ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Friday, October 07, 2005

Olberman: More Deranged than a DUer

When I learned of the terror threat on the NYC subway, I called ARC:Brian to joke, "You know what the DUers are going to say... this "threat" is just to distract from Rove's pending indictment."

Well, I wasn't able to get to the DU forum in time to catch such speculation, but no worries!!! There's always Keith Olberman! If the DUers haven't thought of it yet, he's sure to. And if it's posted on DU, you can bet that Olberman is going to mention it on his "Countdown" (which no one watches).

Olbermann Questions Timing of Terror Alert ... Again
Posted by Brad Wilmouth on October 7, 2005 - 02:47.

Another terror alert, another chance for Keith Olbermann to question whether it's politically motivated. There seems to be a pattern that when the Bush administration announces a terror alert, MSNBC's Countdown host speculates about whether it was politically timed to benefit the administration in some way. Only this time, while doing so again on Thursday night's show, Olbermann oddly used self-contradictory logic in admitting repeatedly that not only were administration members not the ones who decided to announce the latest terror alert, but that the White House has actually been downplaying the authenticity of the information that New York City authorities decided to take seriously.

Olbermann also found time to mock President Bush's speech on terrorism from earlier that day, saying the President was "returning to the theme of scaring the bejesus out of anybody who will listen." He later speculated to MSNBC analyst Craig Crawford that when a politician "seems to be using [the issue of terrorism] as a last line of personal political defense," does he risk "trivializing the issue" and "sounding like Joe McCarthy on communist infiltration?"

After leading the October 6 show with an update on Karl Rove's expected fourth grand jury appearance, Olbermann first raised the coincidental timing of the terror alert and sarcastically cautioned the audience, "Stop what you're thinking. It's just an amazing coincidence. The terrorists just happened to wait to make these threats until there's bad news about the administration that it needs to preempt. Just a coincidence." After making a similar sarcastic comment later, he got to an interview with Crawford in which he revealed that "we've cobbled together in the last couple of hours a list of at least 13 occasions that, on which, whenever there has been news that significantly impacted the White House negatively, there has been some sudden credible terror threat somewhere in this country," and then wondered, "How could the coincidence be so consistent?" Crawford agreed that "it is a pattern" and complained that "those of us who bring it up get accused of treason."

Actually, I don't think anyone has been accused of treason for being a deranged whackjob like yourself.

Go back to reporting sports, you tool.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

DUers Ask: Who is Fred Phelps?

Fred Phelps is often used by the Left as the embodiement of right-wing "base." As with most assertions of the Left, they're completely incorrect.

Fred Phelps is a Democrat. (That's a big D Democrat, not a small d democrat).

Apparently, Fred called in to Air America Radio and it stirred up the DUers a bit. See this post as well.

Now, Fred Phelps isn't really a reverend or a pastor, any more than Charles Manson was a pastor. His Westboro Baptist Church is actually just a compound that houses his entire extended family. Interestingly, Al Gore found it a great location to have a fund raiser.

While the Left certainly abhors religion, they seem to have some things in common with Fred:

  1. Anti-War
  2. Love Fidel
  3. Love Saddam
  4. Love Algore
In the 1980s, the Phelps family were strong political allies with then-senator Al Gore. The home of Fred Jr., Phelps' eldest son, located in the Westboro compound, acted as Gore's campaign quarters for one of his senate races, and the Westboro compound was host to a fundraiser. Numerous photos exist on the internet of Fred Phelps Jr. and his second wife, Betty Phelps-Schurle, posing with Al and Tipper Gore in Phelps Jr.'s home. Phelps also served as a Gore delegate on the floor of the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta in 1988. [60]

During Bill Clinton's presidential campaign, Fred Phelps Jr. and members of Westboro campaigned for Gore, though simultaneously attacking Hillary Clinton. In January 1993, Fred Phelps Jr. and Betty Phelps-Schurle were invited to the inaugural ball in Washington, D.C.[61]

In the ensuing years leading up to Clinton's second presidential campaign, Gore and Clinton took increasing pro and neutral stances on homosexuality. Thus, Westboro turned against Gore, who nevertheless invited Fred Phelps, Marge, Fred Jr., and Betty back for the 1997 inauguration; they responded by bringing the entirety of Westboro to the White House and picketing on the front lawn during the ball, [62] with signs proclaiming that Gore, Clinton, and both men's families were going to hell, not necessarily for their stances on homosexuality, but because they had "betrayed" Westboro. [63]

In 1998, Westboro picketed the funeral of Gore's father, screaming vulgarities at Gore and telling him "your dad's in Hell." [64]

Phelps has run in numerous Democratic primary elections for governor of the state of conservative Kansas, in 1992, 1994, and the last time in 1998, when he came in last with 15,000 votes out of a total of over 103,000 votes cast, or 15%.

[EDIT - For some reason, Blogger cut off the rest of my post, which I attempt to recreate below]

Now, while the Left points to Fred Phelps as a great example of the rightwing, fundie base, it is clear that he is simply a deranged nutter. From what I've read, his "compound" and his Westboro Baptist Church is made up completely of his family members. I will not try to assert that Phelps is part of the Democratic base - as long as they reciprocate. He gets attention from the Left (from the Progressives, Air America Radio, etc) precisely because they try to promote him as just a rank & file, "intolerant" Republican. However, I find his positions on every issue to be repugnant.

If the Left wants to truly smear a political party using this guy, I say fine... let's get a copy of his voter registration card. I have a feeling that the Dems would not be happy with the result.

Regards,
St Wendeler

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Dean Said What???!!!!

Well, that sure beats the heck out of "misunderestimated" for a misspeak. Bwa-ha-ha-ha!

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Meanwhile, In Europe...

...the nanny state appears to be doing just fine. How... enlightened...

Dane fights for state-funded sex
A disabled Danish man is fighting for the state to pay for him to have a prostitute visit him at home.

Torben Hansen, who has cerebral palsy, which severely affects his speech and mobility, believes his local authority should pay the extra charge he incurs when he hires a sex worker - because his disability means he cannot go to see them. His case is currently being considered.

In Denmark, local authorities compensate disabled people for extra costs incurred because of their disability.

"I want them to cover the extra expenses for the prostitutes to get here, because it's a lot more expensive getting them to come to my home rather than me going to a brothel," Mr Hansen told BBC World Service's Outlook programme.

"It's a necessity for me. I can't move very well, and it's impossible for me to go there."

In Denmark, prostitution and other forms of sex work are not illegal so long as it is not a woman's sole means of income.

Mr Hansen started seeing a prostitute after attending a course at a social centre.

There, he and other disabled people were taught that if they had needs, they "could do something about it".

"I had a strong desire to have sex, and I think I gained the confidence around that time to get the call girls to come to me.

"Since then I've had a lot of escort girls coming to see me - but I've also had girlfriends."

He had been with his last girlfriend for six months, but she died in 2003. After that, Mr Hansen began arranging for visits to begin again.

He also said there had been "much research" into people in his situation, and that it had showed that not being sexually fulfilled can lead to "frustration and aggression".

"It's unfair to deny people with disabilities the right to a sex life," he added.

Hmmmm... I wonder how long it will take for this guy to push this as another Constitutional right? I wonder how Harriet would rule?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Take Three Deep Breaths

I posted this to California Conservative earlier this morning

Reflecting on conservative reactions to Harriet Miers

What amazes me most about the current thunder coming from the Right about the Supreme Court nomination is the tone; a sound and fury that signifies nothing.

Disappointment is natural. I think a lot of us would like to have seen a Scalia-lookalike nominated. But that’s not what we got. Instead we got a trusted ally of the president, an ally the president knows and trusts to reflect conservative views in her deliberations.

So why the strong reaction? I really do not know.

What I’m hearing sounds a lot like it’s coming from a MoveOn of the Right. A “We bought it, it’s ours”-mentality.

Well folks, no you did not buy it and you definitely do not own it. The people of this country own it. You did your bit to get someone you thought you trusted elected, and the rest is in his hands.

I firmly believe your faith was well placed in the first instance.

So please, let the man do his job in peace.



Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

Conventional Wisdom - Incorrect as Usual

We all know that the military draws upon (and takes advantage of) the poorest in our country, right?

Woops!

Data Shows Military Recruits Highly Representative of America; More From Rich Zip Codes Than Poor



But what do the facts actually tell us about where the typical American military volunteer comes from these days? Dr. Tim Kane, an economist who works in The Heritage Foundation's Center for Data Analysis, wondered the same thing recently, so he asked the Defense Department for all the demographic data he could get on recruits.

What Kane got in response from DOD was an avalanche of demographic data about the 1999 and 2003 recruits. After conducting extensive statistical analyses on the data, Kane reached some conclusions that will surprise anybody who believes the conventional wisdom about who becomes cannon fodder.

Check out the graphic above. Note the proportions of recruits from each of the five demographic quintiles, organized according to per capita income by zip code. The percentage of recruits from the poorest quintile is actually lower in 1999 and 2003 than the percentage for the richest quintile.

In fact, the percentage difference between the richest and poorest quintiles increases between 1999 and 2003! And the highest percentage is actually in the second richest quintile of recruits, followed by the richest quintile. It is no exaggeration to say America's most prosperous families bear the greatest share of the burden of fighting in America's defense.

Charlie Rangel - Call your office!

It will be interesting to see the full report.

(Tip 'O the Hat to doubleplusgood infotainment)

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

A Pause?

It seems that some sense has returned to The Corner regarding Miers, thanks to Michael Ledeen:

THE COURT [Michael Ledeen]

On the Supreme Court frenzy, I am proud to say I am no lawyer, and hence I have no investment in finding some great 'constitutional mind' for the Court. I used to be proud to call myself an intellectual, but I have learned that most of the time intellectuals are wrong. Hell, most everyone is wrong most of the time. So I am not impressed by George Will's call for some sophisticated deep thinker for the SC, and I do have some sympathy for the idea of a normal human being sitting alongside the deep thinkers.

But the main point--which I made about Katrina and other things--is for all of us, namely that there is no prize for being wrong first. I am not impressed that everyone has an opinion. In fact, most of the time it is a mistake to have an opinion early on. Does anyone in the general rant know much of anythng about Miers as an intellect? About her core beliefs, if indeed she has any? I don't think so. She may be a drooling idiot, or a scintillating mind and personality, or just a boring mediocrity. Who knows? We don't, at least not yet. But we will. When we know, we're entitled to lecture one another, but not yet. Take it easy. I'm old enough to remember people screaming that the stupid haberdasher, Harry Truman, wasn't qualified to be president--surely George Will, on his current performance, would have agreed--and the same sort of people were thrilled that a real Harvard intellect, surrounded by other great Harvard intellects, had defeated the wretched Nixon for the presidency.

Take the basic Neapolitan advice: if you feel an irresistible urge to work, lie down and rest a bit. It will pass. The mark of a cultured person is the length of time between stimulus and response. We all need to learn to pause. NOT to have an instant opinion.

After a day in synagogue I see I'm delivering sermons, sorry.
Posted at 11:36 AM

While listening to Laura Ingraham this morning, I'm struck by how she immediately is assuming two things:
  1. That Miers is a squishy moderate/liberal
  2. That Miers does not have a sufficient mind for the Supreme Court
I'm not sure what she's basing these opinions on, given the relative lack of information on Miers after just two days in the limelight. I think the snobbery about SMU may explain #2... and her desire to have the political fight explains #1.

Fortunately, the political leadership isn't made up of pundits, who appear to be primarily interested in arguing or transforming the Court in a manner that they find acceptable - instead of actually transforming the Court.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

The Left: Tough to Parody

As mentioned in earlier posts, my co-conspirator Brian and I were traveling back from an undisclosed location when Bush made the Miers announcement. Once it was mentioned that Miers was Bush's chief counsel, Brian immediately made the comment that the Left will take two angles on this:

  1. Cronyism - Miers is another Brownie. Indeed, an immediate check of DU showed that that meme had already taken hold. (Unfortunately, this meme has not been pushed only by the Left.)
  2. That Miers was picked because she has dirt on Bush.
Well, we had a good laugh over the second one... Surely the Left isn't that deranged!

Wooops. We were wrong. From the Twinkie-Meister Oliver Willis:
Uh Oh, Scooby
October 5th, 2005 | 2:26 am

Does Harriet have some explaining to do?

Bush’s Guard service may affect Miers nomination
A former Texas lottery official, who claimed that then-Gov. George W. Bush’s desire to cover up his National Guard record helped steer decisions about a key lottery contract, said he wants to talk to senators about Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers’ possible role in that effort.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Missing the Point

Seriously... everyone's missing the point here. This post from NRO's Corner is just a sample.

ON CRITICS [Mark R. Levin]

In defense of Ramesh and critical conservatives generally, there's an argument now being thrown around that those of us who question Miers's judicial philosophy -- i.e., who are actually searching for one, are reflexive, or some such nonsense. Of course, this suggests that those who are defending her are not reflexive, but well-informed and thoughtful. Well, some of us reflexive types have been searching without success for Miers's philosophy. You see, the president's not up for confirmation. His judicial philosophy may or may not be shared by Miers. It's incumbent on her proponents to provide some justification for their position unless, of course, they're reflexively results-oriented. Moreover, anyone who reads this website and concludes that we speak as one is way off base. There are times when many of us concur, like now, but there are often strong and serious disputes. Other websites and blogs would do well to copy this approach.

Posted at 02:30 PM

it doesn't matter what we believe, Mr. Levin.. it's what the president knows and what the Senate finds out about her judicial philosophy. I have a feeling that Bush knows her judicial philosophy pretty well, and her political philosophy even better.

Here's how this process works:
  1. We elect the President.
  2. He nominates.
  3. Senate Confirms.
Our influence on this decision is primarily in Step 1. Unless you find EVIDENCE pointing to the fact that Miers is unqualified or does not agree with the judicial philosophy that Bush promised all Supreme Court nominees would have, you should just keep your powder dry. Once we have EVIDENCE, then we can begin trying to kill this nominee. All we have now is pure speculation on both sides. Thus, the best bet is that Bush knows what he's doing.

I know I'm not a Washington insider and all, but I seriously doubt that Bush is kowtowing to the Left. I don't know about you, but I haven't met many evangelical Southern Baptists that were to my Left. Heck, she might be too conservative for ME!

And it does seem that some of the opposition to Miers is rooted in some elitism that is normally uncommon for the GOP. It seems that when you're grasping at straws, almost anything will do. Well, Beldar refutes their snobbery quite well:
Writing yesterday on NRO's The Corner blog in a short post entitled "Deplorable," NRO editor Rich Lowry quoted a "a very pro-Bush legal type" in part as follows:
Says Miers was with an undistinguished law firm; never practiced constitutional law; never argued any big cases; never was on law review; has never written on any of the important legal issues. Says she's not even second rate, but is third rate.

I also count myself as a "very pro-Bush legal type," but unlike Mr. Lowry's source, I'm not anonymous, and my own pedigree and credentials as a knowledgeable Texas practitioner are available for anyone to assess. If his source wants to go public, I'd be delighted to debate him on any of the points I'm about to make, because they're all based on my personal knowledge, and I'm quite confident Mr. Lowry's source must either lack that knowledge or is just being very loose with the truth.

Locke Liddell & Sapp is the product of a merger between two old and very well-regarded firms — Locke Purnell in Dallas and Liddell Sapp in Houston. It was a merger of equals, and one that Harriet Miers presided over as managing partner of Locke Purnell and co-managing partner of the merged firms. Calling the resulting firm, or either of its predecessors, "undistinguished" is absolutely outrageous and contrary to fact. It's the kind of thing that only an absolute snob — someone who takes the position that no Texas firm could ever be anything but undistinguished — would say. And like the lawyers from Locke Purnell and Liddell Sapp, I've been regularly kicking such snobs' butts in court for the last 25 years — and not just in Texas courts, either.

Do you honestly think Microsoft or Disney would hire a "third-rate" lawyer from an "undistinguished firm"? Those are a couple of her personal clients, but I can tell you from personal experience — having handled and sometimes tried cases with and against Locke Purnell's and Liddell Sapp's lawyers for 25 years — that their respective client lists, and now that of the combined firm, are as blue-chip as any law firm in Texas can claim. I'm talking the top Texas banks and businesses; major Texas newspapers; national insurance companies; hospitals and universities; multinational corporations with business or litigation in Texas — top-tier clients that any firm anywhere would be delighted to have. Those sorts of clients do indeed have big cases.

read the whole thing... He points out that Miers actually did make law review. I also see similarly snobbish comments coming from the Left. Southern Methodist University?! Why, that's not in Massachussets nor Berkley! egads!

***UPDATE***
To prove my point, the Kossacks have this post which just shows that the infighting isn't helping our cause.
And I think we may have some strange bedfellows on the issue. Yes, the Conservatives described above.

The reaction of the Wingnuts has been, of course, satisfying in a petty way. But it also has led them to a place that remarkably aligns with my own views - they want to know where Miers stands on the legal issues. They don't want a stonewall.

And neither should Democrats. Let's find out the answers. If Miers is an O'Connor, let's support her and get her confirmed. Let the Republicans try and mount an opposition. If Miers is a Scalia or Thomas, then we filibuster. If the White House stonewalls, let's get willing Dem and Republican Senators to filibuster.

I think it is a win-win-win. Let's discuss each scenario in turn.

If we can credibly believe that Miers will bring a judicial phiosophy akin to Justice O'Connor's, I recommend Dems support her. It is a fair and reasonable result. Bush is the President after all.

If we are not convinced that Miers is not a Scalia or Thomas, then we must oppose, even filibuster. Such a Justice would be out of the judicial mainstream and would be wholly unacceptable. Let me make this perfectly clear -- if we had a chance to vote on Scalia and Thomas today - then Democrats would filibuster. Any reasonable threat that Miers is like them demands vigorous opposition.

If Miers and the White House stonewall a la Roberts, then we simply can not be sure that we are not getting a Scalia/Thomas type. Indeed, the Conservatives want to be sure they have one, so it seems to me they won't stand for a stonewall either.

A bipartisan rejection of a Miers stonewall would not use any of our "powder" (for those who care about such things) and establish an important precedent -- a stonewall by a Presidential nominee, much like on Bolton, will simply not be countenanced by a Senate jealous of its institutional perogatives.

Oh by the way, it would also spell the merited demise of the nuclear option. A very good result as well.

As I've pointed out, the Right is shooting itself in the foot. I HATE agreeing with the Kossacks...

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

The Infighting is Not Helping

Take a look at this email sent to Michelle Malkin that she thought was a great indication of where the average rank & file are on the Miers nomination.

Mr. Bush has said consistently through two campaigns that he would nominate judges who would strictly interpret the Constitution and who would not legislate from the bench.

More broken promises.

I really think pressure on the GOP Senate and Congress is needed to force Bush into another appropriate nominee with judicial experience and known conservative beliefs. Shall we roll? Surely some of the Senators and Congressmen are a little worried about the outrage from conservatives? Or are they arrogant and take us for granted as well?

Does anyone - anyone - really think that the GOP SENATE will show Bush how to be a conservative? That's ridiculous! And at what point has Bush broken his promise to nominate judges that will strictly interpret the Constitution? Please - provide me with a single example.

And, yes - getting an open and avowed nominee would be GREAT. We could show the Dems how stupid judicial activism is... However, we must face the reality that Bork was just such a nominee. And I don't recall his name being mentioned in any of the recent Court decisions... oh, that's right - he's out doing the talk circuit!

The final thing we have to remember is that Specter, despite is supposedly "strong" performance during the Roberts hearings, isn't exactly an originalist and began to waffle on the second nominee even before Roberts had been voted on by the full Senate. I would argue that the GOP Senate - as it is comprised today - is NOT the place to have a battle over judicial philosophy. Just keep reminding yourself that our GOP majority includes Lincon Chafee, Olympia Snowe, Arlen Specter, etc, etc.

As the California Conservatives point out, the Infighting is Not Helping our cause.

As we learn more about Miers, it will become clearer whether her positions and or philosophy is in-line with the Presidents. However, if we do not keep our powder dry (and go off half-cocked), we will have ZERO ability to kill her nomination should she turn out to be a Lefty. For all of the bluster we've heard thus far, it is based on innuendo and fear - not facts. Just keep your powder dry as both sides try to determine where exactly she falls. (I can't imagine that Dobson would approve if he was unsure of her positions and, based on my reading of this article, it appears that Miers may have had a Born Again experience similar to the President, and recently embarked to establish a new church with her pastor. (Why do I have a feeling that Miers and Bush are prayer partners?)

And the next time that I hear ANYONE say they want to "educate" the American voter on judicial philosophies and the importance of the courts, I am going to scream. THE CONFIRMATION HEARING IS NOT A SCHOOLROOM. If you want to educate voters, please do that DURING the election - when voters are actually paying attention.

Previous ARC Posts on Miers here and here

***UPDATE***
Check out WuzzaDem

And check out this exclusive interview that Muscle Head Revolution got with Miers' pastor, Ron Key (who, as mentioned above, Miers left Valley View Christian Church to start a NEW church).
1st Part
2nd Part

***UPDATE 2***
The American Thinker has an excellent post which is consistent with my take on the criticism Miers is receiving from the Right. (H/T Hugh Hewitt)
In part, I think these conservatives have unwittingly adopted the Democrats’ playbook, seeing bombast and ‘gotcha’ verbal games as the essence of political combat. Victory for them is seeing the enemy bloodied and humiliated. They mistake the momentary thrill of triumph in combate, however evanescent, for lasting victory where it counts: a Supreme Court comprised of Justices who will assemble majorities for decisions reflecting the original intent of the Founders.

Rather than extend any benefit of the doubt to the President’s White House lawyer and counselor, some take her lack of a paper trail and a history of vocal judicial conservatism as a sign that she may be an incipient Souter. They implicitly believe that the President is not adhering to his promise of nominating Justices in the mold of Scalia and Thomas. The obvious differences between Souter, a man personally unknown to Bush 41, and Miers, a woman who has known Bush 43 for decades, and who has served as his close daily advisor for years, are so striking as to make this level of distrust rather startling. Having seen the Souter debacle unfold before his very eyes, the President is the last man on earth to recapitulate it.

He anticipates and is defusing the extremely well-financed opposition which Democrat interest groups will use against any nominee. Yes, he is playing politics by nominating a female. A defeated nominee does him and the future of American jurisprudence no favors. By presenting a female nominee, he kicks a leg out from under the stool on which the feminist left sits. Not just a female, but a career woman, one who has not raised children, not married a male, and has a number of “firsts” to her credit as a pioneer of women's achievement in Texas law. Let the feminists try to demonize her

Don't misunderestimate Bush's strategery.... heh. Read the whole thing.

***UPDATE 3***
See Missing the Point as well.

***UPDATE 4***
Drudge is reporting about Miers' born-again experience... as I had suspected. You know that Bush & Miers are likely praying together and probably know more about each other than your standard lawyer/client relationship. Seriously folks... until you get some evidence, give Bush the benefit of the doubt.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Update from the Front Lines - Ramadan

Here's an update from the Front Lines in the War On Terror. As I've posted recently, my Brother-In-Law will be heading back to the States shortly. One of his best friends has also been serving in Iraq (for quite some time) as an MP.


Our unit chaplain put this information out. I thought I'd share it with you all so you can learn a little about the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.


Page 1 of the
Ramadan brochure
(Click to view larger size)
Page 2 of the
Ramadan brochure
(Click to view larger size)
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Still waiting to see what one or two of my additional duties will be here in [Iraq]. In the mean time, we've been working hard setting up our headquarters, offices and living space.

I've attached some pictures of our hard work over here. We had to build the office space ourselves.

I was watching "Meet The Press" this morning while I was getting ready for work. Tim Russert was interviewing a couple of congressmen, one from each party. The democrat of course was discussing how poor the strategy is in Iraq and how bad the president's team is handling things. He said the democrats have a plan to make things better over here. It including establishing a standard to test and certify the Iraqi Security forces in order to gage when they're more capable of assuming the mission over here. I think that's a grand idea. One of the reasons I'm in favor of such a strategy is because my Military Police Battalion has been doing that already for at least the last 9 months with the Iraqi Highway Patrol and Iraqi Police departments, trainees, districts, etc. that we're responsible for monitoring and training. I wish that congressman actually knew what was going on over here instead of derailing the president and our efforts here.

Let me just say that it is difficult to understand the strategy of "stay the course". Our strategy hasn't changed, we're working with the Iraqis to build their security capabilities. It is difficult to see and hear that American Soldiers are dying over here and all we hear is "stay the course". I occasionally hear on the news that the president has to deliver speeches to bolster support and how challenging that is because every day, there is news of terrorist attacks over here, but there isn't someone on the news everyday pointing out the gains that we're making.

Last week I watched Bill O'Reilly interview (or argue?) with Phil Donahue while we were eating lunch. Donahue makes the very good argument that this war is unjust because politicians' children aren't in the Army. I'm quite certain that if Jenna and Barbara Bush enlisted in the Army tomorrow, Phil Donohue would suddenly support the war...actually, no, I think he would find another reason to dislike what I'm doing over here.

Don't even get me started on Cindy Sheehan...or the ACLU's recent "victory" forcing the government to release even MORE pictures of prisoner abuse. The judge dismissed claims that these pictures would incite further violence against Americans. As for the ACLU, I found this quote from Roger Baldwin, one of their co-founders, you decide who you want to side with: "I am for socialism, disarmament, and, ultimately, for abolishing the state itself... I seek the social ownership of property, the abolition of the propertied class, and the sole control of those who produce wealth. Communism is the goal."

I'm sorry, in case you couldn't tell, some of these events have gotten me wound up and I dare not voice these opinions in front of my soldiers, where I try to remain neutral.

In other news, Armed Forces television will be broadcasting the baseball playoffs so I'll get to see the Braves march to another World eries championship! (I'm thinking positive here. :-)

Take care everyone, can't wait to see most of you this winter.

After reading this, can someone seriously argue that the criticisms from the Left don't have an impact on the morale of our soldiers?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

If Hillary had done this....

Jonah has an interesting thought experiment posted on the corner (reposted in full, because seriously, anybody reading this blog has already read the outstanding Corner):

QUALIFICATIONS [Jonah Goldberg]
I'm know that I'm not the only one getting a lot of grief from some readers about the view around here that Miers is under-qualified for the job. Many of the emails assert that all one needs are strong reading skills, a logical mind and, and ... well that's about it. This strikes me as an unfortunate line of argument. Again: Miers may turn out to be a great justice. But she's never been a judge, never written seriously on constitutional issues, never been a litigator on such issues etc etc. But if you want to make the case that none of this matters, that's your perogative. All I ask is that you honestly address the question of whether you would have the same reaction if Hillary Clinton nominated her longtime personal lawyer under similar circumstances.

Posted at 10:12 AM
Hmm.. What if Hillary! had appointed her longtime personal lawyer under similar circumstances? Would I cry cronyism? I might probably make that argument up until the point that I learned that Bill Frist had personally recommended her to Hillary.

One thing I wouldn't think is that Hillary's pick would be a conservative in liberal's clothing. Because I know Hillary is a liberal. And I know that if she had known someone all her life in a personal and meaningful way, that she would know that person's "judicial philosophy", and would know its true colors.

Why do we assume that Bush is picking a liberal? And as pointed out on this blog earlier (see here and here), its not about the confirmation fight, its about the judicial fight.

More later.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian

More on Miers

Be sure to check out additional posts that followed this one... click here to go to the main page.

Patrick Ruffini agrees with our original post (Let's Play Some Poker, where we argue that the Rightward Blogosphere is asking Bush to win at poker with his cards face up on the table)...

As our picture of Miers comes into clearer focus, the Souter II narrative begins to strain credulity. It requires us to believe that the President who gave us Janice Rogers Brown, Michael McConnell, Bill Pryor, Priscilla Owen – and no RINO that I could name at the Circuit or District Court level, who fought the fight on Miguel Estrada, and who had originally orchestrated the masterful trade of Roberts-for-O'Connor, would suddenly punt at this critical moment. It also requires us to believe that Miers, who has worked with Bush for a decade, who is the White House staffer most intimitately involved with vetting nominees' judicial philosophies, and is one of the people Bush knows best, has been able to hide her true beliefs from her boss until – Ah, ha! – she donned the judge's robe. I'm sorry, but I don't think this is the same thing as an unknown from New Hampshire handpicked by Warren Rudman.

At what point will our side of the blogosphere realize that the goal of a nominee isn't to have a philosophical fight during the nomination process, but to win the philosophical fight in the Court. Seriously... the struggle to get to this position to change the court wasn't a struggle to have a stupid debate about original intent vs. living-breathing Constitution. The whole point was to get justices in the Supreme Court who understand and believe in Original Intent. We elected a President who we thought would live up to that goal - and his appointments thus far surely cannot be characterized as anything other than that. For us to go wobbly over another "unknown" simply because we won't be able to rub Shumer's face in the confirmation of a Janice Rogers Brown is short-sighted. It's similary short-sighted to say that we can't trust Bush on judicial nominees simply because he's spent like a drunk sailor - look at his record on judicial nominees and you should be pleased. And as we discussed previously, Bush might have a third pick - and if that vacancy ever occurs, it will likely be when he's a lame duck. THAT'S the time to have the debate over judicial philosopy, since confirmation might be unlikely anyway.

See PoliPundit as well:
Tuesday, October 04th, 2005
Miers: Second Thoughts

I’ve had a day to reflect on the Miers nomination, and I’ve come to the conclusion that this is an exceedingly good decision. Let’s line up the objections and knock ‘em down.

1. Miers may not be a conservative.

The President has known Miers for a long time, in every sense but the Biblical one. George W. Bush is a conservative who wants to appoint conservative judges. His word on Miers’ ideology is good enough for me.

2. Miers isn’t the best-qualified person.

This matters not a whit. Ideology trumps all. If a mangy yellow dog were the SCOTUS nominee, I’d support it, if it would consistently vote with Scalia-Thomas.

3. Miers is too old.

At first glance, yes. She’s 60; I’d prefer someone 10-20 years younger. But Miers isn’t the typical 60-year-old. She’s very “physical,” and joins the president in some of his more arduous “vacation” activities on the ranch. If she eats her wheaties and continues to stay “physical,” she might frustrate liberals until she’s 90. The fact that she’s unattached is another plus: No family that might cause her to retire early.

4. Democrats, like Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer, seem to like Miers.

So what? Reid’s recommendation of Miers to Bush seems to have been based on senatorial stupidity - she returned his calls promptly; so he supported her for SCOTUS. Having recommended Miers to Bush, Reid will look very weak if his caucus shoots her down; so he’s now stuck shepherding her nomination through the Senate.

And be sure to read BeldarBlog (a Texas Lawyer, btw) who rebuts this Cronyism Op-Ed in the WSJ.

***UPDATE***
Even after President Bush's press conference this morning, conservatives are still concerned about Miers. This just demonstrates that what the Right really is interested in is arguing over judicial philosophy for political gain. Bush again reassured his base that he's a pro-life President and his nominee agrees with his judicial philosophy. Miers isn't Souter - Souter was from New Hampshire after all, and almost anyone from Texas is to the right of a Repulican in New Hampshire. ;-)

And, as pointed out by Ruffini above, HW Bush had to rely on Senators from New Hampshire on the Souter nomination. W is only relying on himself. My only concern here is that Bush's reading of Miers may be similar to his reading of Putin - but that's not a huge concern.

As I listen to the callers into Laura Ingraham this morning, it's clear that the whole argument against Miers is that the Right wants to "educate" the public on the role of the Court and the impact of judicial philosophy. Sorry, but that's not the primary reason that Bush was elected. He was elected to put people on the court that agreed with his judicial philosophy. He has told us that this is the case with Miers. Why push this any more?

I'm not a Washington insider by any means (although I do get the kool-aid shipment from Rove each week), but I think the Right may be shooting itself in the foot here. The more they clamor for an "open" conservative nominee that results in an "open debate about judicial philosophy" the more Bush has to show his hand, convincing us that Miers is a strict constructionist. I don't know about you, but when ARC:Brian and I were listening to Rush & Cheney talk yesterday, I got the sense that Cheney wanted to tell him: Sssshhhhh, don't blow this. This is not good poker and we're probably going to regret it.

See this update as well. There's a link to an interview with Miers' pastor, which provides some insight. Also see Missing the Point.

***UPDATE 2***
Check out Independent Conservative for details on the Lesbian/Gay Political Coalition questionnaire that Miers filled out. The Left is trying to get the Right riled up to kill this nomination.

***UPDATE 3***
See this most recent update...

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Monday, October 03, 2005

Let's Play Some Poker

There's a lot of fretting going on in the conservative blogosphere regarding the nomination of Miers by President Bush today. ARC:Brian and I discussed this at length today as we headed back from our secret location over the weekend. Bush and Rove love poker and are great at bluffing and getting opponents to misunderestimate their abilities.

We both think that this is the case with Miers. Our thought is that Reid likely said "Pick someone that's mainstream and not a knuckle-dragging conservative, George. Heck, your counsel Miers was great to work with and she'd be an excellent nominee."

Bush, knowing that Miers is in fact a staunch conservative and strict constructionist gave Reid exactly what he wanted. Who do you think knows Miers' opinions better: Bush or Reid?

Frankly, I know that the "base" is upset that Bush did not appoint someone who is easily identified as a strict constructionist jurist. However, I think that this is more out of the fact that people want to have the fight and see the Dems attempt a fillibuster - followed by the nuclear option by the GOP in the Senate. While this might make great political theater and give the pundits (in the media and in the blogosphere) some interesting topics to cover, the net effect is that such a nominee would not be confirmed. Heck, I don't even think that the GOP would have the required votes for the nuclear option. So, from a politics standpoint, it would be great. From a transformation of the court standpoint, it would be a serious mistake.

Now, back to poker... what's the best situation to be in when you're playing poker? For only you to know what cards are in your hand - and to make sure you don't give divulge any information about that hand. What many of the pundits were wishing Bush to do in this high stakes game of poker was to play the game with his cards face up. While this may be disappointing to many social conservatives to have yet another "stealth" candidate, the resume that a nominee brings to the table (in the form of previously published opinions on matters) is of less importance than the decisions they make on the court. Clearly, Bush (and perhaps more importantly, Cheney) firmly believe that the conservative base will appreciate Miers in the years to come. Unfortunately, only time will tell if they are correct.

Does anyone really believe that Miers is going to be in the O'Connor or Souter model? Would Bush nominate someone to be a "moderate' without that nominee having a "moderate" track record that can be pointed to by the White House, highlighted to the press (etc) so the appropriate applause from the MSM and the Dems could be given?

I think not... based on some of the things I'm hearing, I think we have a situation similar to Roberts. A strict constructionist with a very limited papertrail. And the only people that truly know that she's a strict constructionist are the inner circle at the White House - as it should be.

I frankly do not understand the cronyism angle that many on the Left and Right are throwing around. That's just ridiculous. You don't appoint your friends to the Supreme Court as a cronyism appointment. You make them the ambassador to a Carribbean nation. Seriously... drop it.

Good to see that Hewitt shares this opinion.

The first President Bush didn't know David Souter, but trusted Chief of Staff Sunnunu and Senator Rudman. The first President Bush got burned badly because he trusted the enthusiams of others.

The second President Bush knows Harriet Miers, and knows her well. The White House Counsel is an unknown to most SCOTUS observors, but not to the president, who has seen her at work for great lengths of years and in very different situations, including as an advisor in wartime. Leonard Leo is very happy with the choice, which ought to be enough for most conservatices

All in all, the Right doesn't get to have the knock-down, drag out fight over Judicial Activism vs Constructionist/Original Intent that many wanted. However, winning that debate is secondary when compared to actually getting your nominees on the Court, and Bush seems to have focused on this primary goal.

These posts by BeldarBlog and Volokh are great as well.

Another issue that some of the Conspirators here were discussing was the fact that Bush is likely to get a 3rd appointment. John Paul Stevens turned 85 in April of this year. Perhaps these nominees are intended to assure him that it's okay to retire sometime in the next 3 years.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler