Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Irresponsible Media

Byron York has a grim piece about the terrible toll the White House is paying because of the assault from elitist Beltway conservatives. Some of the highlights:
"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."

Of course, all of York's sources are anonymous, so you shouldn't trust these disloyal leakers. No, you should be reading Marvin Olasky, who has real standards and thinks that things are going just fine. Mr. Olasky hasn't received a single negative view on Miers*.

*That is, a single negative view that meets his superior standards of publication. He's not some shoot-from-the-hip cub reporter like that rascally Byron York.


arrScott said...

Olasky almost sorta kinda has a point: The real question is how many Republican senators will defy their president (and thereby announce to the public his lame-duckancy three years shy of the end of his term) and vote against Miers. It's easy to see more than 20, possibly 35, Democrats voting for Miers. ("Hey, Republicans, you keep telling us that we should defer to the president on judicial appointments because he won the last election. Fine. We've got your deference right here, pal.")

If opponents of Miers cannot muster a large majority -- at least 30, possibly 40 or more -- of the 55 Republican senators to oppose Miers, she will sit on the Supreme Court. This is a case where the patented Bush strategy of stubbornness not only can but probably will succeed. Not-for-attribution whining from staffers is one thing; mustering a two-thirds majority of Republican senators to kneecap their own president on the Senate floor is quite something else.

Hei Lun said...

Explain why a single Democrat will vote for her? Two weeks ago the "she's the best we can do" rationale might have sufficed, but now that she's all but said that she's anti-Roe no Democrat's going to give her a free pass.

Dean Barnett said...

Pity the White House strategists. Red Auerbach always said on those rare occasions when he had a team so untalented that it couldn't whip its Philadelphia rival, "You can't make chicken salad out of chicken shit."

P.S. - It's just a metaphor suggesting that Miers is a weak nominee, not that she's literally, you know, fowl excrement. Although her writngs do seem to merit such a description.

P.P.S - Might want to rethink the next double down, Mr. Olasky. Your reputation isn't growing in stature during this debate.

Bizarro Jack said...



you are funny.

Like they can't have one little disagreement over a bad decision, especially when there are so many bad decisions that didn't spark a deserved disagreement.

I'm sure GWB will get many more hare-brained schemes rubberstamped by congress in his remaining three years than the number I would like him to get.

Furthermore, I really don't see what the Democratic senators or any American has to gain by putting a mediocre candidate into the supreme court.

arrScott said...

Why would Democrats vote for Miers?

1. Casting pro forma votes for the president's nominee would force the governing party to govern. Were I a Democrat in the Senate, I would not want to let Republicans off easy by allowing only five or six Republicans to defeat Miers. No one will ever blame Democrats who vote for her for any tomfoolery Justice Miers commits; everyone will know that she's a Republican nominee ratified by a Republican Senate.

2. Would Democrats rather have the mediocre Miers join the court, or give President Bush another chance to find a nominee who matches Scalia's genius and hypocrisy? Any Bush appointee is going to be against abortion; any Bush nominee is going to respect property rights more than civic freedoms and corporations more than citizens. It's not like giving Bush a second chance at this nomination will produce a nominee with more respect for Roe. Even Bush might just find another Scalia—or worse, a Scalia who isn't a jerk and who therefore is capable of persuading other justices to follow his jurisprudence—if you give him enough chances. He's 0 for 2 right now; why offer him a free try to go 1 for 3? Bush will probably get another vacancy or two before 2009; he doesn't need any do-overs.

3. President Bush really did win the 2004 election, and it is appropriate to defer to the president's appointments. The voters knew Bush was the kind of guy who rewards loyal mediocrity with promotion and they reelected him. The Senate should respect that.

4. The truth is the Supreme Court usually has a couple of empty robes along the bench. The Republic survived Warren Burger; it seems to be surviving Clarence Thomas. It will survive Justice Miers too. As far as brainpower and judgment go, Miers is certainly no worse than Thomas, whose written opinions make O'Connor sound like Madison. Thomas is to the Supreme Court what Phil Rizutto is to the Hall of Fame; how do you say no to Jose Offerman after you let Phil Rizutto in?

Anonymous said...

1. No Dem will vote for any nominee who is on record in any way threatening to overturn Roe. There are too many leftwing groups who would go batshit if they allowed it.

2. Scalia is not a jerk. Ask Ginsburg and her husband, who socialize with him often. But hey, what's a few ad hominem attacks against the justice the Left rightly fears most? Marginalize him!

3. Thomas is not an empty robe. But again, how dare he go off the liberal reservation and have an independent thought. Marginalize him!

4. Empty suits? Breyer was basically fetching Ted Kennedy coffee before his elevation. And while I disagree with most of his opinions, he is in fact a very bright man.Which still does nothing for Miers.

5. Putting Jose Awfulman in the same sentence with Phil Rizzuto is a travesty, and calls into question anything else in your post. Rizzuto played on numerous championship teams and won an MVP. Offerman isn't even close.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Bugg - you blew him away. I can allow a lot of bad thinking and poor argument, but when you mess with The Scooter, that's it with me.
- JS

Anonymous said...

"The Republic survived Warren Burger" - otherwise known as Harriet Miers' favorite Justice...

Anonymous said...

If there were, say, 25 Republican votes against Miers, do you REALLY see the White House forcing a vote on her (regardless of how many Democrats are for her)? I don't.

arrScott said...

I only called Scalia, whom I admire, "a jerk" in the sense that his outspoken self-righteousness seems constantly (and deliberately) to alienate potential jurisprudential allies on the court. There's a reason you see so many Scalia-Thomas dissents on a court with a 7-2 majority of Republican appointees. If Scalia wasn't quite so in love with his own brilliance, we would probably already have a much more conservative Supreme Court. A little modesty and restraint from the guy and we might easily have seen a Scalia-Thomas-Rhenquist-O'Connor-Souter majority for real conservative jurisprudence over the last decade. Not all the time, and not on every issue, but enough to matter.

As to the quality of Thomas's rulings, well, they really are on a par with the work Harriet Miers showed us on her Senate questionnaire. Nor are his public speeches impressive. I don't pick on him because he calls himself a conservative and tags along with Scalia like one of Batman's lesser Robins, but because his legal writing is just plain bad. Worse than O'Connor's, which says a lot. Bryer is a fair point, but he only reinforces the notion that the Republic can survive a few soft minds on the Supreme Court.

Finally, Chuck Knoblauch played for a bunch of championship teams (his Twins and Yankees were 13-1 in postseason play; Rizutto's Yanks were 7-2) and won just as many ROY awards as Rizutto did MVPs, AND he was a better batter than Rizutto, AND in his good years he was a better fielder, AND he was among the league leaders in more categories more of the time. It's not that Rizutto wasn't a good player or an admirable guy, he was, it's that he's clearly a lesser player than lots of guys who obviously don't belong in the Hall. There is no principled way to keep Chuck Knoblauch out of Cooperstown once you let Phil Rizutto in. By Supreme Court standards, Rizutto is a judicially discovered penumbral Hall of Famer.

Anonymous said...

I loved Knoblauch - especially his OCD ritual when he was at bat. I mean it when I say that - he brings back good memories of the 1998 season, in particular. But to compare to Scooter is crazy. A few points:
* Numbers are very close with CK getting the edge in BA, OBP and Fielding
* Scooter played when there were fewer teams and one could make the argument that the talent pool (viz pitching) was not as diluted
* Scooter missed 4 seasons when he served in the war. If not for those four years, he would have played a total of 17 seasons. CK was basically done after 12 seasons
* CK essentially was a DH and LF for most of 2001 and 2002 when he could not make the throw from second to first

Isn't this better than arguing about Miers since this actually has relevance and she does not.

- JS

kwAwk said...

I think the Miers nomination is dead but the President hasn't quite figured it out yet. The President created his own lame duckancy with Hurricane Katrina.

Staying on vacation even after it becomes blatantly obvious that a serious natural disaster is happening in this country made him look worse than words could describe. Then when it became obvious that his crony appointment Mike Brown was part of the problem, and then following it up with the biggest spending program in recent memory with no way to pay for it and conservative 'elites' had no choice but to come to their senses and start challenging a President that has had almost a free ride for 5 years.

The one thing that turns me off most about Repubs is this notion that it is an act of almost treason in the eyes of you guys, for an elected official to make their own decisions and vote against the party line. It is time to remember guys, we are all on the same team. We all have the same desire to see America stay strong, we just have different was to go about it. Love your country more than your party.

Anonymous said...

Best regards from NY!
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