame or lied about their involvement to investigators.

The five-count indictment accuses Libby of lying about how and when he learned about CIA official Valerie Plane's identity in 2003 and then told reporters about it. The information was classified.


Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has scheduled a press conference for 2:00pm EDT today, according to CNN.

The Democratic Party, wringing its hands in the wake of the Harriet Miers' withdrawal yesterday, as she was the candidate of choice (yes, pun intended) for Harry Reid and RINO Arlen Specter, has new red meat today, albeit not as large a portion as they had hoped for given Karl Rove was not indicted.

Expect a resignation to be forthcoming from Mr. Libby.

FOLLOW-UP: Here's the ACE's take on the indictments and Fitzgerald's handling of the investigation.

FOLLOW-UP II: Thoughtful analysis on indictments at Protein Wisdom.

FOLLOW-UP III: Lorie Byrd of Polipundit makes a wry observation on the Plame/Libby matter.

FOLLOW-UP IV: Sean Hackbarth weighs in.

FOLLOW-UP V: Captain Ed provides his usual thorough and insightful analysis on the matter and includes a link to Michelle Malkin.

FOLLOW-UP VI: I've saved the best for last -- Frank Laughter doesn't mince words. He also points to the perspicacity of Polipundit.

WAPO: "MURDER BOARDS APTLY NAMED"

Peter Baker and Amy Goldstein, writing in the Washington Post (registration required), more than suggest that, had Hugh Hewitt and his compatriots prevailed in their argument (not unreasonable) that Harriett Miers go through the nomination process and an up or down vote in the Senate , Ms. Miers and the president may have been humiliated.

For Harriet Miers, the "murder boards" were aptly named. Day after day in a room in the White House complex, colleagues from the Bush administration grilled her on constitutional law, her legal background and her past speeches in practice sessions meant to mimic Senate hearings.

Her uncertain, underwhelming responses left her confirmation managers so disturbed they decided not to open up the sessions to the friendly outside lawyers they usually invite to participate in prepping key nominees.

It was clear that Miers was going to need to "hit a grand slam homer" before the Senate Judiciary Committee to win confirmation to the Supreme Court, as one adviser to the White House put it. "Her performance at the murder boards meant that people weren't confident she'd get the grand slam."


That is precisely why I wrote this back on October 23rd:

For the good of his two-term presidency and the restoration of a voter base the Republicans sorely need in the upcoming 2006 elections, Miers nomination should be withdrawn. I'd much rather we Republicans overcome the hurdle of liberal, non-thinking, obstructionist Democrats, who rejected the likes of John Roberts (while publicly singing his praises) simply to keep their Soros-fed campaign coffers full, than engage in internecine warfare over a nominee who made no one's short list of esteemed judicial luminaries and who disappoints at every turn.

George W. Bush was anything but a strict constructionist in reading the mandate of the founders of his two-term feast. He turned activist in his selection, reading what he wanted to read, and thinking what he wanted to think. Why then would we have any assurance that Harriet Miers will become, in the final analysis, an originalist of the first order, rather than marching to the beat, Sandra Day O'Conner-style, of her own drum?



WILL BUSH'S NEXT NOMINEE BE ANNOUNCED TODAY?

Betsy Newmark points to MSM conjecture that we may hear from President Bush today.

Here's a bio on Samuel Alito.


HEWITT HOOKS UP WITH GRAY LADY FOR ONE LAST CURTAIN CALL

It's poetic justice that Hugh Hewitt take the low road and publish his last in a series of abusive assaults on Republican conservatives (i.e., those of us who first questioned and eventually opposed the Miers' nomination) in the long-standing house organ of the Left -- the New York Times.

Hewitt began his no holds barred mud wrestling tactics early on in the heated debate over Miers' credentials to serve on the SCOTUS by calling those who disagreed with him guilty of a "DailyKos-like refusal to confront arguments in favor of the nomination." He did little subsequently to raise the tone of the debate since in his mind the debate itself was inappropriate and sacrilegious. Indeed, if you questioned the wisdom of the president's selection of Miers, you were branded a "knucklehead" by Hewitt and chastised for a sin, in his stilted way of thinking, tantamount to betrayal of the president and the GOP. And just as Mr. Hewitt cannot restrain his overweening pugnacity in charging those of us fed up with porous borders as recklessly wanting "machine guns on the border," he went completely over the top in the Miers' brouhaha by labelling those of us on the Right not in his minority camp (i.e., the 14.5 percenters) as "Hillary Clinton supporters." It's been one broadside after another, and now this:

The right's embrace in the Miers nomination of tactics previously exclusive to the left - exaggeration, invective, anonymous sources, an unbroken stream of new charges, television advertisements paid for by secret sources - will make it immeasurably harder to denounce and deflect such assaults when the Democrats make them the next time around. Given the overemphasis on admittedly ambiguous speeches Miers made more than a decade ago, conservative activists will find it difficult to take on liberals in their parallel efforts to destroy some future Robert Bork.

Once you got past the invective and distilled Hewitt's arguments down to their essence, they have centered all along on "trusting" the president to have made the best possible choice and to take heart in the fact that President Bush had selected an Evangelical Christian with whom he had worked closely over a number of years. How possibly, in Hugh Hewitt's miopic view, could the Conservative Movement go wrong with Harriet Miers on the SCOTUS bench?

Fact is, the president should not have nominated someone so close to him, so poorly vetted, and so violative of his oft-repeated campaign promise to nominate Supreme Court justices in the Scalia-Thomas mold. It is that campaign promise that many of us on the Right put reliance on in casting our votes for George W. Bush -- a reliance that made our reasoned questioning of his judgement in nominating cipher Harriet Miers altogether appropriate and in the best interests of the Republican Party and the nation. For many of us, the same SCOTUS candidate who "disappointed" in a series of private meetings with Senators would have most assuredly left the President's base unimpressed in her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The controversy was having enervating effects on the President, his popularity, and whatever political capital he had in reserve for other of his second term agenda initiatives.

"Right wing extremists" did not provoke Harriet Miers into withdrawing. Right-thinking conservatives helped the president in rectifying a serious mistake in judgement that would have haunted him and the Republican Party for years to come. There are any number of qualified candidates in the Scalia-Thomas mold, a number of whom have previously been confirmed by the U.S. Senate. The president should select from among them now, as he should have done before. In doing so, his base will coalesce and rally behind him and the nominee. If such a choice provokes a Red State v. Blue State fight in the U.S. Senate, bring it on. Rather that form of controversy, than the one that the Miers' selection wrought.

The loudest voices in the wake of the Miers' withdrawal have been the usual suspects: Ted Kennedy; Dianne Feinstein; Harry Reid; Nancy Pelosi; Barbara Boxer; Arlen Specter; and the New York Times editorial board. That tells me there's cause to rejoice.

The Houston Chronicle (registration required) -- not exactly a right-leaning metropolitan newspaper -- makes the following judgements in an editorial this morning:

The nomination of Harriet Miers to be a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court failed more because of mistakes by the nominator than because of flaws in the nominee.

At a time when President Bush's leadership is being sorely tested by the war in Iraq, high energy prices, poor management of disaster relief and chronic scandals, Bush counted on Republican senators to confirm whomever he nominated. His faith in their pliancy proved misplaced.

Because Miers has worked within the confines of the White House since coming to Washington, she is a cipher to those unacquainted with her career in Texas. A term on the Dallas City Council and service as Texas lottery commissioner are seldom seen on the résumé of a Supreme Court nominee.

Instead of emphasizing Miers' legal strengths, Bush tried to signal conservatives with allusions to Miers' heart and faith, as if these things govern how a judge interprets a statute. It didn't work. Only recently, the administration had argued that senators had no right to question chief justice nominee John Roberts' faith. To assert that Miers' evangelical faith was a qualification for office was a contradiction too outlandish to pass unnoticed.


The president misjudged. Republican Senators were not pliant.

Hugh Hewitt misjudged. The right-of-center blogosphere was not pliant.


FOLLOW-UP: Here is Captain Ed's take on Miers' withdrawal, the president's misjudgement, and Hugh Hewitt's scolding of the Right in the NYT. It's an important read, Folks.

FOLLOW-UP II: Patterico See-Dubya terms as "sour grapes" Hugh Hewitt's Op-Ed piece in the NYT.


Thursday, October 27

CONGRESS CAN FIX A PIECE OF THIS AND CLAIM VICTORY

This from a Newsday.com report is galling:

McCain and Cornyn emphasized that the goal remained an across-the-board overhaul, even as they acknowledged the challenge ahead. "It's not going to be easy," Cornyn said. "We all agree that comprehensive immigration reform is the way to go. You can't fix a piece of this and claim victory."

McCain (RINO-AZ) and Cornyn (R-TX) clearly are in disfavor of addressing border security first, as is Bill Frist (R-TN), his claims to the contrary notwithstanding. Getting the porous borders' issue resolved before worrying themsevles with comprehensive immigration reform would be, from their jaded viewpoints, counter-productive. That's because they want to roll a form of general amnesty into a complex, major bill (without calling it that) and placate Latino activists' groups, business interests, and the corrupt Mexican government.

American voters ought to insist otherwise.

We have 11+ million illegal aliens in the country because of the failed policies of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush vis-a-vis national security in the context of an invasion from the south and an international terrorist threat. And we presently have as many as 10,000 illegals per day breeching our borders. This is a disgraceful abnegation of presidential responsibility as the nation's chief law enforcement officer and Commander In Chief.

Homeland Security is not about ensuring "cheap labor."

And Homeland Security is an egregious misnomer when Congress funds additional Border Patrol agents and the president refuses, via subsequent budget cuts, to implement the build-up of border security resources that Americans want.

Texas governor Rick Perry has finally figured it out. High time the former occupier of the Texas' governor's mansion have an epiphany, too.