Tuesday, January 31, 2006| |
Despite semi-coherent bluster from Senator Teddy Kennedy (how can anyone from Massachusetts stand the embarrassment of being represented by this blivit?), the vote for cloture on debate of the Alito nomination has passed. Certainly, this will be much to the consternation of the Left's lunatic fringe, which spent the weekend harrassing Senators in an attempt to garner support for a filibuster. I'll let Cartman express my feelings to the moonbats.
Cartman: Yes! Yesss!! Oh, let me taste your tears, Libs! Mm, your tears are so yummy and sweet.
Also deserving of a pat on the back, then, is the decidedly un-chillin' coalition of conservatives (Professor Bainbridge included) who revolted against the Harriet Miers nomination and demanded a competent pick of which we can all be proud. Kudos.
It is notable that only FIVE Democrats (Bayh, Byrd, Johnson, Conrad and Nelson) considered Judge Alito a suitable candidate to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court. Across the aisle, Republican Senator Lincoln Chafee (RI) voted against Alito's confirmation, just to prove he's not a "party man."
For the record, Judge Alito was considered "well qualified" by the American Bar Association, endorsed by scores of sitting judges and lawyers, including many, many Democrats. No one could make the case that Judge Alito was unsuitable for the Supreme Court based on his ethics, his experience, his reputation, his judicial temperament or any other metric traditionally employed in the evaluation of a judicial nominee.
There was a time when Senators considered their role as that of reviewing the President's nominees and vetoing any who were too radical, unethical or otherwise unsuitable for the nation's highest court. From the The Federalist Papers, it can be gathered that the advise and consent power is primarily intended to prevent cronyism. The Republican votes to confirm Clinton nominees Ruth Bader Ginsburg (96-3) and Stephen Breyer (87-9) are notable examples of votes based on qualifications. Senators have NOT traditionally voted based on whether the nominee in question was their preferred nominee. There is little question as to whether Ruth Bader Ginsburg would have been the preferred nominee of most Republican Senators. On the other hand, some have posited that the traditional "consent" role of the Senate is too passive, given the immense importance of the Supreme Court.
By their votes today, the Democrat Senators have tacitly endorsed a new standard of review under the "advise and consent" clause, namely: is this a person I might have nominated if I were the President? It's the difference between asking "is this person qualified?" and asking "is this person preferred?"
Whether or not the Democrats have applied a standard superior or inferior to that traditionally employed (and I think there's a good argument to be made that a more active Senatorial role is justified,) it's my sincere belief that the Democrats, being in the minority as they are, have just made a significant tactical mistake in the longer war over the Supreme Court. Unless and until the Democrats regain control of the Senate (which is likely to be a while,) they've now endorsed a precedent by which Republican Senators can legitimately block a Democrat President's nominees based on whether or not the nominee fits each Senator's personal standard of preference rather than on whether the nominee is a qualified candidate. The Democrat Senators could have held a press conference and announced that they would be voting to confirm President Bush's nominee, even though they had serious misgivings about his choice. In doing so, they would have conceded a battleground they had no hope whatsoever of taking while keeping their powder dry for a fight in real contention.
Monday, January 16, 2006
If Steven Spielberg had made a fictional movie about the psychological disintegration of a revenge assassin, that would have been fine. Instead, he decided to call this fiction "Munich" and root it in a historical event: the 1972 massacre by Palestinian terrorists of 11 Israeli athletes at the Olympic Games. Once you've done that -- evoked the killing of innocents who, but for Palestinian murderers, would today be not much older than Spielberg himself -- you have an obligation to get the story right and not to use the victims as props for any political agenda, let alone for the political agenda of those who killed them.
The only true part of the story is the few minutes spent on the massacre. The rest is invention, as Spielberg delicately puts it in the opening credits, "inspired by real events." ...
Munich, the massacre, had only modest success in launching the Palestinian cause with the blood of 11 Jews. "Munich," the movie, has now made that success complete 33 years later. No longer is it crude, grainy TV propaganda. "Munich" now enjoys high cinematic production values and the imprimatur of Steven Spielberg, no less, carrying the original terrorists' intended message to every theater in the world.
This is hardly surprising, considering that "Munich's" case for the moral bankruptcy of the Israeli cause -- not just the campaign to assassinate Munich's planners but the entire enterprise of Israel itself -- is so thorough that the movie concludes with the lead Mossad assassin, seared by his experience, abandoning Israel forever. Where does the hero resettle? In the only true home for the Jew of conscience, sensitivity and authenticity: Brooklyn.
Friday, January 13, 2006
An Appeal from Center-Right Bloggers
We are bloggers with boatloads of opinions, and none of us come close to agreeing with any other one of us all of the time. But we do agree on this: The new leadership in the House of Representatives needs to be thoroughly and transparently free of the taint of the Jack Abramoff scandals, and beyond that, of undue influence of K Street.
We are not naive about lobbying, and we know it can and has in fact advanced crucial issues and has often served to inform rather than simply influence Members.
But we are certain that the public is disgusted with excess and with privilege. We hope the Hastert-Dreier effort leads to sweeping reforms including the end of subsidized travel and other obvious influence operations. Just as importantly, we call for major changes to increase openness, transparency and accountability in Congressional operations and in the appropriations process.
As for the Republican leadership elections, we hope to see more candidates who will support these goals, and we therefore welcome the entry of Congressman John Shadegg to the race for Majority Leader. We hope every Congressman who is committed to ethical and transparent conduct supports a reform agenda and a reform candidate. And we hope all would-be members of the leadership make themselves available to new media to answer questions now and on a regular basis in the future.
Thursday, January 12, 2006
Let me give it a shot:
In the 1970s, America supported the oppressive totalitarian secular regime of Reza Pahlavi, engendering hatred against America, the Western world and secularism in general, thereby creating a situation in which the strict religious fundamentalism of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini could take over and impose its uncompromising worldview on the entire country.The same leftist logic applies to every country in the world. If a regime supported by America is in charge, everything bad that happens there is automatically America's fault. This position has a certain logic to it. Then again, if a regime opposed by America is in charge of a country, everything bad that happens there is also America's fault, since the bad thing ultimately results from a backlash against America, from poverty brought on by American pressure or some other bad thing America has done to the country.
Therefore, everything bad that has happened in Iran since then is automatically America's fault.
From the above, I think it's obvious that America is not the world's policeman. America is, rather, the world's husband.
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
There are, it seems, better and worse ways to game your Supreme Court confirmation hearings. John Roberts charmed his way through the proceedings. Sam Alito has chosen to simply bore his way through, and as a consequence, two days into the hearings, the Democrats on the judiciary committee have hardly laid a glove on him. I count only three occasions today on which he refuses to answer a question; that's not going to be his way. His way is to drill down and answer in lengthy doctrinal detail; to justify his past decisions with technical legal analysis; to expound upon three-part tests and legal factors to be balanced. He never tells you the answer to the question, but he's always expansive on how he might get there.
There are some tangible benefits to this approach: For one thing, Alito has thus far generated not one flash of heat. There has been no clash, no argument, no losing of his temper. He is like a very, very smart rock. And this stoniness is slowly wearing down his opposition. While Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., generates a wisp of tension with this morning's inquiry into the judge's membership in Concerned Alumni of Princeton, by the time Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., has finished his questions about executive power, any appearance of fire or passion is gone from both the nominee and the senator. Alito is crushing the Democrats with unrelenting tedium and a demonstrable love for material they don't really understand.
Friday, January 06, 2006
On the January 5 edition of Christian Broadcasting Network's (CBN) The 700 Club, host Pat Robertson suggested that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's recent stroke was the result of Sharon's policy, which he claimed is "dividing God's land." Robertson admonished: "I would say woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the EU [European Union], the United Nations, or United States of America." Although Robertson professed that "Sharon was personally a very likeable person," he nonetheless declared that "God has enmity against those who, quote, 'divide my land.' " Robertson called the 1995 assassination of former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin "the same thing." A previous CBN news article, titled "Dividing the Land, Dishonoring God's Covenant," examined Sharon's decision to return control of the Gaza strip to the Palestinian Authority.