« More Contrariness | Main | George Will Hits One To The Cheap Seats »

October 05, 2005

Miers Nomination 'Outs' The True RINOs In Party

RINO.

I have come to dislike that word intensely. It gets my back up every time I hear it. Another term I'm rapidly coming to despise is "the base". Let me tell you a little something about a "base": the foundation on which an edifice, an institution, or even a political party rests. A base is supposed to be something permanent. Something you can depend on. Hopefully, something solid.

A rational person does not expect any large organization to be entirely uniform in their political beliefs. The Republican Party is no exception. One reasonably expects the beliefs of its members to be distributed along a spectrum ranging from far right-wing to verging on the liberal: in other words, to be normally distributed. But unfortunately for the elite few who like to think of themselves as Bush's "base", the mass of voters who elected George Bush last November was not a "real" Republicans-only club. It also numbers in its ranks (God forbid!) the dreaded RINO, Democrats, Independents, and Livid Terriers. So one must broaden out the ideological spectrum a bit wider. The bell curve representing the voters to whom George Bush is beholden becomes broader, rather than narrower.

A bell curve, contrary to the elitist, largely self-serving bloviation from the right side of the blogosphere and the overwrought rantings of hyper-conservative pundits, generally looks something like this:

normal_sm.jpg

Even the most outraged conservatives must surely be able to see that most of the mass: the "base", if you will, of this population lies not on the fringes, but towards the center. They might also care to notice that there is just as much weight on the left of the curve as to the right. Scary thought, that.

What is the point of all this? It's quite simple, really.

On November 2nd, George W. Bush was elected with the largest percentage of the popular vote in recent history. It wasn't the approximately 16% on the hard Right who put him into office. It was the 68% in the Center (with a little help from the 16% on both sides) that did the trick. And when 16% of the Republican party insists on defining themselves as "the base", when they threaten to stay home in 2008 because they feel the President owes them personal and absolute allegiance (as though he has no obligation to the more moderate 84% of voters who supported him), when they throw public temper tantrums and wring their hands, calling the man we all worked so hard to elect a coward and a liar, when they accuse him of cronyism on no evidence but their own preference for picking pointless fights with Senate Democrats (consequences be damned) they are spitting on everything we worked for together as a party.

There's an old saying: you don't piss inside your own tent. There is such a thing as moderate, reasoned debate... and then there is irresponsible and destructive rhetoric that hurts your own party. Harry Reid must be enjoying this brouhaha immensely.

You want to stay home in 2008? Go right ahead. Bush isn't running in 2008, but don't let logic get in the way of your temper tantrum.

You want to elect an executive to make decisions for you, then insult him and question his judgment every chance you get? Go ahead. By all means, bring on the strained comparisons between Bush's domestic agenda (the prescription drug bill and other areas where "the base" feels oh-so-betrayed) and his record on appointing judges to the federal bench (an area where I saw few complaints prior to this week).

This should be all the justification you need to help your party out by making logical statements like this:

"I don't trust his record on appointing judges, not because he's done a bad job appointing judges in the past, but because of his legislative record."

Yes. Those apples to oranges comparisons are always so persuasive.

"Bush is a coward and I've lost all respect for him. We know he's afraid of a battle with the Democrats because of his record in nominating bland, non-ideological candidates so far. And we can all see exactly how successful that tack has been - why look how many of them have avoided a filibuster and gotten an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor!"

Yes, one day when historians discuss the hallmark of the Bush Presidency, it will no doubt be his notorious reluctance to stand up to the Democrats that stands forth bold as brass. Has there ever been a President so fearful of what others will say about him? So afraid to take a stand and hold his ground in the face of opposition, whether from his own party or the Democrats? The man literally lives with one finger in the wind and the other on the pulse of the NY Times Editorial staff - he quakes in fear of what Frank Rich and Bob Herbert will say about him each week! With this kind of record, the "base" is entirely right to hurl the same kind of insults one normally reads over at the DU at the man they entrusted to appoint judges to the federal bench.

Without applying the foregoing rant to KJ, I would like to take on some of the arguments expressed in his post:

The President has made a nomination that appears designed to avoid what this country really needs: an open and honest debate over the role of the Courts. Roberts' nomination only touched on this subject. The President had a chance to focus the nation's attention on his promise to appoint judges in the mold of Scalia and Thomas, and why they are the model of a proper Federal judiciary.

The nomination of a well known, on the record, judicial conservative would have engaged a healthy debate that this country needs. Any number of qualified persons could have filled this role.

First of all, it may come as a suprise to "the base", but not everyone who voted for Bush cares (or even desires) judges in the mold of Thomas/Scalia. I happen to, but that is beside the point. And what on earth makes anyone assume - and we all know what happens when you assume - that the nomination of a lightning-rod candidate would trigger this "healthy debate" you speak of?

Did we have that "healthy debate" when Bork was nominated? We did not. Did we have that "healthy debate" even with the ill-justified hysteria over Roberts' unknown stands on abortion and religion? We did not. There was no debate. This is a straw man - a false objection - and I suspect most of the critics know it. The point of nominating a justice is not to "trigger a national debate". It is to fill a vacancy on the bench, and if your big objection to this nomination is that Bush failed to provide some esoteric sideshow that isn't required in the Constitution, well then my friend I suspect you are imposing extra-legal duties on your own party leader that even Harry Reid might find a tad unreasonable. Maybe he could have found a nominee who would have ended world hunger while he was at it. You're clutching at straws.

Moreover, there is no doubt that the President would have won. On what issues would he have lost? Do the people want a more intrusive judiciary? No. Do the people want a judiciary that overturns parental notification laws for abortion or partial birth abortion laws? No, they don't, not even in liberal California where such laws pass the legislature. Can the people understand that the political process is important only when the Judges let it work in those areas reserved to it? They can if one leads them.

Really? What issues? Try abortion for one. Oh, excuse me... I meant "stare decisis", as we now call it. Most people did not watch the confirmation hearings and have little interest in them. They read the disingenuous summaries in the press and listen to their TV news anchors. That is the battleground on which voters' hearts and minds are won, not the Senate floor. When I think of the honest and fair treatment accorded the last nominee both in the press and on the Senate floor, I question KJ's confidence.

Bush promised to give us more people like Scalia and Thomas on the Court. We could all see, even if we aren't certain, how Roberts could fulfill that promise. Nothing we will see will convince us that Miers does.

Yes, well when one makes up one's mind in advance of hearing the candidate speak, I can well believe that.

We are asked to take it on faith that the President knows Miers well enough to know she is a conservative. Well, pardon me, but this is not a President that inspires such faith. The only area he seems steadfast is in the WOT. In all other matters, he is nothing special. This "conservative" President has given this country a huge entitlement program with his Medicare drug bill, huge domestic spending deficits even ignoring the WOT (and despite revenue increases brought on by tax cuts), steel tariffs (now repealed), a "highway" pork bill that would make a prostitute blush and ZERO Presidential vetoes.

This is conservative-speak for "waaah - he didn't do what I wanted", lack of steadfastness being evidenced by a failure to display proper right-wing ardor. Strangely, Bush's compassionate conservative agenda, all his promises to do exactly what he did (prescription drug bill, anyone?) are now trotted out as "betrayal" and "lack of steadfastness". Whether one agrees or not with many of the offenses cited is irrelevant. Selective citing of campaign promises is less than convincing. Other parts of "the base" heard the whole message and we remember it, attempts to rewrite history to the contrary. As to the deficit, as I have pointed out more times than I can count (and KJ, as an economics major, is well aware) the dollar amount of the deficit is not nearly as important as the debt-to-GDP ratio, which historically is not at all alarming. Or rather, it is easier to be an alarmist when you quote the raw figures rather than numbers in context. I am not defending the deficit, but I'm tired of hearing about deficits while we're at war. When you compare the current debt-to-GDP ratio to other times we've been at war, they look damned good.

I won't even address the ubiquitous comparison of Cabinet appointments to judicial appointments. I dealt with it earlier.

The Republicans also had the opportunity to state, once and for all, that Borking doesn't work any longer. If a hard core, far from center leftist (see, e.g., Ginsburg) can pass with hardly a protest vote, then so can her polar opposite. The Republicans, and President Bush in particular, failed to lead us on this debate and proved to be cowards.

Ginsberg was confirmed in 1993. This, in case it escaped anyone's notice, is 2005. And the opposition to Ginsburg's nomination were Republicans, not Democrats. Another apples-to-oranges comparison. As KJ himself has so often noted, the Republicans don't employ the same tactics against their opponents: the filibuster. Race-baiting like that we've seen from Charles Rangel and Ted Kennedy. It is not "us" who would be voting on this nomination. It is the Senate - the same Senate that just voted 22 against John Roberts, a far more moderate nominee than Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The Democrats had already vowed not to go as easy on the next nominee -- to filibuster any nominee they viewed as ideologically objectionable. This lesson appears to be lost on the President's critics.

KJ writes:

What is the result of this cowardice? The first lesson to young lawyers and judges with higher court hopes or aspirations is that they must hide their feelings. Never speak publicly and take a position on the issues of the day. Never write an op-ed column. Do not blog, at least while offering opinions. Don't join the Federalist Society. Keep one's firmly held judicial philosophy close to the vest, or you may have to actually take on Congress when the confirmation process arrives, if the President has the courage to nominate you.

You can live in the world as it is or you can tilt at windmills. By the way, I believe I saw a comment from Judge Hecht to the effect that Harriet Miers is a member of the Federalist Society, so the point of that little dig escapes me. Judge Roberts did everything in the preceding paragraph and still had more Senators vote against him than any previous successful nominee. So much for moderation.

President Bush did not create the conditions in Congress. He just has to live with them. And unlike the vast punditry who spend their time telling the people on the front lines how they ought to be running things, they have to live in the real world; not some hypothetical universe where endless scenarios can be played out, consequences be damned.

It might surprise "the base" to find that there are a great number of Republicans who are quite content to wait for the hearings before making up their minds about Harriet Miers.

Who, having selected a leader with the Constitutional power of appointment, are willing to give him the benefit of the doubt before hurling mortal insults at him in public to the delight of those who want to see this President, and this party, fail.

Who don't believe their votes are the only ones that should count. Who don't think blackmail is a legitimate political tool. Who feel some loyalty to the rest of the Party - even the ones they don't always agree with - because we do share some common aims.

And after hearing, and reading, some of the more hysterical rhetoric on the Miers nomination, I am left wondering: who are the real RINOs here? Funny: I always thought I was a "real" Republican. I worked hard to support George Bush before (and after) the election. But apparently to some, I and thousands like my husband, a fairly moderate Republican with 24 years in the Marine Corps under his belt, don't count. The party that prides itself on tolerance isn't quite so tolerant when it's looking down its nose at those who don't display the right views.

RINO indeed. I didn't think I was a RINO either, but frankly I'm beginning to think I may have more in common with them than I may have believed. But then that's the effect extreme rhetoric and harsh words have on people: they polarize us and push us into opposing camps. But by all means let's have a good, rousing fight. Someone will no doubt be around to pick up the pieces.

Why do I have a feeling it will be Hillary Clinton and Harry Reid?

Update: Heh... Patrick Ruffini rules.

Posted by Cassandra at October 5, 2005 06:04 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.villainouscompany.com/mt/mt-tb.cgi/1020

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Miers Nomination 'Outs' The True RINOs In Party:

» Standing Ovation! from MY Vast Right Wing Conspiracy
Villainous Company: RINO indeed. I didn’t think I was a RINO either, but frankly I’m beginning to think I may have more in common with them than I may have believed. But then that’s the effect extreme rhetoric and harsh words have on... [Read More]

Tracked on October 5, 2005 09:30 AM

» She who stutteringly brings up... from Argghhh! The Home Of Two Of Jonah's Military Guys..
...feminine "sekrit-purpose" devices... Iiiii Donnnn'ttt knowwww anyyythingggg abouttttt thingsssss that viiiiiiibrate ...(admittedly following *her* lead) later in the same thread complains: *sigh* The quality of gun pron on this site has dramatically... [Read More]

Tracked on October 5, 2005 12:00 PM

» The Cost Of Trust from Heigh Ho
I am among those who have resisted applauding or condemning President Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. I do so simply because I know so little about the nominee that such breakneck speculation as to how... [Read More]

Tracked on October 5, 2005 12:12 PM

» Quite the Dustup from Grim's Hall
On the third day since the nomination, I find that my sense that this nomination must be defeated has only hardened. I will attempt to explain why, both by argument and by distributing analysis, as above. [Read More]

Tracked on October 5, 2005 01:14 PM

» Catching my eye: morning A through Z from The Glittering Eye
Here’s what’s caught my eye this morning: A visit from the FBI to the home of bloggers Beth Donovan of SWWBO and John Donovan of Argghhh!. FuturePundit has a post I found extremely interesting on the worldwide rise in CO2 emissions ... [Read More]

Tracked on October 5, 2005 01:26 PM

» More "RINO" Rage from Ex-Donkey Blog
Cassandra at Villainous Company takes on those Miers whiners. Quite well, in fact. And she uses bell curves and other stat thingies. What's not to like? A long post, but well worth reading.... [Read More]

Tracked on October 7, 2005 03:52 PM

Comments

* clap * * clap * * clap *

Brilliantly executed, Cassandra!

I'll tell you who the real "RINOs" are: the ones who use blackmail rhetoric and say DO WHAT I WANT OR ELSE! I don't care how "conservative" they are, if they're not going to support the Republicans, they ARE RINOs. It's ironic that those shrieking "RINO" are the ones who say "never again," "Not One Dime," and are burning their RNC cards--and are content to turn over the keys to the Dhimmicrats so they can "teach Bush (or the Senate) a lesson." Hypocrites.

Posted by: Beth at October 5, 2005 09:10 AM

While I have a number of problems with your analysis on the "base" and an attempt to argue that an ideological "center" on a bell curve exists within the GOP, you missed a fundamental point in grassroots political action: the intensity of the opinions and willingness to act on them. Base voters are much, much more likely to take action on issues, talk about their views, and generally be involved because they are much more intense in their views. The supposed "center" you hang your argument on is the great go with the flow population of the GOP. Even if the party regulars are willing to trust the Prez on this one, they do so because what is most important to them is that they have a Republican in the White House and isn't that so cool. But the base is there based on issues, promises, and has certain expectations beyond or separate from "being a good Republican" that make them much more active.

Posted by: jbrantley [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 5, 2005 09:21 AM

Cassandra,
Just don't drive angry. :}

Posted by: David at October 5, 2005 09:27 AM

they have a Republican in the White House and isn't that so cool.

You gotta be f'n kidding me. Yeah, that's our whole argument. I happen to like elephants better than donkeys, so I vote Republican. It's cool.

And "much more active?" That's the crux of the argument, isn't it? We did all the work, therefore you must obey!!! What a bunch of utterly incorrect nonsense! Nice way to channel leftards and ASS/u/me you know others' actions and motivations!

But let's take what you said about "isn't that cool."
Let's just see how many issues, promises, and expectations you get with a Dummocrat in office, mmkay? Would that be "cool" with you?

Who's the REAL base? Not those who claim the title, that's for sure.

Posted by: Beth at October 5, 2005 09:29 AM

The bell curve may be shifted to the right because it's within the GOP (and at any rate, I argued the Bush supporters number MORE THAN THE GOP) and it's even possible that it is skewed toward the more conservative side, but I doubt that skew is severe, as someone who deals with statistics daily.

And base voters can be as "intense" as they wanna be, but in the end they only get one vote and it counts the same as mine. And I guaran-damn-tee you I'm just as "intense" about my ideological hot-button issues.

The difference is that I don't think I have a lock on the President's loyalty. I understand I live in a pluralistic society. What's more, I understand that even though he was elected by 50+ % of voters, HE SERVES THE ENTIRE COUNTRY, a point which seems to be lost on "the base" with all their intense "feelings".

And you fundamentally mistake how many moderates "feel". I am not willing to trust him because I'm a "go with the flow" person. A "go with the flow" person doesn't get up at 4 am every morning and write her heart out about politics.

But I am also a realist and yes, I would rather see a Republican than a Democrat in the White House. I won't cut my nose off to spite my face. I get mad at Bush too - surprise, surprise! He's done several things that upset me.

But I try and look at the big picture.

Posted by: Casserole at October 5, 2005 09:38 AM

And jbrantley, I didn't "miss the point" on the grassroots being more likely to take action - that is quite readily apparent from the topic of this post, isn't it?

I objected to the type of action they are talking about taking. I fail to see how that is "missing the point". I took the point. I just don't agree how threatening to take your ball and stay home is a positive contribution to the party's future.

Posted by: Casserole at October 5, 2005 10:02 AM

afe, I will get you for this.

I have GOT to remember to change my name back after I go off on a tangent - it's hard to be taken seriously when you are posting as "Casserole"... :)

Posted by: Cassandra at October 5, 2005 10:03 AM

I've said my piece, and it is well fisked here I'm sure. Just a few clarifications.

I'm not the RINO. To be a RINO, I think you have to claim to be a Republican. I have never claimed that. I voted for Bush, but before 9/11 I voted Libertarian 3 straight Presidential elections. I voted for Bush in 2004 for one reason really: WOT. After that, I liked the tax cuts. I also expected him to keep his promise on Judges, but that was less important. If Kerry could have been trusted on the WOT, I would have considered him.

Second, I've never said I won't vote in 2008 or "do it my way or else." I'm not the Republican base.

I've criticized the President for this nomination. That's it. I've largely done nothing more than criticize in passing his legislative and domestic agenda, which by the way is awful. AWFUL! Bigger education dept., bigger spending on non-WOT items, pork out the wazzu, more entitlement programs, etc. And he vetoed nothing. But when you are Republican, I guess you ignore that (at least publically) while your man is in office.

Cass throws out a few strawmen I want to address.

I never complained about the deficit per se. I complain about spending and programs. Both are out of control. Bush has grown the budget more than any modern President after removing the WOT spending. It is inexcusable for someone pretending to be a conservative. But don't criticize it I guess. What am I? Conservative?

Also, Roberts was pretty out in the open at the end of the day. He had published, and his staff papers showed lots of conservative ideas. It is b/c he got those 22 nays that Bush went "stealth" I think. That point supports me, not refutes me.

No criticism on ANY point or you are a RINO! Even if you aren't a Republican. Got it.

FWIW, I've post 10 good things about Miers (who I have not criticized in this process) at The Cheese.

Posted by: KJ at October 5, 2005 10:53 AM

Let me disagree with only one part. I don't think a bell-curve works. It's more a coalition-group.

I would say Bush's "base" are the general economic and social conservatives, probably your typical middle-class, church-going, Joe Six-Pack. I don't know if that's enough to fill the center of your bell curve, though. There are other groups, like pro-business folks who know that Republicans are likely to favor them, but care little about social issues. Then there are the religious conservatives, who care about morality and abortion, the faith-based initiative, but care little about greater economic goals. You have the libertarians like me, who are insane about economic freedom and are about as socially liberal as you can find.

On the left, the "base" is your typical free-health-care, soak the rich, puppies and bunnies liberal. Other groups on their side are the hard-core environmentalists and the downright communists (which often intersect). Then, you've got the GLBT crowd that is almost exclusively Left. And a very large part of the black community votes Left, although that appears to slowly be changing.

I, for example, consider myself to be a "Republitarian". I'm heavily libertarian, but intersect with Republicans on the War on Terror. I'd never have voted for Kerry, and couldn't make a third-party protest vote when the Libertarian Party is such head-in-the-sand isolationists in a time of war, so held my nose on certain things in 2004 and voted Bush. So I'm no RINO, and in all fairness, I'm not really part of Bush's "base" to begin with.

A bell curve is a poor choice of descriptive term, because politics is much more in-depth than "left" and "right". A better description would be a Venn Diagram. For example, I intersect with Bush's base on a number of things, but have absolutely nothing in common with the Religious Right.

Posted by: Brad Warbiany [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 5, 2005 10:55 AM

KJ, precisely what part of Without applying the foregoing rant to KJ, I would like to take on some of the arguments expressed in his post was unclear to you?

That is why I hesitated so long before expressing my opinion. I make it crystal clear (I thought) with an explicit statement of who I am NOT talking about, and now I'm supposed to argue with you about what I never accused you of?

Perhaps you'll pardon me for passing on this one. And by the way, if you didn't threaten to leave the party, which I never claimed you did (and you don't *belong* to the party) then how the hell could I have been talking about you anyway?

Posted by: Cassandra at October 5, 2005 10:58 AM

But when you are Republican, I guess you ignore that (at least publically) while your man is in office.

KJ, he ran on several of the things you are criticizing, by the way. You (and I) may not like them, but he talked about them in his campaign and they're hardly a surprise.

And Brad, whether you define it as a bell curve or Venn diagram is irrelevant. The area of intersection would be the analogy with a Venn diagram, with the "base" arguing that their issues are more important than anyone else's issues (and I tend to agree with your analysis - it's a far more accurate way of looking at things, but that is not the way I was looking at it - I was up several levels on the macro "political spectrum" level, and there, a bell curve truly does apply. You can cluster people's issues generally and come out with some generalized right-to-left rating. It's been done many times.)

And you know what? I don't see Joe six Pack up in arms about this nomination yet. I see the folks at The Corner and the pundits up in arms. I see what everyone else sees - a fraction of the Republican Party - mostly hard Right and not Center.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 5, 2005 11:06 AM

Since it seems apparent that some people are missing my point, let me make it again:

THIS POST WAS NOT AIMED AT ANYONE IN PARTICULAR ON THIS FORUM. IF I HAVE A BEEF WITH SOMEONE I KNOW, I WILL CALL THEM OUT BY NAME, NOT BY SAYING "THIS DOESN'T APPLY TO X, Y, OR Z" OR BY NOT NAMING THEM AT ALL.

If you didn't say any of the things I'm complaining about then (news flash!!!!) MAYBE I'M NOT TALKING ABOUT YOU.

And if I sound aggravated it's because I get the distinct feeling that no one is listening to what I *did* say and arguing with what I *didn't* say.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 5, 2005 11:11 AM

Well, he never ran on the idea that he would grow the budget in all areas and all programs to unprecdented percentages.

Even if he does something totally expected with which I disagree, I will criticize without hesitation and not once think that I shouldn't do that b/c I am peeing in my own tent.

I don't do this to prop up the Republican party. I do this to discuss issues and vent. When I am a politician, and when I have to vote for one, I will make compromises. When I am blogging, I don't have to. I can have everything my way or complain when it isn't.

The President has earned a pass from me on intelligence, military strategy, and just about every aspect of the WOT, even when I did not agree with him. I didn't discuss it, b/c even though I have not been there, I think I know that running a war is a hard thing and morale matters. I don't have to give him a pass on everything. It just doesn't matter if "morale" is low over a SCOTUS nominee.

Posted by: KJ at October 5, 2005 11:14 AM

To your point about "base" voters choosing to just sit the next election out, that certainly is not the most productive method unless they want to elect a Democrat (which is sometimes the best, long-term strategy).

However, in the case of the Miers nomination conservatives should seriously consider doing exactly the opposite - rising up and voting against her. Of course, this is all academic because, absent shocking revelations from her personal life, the religious right seems prepared to line up lock-step behind her as a "born again" Christian . . . exactly what they want on the Court (which makes the non-evangelical conservatives cringe). It isn't the religious right - the usual group associated with the party's "base" - that is raising the most questions about Miers. It's the Bill Kristols, George Wills, etc. from the more traditional footings of the conservative movement.

Finally, "intensity" is extremely important. Individual may only have "one vote" as you indicate, but their real power is their ability to influence, mobilize and build intensity in their own social networks. Certainly this applies to party regulars, but it's the intensity to be found in the churches, unions, right to life groups, gun owners, etc. that provides that critical tipping point push both in elections and on issue campaigns.

Posted by: jbrantley [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 5, 2005 11:23 AM

Yes, if Republicans rise up and vote against her, that will send a message. How easy it is to split the party.

And by the way, I'm a "non-evangelical conservative", (not particularly religious, either for that matter) and actually it has been some of the religious right that have made some of the statements I've objected to. Either way, I question how many of the "religious right' there are to 'rise up and vote for her". Non-religious types consistently overestimate the numbers of the religious right. I'd like to see some numerical analysis on this one, jb.

I agree intensity matters, but it has both positive and negative aspects, as this post illustrates. A temper tantrum is intense. It is also annoying and counterproductive. So is blackmail.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 5, 2005 11:30 AM

And you know what? I don't see Joe six Pack up in arms about this nomination yet. - Cass

I've got to say I've seen the same thing. Joe Six-Pack isn't up in arms because they don't know who Miers is. Helk, most of us don't know who Janice R. Brown, or Luttig, or Owens, or any of the other "Red Meat" candidates are either.

So she's an unknown, THEY'RE ALL FRIGGIN' UNKNOWNS.

You have reservations, fine, have reservations. Call or write your Rebublican senator to grill Miers too. (Dem's already will.) Roberts seems to have been known well enough that the Rebubs could just toss softballs since it was merely a formality anyway. Encourage them to not look at this as formality but as a real inquiry. If she can't cut it, then by all means lobby for rejection. Again, it wouldn't be the first time.

If she can, then all we're really fighting about is the tactics of a winning using full frontal assault or winning using a flanking maneuver because it soothes your friggin' ego.

Posted by: Masked Menace© at October 5, 2005 11:33 AM

Cass, the clarification is accepted. I'm not pissed off at anyone. This isn't personal to me. It's just blogging. [Everything I learned about life, I learned watching the Godfather trilogy.]

I had a reason to address the points I did. Your deficit comment was directed at me. You mentioned me by name.

Also, you discussed RINOism not just at the top of your piece. You did it also at the end of the piece. You even said this in a comment at The Cheese: "I hope you all know what you're doing, because it's a mystery to me and you're really hurting and alientating many within the party."

That sounds like you were thinking of me as being in the party. Fine. I'm clarifying that and you're clarifying that. I'm not in the party.

And while your rant wasn't aimed at me, I was saying many of the things you paraphrased in the rant. Again, I didn't take it personally, but I thought I could comment and clarify.

My goal isn't to damage Bush. In fact, he made this bed and I'm sure he is sleeping fine tonight. I wish he had done it differently, and my opinion of his political courage was lessened.

I still hope Miers is a good justice. I won't throw out the 10 month fetus with the bathwater. But I won't not state my disappointment.

If I'm in political denial, well you've made your points. Others will no doubt agree with you. This is why I'm not a politician. I only have to convince 1-12 people in my job. Not 51 out of 100, or millions.

Posted by: KJ at October 5, 2005 11:33 AM

What Menace said.

In spades.

KJ, I think we were on the same page last nite :) Peace.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 5, 2005 11:44 AM

Cassandra, I have only one objection: do we know that this system follows a normal curve empirically?
If this, what I would call an assumption, is true, then we have a BOOYAH! situation where you nailed it.
But, looking(and making assumptions myself) at the political culture of these United States I'm not sure it does adhere to a bell curve, even within the republican voting population.
Not saying it doesn't follow a standard bell curve, but I'm also saying it could be a poly-mean graph(a three humped camel). Care to 'splain why you used the Bell curve, your graciousness?
Oh, I see someone else tackled this too. Sorry. I still think you can do this on a single axis though.

Posted by: ry at October 5, 2005 12:23 PM

Bell Curves are purty.

They are also racist, as I'm sure you have the a darker hue to the left side of that curve. You Republikkkans are a bunch of Nazis.

Posted by: KJ at October 5, 2005 12:40 PM

I wish I could be as eloquent in my writing as you are, but thank you for expressing these thoughts so clearly.
I have watched pundits rip and tear at this President, from both sides, for so long that it sometimes becomes depressing to read anything. I do not agree with everything he wants, but I accepted those that I disagreed with when I voted for him and I admire him for his steadfastness.
Do you think it is just that people don’t understand what a promise is; that we feel everyone should do as they feel at the moment so that it is easy? Maybe it’s just that we are not use to a man who honor’s his word.

Posted by: Ken Barto at October 5, 2005 01:19 PM

Well, I'm still unmoved. The Pres still says "Trust me, she thinks like me". What no one's really addressing is that the way the Pres thinks on these issues stinks. I can't trust the guy. I need better than that.

As for the "making the base happy", I agree in general. The only problem here is that the President made a very specific promise to conservatives and he's broken it. He can't be punished for lying but his party can.

If that means that the Republicans lose the next couple elections, realize that when you make a promise you'd better darned-well keep it, get themselves right, and take the ones thereafter, then so be it.

I can content myself with the Republicans losing a couple elections if it means that they learn an important lesson about integrity.

Posted by: Jimmie at October 5, 2005 01:38 PM

They "learned" that lesson in 1992 with BushI lost? No. In 1996 when the "Contract With America" was not fulfilled? No.

Posted by: KJ at October 5, 2005 01:46 PM

I'm a bigger fan of the political compass than the left-right continuum. But that's just a function of my libertarianism, I guess...

Posted by: Brad Warbiany at October 5, 2005 02:01 PM

Cass - Kudos to you for standing up. You are right, we shouldn't be throwing blood at each other.

For better or for worse, I felt this was a debate among friends believing near the same thing *at least a little, or we wouldn't be here, right?*. As warm-blooded, healthy adults, we all have a tendency to become *hot tempered and hard headed* when something hits too close to home. I think we have all proven that we are alive and well and wondering what the hell is going on.

I am taken aback by your post for only good reasons. Often, and more so as time goes on, I realize that I don't have the inside scoop on life as we know it. That doesn't register at the time, only after the fact.

I don't want to see the Republicans fall to the level of the Dems in regards to flying off the handle at every hot button. I do enjoy and benefit from a good debate as it causes me to open my eyes and see things in a different light.

That said, I do think there ought to be an honest debate on the subject...everyone seems to have an opinion and it would be the best way to air that all out. I do think we ought to *use our own words* and not fall to the level of name-calling. That does more harm than good and it does not promote any sort of growth or openmindedness.

Since I am scaring myself with all this *grown-up speak*, I am off to watch cartoons...or at least play the PS 2 till I figure it all out.

**Side Note** If you don't hear from me for a week, it's because we are moving across the country. Fear not, I will return! I am sure my husband will be on his site before I will venture on, so click my name if you want to see if we made it in one piece.

Posted by: Lisa at October 5, 2005 02:09 PM

A little sunshine here:
It's good that we are questioning both our expectations and the president's performance and /or non-performance as to those expectations. Too long those of us on the right have had our backs to each other, circling the wagons to fight off the constant attacks by the disaffected, and oft-deranged, war parties from the left. Our attention being turned outward for so long has diminish thoughtful debate amongst ourselves about where we are,where we want to get to, and how we want to get there.

I agree with the comment made earlier that many of us have given the president a "pass" on some policy issues because of the war on terror and because we wouldn't dare want to drink from the same cup as our enemy. This nomination, however, provides the right, including we RINO's, evangelicals, and facist war-mongerering libertarians, to talk amongst ourselves about our president, our party, and our direction. This is a good thing, and one that I think is overdue.

Posted by: spd rdr at October 5, 2005 02:18 PM

You nailed it, Cass. Apparently the Dems aren't the only ones with an entrenched Eastern elite of preening academics (I had to wash my hands to get the snobbery off after reading George Will's take). Or stupid commenters, one of whom called Miers Florence Henderson - this, about a woman with a list of firsts longer than Hillary Clinton's enemies list. I guess we'll just have to wait for the Senate hearings to hear what she's made of, which after all is THE PROCESS

Posted by: beautifulatrocities [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 5, 2005 02:44 PM

Well, there goes my first ill advised and self deleted comment.

Posted by: Masked Menace© at October 5, 2005 02:59 PM

Posted by: beautifulatrocities [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 5, 2005 03:34 PM

Excellent. Just plain Excellent!!! Damn Fine Job! I should write so well!

Thanks!

Posted by: SangerM at October 5, 2005 03:48 PM

Well, actually, Volokh didn't. He quoted someone who did, and said he was "in between" Will and the person criticizing Will.

And one argument made was so absurd I must quote it here, with a response by one commenter:

"McCain-Feingold was a bad law, but bad laws get enacted all the time, and at least the President had the sense to have GOP political lawyers challenge significant components of the law in court."

Ah, so the President fulfills his duty to the Constitution by signing unconstitutional laws so long as he has lawyers (unsucessfully) challenge that law at a later time? This does not pass the laugh test. It doesn't even get a chuckle.

As a thought, this kind of reasoning is precisely why treating the courts as the final arbiter of the Constitution is so pernicious. "Leaving it to the courts" allows elected politicians to avoid the hard decision about doing their duty to the Constitution and simply signning off on politically expedient laws.

link: http://volokh.com/posts/1128525351.shtml#24193

Posted by: KJ at October 5, 2005 03:57 PM

And the comment of the day for today goes to [drum roll...] KJ:

Bell Curves are purty.They are also racist

If I had a beer yet, I'd have spit it out :D

ry:

Of course not. I used a bell curve because, more often than not, when you look at a large population using a macro measure, the results will be normally distributed. But you're quite right: I had absolutely no empirical basis for the metaphor. And that's all it was: a metaphor to get a point across.

As Brad so astutely pointed out earlier, there are any number of other statistical metaphors I could have used... but try explaining one of those in a short essay! Sometimes a generalized metaphor is close enough for gubmint work.

And at any rate, if there is one thing I have learned in analyzing numbers (cover your ears Menace) it's this: there's an awful lot of noise in most measures and you can waste and awful lot of time fine-tuning crap.

Personally I believe where most statisticians go wrong is not in not setting their parameters closely enough. It's on their initial assumptions or their sampling methodology. In other words, get the big stuff right, and the small stuff will even out in the wash. It's just measurement noise anyway.

Of course all this depends on how critical the results are: if you're sampling for NASA the tolerances are a bit lower. But we're talking social science here, which is a bit like social disease.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 5, 2005 04:26 PM

KJ is right; Volokh thought so little of the piece that he posted it

Lileks on board

Posted by: beautifulatrocities [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 5, 2005 04:30 PM

Jeff,

That post at Volokh's site was actually put up by contributor Orin Kerr, not Volokh. :)

Posted by: Hubris at October 5, 2005 04:56 PM

Cass - I like your writing, honey. Nicely put, and thanks for saying what I was thinking, only better.

Posted by: Barb at October 5, 2005 07:15 PM

I predict within 2 years if Miers is confirmed the Conservative "base" will be livid with Roberts and pleased as punch with Miers.

I also predict that the Astros will club the Braves in game one of the NLDS by something like 5 runs, with the brave scoring a couple meaningless runs in garbage time.

Posted by: Pile On at October 5, 2005 08:08 PM

Barb:

That means a lot, coming from you. Thank you.

Pile:

:)

Posted by: Cassandra at October 5, 2005 08:18 PM

It's about time somebody brought up baseball.

Posted by: spd rdr at October 5, 2005 08:19 PM

Splendidly written madam, really good stuff.


Greg

Posted by: Greg at October 5, 2005 09:33 PM

I liked you better as Casserole. Casseroles are warm and yummy!:)

Although I have voted mostly Republican (sat out 92 because Bush the Elder's numerous broken promises lost my faith in his integrity), I could care less about the Republican Party.

Politicians of any stripe are mostly black-hearted charlatans, but this does run on a spectrum from "none more black", to only slightly sooty. My expectations of them are thus pretty low to begin with. However, if one suckers me into voting for him by making phony promises, then why on earth would I care to vote for him again? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

You can always say, well the other guy is worse, so vote for the lesser of two evils. No. I won't. If my only choices are Ted Kennedy or John McCain, then the only thing I will pull on election day is the top off my beer and stay home to watch the game.

This either/or restriction on two potentially bad candidates is why I've never been a fan of the 2-party system. Although I despise most things euro, I do believe that their parliamentary system is better than ours.

Instead of 2 parties, you could have 10 all up and down the ideological spectrum. The parties would more closely reflect and defend the views of their voters.

I am generally a Republican because they are closer to the conservative end of the spectrum. If the Democrats suddenly went all conservative, then I would be a Democrat. I can't be a libertarian because, out West at least, all they stand for is the right to smoke their weed. I don't want to elect either Cheech or Chong to "high" office.

If the Republicans abandon their Goldwater/Reagan ideologies to become a moderate Eisenhower/Ford/Bush the Elder party, then they can kiss my backside. In the immortal words of Barbara Billingsley (June Cleaver) in Airplane: "Chump don't want my vote, chump don't git mah vote!"

As to Miers being a born-again Christian, well so was I years ago. In fact, so was Jimmah Carter. This fact, standing alone, does nothing to assure me of her conservative credentials.

Lastly, Cass, I truly don't understand your anger over this whole thing. I'm not saying you have to vote like me or think like me. Do what you feel is best and stick to your moderate political beliefs. I'm a live and let live kind of guy. On the other hand, don't tell me to give up my conservative political beliefs for the sake of expediency or shifting political winds.

If you are upset that you feel pressured to give up your moderate beliefs to become more conservative, why should others who feel pressured to give up their conservative beliefs to become more moderate feel any different? If you are going to be fair and consistent, then you have to see that idea cuts both ways.

Ultimately, I think each has to do what he/she believes to be best consistent with their beliefs. No amount of yelling at someone to "be reasonable" will change deeply held beliefs. They ARE being reasonable, from their perspective. My perspective is different from yours. I understand and respect your perspective. Do you understand and respect mine?

Posted by: a former european at October 5, 2005 09:41 PM

Thank you for this, Cassandra. It was so fine. I linked to it at:

http://paragraphfarmer.blogspot.com/2005/10/through-looking-glass.html

Posted by: Patrick O'Hannigan at October 5, 2005 11:18 PM

I hope Harriet Miers turns out to be an incredible Supreme Court Justice. Barring revelation of some astonishing character flaw, she will certainly be confirmed, as would virtually anyone President Bush nominated.
Remember that Clarence Thomas was confirmed when the Democrats had a seven-vote majority in the Senate.


No one, so far as I know, not even Hugh Hewitt, is claiming that Harriet Miers was the obvious best choice. There are many brilliant, highly qualified candidates with solid records of fealty to the Constitution and the law. Does anyone claim that Harriet Miers is likely a better choice than Michael Luttig? Does anyone doubt that Luttig, if nominated, would be confirmed?


In my book, those are grounds for disappointment. Bush could have chosen a
nominee whose credentials would never have been questioned, whose judicial temperament was already clearly demonstrated, and who would have
garnered instant, enthusiastic support from conservatives. Instead he chose a cipher.
I sincerely hope this gamble pays off. Sadly, no gamble--certainly not one of this magnitude--was necessary.


Just to be clear, I have not pre-judged Miers. How could I, knowing virtually nothing about her? Beldar's posts have gone some distance in convincing me that she is actually a solid candidate. I will be delighted if her actions once she is confirmed dispel the doubts I have about her now.

Posted by: Churl at October 5, 2005 11:21 PM

Cass, thanks for the 'splanation.

Ah, The Angels came from behind to beat those drated Yankees. Shall sleep well tonight.

Posted by: ry at October 6, 2005 02:13 AM

Okay, we need to make up my mind, was Bush's choice of Miers a chickenshit cop out where he takes the easy way out to avoid a fight or was it a gamble where he expends political capital risking the alienation of his base to get the person he thinks will do the job on the SC the way he wants it done?

Posted by: Pile On at October 6, 2005 06:23 AM

It's the age old question really, which came first, the stupid or the evil genius?

Posted by: Pile On at October 6, 2005 06:34 AM

Please don't take this the wrong way Pile darlin', but there is nothing more attractive than a smart man.

Mrs. On is a lucky woman.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 6, 2005 06:41 AM

I don't know how I could take that wrong. :)

Posted by: Pile On at October 6, 2005 07:07 AM

"New Coke."

Posted by: spd rdr at October 6, 2005 07:33 AM

The Angels won? Hell, this will be a long car ride!

Posted by: Lisa at October 6, 2005 07:43 AM

re: New Coke

That's one theory. And it's so catchy, too. It has the advantage of being easy to grasp, unlike other interpretations which force one to think.

But it's always a possibility.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 6, 2005 09:13 AM

Do you like it?
It came to me in the shower.

Posted by: spd rdr at October 6, 2005 09:18 AM

I've heard lots of good things can happen in the shower.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 6, 2005 09:27 AM

You can't scrub off Graffinino's error, spd. :)

D'oh! Maybe next year.

Posted by: David at October 6, 2005 10:15 AM

Does anyone doubt that Luttig, if nominated, would be confirmed? - Churl

Yes.

Posted by: Masked Menace© at October 6, 2005 11:00 AM

I'd rather have that fight than this one.

Posted by: KJ at October 6, 2005 11:51 AM

y'know KJ, I have to confess something.

I'm not a lawyer, so I'm not really sure just how great Mr. Luttig or Mr. McConnell really are. I mean, I have to take the word of other, brighter, more educated analysts of this sort of thing, to accept how good either of these two gnetlemen, or others mentioned, really are. Y'know, sort of take it on faith, as in "trust me, I'm an expert on legal matters and Supreme Court nominees."
Just a thought, from an average American.

Posted by: David at October 6, 2005 11:58 AM

David,

If it had been Luttig or McConnel or one of any number of other people, you would at least have had the opportunity to read his/her articles, judicial opinions (if applicable) and speeches and form your own opinion -- if you wanted to try to reach your own opinion and not take it on faith. In other words, whether you would be taking it on faith or not would be up to you.

Despite having the "legal education" I have, I still cannot make the same kind of independent judgment on Miers that you could on the people I would have prefered.

Thus, I am forced to take Miers on faith. You wouldn't be forced to take a Luttig on faith.

Posted by: KJ at October 6, 2005 01:36 PM

Too true, KJ, but you are giving me the benefit of the doubt in me being able to read their opinions, writings, etc., and deduce how they would vote in future SCOTUS cases. (hey, look! I'm a mental savant now! Just like Teddy and Joe! Who's your daddy, Feinstein? Who knew??)

Remember, I'm an "average" American, and may not be able to wade through much of their writings. (Busy watching "Lost" and "Desparate Housewives" and playing "Halo" on the X-box.)

This nomination bum-fuzzles me, too, in a way. But I think that Harry Reid knows Harriet Miers, gave GWB some positive clues about that, and actually might have a favorable impression of her, and won't lead a filibuster against her. (???)
The idiot faction of the Senate Democrats will attack her, but then what? Russ Feingold actually was very intelligent and coherent in his questioning of John Roberts, but he was alone in this.

And it may be a bitter pill for many very bright (like you and spd rdr) and ambitious lawyers (who are they?) to swallow, but just maybe Bush is trying to de-mystify the Supreme Court. Is that healthy???

Posted by: David at October 6, 2005 03:22 PM

KJ is glossing over my earlier point re: Thomas, which may be somewhat less applicable in the case of Luttig, who in any case is, in my highly rebuttable opinion, very likely unconfirmable.

At any rate, just think, David - if she's half as unsophisticated as her critics make her out to be (the haystraw still stuck between the gap in her front teeth) a Miers confirmation could lead to a Very Bad Place... like decipherable SC opinions ordinary citizens could read. Thomas is headed in that general direction, and I say this dangerous trend must be stopped at all costs.

The future of Bad Legal Writing is at stake. Think of the job security concerns :)

Sorry folks, a joke. That's all I have left at this point. I'm not throwing stones. Honest.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 6, 2005 03:48 PM

I guess you are right David. Having a body of work to look at is meaningless. It means nothing. It would, in fact, be silly to even bother looking at it, IF IT EXISTED ON MIERS, since it means nothing. Helk, Luttig would probably be the next Brennen anyway.

Cass, I guess we will just have to take your work on that. Of course, I am more comfortable taking your word on that than Bush's word on Miers. :-)

Posted by: KJ at October 6, 2005 03:52 PM

We don't actually know what exists on Miers since we haven't gotten to the hearings yet. All sorts of docs were requested on Roberts: reams of memos written while he worked for the Reagan White House, etc. I would imagine that as White House counsel responsible for the nomination of all those judges, she must have written a helluva lot of memos.

Heck - some of them may even have dealt with [gasp] Constitutional issues, as Roberts' memos did! Gee... do ya think?

Oh... that was farfetched, wasn't it? My bad.

You're tempting me counselor :) I think I'm going to stick to my prior resolution and stay off this subject. I was just making a bad joke, since David made me laugh. I'm sorry.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 6, 2005 04:13 PM

I am not asking anyone to take my word for anything (other than its bond). All I'm asking for is an explanation (that doesn't insult my meager intelligence) as to why Harriet Miers should have been nominated for this position. I am also asking for three straight days of rain in Boston and a Yankee melt down.

I wonder which I'll get first.

Posted by: spd rdr at October 6, 2005 04:19 PM

Well we do live in an age of entitlement. I suppose this is progress.

What if the answer is this (and I am not saying it is, but it is one of many theories I have entertained):

"I have given this a great deal of thought and have talked it over with several people. The atmosphere is so toxic right now that in my judgement, a true conservative of the type who will safeguard the C cannot survive the confirmation process. If he or she has a large body of writings and judicial opinions, they will reveal strict constructionist tendencies and my nominee with be Borked. If they don't have a large body of writings and opinions, how do we know what they think? This is just too important to leave to chance. I have to be sure.

So the best shot we have to get a conservative on SCOTUS is to pick someone who has never been on the bench. And that's happened 14 times in the past 75 years so it's hardly unprecedented. Heck Rehnquist had no judicial experience, and he ended up being Chief Justice! Surely conservatives will point that out for me - a little help from the home team.

Furthermore, I worry that past judges nominated by Republicans keep drifting to the Left. This whole judicial record thing doesn't seem like a very good predictor. My father nominated one such: Souter. Reagan nominated O'Connor. Only two - Thomas and Scalia - have been reliable.

I may not be a fancy guy, but it seems you can either trust a person, or not. I trust Harriet Miers. Alone of all the candidates, I know her character. She is not only a colleague but a personal friend. I know her views on the C because she has been advising me on nominations to the Bench. I know her character because she was my attorney and also a friend. She won't drift to the Left. She's rock-solid.

And she's smart. And principled. And tough - she can withstand pressure. She was a contract lawyer - she knows words mean what they say they mean, and no more. I like that. She is religious - she knows the Word of God and follows it. I like that. I said it the other night - a person like that doesn't change their nature.

And she used to be a Dem... That will confuse 'em. No one is more religious than a convert... heh...

And the Dems want a woman anyway. I wasn't going to nominate a woman just because, but if she fits anyway I won't let that stand in the way either. That'll make her harder to Bork.

Finally, Reid has already told me they'll filibuster anyone they don't like - it won't be as easy as it was with Roberts, and he had more votes against him than any other justice. But Reid came to me and said he likes Harriet. He won't be able to back down from that. If I take his suggestion, this could finally heal the partisan rift that has broken the nomination process since Bork. That would be historic - just think - this could be the last confirmation hearing where both sides are totally unreasonable. What a legacy to give this nation.

And the price? I spend my political capital... again. And I put a candidate I KNOW will do a damned fine job on the Court.

Yeah, they'll fuss. And they'll hate me. But they already hate me - they always have, no matter what I do. I can't let that stand in the way.

My own party will support me."

"Boy will the Dems be shocked when she gets on that Court and they find out they've got a tiger by the tail!"

"Oh shit. Now I've gone and ruined the secret by making excuses. I guess I should have kept my mouth shut and taken my punches like a man."

Posted by: Cassandra at October 6, 2005 04:45 PM

KJ, I think David's point isn't that it is meaningless. Just that it's meaningless to him due to the fact he wouldn't be able to read her papers anymore than he could read my topology textbooks. Yeah, the words are all English but it might as well be Greek.

He has to rely on the informed opinions of others whether there is a paper trail or not.

Posted by: Masked Menace© at October 6, 2005 04:52 PM

"you are giving me the benefit of the doubt in me being able to read their opinions, writings, etc., and deduce how they would vote in future SCOTUS cases. (hey, look! I'm a mental savant now! Just like Teddy and Joe! Who's your daddy, Feinstein? Who knew??)"

David, if I can be a mind reader, was in fact suggesting that nothing they said in the past predicts future results. While "true" in the absolute sense (some people will always change course), it isn't true in the statistical sense.

Cass, the difference between Souter and O'Conner is huge. Souter is now a full fledged bed wetter. O'Conner is still a conservative on many issues, though certainly not all. It was just that when she and Kennedy didn't agree (e.g, she is more federalist than Kennedy is), the liberal bloc won, and that was often.

And shying away from a fight (in the WOT, we have a name for that -- appeasment) never "heals the partisan divide. It encourages more bluster and saber rattling the next time.

But -- that said, I think you explained Bush's perfectly. You agree with me entirely.

Posted by: KJ at October 6, 2005 05:00 PM

Actually, MM, the topology textbooks would be ok. I took multivariable calculus and differential equations in college . :)

Legal writing is something different, though.:)

KJ, I'm playing a dumb devil's advocate (and it is suprisingly easy, for me!), because, I think, many people take the distilled views of a few opinion makers they "have faith in" (such as the estimable George Will, etc.) in forming their own opinions. I have grown skeptical of nearly everyone, these days.
A brilliant legal scholar and writer would, of course, be able to defend their position better than a mediocrity. And a portfolio of opinions, law review articles, etc., is indeed, sound, objective evidence of that.
But I have read some of the things that Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (oops, I read something! Gave that away!) wrote as opinions, and it is disturbing that such a thoughtful and well-thought-of man (in historical terms) could be SO WRONG in some of his opinions.
But again, I'm not a lawyer, and I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. My wife USED to be a legal secretary (so was her mother, and her sister still is!), so I've heard plenty of lawyer tales (first hand, no less!).

And for spd: "Damn Yankees!!!"
I hate those pinheads in pinstripes.

Posted by: David at October 6, 2005 05:12 PM

you are giving me the benefit of the doubt in me being able to read their opinions, writings, etc., and deduce how they would vote in future SCOTUS cases.

Seems to me it's pretty clear David means: You (falsely) assume he could read, understand and apply. He's not saying it can't be done, just that it can't be done by him.

Posted by: Masked Menace© at October 6, 2005 05:13 PM

Damn, I knew people around here were weird. Too many darn Math people. :-)

Posted by: Masked Menace© at October 6, 2005 05:16 PM

Cass, your's is exactly the explanation we know to be true - not the lame-ass "best person for the job" baloney shoveled out on by the White House on Monday. Ms. Miers may be a danmed fine lawyer (athough I've got my name on more published opinions than she has, despite her 30+ years of practice) but this is nothing but a political appointment, and that's what bothers me. I hold my water until the hearings.

Posted by: spd rdr at October 6, 2005 05:36 PM

And frankly, to add insult to injury, Law is not Science (or Mathematics, for that matter).
Laws of Science, and the language of Science (Mathematics) makes some solid headway in predicting and describing the physical world and how it works.

Law (and people too, suprisingly) are not always predicatble and logical (should they be?).
The Kelo decision, I am told, follows a series of precedents already established (?) (not analogous to science here?). But doesn't it contravene the understood meaning of "takings" in the Bill of Rights (basic law?)? Were those previous precedents bad (warp reality?)? Didn't judges (and lawyers, in consequence) form them?

I understand this is the root of the problem, the judicial temperment of those on the bench and the basic philosophies of judges, as illustrated by their writings, but these "bad precedents" were arguably "well written", I'll bet.
KJ, you're a good man, and I have little argument with you, but let's wait and see what kind of person this "Harriet Miers" really is. Taunting you has been fun, but now I gotta fly!

Posted by: David at October 6, 2005 05:42 PM

As I said mr rdr, that is only one of many theories I have entertained. There are plenty more where that came from. I displayed a good deal of trust (and a fair amount of guile) by laying bare my jugular on that one.

And if he's right in his analysis, and she's 'good enough' to sit on the Court and all those other things are accomplished, I'm OK with that. KJ's not, even if he admits Bush is right, which I don't think he ever will :)

At any rate, if he's right, in his judgment she's the 'best person' he thinks he can get confirmed, and he can hardly say that, can he? It's just that unlike KJ, he values character over formal credentials.

Another theory I've entertained is that he wants a pragmatist on the Court. A commonsense approach (David's demystification theory, if you will) This is closer to the 'best person' rationale, and I almost threw it in with my explanation, but in fairness I thought that was rather stacking the deck.

Also I was curious to see how you would react (the guile part).

Posted by: Cassandra at October 6, 2005 05:55 PM

I can tell you what happened after they "demystified" the Catholic Church.
It ain't pretty.

Posted by: spd rdr at October 6, 2005 06:23 PM

"At any rate, if he's right, in his judgment she's the 'best person' he thinks he can get confirmed, and he can hardly say that, can he? It's just that unlike KJ, he values character over formal credentials."

We'll never know if he could get a "better person" comfirmed. Bush would not test the opponent to see what he could accomplish.

And none of my comments have anything to do with character over credentials. It is about going "stealth" though yes, I do question her creditials but only to a point. But your implication, which you don't mean I know, is that Brown, Luttig, Owens, McConnel etc were somehow lacking in character compared to Miers. Quite the opposite in my opinion. They had the character to be on the record.

That, though you didn't mean it in that way, is bullshit.

Must go to game now. Go Braves!

Posted by: KJ at October 6, 2005 07:05 PM

Why do I feel like I am at a dinner with my family and relatives? Insufficient booze?

Posted by: spd rdr at October 6, 2005 07:44 PM

I just wanna know why everyone isn't getting behind Barney the Gay Scottie Dog!?!?!?!

Posted by: Masked Menace© at October 6, 2005 07:51 PM

KJ, I know your reading comprehension skills are better than that.

He can't be SURE about their character because he doesn't KNOW them like he KNOWS Miers, and given what's happened in the past he's not willing to take the chance. And that's just the whole point of this nomination, isn't it?

But then you knew that before you tried to get a rise out of me, didn't you counselor? :)

And spd, if what happened after they demystified the Catholic Church in any way resembles what happened with the Piskies, they changed the meaning of the entire service in the process. That ain't "demystifying" - it's just plain 'mystifying'.

And love, there is not enough booze in the whole, wide world.... :D

Posted by: Cassandra at October 6, 2005 08:08 PM

Hmmm. Shortage of booze in the world? I best go see for myself.

Posted by: a former european at October 6, 2005 09:54 PM

Great post. It's encouraging to read a lot of the same points I've been trying to make over the last few days. Was startin' to feel alone out here. You and Beth have made my week!

Posted by: Gary at October 7, 2005 03:39 PM

Thank you Gary.

I guess we lone whackos need to stick together :)

Posted by: Cassandra at October 7, 2005 03:41 PM

Lone Whacko?

Ok, so who's Tonto?

Posted by: Masked Menace© at October 7, 2005 04:56 PM

Post a comment




Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)