Sunday, November 06, 2005

Why the looney left hates the blogs?

Because normal, rational, educated people can do to them what I am about to do to Eleanor Clift. I don't ever look to MSNBC for anything and I don't regularly read Newsweek so I would have missed this article if it weren't for Powerline, another reason the looney's hate the blogs.

I am going to do something I rarely do, reprint an entire article. I don't want any claims that I took Ms. Clift out of context.

Nov. 4, 2005 - Democrats shouldn't filibuster Samuel Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court unless he really bungles the hearings.

The votes aren't there, and moderates don't have the stomach for an all-out war over spousal notification.

What she means by moderates here is people to the right of Chuck Schumer. The true moderates rarely want an all out war about anything and they not only didn't want to filibuster Roberts, they voted for him. But we get to the real reason that the "moderates" don't want a fight on this one:
By a margin of nearly 3-to-1 according to a Pew Research Center poll, the public sides with the position Alito took in 1991 when he upheld as constitutional a provision in a Pennsylvania law that required women to notify their husbands before obtaining an abortion.

This must keep people like Ms. Clift up at night. Notice, she isn't dumb so much as misguided. She, unlike some of the looney left, realizes that it is not politically smart to fight over an issue that 75% of the public disagrees with you on. Even Reagan didn't beat Carter with that kind of overwhelming public support.
Alito is not a wild-eyed originalist who channels the Founding Fathers, but he is very conservative and will vote with Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. This court has had a high percentage of 5-to-4 rulings, with the retiring Sandra Day O'Connor typically the fifth and deciding vote on reproductive rights, affirmative action and other hot-button social issues.

wow, two sentences in a row that I have to agree are accepted truths!
The loss of O'Connor coupled with the ascension of Alito will plunge the court deeper into the embrace of the religious right.

This is a laughable statement for two reasons.

1. If the court is 5-4 one way today on "these issues" and tomorrow it is 5-4 the other way, the court hasn't PLUNGED anywhere. The court will, presumably, SHIFT to the right when Judge Alito replaces Justice O'Connor. But even in a group as small as 9 people replacing one "moderate" with one "conservative" isn't a plunge. Replacing one "liberal" with one "conservative" isn't either. That would be a significant or maybe large shift. If Bush had managed to replace Justice Stevens and Justice Ginsberg with Justice Roberts and Judge Alito, that would be a plunge.

2. The left is making the claim that this is about the religious right. I honestly don't know if this through ignorance or just partisan rhetoric. The religious right was perfectly happy with Harriet Miers. They are probably less happy with Judge Alito. They want somebody who will absolutely, positively, regardless of circumstances, vote to overturn Roe at every opportunity. That was, frankly, far more likely with Miers than Alito. The mainstream conservative movement, a much larger voting block than the religious right, fought against Miers. I know it is confusing for lefties, but I am both religious and conservative. I am not a member of the religious right. The same can be said for Hugh Hewitt and Michael Medved and Dennis Prager. If you are confused about the distinction compare these people with Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and James Dobson. If you compare these two groups and still can't tell the difference between a movement conservative and the religious right you should probably stop reading and go here. You are either an idiot or you are blinded by your socialism.
Democrats should mount a tough fight and expose Alito and his conservative cheerleaders so the voters know what they're getting.

Fair enough as far as it goes, but does that mean ask tough questions or vote no?
Highlight the ruling where Alito said Congress has no power to regulate machine guns under the commerce clause of the Constitution.

I really, really promise to go over this case and blog on it. My quick reading is that it shows nothing about how Judge Alito would vote on SCOTUS. I believe it is another case of him showing deference to SCOTUS rulings, more specifically, a then recent ruling overturning as unconstitutional a federal law banning guns near schools. I believe the left may have a nice sound-bite on this but the substance is probably lacking.
Play the abortion card--but stop short of a filibuster.

Am I the only one who remembers that not long ago the Democrats were complaining about conservatives having a litmus test on this issue?
With President George W. Bush's approval rating at 35 percent in the latest CBS poll, Democrats have finally sprung to life. That's a good thing, but a bruising battle over cultural issues is better for Bush than for the Democrats.

Again, two sentences in a row that are reasonable, and again it is worth noting that the woman, however misguided is not stupid. What she says in the second sentence is VERY telling. Why is it better for Bush to have a fight over cultural issues? Why is it better for any conservative than any liberal to fight over cultural issues on a national stage? Because a significant majority of the American public and an even larger percentage of the voting public are conservative on these cultural issues. Being reflexively pro-abortion or anti-gun or anti-religion will help you politically in San Francisco and maybe even Cleveland but it will not help you win Ohio or Florida as a state in a national election. The left hates this because they think that San Francisco and New York are the only kinds of places that votes should count. But on a national stage, it still has to play in the heartland. And the heartland is very socially conservative.
Rather than risk the filibuster in an unwinnable fight over Alito, Democrats should save it for when and if that awful day arrives when the most liberal member of the court, John Paul Stevens, 85, steps down while Bush is still president.

Here, Ms. Clift has somewhat of an argument. I don't agree with it but it is an argument. Judge Alito is poised to replace Justice O'Connor. She sees a conservative replacing a moderate. But it is also a conservative being picked to replace a Justice picked by a Republican. Further, everyone on both sides of the aisle thought they were getting a judicial conservative in O'Connor and she was approved overwhelmingly (99-0).

She is being polite when she says "steps down". What she really means is dies. I do not see any of the court ideological lefties "stepping down" under a Republican presidency and certainly not one that, Miers aside, has consistently picked judges in the constitutionalist style. If Condi Rice runs for president in 2008 and she is as wise as she clearly is smart Justice Stevens will be either 96 and still on the court or will be dead by 2016. He will not be retired and planning his 100th birthday party. There is an argument that replacing one of the liberal Justices appointed by a Democrat with a hard line constitutionalist might be impolite. I don't know what standing the hard left has to argue about someone being impolite, but it is an argument.
Bush's lasting domestic legacy will be a Supreme Court radically restructured to the right, and Alito likely will be confirmed just like John Roberts.

It will be a lasting decision. His legacy is still very much unknown, both domestically and otherwise. And just to beat a dead horse, replacing one moderate with one conservative (especially one that was thought a conservative when she was picked) is not radically anything. It is, hopefully, a shift in the court, but it is not "radically restructuring" anything. Roe isn't even in danger. The court is currently 6-3 on that topic.
That's why Democrats shouldn't get sidetracked. There are better battles to be fought.

Again, code from one of their own who is not being stupid. There are battles that we have a snowball's chance in hell of winning, and you don't pick a fight with a guy you know will kick your butt just for fun.
This week was a turning point when Democratic leader Harry Reid plunged the Senate into closed session and shamed the Republicans into speeding up a report on how the administration used prewar intelligence to boost its case for invading Iraq.

It may have been a turning point and many of us movement conservatives certainly hope that it was. If it was, it isn't the turning point that she thinks it is. Bill Frist was madder than a wet hen when he came out of that room. Shortly thereafter all the filibuster talk among Democrats got very quiet. I think, with no proof, that the ever polite and fair-play-ad-naseum Republican Senators took that little stunt as a declaration of war. I believe the Dems could have gotten this report with a couple of phone calls and no stunts but that is beside the point. The Republicans can now, with no shame, publish their findings on the 50 statements made by the administration. Right beside that publication they can offer their own 50 very similar statements made by the Clinton administration and/or Dem Senators during the Clinton administration. Senator Frist can walk out to the Hill steps and read all 100, in any particular order, and say "Here it is. We still don't know what all the fuss was about. We all agreed that the CIA was broken. These kinds of inaccurate statements are what happens when the CIA is broken, to both parties." Remember, the Republicans didn't need to agree to do part 2 at all. Once part 1 was over, finding there was no manipulation of the data, the majority party had no NEED to do another investigation of what parts of the data led to particular statements by THEIR administration. They were being polite. I hope they have finally learned their lesson.
The Republicans reacted like stuck pigs, squealing that they hadn't been consulted. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist came across as especially witless, whining about the breach of trust, proving once again he has no instinct for the job he holds.

As a total aside, I wonder if Ms. Clift knows what a stuck pig is? In this particular case she happens to have the right metaphor but not for the reason she thinks she does. For the benefit of those of you who didn't grow up in the country, I will explain. A stuck pig is a pig that is being bled. Most city folk, as we call them, think it has to do with giving them shots. It doesn't. In some cultures (and we do want to respect all cultures, don't we) farmers will "stick" adult pigs in one of their neck veins and catch the blood in a bucket. Then, before the amount of blood loss gets dangerous, they plug the hole. The pig lives to be stuck again another day. If you want to know what they use the blood for, email me. At any rate, the pigs aren't into this as you might imagine. Because of this, the way you go about sticking a pig is to lead it into a skinny pen with food on the far end. When the pig sticks its head through the hole to eat, you trap it and stick it. And yes, they do squeal, in part from the pain, but mostly they are complaining about being double crossed. The expression "squealed like a stuck pig" has to do with sitting down in a friends kitchen and being stuck in the neck with a knife by said friend. Pigs squeal about all kinds of things, stuck pigs are special!

Anyway, Senator Frist came across to me as extremely pissed off and disappointed. I thought his eyes were going to explode out of his head. I commented to my wife that the judicial filibuster was officially over as of that moment. What he had no instinct for was just how low his Democratic colleagues would go. He knows now.

Democrats feel emboldened, and they're dropping the euphemisms. They're saying straight out that the president and his administration lied and manufactured evidence to take the country to war.

I think she is right here, the only problem being that we all know that the lie is that there is any evidence that the President lied. We know Joe Wilson lied. We know Saddam lied. We now know that Kofi lied. We know that Chirac lied. We have every reason to believe that Scooter Libby lied to a prosecutor but NO EVIDENCE that anybody in the administration, let alone the President himself, lied to anybody about WMD. In fact, we don't even know that there weren't many more WMD in Iraq when those statements were made than we have found. We still haven't searched the whole country and we certainly gave Saddam a great deal of time to destroy things, move things (to say, Syria) or bury things. Remember, the "stockpile" we are talking about would fit on a football field or two. Iraq is the size of Texas. There are a lot of football fields in Texas. More likely, we now know, Saddam was intentionally bluffing the world into believing he had things he didn't have. While it is sad that one crazy man can successfully bluff the intelligence agency of every country in the world, this is likely what happened. We know that during the cold war the Soviets made serious bluffs about both their military strength and their nuclear program. When did we find out how badly the CIA had been bluffed? After the Soviet Union fell. Did Carter and Reagan lie? Did anybody (meaning anybody we would take seriously) accuse them of telling lies when we found out? I don't remember it if they did.

Further, it is the charge of the "stuck on stupid" crowd. As has been pointed out by people smarter than me, given all the reasons to finish the war with Iraq, why in the world would anybody base his claim for war on something that he knew full well would be found to not be true once the war got going? You would have to believe that Bush is not only a liar but an idiot and that Rove had exactly zero political savvy.
The logical extension of such an explosive charge would be impeachment, says Marshall Wittmann, a senior fellow at the Democratic Leadership Council, though Wittman doesn't personally advocate this strategy. It's the highest crime and misdemeanor one can think of, the case that they maliciously did this, and it obliges Democrats [who backed the war] to say they cast the wrong vote. Wittmann is sharply critical of the administration's performance in Iraq, but he supported the invasion and thinks Democrats would be ill-advised to drag the country into impeachment proceedings.

I am amazed that I have to agree with a Senior Fellow at the DLC on this one. IF AND ONLY IF there were any evidence that Bush actually knew what nobody else in the world outside of Saddam's administration knew, that there were very few WMD in Iraq (and remember, we found some, just not the stockpiles we expected) I would suggest that the President had committed an impeachable offense. Even though it was only one of the reasons given, it was an important one and lying about the justification for going to war is clearly impeachable. I don't know because she, conveniently, doesn't give the full context of the quote, but I suspect Mr. Wittmann doesn't support impeachment precisely because he doesn't think there is any proof and even though umpty-ump hearings and investigations and reports (all bipartisan) have come to the conclusion that Bush didn't lie an impeachment trial would solidify for the American people who lied and who didn't.
Impeachment seems a bridge too far, but when the question was posed to a former senior member of the law-enforcement community, he didn't dismiss it out of hand. Not at this stage, he told NEWSWEEK, but there are three more years left to this administration, and I can see it unraveling.

"A senior member of the law-enforcement community" could include my uncle, a very senior deputy sheriff in Clark County, IN. He is also a registered Democrat, so maybe it was my uncle she talked to. Note to self: ask Mom if Uncle retired. At any rate, I am sure there are hopefuls out there praying that evidence that Bush knew what nobody else did will come out. That is what he clearly means by "unraveling". So is Bush an idiot or a genius? I always get confused.
Someone passed along the name of CIA officer Valerie Plame to administration officials, setting the stage for what her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson, calls a 'tawdry political hit job' that has metastasized into a crisis of government.

Again, I think Ms. Clift is confused. Writing a NYT editorial saying that you were the guy sent at the request of the VP to investigate the claim and found it baseless when in fact you were the guy your wife sent and you found evidence to support it is a "tawdry political hit job". And have you seen any crisis of government? I must have missed it.
Asked if Bush should be impeached, Wilson sounded remarkably measured considering his personal involvement. "One of the reasons I played an active role in the last campaign [working for John Kerry] is because I believe these are issues we settle at the ballot box," he told the National Press Club.

OK, so let me get this straight. She is supporting impeachment by quoting the guy who was "smeared" by the administration saying we shouldn't impeach? Strange. Very Strange. Not strange is that Joe Wilson wouldn't want impeachment hearings on this topic. People actually watch those things.
Wilson said we all bear responsibility--those in Washington who didn't try hard enough to win the debate; journalists who, in his words, were swept up in the post-9/11 vote of confidence for the administration, and a complacent Congress, which stood by when Bush turned his back on the United Nations.

Blah, blah, blah, back to Ms. Clift.
The more we learn about the secretive White House Iraq Group (WHIG) and the role of Vice President Dick Cheney in pressing his dark views on the country, the likelier it is that the administration will be found culpable for exaggerating the threat Saddam Hussein posed in its zeal to go to war.

Huh? Where is the evidence that supports this? At best there is evidence that an administration official put the word out on a guy who was lying about the evidence surrounding WMD. This may have been impolite, unwise, and possibly illegal. This revelation has absolutely no link to "exaggerating" evidence. The guy being outed was the only one we know was lying about evidence.
If the Democrats win back the House in the '06 election, Michigan Democrat John Conyers will chair the House Judiciary committee. On the day the Scooter Libby indictments were handed down, Conyers invoked the language of Watergate: "What did the president and the vice president know, and when did they know it?" If the political tables turn, impeachment may not be so far-fetched after all.

The only reason this isn't funny is that she is actually saying this straight faced. There are currently 228 Republicans, 205 Democrats, 1 Independent, and one vacancy in the House. They need 218. So, assuming they pick up the vacancy and the "Independent" votes with them they need to pick up another net 11. This is technically possible. Newt managed to pick up 54 seats a decade ago. That being said, either side getting more than a 5 seat net gain in the gerrymandered and divided world we live in today is highly unlikely outside of redistricting. Where was big redistricting done? Texas. Which party is that likely to favor? Sorry Ms. Clift.


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