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George Will Slams Bush's Nominee

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Waitone, Oct 4, 2005.

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  1. Waitone

    Waitone Member

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    I have always admired George Will's facility with the American language. He writes in measured, precise terms. If he were to be a shooter, his specialty would be long distance sniping. In the following piece, he savages Bush's nomination for the Supreme Court. His language is remarkable for its precision and anger. Smoke boils off the page.


    http://www.townhall.com/opinion/columns/georgewill/2005/10/04/159414.html

    WASHINGTON -- Senators beginning what ought to be a protracted and exacting scrutiny of Harriet Miers should be guided by three rules. First, it is not important that she be confirmed. Second, it might be very important that she not be. Third, the presumption -- perhaps rebuttable but certainly in need of rebutting -- should be that her nomination is not a defensible exercise of presidential discretion to which senatorial deference is due.

    It is not important that she be confirmed because there is no evidence that she is among the leading lights of American jurisprudence, or that she possesses talents commensurate with the Supreme Court's tasks. The president's ``argument'' for her amounts to: Trust me. There is no reason to, for several reasons.

    He has neither the inclination nor the ability to make sophisticated judgments about competing approaches to construing the Constitution. Few presidents acquire such abilities in the course of their prepresidential careers, and this president, particularly, is not disposed to such reflections.

    Furthermore, there is no reason to believe that Miers' nomination resulted from the president's careful consultation with people capable of such judgments. If 100 such people had been asked to list 100 individuals who have given evidence of the reflectiveness and excellence requisite in a justice, Miers' name probably would not have appeared in any of the 10,000 places on those lists.

    In addition, the president has forfeited his right to be trusted as a custodian of the Constitution. The forfeiture occurred March 27, 2002, when, in a private act betokening an uneasy conscience, he signed the McCain-Feingold law expanding government regulation of the timing, quantity and content of political speech. The day before the 2000 Iowa caucuses he was asked -- to insure a considered response from him, he had been told in advance he would be asked -- whether McCain-Feingold's core purposes are unconstitutional. He unhesitatingly said, ``I agree.'' Asked if he thought presidents have a duty, pursuant to their oath to defend the Constitution, to make an independent judgment about the constitutionality of bills and to veto those he thinks unconstitutional, he briskly said, ``I do.''

    It is important that Miers not be confirmed unless, in her 61st year, she suddenly and unexpectedly is found to have hitherto undisclosed interests and talents pertinent to the court's role. Otherwise the sound principle of substantial deference to a president's choice of judicial nominees will dissolve into a rationalization for senatorial abdication of the duty to hold presidents to some standards of seriousness that will prevent them from reducing the Supreme Court to a private plaything useful for fulfilling whims on behalf of friends.

    The wisdom of presumptive opposition to Miers' confirmation flows from the fact that constitutional reasoning is a talent -- a skill acquired, as intellectual skills are, by years of practice sustained by intense interest. It is not usually acquired in the normal course of even a fine lawyer's career. The burden is on Miers to demonstrate such talents, and on senators to compel such a demonstration or reject the nomination.

    Under the rubric of ``diversity'' -- nowadays, the first refuge of intellectually disreputable impulses -- the president announced, surely without fathoming the implications, his belief in identity politics and its tawdry corollary, the idea of categorical representation. Identity politics holds that one's essential attributes are genetic, biological, ethnic or chromosomal -- that one's nature and understanding are decisively shaped by race, ethnicity or gender. Categorical representation holds that the interests of a group can only be understood, empathized with and represented by a member of that group.

    The crowning absurdity of the president's wallowing in such nonsense is the obvious assumption that the Supreme Court is, like a legislature, an institution of representation. This from a president who, introducing Miers, deplored judges who ``legislate from the bench.''

    Minutes after the president announced the nomination of his friend from Texas, another Texas friend, Robert Jordan, former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, was on Fox News proclaiming what he and, no doubt, the White House that probably enlisted him for advocacy, considered glad and relevant tidings: Miers, said Jordan, has been a victim. She has been, he said contentedly, ``discriminated against'' because of her gender.

    Her victimization was not so severe that it prevented her from becoming the first female president of a Texas law firm as large as hers, president of the State Bar of Texas and a senior White House official. Still, playing the victim card clarified, as much as anything has so far done, her credentials, which are her chromosomes and their supposedly painful consequences. For this we need a conservative president?
     
  2. longeyes

    longeyes member

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    Cronies beget cronies. Bush is there because of his connections. Now, so is Miers. And so too, given the opportunity, will be Gonsalez.
     
  3. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    Yep. I hadn't drawn that connection, but it speaks volumes.
     
  4. longeyes

    longeyes member

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    Bush is no friend of the Constitution. He mouths the mantras of the day. He is no conservative, no libertarian; he is a liberal with strong religious convictions. Big difference.

    (Why do I suspect Miers was Laura's idea?)
     
  5. Monkeyleg

    Monkeyleg Member

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    Waitone, both George Will and Maureen Dowd use the pen as scalpels. They are both exceptional writers and journalists, even though they represent opposite ends of the political spectrum.

    My problem with both is that they consume in 1,000 words what many here on THR could distill into three words or even less.

    "Safe choice."

    "No fight necessary."

    "Political crony."

    "Harry Reid agrees."

    "Chuck Schumer agrees." :what:

    The Real Hawkeye and I had some discussion about the reasons behind GW's pick of Roberts for the SC. I said that it was because GW, and the Republican leadership, realized that GW's numbers have been tanking. And that, in order to avoid a Democrat takeover in congress next year, GW had to go light on his appointees.

    I still believe that. I believe that GW is sacrificing his promise of a Scalia or a Thomas type in order to give the Republicans in congress a chance at retaining their majority.

    I'm not saying I'm happy, it's just that I think that's what's going on.
     
  6. longeyes

    longeyes member

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    If Bush thinks picking Miers is going to help the GOP he's delusional. I doubt it will even help him with NOW.
     
  7. longeyes

    longeyes member

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    Denial, anger, bargaining, acceptance.

    Bush is in the bargaining phase.
     
  8. Deavis

    Deavis Member

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    Oh but those one thousand words are so sweet to read. It's like comparing your annoying neighbor playing guitar to Beethoven. Sure, the neighbor could get it done, but wouldn't you rather listen to a master of the art every once in a while. :)
     
  9. CAnnoneer

    CAnnoneer Member

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    I have stopped trying to make sense out of Bush's actions. It is like trying to understand the motivations of a puppet. There are none. When on autopilot, he does kooky stuff that is both frightening and endearing, like a retarted child with kitchen knife. When his strings are pulled, he carves a wake of destruction, like an evil genius.

    The more I observe him, the more I think his international business puppetteer masters only installed him to bankrupt the country and discredit the government as much as possible, in preparation of the collapse of the power of nation-states, to be replaced by a world order of multinational corporations. Freedom died in Nov 2000. It just took me five years to see it.
     
  10. tulsamal

    tulsamal Member

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    I don't see it happening like that either. The people that voted against Bush and the GOP in 2004 will vote against them again in 2006 and 2008. The "middle" or "swing" voters are a very small percentage of the population. And I don't really think Bush's "appeal to the center" is going to be the decisive factor in how they will vote.

    On the other hand.... Bush has once again somehow ignored his base. I know the man has political advisors. They HAVE to be explaining to him that the 40% giving him positive numbers on presidential approval polls are the "loyal Republicans." In other words, the only people who are still saying good things about him is his GOP base. And yet he ignores their appeals once again. It really does baffle me if I try to find some kind of political rationality behind it.

    I think the appointment comes down to two things. Bush doesn't really like conflict. (Which explains why he hasn't voted ONE DAMN THING since he became President.) And his core personal value is loyalty. I can admire that but you can't just have blind loyalty. The woman has been loyal to him so he is rewarding her by being loyal to her. That's great except it is the small picture. Sometimes you have to step back and look at the big picture. These two appointments were Bush's two chances to really have a long term legacy after he is out of office. I _think_ I can live with Roberts because I do see him as a real intellectual. And I could see Roberts as a first nomination to help "grease the rails" for a more conservative nominee. And then Bush comes out with this woman. A woman who seems personally very nice but whom, like G. Will said, wouldn't appear on anybody's short list of "best possible nominees."

    I have to agree with someone up there: Bush drives me crazy a heck of a lot of the time. And this nomination COULD be the wedge issue that starts an actual active insurgency within the party base. Fewer will bother to vote since it doesn't seem to matter if you win. More will go to a third party candidate who they at least believe has the right ideology. And the big loser will be the GOP. Whether it happens as early as 2006 or takes longer, Bush may well have made the key mistake that leads to the loss of the GOP majority.

    Gregg
     
  11. Monkeyleg

    Monkeyleg Member

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    Longeyes: "If Bush thinks picking Miers is going to help the GOP he's delusional. I doubt it will even help him with NOW."

    Oh, it won't help him with the very conservative base. If he doesn't start s*****g them Tiffany cufflinks (apologies to R. Lee Emory) soon, they're going to stay home next year. And the Dem's will win.

    I've been hearing and reading nothing but outrage about the Miers appointment. The thing is, though, that there are many Republican legislators who don't want to hitch their star to GW. The media hype--and maybe the reality--is that he's a lame duck with very low approval ratings.

    I believe that, as the head of the Republican Party, he's probably doing what he can to salvage the campaigns of those who supported him even last year.

    Interesting that you should mention NOW. The NOW feminist movement is dead. Why? Because Patricia Ireland and her cronies tried to defend Bill Clinton against Juanita Broderick (who was very credible), Paula Jones, Monica, and others. They compromised all of their integrity by defending a man who epitomized everything that they'd spend decades railing against.

    And, now, GW has apparently crossed his own base. But his succesor won't be up for re-election in 2008. Instead, we'll see him stumping for Republicans who will take a more moderate tone, if they even invite him to stump for them.

    I love GW with all my heart, and wish him every grace that God can give him to help our country and the world.

    He's made mistakes. So has every other president.

    Unfortunately, he has lost the media war on Iraq, even though I believe that adopting a pre-emptive strike policy on the Middle East is finally our last option, and the best option. Don't like Iraq? Fine, let's invade Saudi.

    Social Security has been the "don't-touch" third rail of politics for decades. GW dared to touch it, but other events got the issue sidelined. Don't look for anyone else to touch that rail until us geezers are starving twenty years from now.

    There have been so many missed opportunities for GW in his first and second terms. He's tried to be "a uniter, not a divider," so I'll blame him for some of the lost chances. But I'll blame the Democrats equally.

    Cannoneer: "The more I observe him, the more I think his international business puppetteer masters only installed him to bankrupt the country and discredit the government as much as possible, in preparation of the collapse of the power of nation-states, to be replaced by a world order of multinational corporations. Freedom died in Nov 2000. It just took me five years to see it."

    I just saw a WalMart ad in tonight's paper: tinfoil is 50% off.

    I believe in the man that is GW. I also believe that he, personally, was naive in believing that he could do in DC what he did in Texas. I think he was blind-sided by the likes of old DC hands like Kennedy and Schumer.

    It usually takes a decade or two before historians get a grasp on a president's legacy.

    I hope that, by then, Americans will recognize the need to establish a strong ally in the Middle East, to establish a precedent of pre-emptive strikes, the need to touch the Social Security "third rail," and all of the other things that GW has proposed. Things that former presidents have shied away from.

    Roberts and Miers? I guess we'll just have to see.
     
  12. JohnBT

    JohnBT Member

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    "The nice part about being a pessimist is that you are constantly being either proven right or pleasantly surprised." - George Will

    Some days I think he should stick to writing books about baseball. Men at Work was excellent.

    John
     
  13. Camp David

    Camp David member

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    What public office has George Will held? What political experience does George Will have? Oh... Ok... I understand... he wipes his word processor off every morning! Massive Responsibility!

    George Will is certainly entitled to his opinion; we, however, are not obligated to read it, or agree with it.
     
  14. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

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    "I just saw a WalMart ad in tonight's paper: tinfoil is 50% off."

    So is Kool-Aid...

    lpl/nc
     
  15. davec

    davec Member

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    What do you think his father was talking about when he was prattling on about a "New World Order" and why he doesn't care one iota about border control and has a hardon to CAFTA and all the rest? Bush is a corporatist of the highest order, just like Bill Clinton is.


    Nothing tinfoil hat about it. There is an entire legitimate area of geopolitical thought about this very subject.

    Start with the writings of Kenichi Ohmae , Jean-Marie Guehenno and Joseph E. Stiglitz
     
  16. HankB

    HankB Member

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    I heard a debate last night on the radio between Ann Coulter and Brent Bozell. Ann had NOTHING good to say about Harriet Miers - she basically said that this is Bush's way of "sticking it" to conservatives who had the audacity to oppose Bush friend Alberto Gonzalez before he was even nominated.

    She went on to say that while our new Chief Justice may not be her first choice, he IS a very smart guy. Ms. Miers is a relative lightweight that does NOT measure up in any way, shape, or form. (Her association with the Texas Lottery Commission should not be a "plus" on her resume.)

    Brent Bozell agreed, and said this time he couldn't argue with Ann. He went on to say that with a 55-45 majority in the Senate and an opportunity to exercise the Constitutional option if the democRATS filibuster, Bush could have nominated another Thomas or Scalia (Luttig, Alioto, or a few others) to honor his campaign promises - BUT HE DIDN'T!

    IF NOT NOW - WHEN?

    Both agreed that Bush has NO stomach for a fight with his (and our) enemies.
     
  17. rick_reno

    rick_reno member

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    That's a well written article.

    I've written both my Senators urging them to vote "NO" on Ms Miers. We need to shut this one down and get Bush back on track. It only takes a few minutes to write your Senators - do it - this is far too important to ignore.
     
  18. longeyes

    longeyes member

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    this is our country, not Bush's

    Will is right: we have no obligation to see Miers confirmed just because she was Bush's choice. What's important is what's good for the country, not good for the GOP or Bush's psyche. We need to send a message to Bush to remind him of who supported him and why. There's a lot at stake here, a lot more than being loyal to one's friends. Bush has a stubborn streak--what the roots of that are I leave to the psychiatric mafia--and it wouldn't surprise me if he tabbed Gonsalez if he gets a third shot (or Miers is rejected).
     
  19. Gunpacker

    Gunpacker Member

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    I don't think she can be defeated. If reed, shumer, kenedy and finestine are for her, I don't think that we can muster nearly 100% republican votes to defeat demo affirmation. I stated elsewhere, I smell something fishy here. No, not fishy, rotten.
     
  20. Father Knows Best

    Father Knows Best Member

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    A response to George Will

    Reginald Brown, an accomplished attorney who worked with Harriett Miers in the White House Counsel office, wrote this response to Will's column (emphasis mine):

    I tend to agree with Mr. Brown.
     
  21. Waitone

    Waitone Member

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    Please cite sources!

    I could counter her arguments. Its late and I'm sleepy.
     
  22. PATH

    PATH Member

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    Why oh why do I have a bad feeling about all this? I can't get sick over it. I ;lost my republican congressman to redistricting and ended up with Nita Lowey. Those people will probably have the governors office and all the rest of the high offices in this state, Except for the state senate all will be held by those people.

    Miers used to be one of those people. I pray GW did not inflict one of those people on us. If he did then I'm just staying home next election. What's the difference. If the Republicans don't have the courage to fight then God help us!!!
     
  23. Father Knows Best

    Father Knows Best Member

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    To whom are you speaking? Are you referring to my post quoting Reg Brown? If so, it's a "him" not a "her." His source is his personal experience. He served in the White House Counsel Office, working for President Bush and with Ms. Miers. He is currently in private practice with a reputable law firm. Here's his bio: http://www.wilmerhale.com/reginald_brown/

    He's certainly qualified to speak about Ms. Miers' qualifications, her views and the selection process. He has a B.A. cum laude from Yale, and he received his law degree, also cum laude, from Harvard. He was deputy general counsel to Florida Governor Jeb Bush. He was the lead lawyer for the White House Office of Political Affairs during the 2004 election cycle. He worked very closely with President Bush and Ms. Miers.
     
  24. R.H. Lee

    R.H. Lee Member

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    Didn't GWB promise rock-ribbed conservative originalist nominees for the SC? Instead, we get a middle of the road Mr. Roberts and an unknown FOB (Friend of Bush). I'd say he lied.
     
  25. Waitone

    Waitone Member

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    Father Knows Best, I refer to a length post presumably extracted from another document. I'd like to know the pedigree of someone else's work. Thank you for provide a backgrounder on its author.
     
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