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Why Is The Right Opposed To Harriet Miers?

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In Bush’s five years as president he hasn’t received any serious opposition from his own party. Sure, there’s been occasional grumbling even from his base, but his nomination of Harriet Miers marks the first time that conservative criticism has been this passionate and sustained. But why is the Right so opposed to her? Here are some possible explanations:

(1) The Right is desperate to appoint a justice who is clearly committed to overturning Roe v. Wade, and there’s nothing in Miers’ record to suggest that she fits the bill.

The problem with this explanation is that the Right was thoroughly unopposed to John Roberts, whose past is equally opaque. If the Right is so desperate for an unequivocally pro-life justice, where was the opposition to Roberts?

(2) Miers is not one of America’s “leading legal lights”. She may be a fine lawyer but she has no credentials as a legal scholar.

According to this explanation, the Right’s main priority is to appoint a brilliant legal mind, and, by most accounts, Miers fails this test. If this were true, it would explain their support of Roberts and their opposition to Miers. In my less cynical moments I’m tempted by this explanation, but this can’t be the full story. Surely what the Right most wants is a very conservative judge regardless of his or her legal competence. Indeed, the Right loves Clarence Thomas, who nobody would describe as a brilliant legal mind, precisely because they like how he votes.

(3) Opposition to Miers is really opposition to Bush.

Bush keeps asking conservatives to “trust” him. Until now, he has had their unflinching trust. But perhaps recent scandals and disasters are shaking the Right’s faith in Bush. If this is true, it marks a major turning point in his presidency. But is it true? I haven’t seen any evidence aside from the controversy over Miers to suggest that it is. So I’m withholding judgment until I see conservative opposition to Bush elsewhere.

(4) The Right dislikes both Miers and Roberts, but they couldn’t non-hypocritically oppose Roberts.

The idea here is that the Right desperately wants someone with an established conservative record, but they cannot oppose a nominee solely on the grounds that he lacks this record. Why not? Well, the Right is always talking about having no political litmus tests on nominees, and if they oppose a nominee for not having a conservative track record, this would be employing a political litmus test. So, they must find other grounds for rejecting a nominee, such as a lack of legal brilliance. They couldn’t play this card with Roberts, but they could with Miers. So, on this explanation, the Right cares not a whit about legal brilliance (note again Clarence Thomas) – they care only about conservative justices, but their own rhetoric and talking points prevent them from opposing a judge on the grounds that he isn’t conservative enough. This strikes me as the most plausible explanation of their opposition to Miers.

Ed/Pub:LisaM

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About Mike Valdman

  • http://withduerespect.blogspot.com/ JCB

    I believe that the right’s problem with Miers is her past affiliation with Gay Rights. The thing about Bush and his dwindling support from the conservatives of his own party is that they can now feel free to question his judgement: they have the confidence that Bush is an electoral lame duck.

    Before, even though I believe they have internally questioned his judgements, their resolute purpose of advancing a nationwide conservative agenda was way more important. Bush’s full support to that agenda, made him worth their while.

    Just my 2cents from a far.
    With All Due Respect

  • The Theory

    I read that she had been a Democrat… then became a Republican after becoming a Christian. My guess would be that she would lean fairly liberal for a Republican… and the Republican party wants someone uberconservative.

  • Mike Valdman

    I haven’t heard anything about Miers and gay rights, so I can’t comment on that. As for her being a Democrat, I do recall reading that she once made a small contribution to the Democratic party, but I haven’t read anything about her actually having been a Democrat. And even if she had been a Democrat, most so called neo-conservatives were once Democrats, so I’m not sure merely having been a Democrat would be enough to explain the Right’s opposition to her.

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com Michael J. West

    I read that she had been a Democrat… then became a Republican after becoming a Christian. My guess would be that she would lean fairly liberal for a Republican… and the Republican party wants someone uberconservative.

    That’s an interesting theory, but it doesn’t hold up for the simple reason that Ronald Reagan was a former liberal Democrat (he idolized FDR) who became an uberconservative. Granted, Reagan’s conservatism had nothing on Dubya’s, but considering that the GOP reveres him as God’s Agent in America, they couldn’t complain too much about former libs.

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com Michael J. West

    Allow me to introduce possible explanation number 5:

    5) Anyone who the Democratic leaders don’t object to is automatically untrustworthy to the Republicans.

    That’s my theory–it’s why so many are accusing him of “selling out” or “making a deal with the Democrats.”

  • http://dumpsterbust.blogspot.com Eric Berlin

    Welcome to the party, Mr. Valdman.

    I’d add two additional factors:

    * Miers is replacing O’Conner, a crucial swing vote on a host of issues. Roberts, the brilliant scholar, replaced the mainstream conservative Rehnquist, so in many ways we had a status quo switch.

    Miers is a different ballgame. She’s not the accomplished legal mind that Roberts is, and conservatives can generally be nervous that they won’t know where she’ll vote.

    Personally, I think Bush knows how she will vote so is, in effect, a Stealth Candidate. But conservatives are desperately afraid of another Souter.

    * The Bush administration is tanking. I think this might be the most important factor of all.

    I really thought and fully expected that Bush would choose one of the judges that almost got filibustered over the summer, and we’d be in for a Battle Royale. I think this would have been great for Team Bush as it would have done what he’s always been able to do: rally his base.

    Miers comes off as a weak, crony choice by a weak, battered President.

    Therefore, I really think Dems just need to kick back and let it play out. A nuclear option showdown would have likely really hurt what is now becoming a resurgent Democratic Party.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Bush blew it.

    He could have embarrassed Senate Democrats by picking a clearly qualified, overtly-conservative, non-crony as his nominee. The Right would have loved it. The Left would have hated it. The Left would have tried everything in their power to block the nomination, including a possible filibuster. But the Right would have won in the end. And the USSC would have tilted a bit to the Right, which has long been a crucial goal for conservatives.

    Instead, Bush nominated an apparently underqualified, idealogical wild-card, and a blatant crony. If confirmed, she might very well become another Souter. And now the GOP is tearing itself apart over this nominee, and the Dems are just sitting back and enjoying the spectacle.

    Like I said, Bush blew it…

  • http://counter-point.blogspot.com Scott

    The reckoning of GOP between the uber-conservative religious right types and the more moderate Republicans was long-gestating. The Miers nomination was simply the final straw that broke the camel’s back. I think most of us could see that this had to occur at some time or another. Nothing but bad news for Republicans these last few weeks, that’s for sure.

  • http://dumpsterbust.blogspot.com Eric Berlin

    I don’t think the Dems would have been embarrassed, RJ, but I agree that they would have been put in a tight spot.

    A unified GOP front in the Senate would have put the Dems in a terrible position, and likely would have led to some kind of split (a la Roberts). Conservatives would have gotten their way, and Bush would have received a much needed bump.

  • http://www.mytown.ca/sakin Larry A. Sakin

    I’m not entirely convinced that the ultra right really wants to overturn Roe v. Wade. Its a marvelous moneymaker for them, and something they can always use as a wedge issue in any future fight with Dems in elections. However, I think they do like the idea of chipping away at the protections Roe presents, and without understanding Meirs’ position, the conservatives are understandably upset that they aren’t getting the Thomas/Scalia they were promised. So I don’t think Meirs works to their advantage on this issue either way.

    I’m no conspiracy theorist, but I believe Bush tends to pick certain people in his administration for positions that he wants to count on further down the road. The administration is is a shambles right now, and Bush is likely to lose a great deal of support from Congress. With Rove dealing with his own possible indictment, he is distracted from preventing a future investigating commission from a thorough scrutinization of Bush’s torture policy. Here is where having a key ally on the court can come in handy. Should an independent or congressional committee form to investigate torture and if Bush violated constitutional authority, the Supremes would likely be brought in to try and overrule any laws that will leave him vulnerable. Miers, Roberts, Scalia and Thomas will certainly side with Bush in such matters, and may have a heavy influence on Breyer, Kennedy and Souter.

  • http://dumpsterbust.blogspot.com Eric Berlin

    Larry, I’ve thought about your initial point (conservatives and Roe) myself. I’d bet their are true believers who want to see it overturned, while others enjoy using it as a neverending rallying cry.

  • G. Oren

    I think Eric is on the right track here. Bush could have appointed a strict constructionist with good credentials and won the fight in the senate, even with a dem filibuster. The GOP base would relish that fight.

    Bush has never backed off a fight, though he’s never had to use a veto until the other day, I think it’s just another example of his arrogance – appoint a crony and send smoke signals to the religous right that she’ll do what they want. Unfortunately for him, most of the opinion makers on the right are now taking this opportunity to break the traces and vent their collective spleen.

    Whether this spat will cause the GOP senators to break their traces and reject his nominee remains to be seen.

    BTW, Miers was a catholic (and a democrat) she was “born again” around 79, but didn’t become a Republican until the early 90’s.

  • http://ezsgblog.com/vtdawson/index.php Bennett

    One of the wonderful things about Kings and Supreme Court Justices is that once the are sitting in the chair (throne), the weight of the crown makes them think differently. They may very well abandon the positions expressed before confirmation, and operate from a mind set of liberty and justice, somewhat different from their mind set when in the employ of an administration.

    This, I think, has the conservatives very unsure of Ms. Miers.

    Great first post, and welcome!

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com Michael J. West

    I really have to wonder if the people who are so aghast at Roe v. Wade know that it only forbids states from outlawing abortion.

    If Roe v. Wade were overturned, at least 25 states would keep abortion legal; people from the states where it was outlawed would simply go to a state where it was legal to have their abortions performed. I highly doubt that overturning Roe v. Wade would serously lower the number of abortions performed in this country.

  • http://counter-point.blogspot.com Scott

    There is a definite segment of the population that does want Roe overturned. And, basically, many Republicans campaign on being pro-life to draw in that vote and when they are elected, do nothing to outlaw abortion as many of their supporters hope they would. Indeed, a rallying cry for the far right. Take it from me, a resident of the deep south.

  • G. Oren

    Mr. West makes a very good point – if Roe were overturned and the situation returned to the status quo ante, then we could see this issue debated on the state level – where it belongs anyway, in my view.

    A consequence of the shifting of that debate to the state level would, hopefully, involve more serious debate and discussion – not the posturing and fingerpointing we see today.

    I have very serious qualms about the long-term impact of the Federal government – via the court or legislation – establishing a “right to life” in law. Such a move removes from the states (and from families) the right to determine these things for themselves. I do not favor abortion, or euthenasia, on moral grounds, but I am suspicious of any attempt to make those moral judgements settled law for all my countrymen. At root, I think the religous right wants to use the langauge of natural rights – a pernicous doctrine of the enlightenment (think jacobins) – to establish an even further isolation of the “individual” from the natural law tradition of blood and family – ultimately a further breaking down of famial responsibility.

  • Les Slater

    I don’t see Bush as in such a bad position. I don’t think he feels an obligation to greece the skids for JEB to take his place. Then what does he have to lose?

    He’s played the right wing like a fiddle. He never did anything of real value for them. OK, he supports, and signs, reactionary bills, knowing full well they will not get by the courts. He’s in favor of an amendment defining marriage as excusevely between a man and a woman, but everybody that is not intoxicated knows it has a snowball’s chance in hell.

    His Iraq policy? We saw in Kerry what the Dems would do. The same, only better. We can see where Hillary would take us. Nothing would change.

    People are upset by the war, but the war is bipartisan.

    The government in general has lost support. The Dems are doing absolutely nothing, they do not have any alternative.

    The government is in no position to take on Roe with a frontal attack. Bush knows that. If if put some crackpot ideolog in the Supreme Court all hell would break loose.

    Where is the furious right to go? Form a new party? They will not get serious backing for that. Things aren’t at the stage for the rise of the extreme right. They have been way out on a limb. Mr. Bush has reminded them of that.

  • Les Slater

    The purpose of putting Roberts and Miers on the court is to guarantee that Roe will not be overturned.

  • http://sorestloser.blogspot.com mike valdman

    Lots of excellent comments! I’ll try to respond to some of them.

    Eric argues that much of the opposition to Miers stems from the fact that she’s replacing O’Connor rather than Renquist. I disagee with this because, if you recall, Roberts was initially chosen to replace O’Connor, and there was nary a peep out of the Right.

    In response to Michael, it seems to me that the Democrats’ silence is more the effect than the cause of the Right’s furious assault on her. On your second point, with State governments more or less in the hands of conservatives, I don’t feel as secure in abortion rights as you seem to were Roe v. Wade overturned.

  • http://dumpsterbust.blogspot.com Eric Berlin

    Yes Mike, but the Right was always generally happy with Roberts. His paper trail was thin, but he was an on the record, down-the-line conservative judge, if not a screaming ideological one. His intellect and resume was top notch and his conservative credentials strong.

    I also think that conventional wisdom held that there would be about two openings on the court during Bush’s second term. So the stakes on #2 were bound to be higher. And they are.

  • Baronius

    One of the major divisions in the conservative movement is between the activists and the originalists.

    Some people want an activist Republican court, dismantling the precedents of the last 50 years. This branch of conservatism is likely to talk about returning the country to its Christian roots. They oppose Roe because they see abortion as immoral. These people had no great passion for Roberts, but hey, there are only two ways a judge can rule, and they expect Roberts to choose the right side more often than not.

    Another branch of conservatism opposes any judicial activism, from the right or left. These people hate the phrase “living Constitution”. They oppose Roe as bad legal reasoning. Roberts appears to be everything they’ve been hoping for.

    What does Miers offer either branch? Not much that I can think of. She doesn’t have the credentials and mind of a Robert Bork, or the boldness of a Roy Moore. Neither side is restrained by its awkward alliance.

    It’s no so much about the depth as the breadth of disappointment. The Wall Street Journal, Pat Buchanan, George Will, Peggy Noonan, Ann Coulter, and National Review all have criticized the nomination. To an outsider, these may seem like identical people, but they represent pretty much every camp within the movement.

  • volt

    can we please move on from the ludicrous notion that liberals are “activist” judges and conservatives “originalist”. an activist judge is basically a right wing catch phrase to rally the troops but makes about as much sense as calling a law that allows for the destruction of forests the healthy forests initiative.

    were scalia and his brethren originalists when they ruled against their core states rights beliefs in favor of W in bush v. gore?

    beyond the hypocrisy noted above is the problematic fact that the constitution does not give the supreme court the power to review the constitutionality of a law. only after some creative writing by chief justice john marshall in the 1803 case of marbury vs. madison did the court gain the power of judicial review. so a true originalist would not even believe that the supreme court could review laws passed by congress. yet, “originalist” scalia and thomas do not seem to have a problem reviewing cases.

    but one need not go back in time 200 years to realize the entire argument is prima facie (on its face) bogus. republican appointed judges now control the majority of federal courts and and yet people continue to complain about activist courts. that alone should give anyone propagating the “activist” judges nonsense pause.

    finally, for the life of me, i cannot understand why anyone would actually want a judge to even attempt to make his or her rulings in the context of life 200+ years ago. colonial america more closely resembles an underdeveloped african country than it does the u.s. today. things change and societies evolve which is exactly why the Founding Fathers included the ability to add amendments to the constitution.

    surely the bible which is a static document influenced the founding fathers in their philosophy to make the constitution a living document. they rightly saw that a static document quickly becomes irrelevant as times change and societies evolve. evolution of thought is a good thing.

    hence, let’s avoid hypocrisy, apply common sense, and take the lessons of the founding fathers and do away with the term “activist” judges.

    and as long as i am asking for the moon, i’d like to recommend that all those so vehemently opposed to abortion spend a little time and money helping the living people who are dying of diseases like AIDS and starvation in far greater numbers. thanks.

  • Nancy

    I’m interested in the suggestion in comment #10 that possibly (unless I’m misreading it) Bush is hedging his chances should someone attempt an impeachment somewhere down the line? God knows a lot of people think there’s solid reason & evidence to try if only the Republicans didn’t have a stranglehold on congress. It’s an intriguing thought, & worthy of the long-term planning of, say, Cheney & Co.

  • Baronius

    Volt, I think you missed the point of my comment. I didn’t say that all conservative judges are originalists; I made (what I thought was) a pretty clear distinction between the originalist conservatives and the activist conservatives.

    There are also different kinds of originalists, and different kinds of left activists and right activists. Rehnquist and Scalia are more likely to rely on the text of the Constitution, whereas Thomas uses the writings of the Founders more frequently. Scalia is more of an activist than Thomas in his opinions, but is more likely to support precedent.

    As for Bush vs. Gore as a states rights decision, I think you’re misinterpreting it.

  • http://www.mytown.ca/sakin Larry A. Sakin

    For Nancy, comment #23

    I don’t think Mr. Bush needs to be concerned about impeachment, but he may be concerned about having his torture policy exposed to the public through a congressional or independent commission.

    Bush, Cheney, Rove, et. al. in this administration are political animals- they’re concerned about their party maintaining power in all three branches of government. Should it become widely understood that Bush and the neoconservatives fostered and encouraged abuse of prisoners, it would not play well with the American public, including their base. No one will want to be associated with those allegations.

    Bush would likely seek constitutional challenges to current law and look to loyalists on the court to support those challenges.

  • http://withduerespect.blogspot.com/ JCB

    This is the link to the source that revealed her involvement with Gay Rights.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    >>The purpose of putting Roberts and Miers on the court is to guarantee that Roe will not be overturned.<<

    Obvious to me, and I’m glad I’m not the only one, Les. The problem is that with Roberts he got away with it, with Meiers it was too obvious and the fundies on the right caught on to how they had been used.

    Remember, Bush is many things, but first among them is that he’s a practical elitist. What he doesn’t want is the proletariat breeding out of control and dragging down the economy. That means supporting abortion no matter what he may pay lip service to.

    dave

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Not quite a smoking gun, JCB, but very interesting stuff.

    Wouldn’t it be ironic if both Miers and Roberts were gay.

    Dave

  • Les Slater

    > Remember, Bush is many things, but first among them is that he’s a practical elitist. What he doesn’t want is the proletariat breeding out of control and dragging down the economy. That means supporting abortion no matter what he may pay lip service to.

    The motivation for Bush not wanting to reverse Roe is totally political. Bush is not in favor of Roe; he wisely wants to avoid class warfare over this.

    The current restrictions on abortion disproportionately affect poor women. This is not due to Roe but the bipartisan attack on woman’s rights in general. Bush does not favor engaging in the fight to overturn Roe at this historical juncture but is quite willing to indulge in the assault on access to abortion. This goes entirely counter to your logic.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    In the event that the Miers nomination is withdrawn, I’d suggest that the President nominate Judge Henry W. Saad. He’s conservative, an Arab-American and a Bush appointee. Let’s see just how “tolerant” the extreme right really is.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>The motivation for Bush not wanting to reverse Roe is totally political. Bush is not in favor of Roe; he wisely wants to avoid class warfare over this.< <

    Right. Keep the proles happy and reduce their numbers. Abortion is the answer for that.

    >>The current restrictions on abortion disproportionately affect poor women.< <

    There are current restrictions?

    >> This is not due to Roe but the bipartisan attack on woman’s rights in general. Bush does not favor engaging in the fight to overturn Roe at this historical juncture but is quite willing to indulge in the assault on access to abortion. This goes entirely counter to your logic.<<

    He’s repeatedly avoided doing anything substantive to oppose abortion in anything but name, and regularly distances himself from anti-abortion activists. Yes, he probably doesn’t really care one way or another about the lives of fetuses, and would save or damn them based on political expediency, but that attitude is always going to tend to wind up putting him on the quietly pro-abortion side.

    Dave

  • Les Slater

    >> The current restrictions on abortion disproportionately affect poor women.

    > There are current restrictions?

    From “Factors Hindering Access to Abortion Services”:

    http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/2705495.html

    Other barriers have been created by legislation. The policy that has probably had the most impact is the almost total exclusion of abortion from federal Medicaid coverage. Although some states pay for Medicaid abortions with their own funds, most women live in states that do not do so. The most rigorous study to date of the impact of the federal funding restriction found that 18-23% of women on Medicaid who would prefer to have an abortion instead carry their pregnancies to term when Medicaid abortion funding is unavailable (5); in another study, that figure was 35% (6). State legislative barriers that apply to all women, regardless of their income, include waiting periods, counseling requirements that involve more than one visit to the provider and, for minors, parental notification and consent requirements.

    5. J. Trussell et al., “The Impact of Restricting Medicaid Financing for Abortion,” Family Planning Perspectives, 12:120-130, 1980.
    6. M. Chrissman et al., “Effects of Restricting Federal Funds for Abortion–Texas,” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 29:253-254, 1980.

    >> This is not due to Roe but the bipartisan attack on woman’s rights in general. Bush does not favor engaging in the fight to overturn Roe at this historical juncture but is quite willing to indulge in the assault on access to abortion. This goes entirely counter to your logic.

    > He’s repeatedly avoided doing anything substantive to oppose abortion in anything but name, and regularly distances himself from anti-abortion activists. Yes, he probably doesn’t really care one way or another about the lives of fetuses, and would save or damn them based on political expediency, but that attitude is always going to tend to wind up putting him on the quietly pro-abortion side.

    Bush Broadens Global Abortion Gag Rule
    Saturday August 30, 2003
    http://www.eri24.com/news3565.htm

    By DARLENE SUPERVILLE
    Associated Press Writer

    CRAWFORD, Texas (AP) – President Bush ordered the State Department on Friday to withhold U.S. family planning help from overseas groups that promote or perform abortions with their own money.

    The decision expands an order issued two years ago that applied only to family planning money administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development, a division of the State Department.

  • volt

    BARONIOUS, you are correct in that i did get your post wrong. sorry. While I still hate the phrase, you clearly understand that if anyone desires “activist judges”, it is the religious right.

    also, while we are on the subject of getting things wrong, please elaborate on why bush v. gore is not an issue of states rights. last time i checked election law was handled by the states.

    DAVE, so if i understand your theory, bush does not want roe overturned out of concern for the economy. b/c he understands that without abortions the poor (im guessing minorities) will have too many babies which will lead to too many stupid people or criminals who will be a drag on the economy. As much as i wanna believe u are joking I fear that you are serious. in addition to being 1 sick MF (and i feel pretty comfortable using that language after a disgusting post like that), you are seriously deranged. we are to believe that a president that has mortgaged the financial future of the country to give tax cuts to the rich now somehow is worried about the drag on the economy 25 years out which would result from criminalizing abortion. wow. someone got an A in creative writing unless, of course, it had to be based in reality. oh, btw, just what kind of impact would a few hundred thousand extra kids a year have on our multi trillion dollar economy? yeah, not much. Quite frankly I am a bit surprised that you do not think that the bush admins trickle down economics will set off a blistering economy where more workers are needed to maximize GDP growth. Of course, in 20 to 25 years we may need more workers to compete with China. And these are just the tip of the iceberg as far as the ridiculousness of your post goes. It would have been more effective to just say I am an intolerant mf, the end.

    finally for those above who do not think impeachment of bush is a possibility a poll came out yesterday showing 50% of americans and 20% of republicans in favor of impeachment if bush lied about iraq. and this is before the shiat really hits the fan with plamegate. not to mention all the dissension in the white house and between bush and cheney. let’s see how fast the republican congress starts an investigation with bush going down and midterms around the corner.

  • http://withduerespect.blogpsot.com/ JCB

    Dave: Huumm… I don’t know about Roberts being gay but Ms. Miers…?

  • JR

    Dave Nalle: Remember, Bush is many things, but first among them is that he’s a practical elitist. What he doesn’t want is the proletariat breeding out of control and dragging down the economy. That means supporting abortion no matter what he may pay lip service to.

    It’s amazing to me how Bush supporters can take his largely incoherent speeches and political record and infer from them deep character traits which make him conducive to their own agenda.

    Reminds me of Chauncey Gardiner.

  • http://dumpsterbust.blogspot.com/ Eric Berlin

    Dave’s take on Bush and “proletariat breeding” is one of the more bizarre things I’ve read on Blogcritics.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>Other barriers have been created by legislation. The policy that has probably had the most impact is the almost total exclusion of abortion from federal Medicaid coverage.< <

    Les, that's not a restriction on abortion, that's the choice of the government not to give them away for free. Not giving you something free isn't the same as restricting your right to it.

    >> This is not due to Roe but the bipartisan attack on woman’s rights in general.< <

    Huh? What assault on womens rights in general? This is news to me.

    >> Bush does not favor engaging in the fight to overturn Roe at this historical juncture but is quite willing to indulge in the assault on access to abortion. This goes entirely counter to your logic.< <

    No, I submit that you've been fooled by the rhetoric. He may say he's for restrictions in access to abortion, but the only thing he has ever done is cut back on giving stuff away for free. He's never limited the actual availability of abortion to a single person, he just wants the states or private citizens to pay for it.

    >>CRAWFORD, Texas (AP) – President Bush ordered the State Department on Friday to withhold U.S. family planning help from overseas groups that promote or perform abortions with their own money.

    The decision expands an order issued two years ago that applied only to family planning money administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development, a division of the State Department.<<

    Again, nothing but a cut of a program giving away our money to promote abortion. That’s enormously different from actually restricting abortions.

    What he does is satisfy the extreme right by not actively promoting abortion, while not actually doing anything to stop abortions.

    dave

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>It’s amazing to me how Bush supporters can take his largely incoherent speeches and political record and infer from them deep character traits which make him conducive to their own agenda.

    Dave’s take on Bush and “proletariat breeding” is one of the more bizarre things I’ve read on Blogcritics.<<

    Remember that unlike most of you, I grew up among the Bushes of the world – if not George W. himself, his cultural equivalents. I flatter myself that I have more of an insight into his mindset than most do. The first thing you have to learn is to ignore what they say and look at what they actually do and form your opinions based on that.

    As character traits go this machiavellian elitism isn’t exactly an attractive one, so if that’s what I’m reading into his actions, that’s not exactly an example of me falling over myself to excuse his shortcomings.

    Dave

  • http://dumpsterbust.blogspot.com/ Eric Berlin

    So are all people who support abortion rights in alignment against “proletariat breeding”? Or only those of a certain “cultural mindset” of “machiavellian elitism”?

  • Verified Patriot

    I think Cronyism is on everyone’s mind since the Katrina debacle. Republicans don’t have a problem so much with Miers’ ideology as her lack of experience. It always weakens the court to appoint someone who can’t think for themselves. The other conservatives on the court aren’t followers in a non-biblical sense. Sadly there’s more dignity in knowing how to vote to restrict women’s rights than being told how to vote to restrict women’s rights.

    Much of the admiration Americans hold for the court is reading the justices explanations for their decisions. I cannot respect someone who votes either way and cannot support their decision with legal terms but rather explains their position with: “Because he told me so.” Justices are supposed to be the greatest debaters among us. Their integrity is crucial to end the greatest evils humans impose upon themselves (slavery, child labor, rape) and the environment (endangered species act, hazardous waste management).

    This style of cronyism law comes across as domestication. And because Harriet Miers is a woman, unlike crony Clarence Thomas, who also votes others beliefs not his own, this domestication weakens more than the dignity of the court. Remember Thomas short-john silver didn’t have any dignity to begin with.

    The humor here is that Republicans don’t have a problem with the conservative way Miers will vote; they just wish she based her future conservative votes on her heart and not the text messages Bush and Rove will be sending her.

    Republican in-fighting during this administration just proves that even conservatives hold the judicial branch in high esteem (as they have ignored lesser cronies like Rice and Brown) and understand the lifetime terms of judicial appointees trump the other two branches of power any day, any century.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Eric B: “So are all people who support abortion rights in alignment against “proletariat breeding”? Or only those of a certain “cultural mindset” of “machiavellian elitism”?”

    There are lots of reasons to support abortion. IMO it’s better for society, for the poor and for the country than the alternative. But there are those who don’t like the proliferation of proles and see abortion as a way to limit the growth of the underclass. That’s just the way some people are.

    Dave

  • http://dumpsterbust.blogspot.com/ Eric Berlin

    Yes, but I think only a very small minority of those opposed to abortion hold those beliefs. And there’s no reason that I can see why the President would think that way.

    If it’s not already clear, I’m pro-choice, for all kinds of reasons.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Cronyism is one of the cornerstones of government. As Andrew Jackson sais “to the victor go the spoils”. When you get into office it’s a chance to reward your loyalists. This only becomes a problem when you favor loyalism over competence.

    Every president has loaded his administration up with friends, associates and even relatives. When JFK appointed his brother Bobby as attorney general, it may have raised some eyebrows – he was young and relatively inexperienced – but he did a good job and proved that the appointment was a sound one.

    Nothing Bush has done is on that scale of cronyism. He has brothers. He could have made Jeb head of FEMA and he probably would have done a better job and certainly would have been more qualified than Brown was.

    I mean come on, how else do you expect presidents to select people to work for them? They start with the people they know and then move on to the people who their friends know. They try to find people from that pool who have the right skills for the jobs they give them. Sometimes it works well, as in the case of Condi Rice. Sometimes it works less well. Generally the more government experience a president has the better the pool of people he has to draw on. This is why you get a lot of really impressive people working for someone like Nixon and a bunch of questionable mediocrities working for someone like Bush.

    Dave

  • http://dumpsterbust.blogspot.com/ Eric Berlin

    Yes, you’re right to an extent, Dave. But the clear take-away is that if cronies are competent, they get a pass. If they’re incompetent and it shows, they reflect badly on everyone in the administration.

    So cronies really don’t become cronies until they’re clearly unqualified and incompetent.

  • Nancy

    Incompetent & mediocre people tend to hang with others of their own level; Bush simply draws from those of his own comfort level, who are also incompetent & mediocre. The Kennedys, on the other hand, tended to associate only with the best (talent-wise), hence their ability to draw on a truly gifted circle of acquaintances. In neither case did either group spend much time with those who had a great deal of ethics.

  • Verified Patriot

    Republican philosophy should go against cronyism but reveals while republicans are unwilling to give handouts to the poor they are more than willing to give handouts to appointees.

    Hand-ups not handouts say republicans. Well cronyism fits under the latter. A hand-up would be an investment in a qualified applicant who has proven skills, understanding of landmark Supreme Court decisions, and the ability to make decisions that maintain the independent integrity of the Supreme Court. Cronyism is not defined as independent but co-dependent (in this case towards the legislative and executive branches), and not by integrity but disloyalty to the American public. This style of justice would be a bigger abomination to the integrity of America’s image overseas than when President Bush violated the Rules of the Geneva Convention.

    If President Bush’s legacy is to continue down a path of shaming Americans with the insensitivity of bureaucracy as Katrina did and the shocking understockpiling of drugs for the looming Avian Bird Flu epidemic, then cronyism shall finally breach all the liberties that Sandra Day O’Connor kept intact (minus the 2000 election). Once the Supreme Court becomes filled with evangelical born-again christians with previous forgot-again sins, and this administration will undo all the glory of the United States Constitution and replace this important doctrine with religious code.

    The Supreme Court is the final remnant of our forefathers under the Bush regime. It remains an eyesore to religious extremists as did the ancient Buddhist statues that connected Afghan citizens to their past, and we all remember how the Taliban bombed these priceless symbols not because they were worthless to the Taliban but because the Taliban was threatened by their symbolism. The Supreme Court is no place for mediocrity or friends of a friend.

    Harriet Miers belongs where the rest of Americans belong in making legal decisions–on a jury.

  • erin

    i agree harriet is a crony. that is not my biggest concern. rove gave some radical republican leader assurances harriet was a guaranteed conservative on all his favorite issues. harriet is a sure thing rove says. screw these confirmation hearings when harriet won’t pony up her votes. skip the hearings. nothing gets answered anyhow. vote against her or for her. wiretap these cronies under the patriot act.