Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Hugh Hewitt: Right Again!

This must drive Andrew Sullivan just nuts: Hugh Hewitt called the election from a mile away, got the correct analysis of the first debate, and understood the ongoing political realignment in the face of all contrary opinion. For his trouble, people have tried to brand him as some sort of Rush-clone.

And now Hugh is leading the charge to save Arlen Specter.

You can find Hugh's extended argument here. I find it quite persuasive. The costs of replacing Specter as chair of the Judiciary Committee are quite high, and have a good probability of coming to pass, should the assault on him succeed. The benefits of replacing him seem to be mostly psychological--and hence quite fleeting.

But there's more: Replacing Specter would be a signal that Republicans might be headed down the same path towards moral absolutism that Libby Sternberg rightly sees as having hobbled the Democrats. If Republicans are going to be a majority party, they have to continue to tolerate--and even encourage!--some level of internal dissent.

Hugh Hewitt is right: Leave Specter alone.


Anonymous said...

Arlan Specter would be a disasterous appointment to the Senate Judiciary Committee. He was one of the main reasons that Robert Bork was not nominanated to the Supreme Court. Bork was one of the most qualified judges to come before the Supreme Court. However, a massive smear campaign was conducted by Democrats to destroy his nomination. Irrevelent and misleading information was brought up about Robert Bork's personal life. He was accussed of taking large consulting fees in while working as a law professor. First of all, there is nothing wrong with that. Second, Bork's wife was fatally ill, and Bork needed all the money he could get to try to save his wife's illness and cover the medical costs. Arlan Specter voted against nominating Robert Bork, and was one of his harshest critics. Now, Specter is wanting to employ a litmus test of not nominating a justice that would overturn Roe v Wade. We need more judges that interpret the constitution and what is says, not who adhere to the idealogical convictions of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Anonymous said...

I've got to agree with High Hewitt: Spector should assume the job appropriate to his seniority. In the "what have you done for me lately" column, Spector has supported Justice Thomas, was one of the major critics of Anita Hill, and has supported all of Bush's judicial nominations. I think we're big enough to let Spector be Spector.

Grumpy Old Man said...

On reflection, Hugh is right about Specter.

The Senate will follow its traditions, and Specter has been suitably warned by the uproar. He may oppose a Bush appointee or two, but he won't obstruct their going to the floor.

Big tent, folks, big tent.

Anonymous said...

Hugh Hewitt is full of well-intentioned hogwash. His whole argument is predicated on the notion (really just a wish, a hope and a prayer) that Specter is a man who can be trusted. Unfortunately, that is patently untrue. If Specter gets the Chair, and then decides to act out his petulance over the treatment he's received, well then it'll be too bloody late to do anything about it, won't it? Given a choice between Senate tradition on the one hand, and moral and political principle on the other, I'll take the latter any day of the week.

Anonymous said...

Specter's media blitz over the last few days tells you all you need to know about the man. A better man would have already removed his name from further consideration. But not Arlen Specter. To hell with the fact that he's causing all this trouble in the Party, in the Senate, in the country, and for his president. In his own twisted, egotistical mind all of that is secondary to his own desires. Disgusting!

Anonymous said...

Hugh is way off on this one. Check out Redstate.com 's new site Notspecter.com. On it, there is reports of Specter's statements regretting his support for Thomas, his view that originalism is extremist, and countless other reasons not to trust the guy.

This isn't about big tent, or allowing opposing views. Its about TRUST. And Republicans have no reason to trust him to help this Republican president put justices Republicans favor onto the Supreme Court. The stakes are far too high to put in the hands of a flakey megalomaniac like Arlen Specter. Conservatives who fail to see this either are showing their poor judgment or are insufficiently caring about originalist interpretation of our founding document.

Anonymous said...

Many voters (my self included--as a forme Democrat) supported Bush and other Republican for one primary reason: judges. If Specter stands in the way of those judges, the victory of 2004 is worthless. Thus, whatever the fallout, Specter must not be allowed to obstruct the nomination and confirmation of strict-constructionist judges.

That being said, it would obviously be best if we could guarantee that Specter will not obstruct, while at the same time avoiding the fallout of offending Republican modeart/liberals. But I only see one way to have our cake and eat it to, and that is to force Specter to promise, cross his heart, hope to lose his chairmanship, that he will work tirelessly to ensure that each and every Bush nominee recieves a floor vote (even if he personally opposes the nominee). Short of getting such a promise, ousting Specter seems the better path toward the ultimate goal of reforming the judiciary.

But, how can Specter be forced into making such a promise? Through unrelenting pressure of course. He is a lame-duck, so we can't threaten his reelection. We must threaten to take something else that he values: his chairmanship. That threat must be real--it must be intensely real--and it must be immediate and ongoing. The dump Specter campaign is supplying that needed pressure.

Which then brings us to why Hewitt's position is problematic. He is willing to turn off the pressure now, before the victory is gained. This is, frankly, dumb. With apologists like Hewitt leading the way, Specter will win and be stronger. Have defeated such a challenge, he will be free to obstruct all he wants. What can we threaten him with then? No, we must all oppose Specter--including those who ultimately want him to stay. We must let Specter know that his one way out is an absolute pledge to see every nominee through to a floor vote--every one. We must keep the pressure on, day after day, with no other avenue of escape being offered, until Specter finally gives in. We must become, and remain, united in applying this pressure. Even Hewitt should have sense enough to join us and be anti-Specter until the victory is won.

And, if Specter never gives in? Then we will have proof of his desire to obstruct. And his removal will then surely be viewed as sensible.

Every good conservative must with one voice call loudly for Specter's head, while we whisper to him that there is one, and only one, way out. Thaat is how to guarntee a clear path for Bush's nominees even while not offending the party fringe. Hewitt's path is a course to sure defeat.

Anonymous said...

Give the job to Grassley, who has seniority but doesn't want the job.

And give Iowa 10 billion in pork, if that's what it takes.

Never ever let Arlen Specter have the opportunity to steal the conservative birthright.

AST said...

To me this is an estoppel issue. Specter has played by the rules. He got elected and built up seniority. I don't agree with him on a lot of issues, but far be it from me to pull the rug out at this point. One of the things that offends me so much about the Democrats' filibustering of Bush's judicial nominees is that it is a violation of the traditions of politics, which has few rules on which we can rely.

The Senate evolved these rules in order to make it easier to get results from an inherently hostile institution. I don't think the Dems deserve any consideration now, since they raised the ante by being obstructionist when they no longer called the shots. I'd change the rules of the Senate to give every nominee a floor vote.

But Senator Specter didn't create this situation, unless you go back 17 years, which as they say is a long time in politics. The Republicans don't have a big enough majority to start requiring loyalty oaths and settling old scores among their own. The fact that a lot of conservative purists feel like throwing their weight around in the afterglow of a win doesn't justify this irrational exuberance. This is the easiest way to restore themselves to minority party status.

Anonymous said...

I just wish everyone who is so adamantly opposed to Mr. Specter's chairmanship would stop and view the tape of what the man ACTUALLY SAID that ignited this firestorm. He offered some friendly advice to the President (you know, "advise and consent?") and the major media (remember them) twisted it around into a threat, and some conservatives BELIEVED it, and we're off to the races. I still say that a chastened Specter in the chair is far better than an unfairly-deposed and vindictive Specter out of it.

Kurmudge said...

It seems to me that Hugh is generally right, but that the exercise is important. If Specter simply puffed up his chest and began to lecture Bush on "reasonable" judiciary appointments with no reaction ensuing, he would not only sound exactly like Schumer, he would be emboldened a la bin Laden by the acquiescence of his foes.

I would hope that the storm of protest following Specters intemperate comments would have awakened him to the fact that he cannot run open-loop in that position. I would also hope that there is a behind-closed-doors pre-nup between him and several key voters (Kyl, Hatch et al) regarding how he will handle SCOTUS nominees he may not love.

It should also be noted that Specter's liberalism and RINO status is not restricted to abortion (we talk too much about that already). He is also an indefensibly implacable foe of education vouchers of any type for K-12, of the Faith-Based Intititives, and supports race-based numerical preferences as well.

The Committee has to accept him, but it also has to reign him in when necessary.

Anonymous said...

Consider that no one in Washington could possibly take President Bush's agenda seriously if the republicans cave on this chairmanship! Add to that the outrage that would result among the republican voter base and you can kiss 2006 and 2008 GOODBYE! Many are saying that we would have carried PA had Bush not backed Specter in the primary.

Do the right thing. Have a backbone. Set the stage for President Bush's Agenda by refusing Senator Specter's chairmanship of the judiciary committee.

There are no arguments FOR letting Specter be chairman other than, "well, that's just the way we do things here in Washington". Sorry, this one is too big. Way too big for tired senatorial musical chair games rigged for the senior birthday boy.

Anonymous said...

Slightly oblique-topic here, but Libby Sternberg seems to confuse zealous moral relativism with moral absolutism. The "I don't know" remark is a weak point to build from, being a poor reflection of President Bush's belief that, inherited or not, homosexuality does not deserve equal benefit.

"I don't know" if terrorism appeals to certain kinds of people, i.e., perhaps Mohammed Atta would have been a serial killer or a white-collar criminal if he'd grown up in a free society; but absolutism would drive me to disagree with a relativist on the justification of principally killing the innocent and defenseless.

Sternberg's heading in the right direction but reading the wrong signs on the way. A GOP "big tent" is one thing; a patchwork of contradictory party factions is another, and risks the Democrats' fatal problems.

Attila said...

Bush's mistake was supporting Specter's re-election in the first place, and now he's not in a position to encourage the Senate to drop him from the chairmanship.

That said, the rest of us have no obligation to stay out of the fray. Let Specter stay on the Senate Judicary Committee. Let him vote his warped conscience. But why do we have to let him take a leadership position on the most important issue to conservatives outside of foreign policy?

Bork. Bork. Bork. Bork. Bork. Bork. Bork. Bork. Bork. Bork. Bork. Bork. Bork. Bork. Bork. Bork. Bork. Bork. Bork. Apologies for supporting Thomas. Apologies for supporting Thomas. Apologies for supporting Thomas. Apologies for supporting Thomas. Apologies for supporting Thomas. You get the idea.

Seventeen years isn't so long to me.