Saturday, October 08, 2005

So, what's the conservative rage about Miers all about?

Not being a conservative myself (I just play one on TV every now and then), I'd initially been surprised by the degree to which conservatives are angry at Bush for the Miers nomination.

But I guess I shouldn't be. When I really think about it, it seems that conservatives are so exceptionally angry because they wanted (and fully expected) him to give them exactly what they've been waiting for all these years, and haven't gotten from him yet in the Supreme Court Justice department--a fire-breathing ultra-conservative with a track record a mile long to make it all crystal clear.

If Bush had done so, it would have started a bitter battle. But I think a certain number of conservatives actually wanted a divisive and vicious battle--they were positively aching for it. I don't know why--to rub it into liberal faces, perhaps. So Bush deprived them of the candidate--and for some of them, of the battle--they had every reason to believe was coming their way. Now the full force of the anger that was building for that fight, fueled by their frustrated hope, is turned on him.

I think conservatives are also especially embarrassed at the cronyism aspect, because, after all, that argument against the appointment holds some water. It really does give at least the appearance of a problem, and it taps into some of the harshest criticisms that have long been leveled against Bush.

So, many conservatives (such as commenter "strcpy" here) are angry and stunned that Bush pulled the rug out from under them, as it were, and he did it in a way that has allowed liberals to say to conservatives, "See, I told you so!".

Here's strcpy to explain in his/her own words:

Basically I've spent a lot of time defending (and rightfully so IMO) Bush against a lot of charges from the left. Quite a bit of the cronyism, and then....this. It may not really be cronyism - maybe he knows her well enough to *know* she will do a good job, but surely there are others that he does also. Then he asks for blind trust. While I do not "not trust" him, I don't particularly trust him either (part of him being a politician - I trust him has far as I do any politician and think he is better than nearly all at a national level). It basically kills years of arguing - I can't point at someone and say "stupid" because cronyism is more likely than not in this case and your thought basically boil down to how much you trust him (along with the "I've been telling you for years, your an idiot"). Ultimately he lost years of political arguing with this giving his opponents something to bash him on that can't be refuted - after all if I'm "wrong" on that then it goes that I am on the rest.

What was Bush thinking? My belief is that Bush chose Miers because he thought she would be acceptable enough to the Democrats to be confirmed without a bitter fight (which he, at least, wanted to avoid) but conservative enough to actually perform as all conservatives want. By saying "trust me" he actually means "Look folks, I know her; she'll be every bit as conservative as you could wish, but she'll appear blank enough to the opposition to get through the confirmation process without a total war." But the words "trust me" sound condescending and arrogant--particularly when his base has just received what they think of as a betrayal--with the added drawback that arrogance is a charge to which Bush is especially susceptible.

To answer a question posed here by commenter "holmes," I do think the confirmation process can answer some questions about what sort of justice Miers will make. It can tell us a lot about her in terms of intelligence, verbal agility, quickness, integrity, courage, forthrightness--all of which are things that are relevant to being a justice. The clerks do a lot of the research, after all; a justice has to be able to think.

But my guess is that holmes' question taps into what so many conservatives are fearing--which is that hearings can't tell us how she will actually vote on the hot issues of the day if she ends up a member of the Court. Will she be firmly in the conservative camp? Or will she--like the woman she is replacing, Sandra Day O'Connor--be a conservative hope dashed, a swing voter whose only predictability is that her vote tends to balance the court and keep it from veering too strongly to one side or another? I don't know the answer--and, as a centrist, of course it doesn't bother me as it would a true conservative.

How blank a slate is Miers? The answer appears--at least so far--to be: pretty blank indeed. It turns out that not even most of her friends and colleagues know her actual opinions, although they speak highly of her. To me, this means either that she really is opinionless (which would be odd and rather offputting, a sort of Chauncy Gardner of the legal profession)--or that she is circumspect and private, which I don't mind at all.

Perhaps, in fact, Miers will turn out to be what all the conservatives say they want: a strict constructionist, who merely interprets the Constitution and keeps her own opinions out of it as much as humanly possible. Wouldn't that be novel?

[For my previous post on the Miers nomination, see here.]


At 12:48 PM, October 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

II think Bush chose the best conservative candidate that he could that would be confirmed. To chose a Janet Rogers Brown, or a Luttig, would have triggered a fillibuster, and McCain has stolen the Republicans' ability to win with the "nuclear option" of overturning the fillibuster. No need to fight fights that you think you will lose.

As Rush Limbaugh, who is pretty disappointed in Miers, speculated, is this the Republican congress you want to go to war with? A lot of liberal Reps from the East coast who won't go for the nuclear option.

If you don't have the guns, don't take them out and start shooting.

Bush is more like a golfer here; he is taking what the course is giving him. Play a safe shot to the fat part of the green, don't go for the sucker pin right next to the lake, take your two putts for a good par, forget about the hero shot at the pin for the birdie.

At 2:56 PM, October 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1)I am dyed-in-the-wool conservative.

2) I am an Ivy League grad lawer.

3) I am embarrassed at the loud spokesmen for the Republican base demanding 100% captivity of the nominee's voting plans. We call that "litmus." And, truly, a good lawyer does not know where any one fact pattern will lead, if (s)he is honest, even though hoping to support a particular outcome.

The Repub chattering class are behaving like unsophisticated children, are not serving the unborn well, and just subtly sacrificed a claim to the moral high ground.

I can't escape comments that make me wonder about the image -- Eyeliner. Old woman. No blow-dry cool, does everybody still have a crush on Roberts?

Grow up.

At 3:21 PM, October 08, 2005, Blogger karrde said...

I do find myself agreeing with your analysis.

The perfect justice, who will do exactly what most conservatives (and I) want to do on the court, isn't necessarily Robert Bork reincarnated.

The perfect justice might be a quiet unknown. However, this appointment does have some smack of "she's in the inner circle, so let's put her in" to it. Not something I'm exactly comfortable with.

At 4:23 PM, October 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In all of the commentary I've read pro and con this nomination, I've come across nothing that explains the political stupidity displayed by the President and his people in not forseeing and preparing for the reaction they've gotten. It strikes me that rather than miscalculating how their base would respond, they were simply in total ignorance of what was being said by conservatives about the impending nomination. Such appalling ignorance, in this case, is reaping the reward it merits, though I worry about the potential for collateral damage.

At 4:52 PM, October 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is inconceivable that an administration would pick a nominee whose views were so outrageous that the administration's own party would vote against in significant numbers.
While it would be nice to know in advance how she would vote, we don't have a clue about Roberts, and the Ginsburg rule says we shouldn't ask, or if we do, the nominee shouldn't answer.
What we're losing by not having a papertrail is meaningless. Roberts didn't have one, either.

IMO, some repubs were looking for a fight. Whether they'd have won--probably--and whether that would have made them stronger is chancy.

At 5:09 PM, October 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why the surprise that Bush would appoint an unqualified crony?


At 5:31 PM, October 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suppose the dozens of unqualified cronies Bush has appointed over the last five years have pretty much slipped under the public radar. Who cares if he appoints a FOG as dogcatcher in Wichita? A SCOTUS appointment is going to draw a touch more flak.

To be upfront, I'm anti-Bush.
Pro- or anti-Meires? Never heard of her. Can't say one way or the other. No doubt we'll hear more than we want to in the days to come.


At 5:35 PM, October 08, 2005, Blogger flenser said...

We already have some judges who attempt to simply read the constitution as written, so it would not be all that novel, no.

The answer to your question about conservative anger is fairly simple. Conservatives have been supporting Bush and the GOP through some rather trying times. They gave done so even though the Republican party has gone against everything it supposedly stands for. The list is endless; immigration, spending, budget deficits, support for affirmative action, supprt for the dreadful campaign finance reform bill - I could fill the comments section with examples of things the GOP has done to antagonize its supporters.

People have consoled themselves with the notion that at least on the issue of the courts, Bush and the party are solid and dependable. It now appears that this is not the case. So the anger you are seeing is simply years of silent frustration boiling over.

Somewhere along the line, before the 2006 elections, the GOP will have to find some way to throw at least some scraps to the people who make up eighty percent of their supporters.

At 5:36 PM, October 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can't even spell her name right. Doubtless I'll correct that over the next week or two.


At 5:46 PM, October 08, 2005, Blogger David Thomson said...

There are no sure things in this world. I am betting that Harriet Miers is a committed originalist. My hunch is that she will not rule from the bench and corrupt the English language. What is the central difference between a conservative and liberal jurist? One merely has to remember the scene in Man for All Seasons:

“William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!
Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
William Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!
Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!”

William Roper represents the liberals and Sir Thomas More speaks for the conservative approach to law. It’s nothing more complicated than that.

At 5:50 PM, October 08, 2005, Blogger Jonathan said...

I would prefer the next Supreme Court justice to be someone like Clarence Thomas -- a principled conservative or (better yet) libertarian who sticks to the original meaning of the Constitution. And I share the Republican baseniks' desire to stick it to the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, whose past behavior in coordinating slander campaigns against qualified Republican nominees has IMO been despicable. However, the current Republican Senate leadership is too weak to be counted on in a confirmation battle. Also, past experience suggests that the big media will misrepresent Republicans' principled arguments in defense of a nominee. So even though I would have thought highly of Bush for going to battle to get a strong nominee onto the Court, I don't blame him for selecting Miers. And maybe Miers is a good choice. She brings a lot of business experience that the other justices lack, and as a very successful practicing lawyer it's just possible that she has good judgment, which is after all the most important quality for a judge.

At 5:57 PM, October 08, 2005, Blogger Jonathan said...

I see that I didn't address the original question. IMO the rage is about the conservative/libertarian base having waited years to get one of their own onto the Supreme Court, having seen Republican presidents thoughtlessly appoint liberals while Democratic presidents carefully did so, and who now, seeing a perfect chance to get a principled letter-of-the-Constitution guy in, are told "never mind" by their own Party leader who appears to them to be running his own agenda at their expense.

At 6:12 PM, October 08, 2005, Blogger tequilamockingbird said...

david thomson: "My hunch is that she will not rule from the bench and corrupt the English language". God forbid that she should corrupt the English language! What the hell are you talking about?

Unfortunately, you mangled your "Lion in Winter" quotation, so I'm not quite sure what point you're trying to make, but never mind; I'd give the Benefit of the Law to the Devil.

And yeah, David, actually it's a great deal more complicated than that. And thank God those of us who don't see the world in black and white are entitled to our beliefs, and to express those beliefs.

At 6:37 PM, October 08, 2005, Blogger tequilamockingbird said...


Speaking of Clarence Thomas, I was riveted by the Thomas hearings. I tended to side with Anita Hill. One thing that swung me against Thomas -- and just one thing out of the whole rat's nest of what one side or the other would have us believe -- was when Thomas was sworn in and started to testify.

Whichever windbag senator was running the hearing -- I think it was Biden -- said something along the lines of "I assume you watched the TV presentation of Anita Hill", and Thomas said something like "No, Senator, I did not".

That pretty much ruled him out for me. In the first place, I think he was lying, because I don't see how any human being in those circumstances would be able to resist the temptation to watch his opponent's testimony; in the second place, what does it say about the judicial temperament of someone who didn't watch the televised testimony and then says "I don't know what she said, but it's all lies"?

Oh, well, the Thomas zoo was years ago. Let's let bygones be bygones. We got Clinton, you got Bush II; we'll all have to live with it. History will judge which was worse.

You just mentioned Thomas in passing; this post is a diversion. Sorry.


At 6:44 PM, October 08, 2005, Blogger tequilamockingbird said...

When did the MSM become the enemy? Was it around November 2000? It seems to me the MSM kicked the living hell out Clinton for two or three years.


At 6:45 PM, October 08, 2005, Blogger tequilamockingbird said...

I mean "out of Clinton".

At 7:42 PM, October 08, 2005, Blogger Jonathan said...


If someone had been making bizarre false accusations against me to further his own agenda, I wouldn't necessarily listen either, especially if I anticipated being questioned under oath as to my reaction to the accusations. Why should I lend my credibilty to some flaky accuser by paying attention to every wacky thing he says? I think, and thought then, that Thomas was telling the truth. Anyway, he has had ample time since his appointment to establish an admirable Supreme Court record, and this is why I mentioned him.

At 10:13 PM, October 08, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is my all time favorite fake blog (Flog). It's a brilliant laugh, including the fake comments. But at the same time I feel so desperately sorry for Americans who are having their tax money wasted on this nonsense by Whitehouse departments. Poor poor sad little people, no clue at all.

At 12:43 AM, October 09, 2005, Blogger Holmes said...

It made me beam to see my pseudonym on your blog- much obliged. Though if people decided to check out this "holmes" character and stumbled across my blog, your credibility might be hurt a little. So I apologize for that.

Perhaps Bush is actually very attuned to the political realities- the Senate is moderate and not up for a fight. That may be quite accurate. But what an earlier poster stated was correct- this was supposed to be Conservatives' pick. This was The One- another Thomas, another Scalia, who would impact the court for 3 decades. Instead, we get Miers, who just might come through on every "vote" needed on the Court (sad that Court decisions actually are termed "votes" now). But we don't know that. And so the political reality is that Conservatives are upset, and rightfully so.

I have battled many, many of my fellow law students in defense of Bush- from Iraq through Katrina. And Conservatives have turned a blind eye to Bush's failings on budgeting, immigration, entitlement programs, civil liberties, etc. This nomination was going to set it all right again- a return to legislative democracy and a move away from "penumbras."

Maybe it was just wishful thinking and we are left facing the reality that Conservative ideals are not as important to the party for which we vote as we once thought. Maybe Bush is our scapegoat for that frustration; I'm not a trained therapist, so I do not know. I do know that I am done defending Bush to my circle of acquaintances. And while that makes no real difference to Bush or Miers, if many other Conservatives do the same (and it looks like many will), it will have an aggregate effect. Whether that is good or bad for the Republican party, I don't know. But it's something Bush should have been attuned to before picking his pal.

At 12:48 AM, October 09, 2005, Blogger Holmes said...

I know this is a seriously intellectual blog, but for those looking for a humorous insight into "Miers'" thoughts, here you go:

At 6:45 AM, October 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

None seem to appreciate the fact that throughout both his terms Bush has nominated strict constitutionalists who provided miles of paper-trails yet all his nominations were struck down. All were struck down by a majority Republican Senate. Why is that?.

McCain and his Gang in the Senate had proven to Bush that these Republican Senators are spineless idiots. The war was lost when McCain and his Gang cowered to the Democrats filibuster threat. Bush learned his lesson and is using a different tactic to beat McCain and his Gang at their nasty political game.

At 7:44 AM, October 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Off topic, but am I the only one curious about neo's first sentence: "Not being a conservative myself (I just play one on TV every now and then)..."

At 11:37 AM, October 09, 2005, Blogger troutsky said...

So does a "strict constructionist" not find any right to privacy in the constitution? Is this the interpretation conservatives want or is this a moral issue? At first I assumed conservative ideology seemed confusing because I didnt understand the system of thought but now I realize it is confusing because it is confused, it is contradictory, there is no system of thought unless hypocricy can be called a system.

At 11:42 AM, October 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To 8:44 anonymous: I can answer your curiosity: a lame joke (the "play one on TV part.") The rest of it? I consider myself an independent: a blend of opinions, some of which would put me in the conservative camp and some in the liberal. Neither a conservative nor a liberal; see my posts here and here for further explanation.

At 1:31 PM, October 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My name is Carol Herman. Since I don't blog, I've got to choose the Anonymous button. Never did figure out how to blog on "blogger sites," otherwise.

As to the Religious Right, what they saw is that "appointments for life," would give them 1/3rd of the US Constitution. One third they CANNOT GET ELECTED TO! And, they, like the settlers in Israel, thought they'd "sock puppet" the man elected to lead.

It's a good thing that Bush is not doing what he's being told to do; because the "fight" would destroy the republican party's ability to attract voters. Obviously, when you look at the senate, you see people there who aren't elected by crazy wing nuts. And, politicians are more interested in getting people to vote for them, than anything you'll hear in some religious pulpit on Sundays.

By the way, a right wing Bork gets dumped by the senate votes. Even Reagan couldn't get Bork ONTO the Supreme Court. And, by nominating him, he managed to shoot his second term into lame-duck land. This president is much more engaged than Ronnie. And, he's playing towards the MAINSTREAM.

One reason you get such a loud thunk out of the right is that the media is elitist. And, Anti-American. Which is why the Internet grows. And, the media, along with Hollywood, is losing business.

I'm waiting to see how well Harriet does in front of her hearings. I don't think she'll be shot down by "obscure" questions. That wouldn't impress most Americans. But as you say, if she comes across, bright and decent, she'll get enough votes to be nominated. While, yup. Bush just did to the right wing of the GOP, what Arik Sharon did to his right wing nuts. GOOD LEADERSHIP JUST SHINES!

At 1:35 PM, October 09, 2005, Blogger terrye said...

I think the fact that some overly hysterical conservatives have decided to jump on the blame Bush bandwagon with the media and the Democrats is disgraceful.

To hear some of these guys ranting one would think the woman was a communist.

People can say that conservatives have waited for a Justice like Scalia, well maybe they have one. If they would give the woman half a chance they might find out she is what they want.

In any event they will not be waiting much longer because if they don't stop acting like shrieking fish wives there might not be any more chances.

At 2:10 PM, October 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Employee selection: A subject about which I have 27 years of practical experience, mainly through observation from within the process, but sometimes through having to hire employees myself.

People are frequently picked for jobs because they are known & trusted or because they are recommended by those who are known & trusted. In fact I believe this is the primary method of selection of employees. Most hiring processes do not use the traditional tools of meritocracy, such as tests, rigid sets of criteria in regards to experience, knowledge or education level, etc. The word might be passed that there is an opening in the shipping department & that if anyone knows someone who might be a good worker to have them call the shipping supervisor. Several candidates may be garnered by this method & interviewed. Even within employers which have a ostensible system of meritocracy in place hiring & promotion based on strict criteria of merit is frequently disregarded or subverted. - Cronyism: Favoritism shown to old friends without regard for their qualifications, as in political appointments to office.

Clearly, Miers nomination is not an example of cronyism. She fits neither the “old friends” or lack of “qualifications” requirement in the definition. She has been Bush’s employee, not his “old friend” – although I am sure they are friendly & cordial toward each other. An argument can be made that others are more qualified, but such arguments are very subjective & depend on individual attitudes toward what constitutes a valid set of qualifications. That she has had a distinguished career in law cannot be denied.

I believe the cronyism charges(& perhaps controversy on other issues) that have popped up & been taken seriously by the right, even sometimes originating from the right, reveal a subconscious & repressed personal distaste for Bush within certain elements of the right who might be termed the George Will/Andrew Sullivan elitist wing of conservatism.

Perhaps because my own reservations about Bush & most of his policies are not repressed – I am fully aware of them – & because a Texas accent & good ol’ boy personality doesn’t put me off, having been born & raised in Texas, I see these charges as the conscious manifestation of repressed negative thoughts about Bush, unworthy thoughts that are repressed because they have to do with style, personality, elitism & prejudice based on regional snobbery & little to do with the qualifications of those he nominates, the decisions he makes or policies he follows.

Consequently, the charge of cronyism leveled at Bush because he nominated an SMU law grad & not an Ivy Leaguer seem to me to be obvious psychological rationalization.

At 2:19 PM, October 09, 2005, Blogger Jonathan said...

Holmes wrote:
I have battled many, many of my fellow law students in defense of Bush- from Iraq through Katrina. And Conservatives have turned a blind eye to Bush's failings on budgeting, immigration, entitlement programs, civil liberties, etc.

I support many of Bush's policies but see no need to "defend" him. I agree with him on Iraq, disagree on government spending, and so forth. I acknowledge that he has done a lot of things that I don't like. So what? I voted for him because I thought (and still think) that he was better than the alternatives, not because I expected him to be an avatar of my ideals. It's unwise to expect more from politicians.

I think it's usually more productive to discuss policies rather than individuals. The problem with personalizing arguments is that you become invested in the players and tend to reframe the argument in a way that entraps you -- i.e., pro/anti Bush vs. pro/anti the Miers nomination. I don't think Bush's decision, good or bad, to nominate Miers reflects on the quality of his other decisions.

John Moulder's comments make a lot of sense to me.

At 4:14 PM, October 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post isn't on topic; it's general.

Can't we all just get along?

Whatever happens, whatever people say, each of us interprets events by putting them through the filter of our experience. Whatever the objective facts, people with ideological motives spin it one way or the other. You and I read the same speech, and we interpret it in different ways.

Allowance for difference of opinion is perhaps the most admirable and wonderful aspect of our Western (meaning American, Canadian, and Western European) political system.

Reasonable people can disagree. I consider myself a reasonable person. I consider GWB to be an absolute disaster as president. Neo-neocon, and I presume the majority of the readers of this blog, don't (perhaps putting it a bit mildly).

Is there any possibility of rational discussion of important issues, where intelligent, rational people disagree? I hope there is: Can we do it here? Sure, you can read dozens and dozens of messages that support and reinforce your view. About 50% of Americans feel differently. Let's discuss the issues with an open mind.


At 5:09 PM, October 09, 2005, Blogger Holmes said...

Originalism is the worst form of Constitutional interpretation- except for every other one. Any other philosophy is completely unmoored from any guiding principle. At least originalists start with a basic framework and use the language and intent at the time of writing. If the Constitution is a social contract between the Federal government and states/people (changed somewhat after the 14th amendment), then how can the terms of that contract change simply because 5 lawyers out of 9 read into it a new interpretation?

Conservatives have a right to disagree with this nomination as we will learn nothing about Miers philosophy from the hearings, despite what Neo wrote. By the time we find out what she is like, she will be firmly entrenched on the Court.

At 5:22 PM, October 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please forgive my ignorance, but point me somewhere I can read why a bunch of people wearing wigs and coonskin caps and who rode horses to meetings should dictate how the law should be interpreted today. It seems preposterous on its face.

I'm not being inflammatory. I'm truly ignorant on this point, and I'd appreciate some enlightenment.


At 5:48 PM, October 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

(As you may have guessed, I'm not American; I suppose this is stuff that every little American learns at his mother's knee).


At 5:53 PM, October 09, 2005, Blogger flenser said...

john moulder

That looks like a little psychological rationalization on your own part.

As for employees - Miers, and Bush, and all government people, are OUR employees. We have the right, and indeed the duty, to assess their job performance.


What compels people who are not American to offer their opinions on matters which they poorly understand, and are none of their concern in any case?

I'd appreciate some enlightenment

At 6:21 PM, October 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What compels people who are not American to offer their opinions on matters which they poorly understand, and are none of their concern in any case?"

Flenser, that message is too stupid and bigoted to merit a response.

Have a nice day.


At 6:26 PM, October 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Flenser, I’m puzzled: Where did I comment that assessment of job performance shouldn’t happen? And where did my psychological rationalization occur?

At 6:31 PM, October 09, 2005, Blogger Holmes said...


Since the US Consitution is the oldest in the Western world, I'd say those men in white wigs on horseback may have had something right. The issues may change, but not the nature of people, which the Founders took into careful account by creating limited form of government.

The legislatures, both State and Federal, are the bodies used to react to events of today, and should our Constitution prove too limiting, there is an amendment process built right into the document.

Anything else of interest you can peruse in an 8th grade Social Studies book.

Cheers mate,


At 6:37 PM, October 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tequilamockingbird, despite the wigs, caps & horses of the writers many people think the principles outlined in the American Constitution have a general, universal value that transcends fad, fashion & passage of time.

At 6:41 PM, October 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, the men in wigs on horseback did indeed have some things right. I don't believe, however, that they were endowed with some magical quality that made them any better than our present politicians -- in other words, they were probably a pretty sorry lot.

8th grade U.S. textbooks are in short supply here. Nevertheless, thanks for your help.


At 7:05 PM, October 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

john moulder:

Yes, many people, including me, think "the principles outlined in the American Constitution have a general, universal value that transcends fad, fashion & passage of time".

That's a long way from saying that every word in a document written 200+ years ago should govern how we live today.

I'm not trying to engage in a constitutional argument with you, or with anyone; I've confessed my ignorance, and you're fighting an unarmed opponent.


At 7:10 PM, October 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not a religious person -- horror of horrors! Get thee back, Satan -- but I see a parallel between belief in the Bible and belief in the Constitution, as if either is divinely inspired and irrefutable.

I think not.


At 7:16 PM, October 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tequilamockingbird, I wasn’t being argumentative – only trying to answer a question posed by you.

At 7:26 PM, October 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tequilamockingbird, I don’t think anyone believes the Constitution was divinely inspired – on the contrary the writers knew mankind to be fallible & that the Constitution might need to be revised - & that’s why a corrective mechanism was written into the document with the provision for amendments. I’m sure the future will see other amendments than the ones already attached to the original Constitution.

At 7:38 PM, October 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

john moulder,

No, I wasn't maintaining that the Constitution was divinely inspired; I was pointing out that some fanatics believe implicitly in them both, taking them both on faith as if they were divinely inspired. I'm sorry if you misunderstood me, or if I didn't make myself clear.


At 7:44 PM, October 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand perfectly that you weren't being argumentative. Thanks.


At 8:22 PM, October 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tequilamockingbird, not to be argumentative but I don’t think one has to be a fanatic to believe in the Constitution – or for that matter the bible unless one believes anyone of faith is by definition a fanatic. I certainly don’t, although I am not at all religious. But I don’t need faith to believe in the Constitution; my intellect, flawed instrument that it is, informs me of it’s value – that & the test of time & reading history.

At 9:26 PM, October 09, 2005, Blogger goesh said...

No President is going to have a dummy for their attorney. Since all Presidents want a strong legacy, none are going to nominate for the SC someone who is not of the same, basic moral and political persuasion. I'm sure they have discussed many things as attorney and client in the privacy of the Oval Office.

At 10:46 PM, October 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This conversation may be over, but in case it's not, I have a commnt for tequila.

I doubt anyone believes in the infallibility of the Constitution; we all would like to change something. Nevertheless, it is the contract that all states that joined the union agreed to live by.

There are ways to change it, and if we don't like something, that's what we should do. However, many people like to pretend it says things that it doesn't say, and that makes things vague and inconsistent.

That's why originalists like to stick to the actual words in the document and not play around with them too much. The Constitution is our rulebook, and its much easier to play the game when the rules don't change on the referee's whims.

At 11:14 PM, October 09, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The people who complain the loudest about judicial activism are the same ones who are pissed over this nomination. The fact that she converted to born again Christianity in the middle of her life - and - that she idolizes indicates that she's open to suggestion.

That scares conservatives, as they don't want her listening to her heart ten years down the road...they want her listening to them.

At 11:22 PM, October 09, 2005, Blogger Holmes said...

The old "listening to her heart" judicial philosophy. That is a new one. I wonder if her heart will lead her to call public use private use witha public benefit? Or do you not care if a developer can have a city council person in their pocket and turn over your house in a heartbeat?

At 4:19 AM, October 10, 2005, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Bush appoints people based upon character. If his advisors can't supply a list of people with good character and good qualifications, Bush will prioritize character over qualifications. Bush is conservative like that.

Bush did that with the new Joint Chief, the Marine General. Qualified in infantry tactics, expeditionary roles, and other subjects which the nation will be concerned about in the next 4 years.

THe real question people should ask is how effective these nominations of character were.

And whether the correlation between efficiency and character is directional or inverse.

What someone should not ask is whether Bush appoints people via cronyism. You could easily hear Democrats appointing their brother as Attorney General. But why does Bush appoint everyone he knows?

Simply because the people that he doesn't know, like CIA Thief Tenet (Chief sorry), end up being an embarassment and a danger to national security.

Anyone who voted for Bush and thought Bush would disregard character, did not really understand Bush.

Bush is not a technical person, he is not an intellectual or an intellectual's intellectual like Kerry appears to be.

No, Bush is just concerned with good people.

And if the director of FEMA was somene he knew, and trusted in because he was a "good guy", and this resulted in him doing poorly, than that is a legitimate strike against his strategy of nominating people.

But if he wasn't someone Bush knew, then it gives food for thought.

At 4:21 AM, October 10, 2005, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

When did the MSM become the enemy? Was it around November 2000? It seems to me the MSM kicked the living hell out Clinton for two or three years.

Which served the purpose of diverting our attention from terrorism, Somalia, and other you know... uh... "important stuff".

At 4:37 AM, October 10, 2005, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

I can answer your curiosity: a lame joke

I remember that joke. It's a good memory.

Reasonable people can disagree. I consider myself a reasonable person. I consider GWB to be an absolute disaster as president.

Reasonable people also recognize that there is a slight problem in saying some other leader has been a disaster, given you don't even live under his policies.

About as slight as me saying Tony Blair has been a great boon to British politics. Or how New Democrats in Canada have one of the best and spotless records around.

At 6:17 AM, October 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, The Bunnies.

Ymarsakar: I think reasonable people respect other people's right to express an opinion in a public forum regardless of the passport they hold.

That includes you, and as it happens, I disagree with you about Blair and the NDP. We can discuss those opinions if you wish, but not here, if you don't mind.


At 11:31 AM, October 10, 2005, Blogger troutsky said...

How would a strict constructionist have decided Brown vs Board? The best strict constructionist would be a computer program that just identified whether a law was exactly worded as the text of the constitution designates and we could avoid this divisive process.

At 1:32 PM, October 10, 2005, Blogger Holmes said...

Brown v. Board is lauded for its result- not its legal reasoning. Thomas Sowell has written extensively on it and has criticized the ruling on that basis. As Rehnquist stated, to paraphrase, "The rights of the minority are determined by the majority in the long-run." It wasn't until the rest of the country was willing to take action that civil rights were really put into effect for black Americans.

The same holds true for liberals who like Roe v. Wade for its result, not its legal, Constitutionally-based principle (or lack thereof). Simply put, it is not the Court's role to determine such policies.


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