Friday, October 28, 2005

The sound of
one shoe dropping

And so, as the New York Times predicted last night, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, chief of staff to the vice president of the United States, has been indicted on perjury and obstruction of justice charges. As they've been doing for the last week, Republican wags can be expected to characterize those charges as no big deal.

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A pound of flesh

Now that the right has been served its pound of flesh, its leaders seem to have only the nicest things to say about Harriet Miers. And they're oh, so willing to be helpful to the president as he sets about choosing (with Ms. Miers' help?) his next nominee to replace Sandra Day O'Connor on the high court.

Here's today's missive from Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council:

Rebound, Retrench and Rally

Harriet Miers graceful withdrawal of her candidacy for the Supreme Court speaks well of her loyalty and her wisdom--no mean traits. She has generously given the President a second golden opportunity to restore the historic and vital role of the Supreme Court. The President campaigned on the promise to appoint justices in the mold of Scalia and Thomas. He won the 2000 and 2004 elections on the strength of that promise. He and his party's candidates won back control of the U.S. Senate in 2002 by appealing for an end to liberal obstructionism on the confirmation of judges. Earlier this year, public opinion swung behind the President and against the filibusters of qualified judges. Americans agreed that outstanding candidates like Janice Rogers Brown, Priscilla Owen, and Bill Pryor deserved a fair hearing and a fair vote.

Nothing could rally the President's strongest backers more than for him now to select a strong judicial conservative, an unquestioned champion of judicial restraint. He knows the list as well as we do. Harriet Miers helped him select just such able candidates for a score of judgeships. One thing should be clear: the liberals now shedding crocodile tears over the troubles of the Bush Administration are wrong. Miss Miers' withdrawal in no way means or should mean the unraveling of the Bush Presidency, or even the "fraying" of his Second Term prospects--as liberal columnist David Broder puts it. No lesser figures than George Washington, Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan were rebuffed on their plans for the Supreme Court. President Bush can rebound, retrench, and rally. And we stand ready to help him do so.

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Thursday, October 27, 2005

What next?

And so it has come to pass that, as your blogstress predicted last Saturday, the White House has put the kaibosh on Harriet Meirs's nomination to the Supreme Court. Perhaps this fine piece filed yesterday by the New York Times's David Kirkpatrick was the last straw. His opening and closing paragraphs say it all. Most telling is his interaction with the very conservative Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions.

LEAD:

The drumbeat of doubt from Republican senators over the Supreme Court nomination of Harriet E. Miers grew louder Tuesday as several lawmakers, including a pivotal conservative on the Judiciary Committee, joined those expressing concerns about her selection.
CLOSE:
Asked if the debate had become "one-sided," with too few defending Ms. Miers, Senator Sessions, the Alabama Republican, struggled for words, then pushed a button for a nearby elevator in the Capitol building and told an aide, "Get me out of here."

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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Orange again?

From the Fabulous Frankie G. (your blogstress's partner in musical crimes), comes this biting question:

With legal tribulations looming for the administration, just how long
will we have to wait before a "code orange" terrorist threat?

Tomorrow? Today?

Counting... 1 2 3 4 ...


Now, the Fab F may be a bit mad (as good musicians are), but that doesn't mean he isn't right. Check out Keith Olbermann's chronology of the mysterious coincidences of bad news for the administration and elevated terror alerts.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Vader in a jumpsuit?

Indictments to come down tomorrow, says Steve Clemons of The Washington Note.

It would be a sight for sore eyes, that of Vice President Dick Cheney in an orange jumpsuit. Yes, your blogstress knows she is speculating wildly (as she does all things), tantalized as she is by today's New York Times front-pager (by David Johnston, Richard W. Stevenson And Douglas Jehl) that tells of how Scooter Libby learned that Joe Wilson's wife worked for the Agency: he learned it from his boss, the vice president of the United States.

Notes of the previously undisclosed conversation between Mr. Libby and Mr. Cheney on June 12, 2003, appear to differ from Mr. Libby's testimony to a federal grand jury that he initially learned about the C.I.A. officer, Valerie Wilson, from journalists, the lawyers said.

The notes, taken by Mr. Libby during the conversation, for the first time place Mr. Cheney in the middle of an effort by the White House to learn about Ms. Wilson's husband, Joseph C. Wilson IV, who was questioning the administration's handling of intelligence about Iraq's nuclear program to justify the war.

Lawyers involved in the case, who described the notes to The New York Times, said they showed that Mr. Cheney knew that Ms. Wilson worked at the C.I.A. more than a month before her identity was made public and her undercover status was disclosed in a syndicated column by Robert D. Novak on July 14, 2003.
Readers of this site have no doubt wondered why, while touting the American people's poll-tested willingness to consider the impeachment of their president, your cybertrix has declined to call for the impeachment herself?

Well, what if such an impeachment should succeed? Who, then, becomes president? Why, Darth Vader himself! And Dick Cheney is not your father's Darth Vader. Back in the day, ol' helmet-head sought only domination of the known universe through oppressive military means and impressive swordplay. (And what girl doesn't go for impressive swordplay?) But the meglomania of the Darth of yore seemed to stop there; no mention of the major money jones the Wyoming version seems to have.

Now, with visions of ol' slant-mouth in leg-irons, your Webwench dares to dream. However, finding someone in the House with the fortitude to invoke Article II, Section 4--well, that's another story.

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Monday, October 24, 2005

Our (Grey) Lady of Sorrows

If you've found your blogstress to be negligent on the subject of the New York Times' infamous reporter, Judith Miller, your blogstress herein offers her mea culpa, accompanied by a fascinating take on the unholy mess by William Powers of the National Journal.

In this week's column (you really should be reading him weekly, dear reader), Powers draws a strong analogy between how the Roman Catholic Church has addressed its pedophilic priests problem and how the Times is addressing its problem with journalists who lie (and the editors who let them):

Think about it. A powerful institution of enormous prestige and global importance, one that has unusual sway over our collective life, turns out to have troublesome elements in its ranks, some of them downright corrupt. The story has been dribbling out for years in small isolated cases, but it blows open when a member of the priesthood is revealed to be a serial abuser of the truth.

Click here to read the complete piece Powers's regular weekly column, "Off Message."

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Saturday, October 22, 2005

Harriet who?

Here in Our Nation's Capital, people who believe themselves to be in the know have already declared dead in the water the Supreme Court nomination of Harriet Miers. Today's revelations of her support for affirmative action have surely done her in on the right, while the do-over demanded by senators on the Judiciary Committee of the committee's questionnaire has pretty much finished her off for everybody else. (Her answers were described as "insulting" and "incomplete".)

At your blogstress's Oppo Factory, a mere saunter from the Great Temple of the High Court, visitors wonder aloud at the truly bizarre trajectory of this nomination. Your cybertrix, you'll recall, was the first to pronounce Ms. Miers too much of a hack to merit a nomination. (Three days later, The New Republic designated Miers as the Number One Hack in what it called the Bush Administration Hackocracy.)

The far right had their own issues with Miers, of course: she is a woman, and not one who has signed the blood oath all far-right female power figures take: "In exchange for a modicum of worldly power, I shall surrender the rest of womankind to the submission of authoritarian males." (Well, your Webwench may have paraphrased a bit, but you get the idea.)

Then came word of assurances given to James Dobson, king of the Focus on the Family media empire, that Miers would vote the right's way on matters relating to abortion. He knew this, he said, because Karl Rove (in between grand jury appearances) told him so. It seems, however, that a review of Miers's own record as a member of the Texas Bar would have made Rove's case. (So, okay, she might surrender pregnant womankind.)

The Judiciary Committee was not amused.

But the right-wing wooing didn't end there. A conference call was arranged for something called the Arlington Group--a cabal of right-wing hoo-has--that featured a couple of sitting judge pals of Miers attesting to her orthodoxy on matters of concern to the authoritarians. One of those judges today sits on a federal court. A bit unseemly, wouldn't you say, that he stepped down from his lofty post to lick some boots for the administration?

Let's not forget another priceless moment or two on Ms. Miers's journey back into sycophantic obscurity: the president's assertion that Miers's religious beliefs were a factor in his selection to the body that serves as the final arbiter of the First Amendment.

Alas, the torpedoing of the Miers nomination hardly saves the court from the judicial jihadis on the right. For a nuanced illustration of the conundrum faced by the opposition party, your net-tĂȘte turns, as she so often does, to Hendrik Hertzberg of the New Yorker, whose shapely sentences leave her staring wantonly at the glossy page titled "Comment":

Sinking Miers’s nomination would give Democrats the satisfaction of dealing Bush a defeat while at the same time striking a blow against the intellectual degradation of the Court. But Bush’s next nominee would almost certainly be both more distinguished and more provably, fearsomely right wing. To fracture the formula of a founding father of modern conservatism, mediocrity in the defense of moderation isn’t much of a vice. And excellence in the pursuit of extremism is certainly no virtue.

The first AddieStan reader to name the "founding father of modern conservatism" cited by Hertzberg wins an autographed picture of your blogstress in her bustier.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Miers as woman

This past weekend, your blogstress had the great good fortune to be interviewed by Mary Glenney of The Women's Show at WMNF, an excellent public radio station in Tampa, Florida, on the subject of Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers. Glenney proved to be one of the most informed interviewers your cybertrix has run across, and managed even to stump your oh-so-astute Webwench once or twice. To hear the sound of two broads dishing on one who might have once been of our kind, click here and go to the item labeled "October 8, 2005." The segment featuring your Ă©crivaine begins at around 13:05, though if you check in around 09:55, you'll be treated to Lizz Wright's delicious cover of Neil Young's "Old Man".

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Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Justice Sunday
and the Washington Blade

A delicious item has met your blogstress's eye, courtesy of the Family Research Council (FRC) e-mail list. Apparently FRC President Tony Perkins has the same reading habits as your cybertrix. (You'll remember FRC as the folks who brought us Justice Sunday.) Today we find him citing Lou Chibarro's piece in the Washington Blade--the one excerpted here yesterday in which Lou scooped the mainstream media on Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers' interaction with a gay and lesbian group during her run for Dallas City Council. Perkins is most concerned, it seems, about the fact that, per the Blade's report, Louise Young of the Lesbian/Gay Political Coalition of Dallas, said of Miers, "She was not hostile [to gay and lesbian people]..."

Herewith, the Perkins missive:

Second (Day) Thoughts

President Bush has earned a substantial measure of trust and confidence from pro-life, pro-family Americans. He has shown every indication that he understands the crucial role we played in returning him to the White House less than a year ago. Even so, the nomination of President Bush's close friend and confidante, White House Counsel Harriet Miers, continues to roil the waters in this Capital. Liberal advocacy groups are also delving into the nominee's background. A story in a homosexual newspaper--The New York Blade--reports on Dallas homosexual leaders' meetings with Harriet Miers when she sought election to the Dallas City Council in 1989. "She was not hostile, nor did she come across as some kind of right-wing ideologue," said Louise Young, formerly with the Lesbian/Gay Political Coalition of Dallas.

Ultimately, the group declined to support Miers. They said she told them then that she would not support repeal of Texas's sodomy law and that she was opposed to abortion. Despite this non-endorsement by his group, Marc Lerro said his fellow homosexual leaders viewed the fact that Miers met with them and filled out their questionnaire as "a positive gesture." Today, Lerro says "I can't say...she will be good on our issues, but on a personal level, she was very open to having gay people serve on boards and commissions." While I am relieved to have some of her reported responses, I have a concern that Miss Miers was helping to legitimize the drive of homosexual organizations for power and influence over our public policies. You can be sure Harriet Miers will be closely questioned on these and other matters when she appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee.


Your Webwench especially appreciates the use of the honorific "Miss" before the name of the first woman to head the Dallas Bar.

The e-mail continues with a defense of Gamblin' Man Bill Bennett, who apparently has not learned exactly when to fold 'em, given his ongoing defense of his own blatantly racist comments, brought to light by Media Matters for America.

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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Miers on choice and gays

Kudos to you, Lou Chibarro, Jr., cries your blogstress, for scooping the mainstream media with his report on Harriet Miers' views, discerned through her interaction with a Dallas gay group during her successful 1989 run for Dallas City Council. Chibarro is the veteran reporter at the Washington Blade.

In his discussions with members of the Lesbian/Gay Political Coalition of Dallas, Chibarro learned that (in 1989, at least), Miers was anti-choice and opposed a repeal of the Texas sodomy law that targeted homosexuals. He also learned, however, that she had appointed a prominent out, gay attorney to a city board, and otherwise supported nondiscrimination against gay and lesbian people.

Here's Lou:

White House Counsel Harriet Miers, President Bush’s latest nominee for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, met with members of a gay rights group during her successful campaign for a seat on the Dallas City Council in 1989 and later appointed a prominent gay attorney to a city board that oversees federal grants...

Louise Young, former co-chair of the Lesbian/Gay Political Coalition of Dallas, said Miers provided mixed responses to a questionnaire on gay issues that the group sent her during her council campaign, with some of Miers’ responses "non-supportive" on gay rights.

Former Lesbian/Gay Political Coalition member Marc Lerro, a D.C. resident, said he recalls that Miers stated in the questionnaire that she would not support a bill to repeal the Texas sodomy law, saying the matter would not come before the Dallas City Council.

Lerro and Young said that although the group did not endorse Miers, members believed she made a positive gesture by completing the questionnaire and agreeing to meet with them.

"She was not hostile nor did she come across as some kind of right-wing ideologue," said Young, a Dallas software engineer and a member of the Business Council of the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay political group.

In Miers' meeting with members of the gay group, Lerro said Miers stated that she opposed abortion, a response that prompted the group to eliminate her from contention for obtaining the group’s endorsement.


To read Chibarro's complete piece in the Washington Blade, click here.

To read your blogstress at The American Prospect Online on why liberals should be wary of Miers, click here.

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More on the hack

Finding herself perplexed over her failure to flog her latest piece, published yesterday by The American Prospect Online, your blogstress now gently calls her readers' attention to her scintillating argument as to why Democratic senators need to show a bit more moxie on the Miers nomination than they displayed at the Roberts hearings.

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Wait and see?

Your blogstress opened her e-mail this morning to discover a missive from her friends at the Family Research Council (FRC)--the folks who brought us Justice Sunday--with the subject line, "Wait and See." The object of all that waiting and seeing is, of course, Harriet Miers, President Bush's pick to fill the shoes of Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court.

It appears that, so far, on this one, the right is more jittery than the left, though your cybertrix would advise her progressive pals to be less reticent. It seems that Ms. Miers' nod to the right in her acceptance remarks--that bit about the majesty of the legislative branch--did little to appease the wing-nuts.

Here's the text of today's missive from FRC President Tony Perkins:

President Bush's announced this morning that White House counsel Harriet Miers is his nominee for the Supreme Court. President Bush has long made it clear that his choices for the U.S. Supreme Court would be in the mold of current justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. We have no reason to believe he has abandoned that standard. However, our lack of knowledge about Harriet Miers, and the absence of a record on the bench, give us insufficient information from which to assess whether or not she is indeed in that mold.

In the days to come, Harriet Miers will have the chance to demonstrate a conservative judicial philosophy. We will be watching closely as the confirmation process begins, and we urge American families to wait and see if the confidence they have always placed in the President's commitment is justified by this selection.

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Monday, October 03, 2005

The role of
the legislative branch

Your blogstress does not recall having ever heard a more political acceptance speech for a Supreme Court nominee than we heard today from politician Harriet Miers.

Her comment regarding her "appreciation for the role of the legislative branch" was hardly a subtle signal to the president's right flank that she's on the same page with the Justice Sunday crowd, who would like to get the Supreme Court out of the constitutional interpretation business once and for all.

Here's the money question for Harriet Miers in her confirmation hearing: Do you believe that Marbury v. Madison--the landmark 19th-century case that determined the court's obligation to interpret the Constitution--was correctly decided?

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Political hack chosen
for Supreme Court

As an occasional propagandist, your blogstress wincingly questions the president's choice of White House Counsel Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court. (Your Webwench, however, has not been named to the Supreme Court, despite her womanly wisdom. Alas, no bustier will lurk under the High Court's black robes--at least as far as we know--right, Nino?). With no judicial experience to recommend her, journos and pontificators have only Ms. Miers's political record to regard in assessing her qualifications for the high court, and it bodes not well so far--unless one is comfortable with a spin doctor on the Big Bench.

Here's Miers in an online discussion on WhiteHouse.gov, almost a year ago, back when Miers was President Bush's Deputy Chief of Staff for Domestic Policy:

James, from Mountain View, CA writes:
Are we better off now than we were four years ago?

Harriet Miers:
Thanks, James, this is a very good question, and I am pleased to give you my views. What we did not know fully in January of 2001 turns out to be very important in answering your question. In January of 2001, there were problems facing the Nation that we did not fully perceive. First, as 2001 progressed we saw the stock market continue a decline that had begun in the middle of 2000 before the Bush Administration took office. We also witnessed an economy slipping further into a recession as 2001 unfolded. We also learned as time passed that corporate misbehavior in the nineties resulted in the eruption of scandals that shook the foundation of trust that we had in the strength and integrity of our economy.

And we all know that on September 11, 2001, we learned that there had been gathering dangers for the United States that would materialize in terrorist attacks that would kill innocent Americans as well as people from countries around the world and dramatically impact the economy, including tremendous loss of jobs and shock to our airlines industry.

In response to the economic problems, the President acted immediately to implement tax relief to get the economy going again. He signed into law corporate governance reforms to address the wrongdoing that had been occurring, and those reforms were the most far-reaching since President Franklin Roosevelt’ s time. The President’s optimism and faith in the American people and our economy helped inspire a remarkable recovery. Just today, we saw new statistics showing that our economy continues to grow solidly and compensation for our workers continues steady growth. Working families now keep more of their paychecks, and we are growing faster than any other among major industrialized nations.

The President responded swiftly to the attacks on September 11th. He has our country on the offensive against terrorism. American is waging a global war on terrorism with the help of many friends and allies from around the globe. The President believed it important to confront regimes that harbored or supported terrorists as well as the terrorists. And he is also confronting outlaw regimes that pursue weapons of mass destruction, and he is committed to ensuring that the terrorists do not obtain the world’s most dangerous weapons. At the same time, the President led in the creation of the Homeland Security Department and strengthening our defenses here at home. Although I am sure the President would be the first to say more needs to be done, we are a safer Nation today than we were four years ago.

Additionally, with victories in Afghanistan and in the toppling of Saddam Hussein in Iraq and other efforts around the world, we are promoting freedom and democracy in the greater Middle East as well as elsewhere. Sowing the seeds of freedom around the world brings the goal of peace for all nations ever closer. All these efforts require great resolve and sacrifice, but we are making our Nation safer and we will leave a better world for our children and grandchildren. The last four years have been in many ways difficult years, but we have accomplished a lot and as the President has said: "because we have made the hard journey, we can see the valley below. Now, because we have faced challenges with resolve, we have historic goals within our reach, and greatness in our future. We will build a safer world and a more hopeful America -- and nothing will hold us back."

So, James, as you can tell, I think we are much better off than we were four years ago. And that belief is without discussing many, many other areas where I believe great progress has been made also. For example, with the President’s effort in education and the implementation of No Child Left Behind we are seeing much needed improvement in our schools. The President and Mrs. Bush believe in the power of quality education. That is why immediately upon taking office, the President introduced a bill to improve our education system. I could go on and on, but it is time to take another question.


Check in later with your cybertrix for more on Harriet Miers.

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