A conservatory of Ldotter blogs.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Fai Mao's Sandbox. . .

. . .will be a very interesting blog to visit in the upcoming days. It seems the author, Ldotter "phil_hk" will have an up-close and personal view of the upcoming G7 Conference in Hong Kong.

From an email:

"You may want to mark my blog in the next few weeks in the run up to the G7 conference in Hong Kong.

I live literally right across the street from where the major protest will be staged and plan to publish pictures, interviews, news worthy items and commentary on what goes on."

Phil is a longtime poster at Lucianne, and always has an interesting take on cultural matters. He has a tendency to eschew partisan politics and the overtly ideological, while giving insightful commentary on things ranging from the influence of marketing in separating a fool from his money where bicycle parts are concerned, to pitfalls and blessings of empty nest syndrome. Do give him a click. He's an interesting guy.

Another shot at Test Result things:


U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, appointed by
Reagan, born 1949
A Texan! Nearly nominated to Souter's seat by
G.H.W. Bush. You're hoping the son follows
through! Jones is considered radioactive by
Democrats, which you (and the administration)
might consider a plus!

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

After the conservative press. . .

. . .finishes its end zone dance, they might want to pause for a moment and reflect upon how much they've accomplished over the past few weeks. It really is amazing when you sit back and take a look at it, and I'm not sure they're even cognizant of just how much they've managed to achieve. But, those of us who've been following conservative opinion makers over the years are all too aware of their capabilities, and the destruction of the Miers nomination is a sterling example.

Some are quick to blame the pundits themselves for the division that has developed among conservatives during the course of this nomination and withdrawal, but I'm a little slow to do that. I think what the conservative press has done is not so much create the division as expose it. Truth be known, this schism is nothing new. It's a fault line that's existed, though dormant, for many years and is just now making its presence known.

There have been clues to the existence of this fault line over the years, the most recent being the scare that John McCain put into the Republican Party establishment in the 2000 elections. Things got particularly nasty between the McCain and Bush camps, and the threat of insurrection seemed plausible, if not likely, throughout the primary. Both sides eventually managed to set aside their differences and coalesce around a single leader, but there was still a good measure of acrimony and distrust underlying the unity.

The McCain people believed with every fiber of their being that the Bush campaign was the source of scurrilous rumor mongering in places where McCain posed a serious threat, and no doubt they still do. But, the past few weeks ought to dispel that notion -- because, suddenly, that bastardized form of political discourse has been turned against the Bush administration and the president's nominee to the Supreme Court. Those of us who supported Bush throughout the primaries and the general election in 2000 took great offense at the suggestion that the Bush campaign was behind the personal attacks against McCain in South Carolina. There was even some suggestion that the McCain campaign orchestrated the attacks in the hopes of generating enough backlash against Bush to carry the state.

But, it ought to be crystal clear now that what happened to John McCain was the handiwork of a relatively small group of freelancers seeking to impose its political will upon the Republican Party and the conservative movement at large. The fingerprints started appearing in the very first few days following the announcement of Miers's nomination, in the form of suggestions that she might be a lesbian due the fact that she is unmarried at 60 years of age. Some may deny that this ever happened, but the fact of the matter is that it did. There were no direct quotes to attribute, obviously, but then whisper campaigns are cowardly in that regard. It's in their very nature. They're a very cheap, efficient and effective means of achieving the desired end. One example of this stands out in my memory -- the not-so-subtle use of "Harry" as an adulteration of Miers's first name. I'm going strictly on recall, because I don't remember where I read it and can't find a link to provide as proof. So, the reader can feel free to disregard it if he or she pleases. But, I will swear to what I read with a completely clear conscience and sleep the sleep of the just regardless of whether or not anyone chooses to believe me.

With the nomination safely and surely crushed, now those who orchestrated the destruction have something else to deal with, and it's the same thing that always bedevils victories born of ham-fisted treachery: the law of unintended consequences. By leveling such vitriolic slander at Miers and those who would have preferred that she be given her day in court, the winners in this battle may very well have given a much-needed infusion of blood to the monster that has lurked underground since George W. Bush accepted the nomination of the Republican Party for the 2000 election. That monster is known as the disaffected conservative -- the McCainiac.

I don't know the origins of the elephant as the logo/mascot of the GOP, but I do know it's a particularly apt selection, given its reputation as an animal with a very long and exacting memory. Republicans and other conservatives will long remember the trashing they received at the hands of those who attacked them so mercilessly and relentlessly. They'll also remember with a bit of shame the attacks on John McCain and how eerily similar they were to those against Miers and supporters of her right to be heard, and the president's right to nominate her for an up-or-down vote. They'll also remember how long they fought for all the president's other nominees to be given the same dignity, only to have their erstwhile allies publicly flay another in full public view, and behind the scenes, to ensure that she never have that opportunity.

Some of those disaffected conservatives will look back on all of this and say to themselves, "Maybe McCain has a point. It'll be interesting to hear what he has to say over the next couple of years." And, when John McCain starts riffing on the special interests' domination of America's politics, and the filthy way in which they often do business in order to achieve their goals, he's going to have a lot more welcoming ears as memories of the Miers nomination begin to emerge. Those who supported the idea of letting Miers's nomination get a fair hearing have been told in no uncertain terms that their wishes are of little consequence to those who had someone else in mind. And, any misapprehension that they are respected by those whom they've worked alongside over the past six years has been stripped away and turned to mulch like tree bark in a sawmill.

To those who believe, or want to believe, that this is nothing more than a temporary spat within a loving family, I can only say I'm sorry. I think the bloodletting has only just begun.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

I goofed up. . .

. . .by trying to place one of those stupid, cutesy "test result" things on my blog a little while ago, and somehow, it made half of my most recent entry disappear. I somehow managed to get it pieced back together, though some text was lost. I don't have that great a short-term memory, so I couldn't reproduce what was lost, and have no other way of recovering it. So, if the post below seems disjointed, it's partially my fault for being dumb enough to try one of those things, and partially Blogger's because I didn't do anything abnormal in posting it, and there's no good reason why the text in the previous blog should have disappeared when I was working on another entry.


UPDATE: I'm utterly beside myself. Whole passages that I can't come close to reproducing are gone. If anyone, by some strange coinicidence, has a copy of the original text available, I'm blegging you to email it to me.

No retreat, no surrender. . .

. . .has been Bush administration policy since day one. President Bush signaled that policy throughout the 2000 campaign when he insisted that he would not be a president governed by polls. Republicans at the time lauded this stance, and when he finally was able to assume his seat in the Oval Office, those same Republicans pointed to those words as confirmation that "finally, the adults are in charge." Now, with the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, it seems this characteristic has become a source of frustration, and, in some instances, outright rage within certain circles of the Republican establishment.

Before I go any further, I should point out that, as a conservative, I'm less than impressed with Miers as a nominee. Having learned of her apparent stance on minority hiring quotas while serving as president of the Texas Bar Association, I'm not exactly encouraged that she would vote "the right way" on the Supreme Court should affirmative action be brought before the high court again during her tenure. In fact, I'm not especially convinced that she would be a more reliable conservative voice than Sandra Day O'Connor on any number of issues. With that in mind, it would be false to label me a "Miers supporter."

What I support is the President's prerogative to nominate those whom he sees fit to fill vacancies in the Supreme Court and inferior federal courts, and his constitutional right to have those nominees be given an up or down vote in the Senate. Not only is this what the Founding Fathers intended, it also serves as an opportunity to vindicate their vision. In granting such broad leeway to the president, the framers of the Constitution understood that the judgment of a single man is better than that of a deliberative body when it comes to determining the fitness of an individual to a position of such consequence. Where a single person is able to discern specific qualities and quilifications within a nominee, a large body of people will hold a wide range of ideals, varying by the individual, often in direct opposition to one another. To give greater weight to the prerogative of such a body would virtually guarantee perpetual deadlock in appointments to the various courts. We've already seen the consequences of this in President Bush's nominations to the court being blocked for several years, and in some cases, subjected to unprecedented party-line judicial filibusters.

While the conservative intelligentsia, like George Will and others, profess to oppose Miers's nomination based on the notion that she's utterly unqualified to take a seat on the Supreme Court due to a lack of constitutional scholarship, the fact is that the Constitution of the United States, and any change made to it, lies in the hands of the people -- the "supreme authority" according to James Madison. That would seem to indicate that the Founding Fathers created it with the implication that anyone who met the simple requirements for suffrage should be able to fully understand it. The intelligentsia apparently feel that the Constitution's authors were casting pearls before swine in allowing this momentous statement on the rights of man to be soiled by the hands of the commonfolk. Needless to say, I disagree.

Then come the practical politics of it all. Many of those who oppose this nomination do so on several different bases -- often shifting from one to the other. For instance, when you point out that the Constitutions stated qualifications for the Supreme Court are modest by anyone's standard, they shift over to the argument that cronyism is at play. When you point out that it's only cronyism if the person doesn't meet the qualifications set forth in the Constitution, they tend to shift over to the "paper trail" argument. When you point out the disastrous results of relying on a paper trail, most starkly exhibited in the Souter and Kennedy nominations, they tend to shift over to the "lack of experience" argument. When you point out that many justices were catapulted to the High Court without any judicial experience at all, they shift over to the "dividing the base" argument. When you point out that those who nominally "support" the nomination aren't the ones who are threatening to withhold votes and donations, they shift over to the namecalling argument. When you point out that it was Ann Coulter and her fellow polemicists who launched the initial ad hominem salvos, they tend to whirl right back around to the "divided base" argument again. Essentially, it boils down to a mass tantrum among a group of people who think they're ready to go to war with an unknown number of loyal troops, and an established core of mutinous field marshalls --the embittered, ambitious John McCain being its titular head.

And, of course, there is the message that will be sent by withdrawing the nomination. No matter how the White House portrays it, and how many congratulatory "thank you for finally coming to your senses," pieces are written by establishment conservative pundits, the media will lead the story with, "In a sign of growing weakness and dissention within an administration that once seemed invincible, the President withdrew the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court today. Democrats aren't even bothering to conceal their glee, privately noting that the Republicans essentially did their dirty work for them."

I'm in no way convinced that Harriet Miers is the best person for the position. I'm even more skeptical after having read the last few posts over on The Corner by Jonah Goldberg, who has been fair-minded and restrained, throughout. But, skeptical as I may be, I'm just as convinced that the Coulters, Wills, Limbaughs, and Frums would, if given their druthers, further establish a particularly pernicious criterion for judicial nominations: that the process of vetting nominees include the yammering class.

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