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Breath Holders

Coming to terms with Harriet. Will it ever be the same with Dubya? FEMA costs. The Steyn Court. Plus much more.

10.5.05

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OXYGEN MASKS
Re: John Tabin's Miers, Calmly:

Mr. Tabin states, "Remember that deep breath? It might not be a bad idea to hold it."

Sorry, Mr. Tabin. I'm afraid I will run out of oxygen.

With the nomination of Ms. Miers the President has disappointed me once again. I'm getting so used to Mr. Bush's "go along to get along" attitude and policies that he looks like a neutered long horn bull. A third party vote is starting to sound pretty good to me. Except, I remember what happened the last time with Ross Perot. We ended up with good ol' Bill.

Without strong leadership from the President we are left with Congress.

To the Republicans in Congress, read my lips: Don't get stuck on stupid. Stop illegal aliens from entering our country. Control federal spending. Read the Constitution.
-- Nelson Ward
Ribera, New Mexico

This is a pathetically lame and irresponsible article. Its author seems unaware that we have been holding our breath for 30 years already. Bush and the Republicans were put in office on the explicit promise to appoint justices like Scalia and Thomas. The promise has been broken; the trust has been betrayed. The suggestion that we have to guess and hope for a 60-year-old mediocrity is as insulting as it is absurd.
-- Paul F. Danello

What will be interesting to me about this nominee is whether the solitary "demopublican" Senator, Mr. Specter, will exert any leadership for the benefit of this woman. I am unconcerned with her conservative credentials; the fact that she has never been a judge, nor her possible association with the recently deranged Al Gore. I am concerned with her reputation for critical thought; honesty, and integrity. I view her lack of experience as a judge as a plus.

I am willing to leave the low ground to the democrats. They are the ones who argue that constitution lives and can be changed at the whim of nine old people, but fanatically defend a court decision, Roe v. Wade, as immutable. Let them question her on how she will rule on future cases. And I will hope, as did Ruth Bader Ginsburg, this lawyer will refuse to respond to such pap. But most important is that this President gets his appointee to the Supreme Court and quickly. To that end, I hope Senator Specter will be both aggressive and successful.
-- Jay W. Molyneaux
Wellington, Florida

Let's see, Mr. Tabin advises us to take a deep breath. Maybe hold it, but calm down and take a step back, so to speak. We should give Ms. Miers and, more importantly, Mr. Bush the benefit of the doubt. I mean, she has no track record as an intellectual heavy weight. She has no track record of having an interest in Constitutional law and interpretation. Not how she would rule, but just an interest in Constitutional law. Never mind the slap in the face that Bush has delivered to the conservative voter base. Hey you conservative morons, sit down and shut up and mind your betters.

Now on the other hand, we have an elected Republican leader that has shown the ability to drive Nancy Pelosi and her compadres nuts and defeat them at almost every turn. We have a Democrat prosecutor that is desperately obsessed with taking this effective leader down with spurious political charges. What does Mr. Tabin advise us to do? Why, hang him out to dry. That is Mr. Tabin's advice. Tell me again how Mr. Tabin does NOT work for the DNC.
-- Ken Shreve
New Hampshire

I predict a lot of Bush/Cheney bumper stickers coming off of cars in the next few days.

I don't know why some conservatives are acting surprised at Bush betraying them once again, but then neither do I know why Charlie Brown always lets Lucy hold the football for him to kick.

When the only thing Bush could bring himself to say about the Clinton impeachment was, "I'm glad it's over," we had all the information we needed to know it would turn out like this.

I am hoping that conservatives will fight hard to defeat this nomination. Their chances of winning are slim. But Harriet Miers will be a better-behaved justice for it if her nomination succeeds only against strong, hard fought opposition by Republicans. It won't be much, but it's probably all that can be salvaged.
-- John Gorentz
Battle Creek, Michigan

For all the so-called conservatives whining about the Harriet Miers nomination, they need a reality check. Rehnquist was a non judge and was for years the lone voice of conservatism on the High Court. Reagan appointed O'Connor and Kennedy. Reagan ran up huge deficits and was accused of spending like a drunken sailor. Reagan authored and passed the most sweeping amnesty legislation for illegal aliens in U.S. history. Reagan cut deals over and over again with the Democrats in Congress and governed far more from the center than does President Bush. Reagan lost the Republican Senate. President Bush has consistently appointed conservatives to positions of influence. Harriet Miers took on the ABA and didn't flinch. She is tougher and more committed to conservative ideas than most of the Republican judges touted as conservatives. Quite frankly based on the mouthing of so-called conservatives President Bush owes the so-called conservative movement nothing. Of course, since he's a real conservative who gets things done so-called conservatives need to shut up and support the President in his time of need to increase his influence and political capital so he can continue to transform government. So-called conservatives are so enamored with defeat and being the minority my guess is they secretly long for a return to the "good old days" when the Democrats ran everything. Keep it up and you'll get your wish in 2006 and 2008, but it won't be with the help of George W. Bush.
-- Michael Tomlinson
Crownsville, Maryland

Not even 48 hours after the fact, it is nigh well impossible to add novelty to the huge volume of learned, insightful and eloquently expressed conservative perspective responses to the president's latest, utterly jarring SCOTUS nomination, with one possible exception, and even it has been at least hinted at in some corners.

The "it" that I'm talking about is the almost lustful yearning that many hundreds of thousands of us have unapologetically harbored for years to see Robert Bork avenged, courtesy of a flat-out, frenzied Steel Cage Death Match style confirmation hearing, live and in color from the hallowed floor of the Senate, ending in the 51-49 approval of, say, a J. Michael Luttig, as that intellectual giant, Scalia-like orator and trench warrior of conservatism casts a triumphal gaze and emphatic expectorant at the prone, bloated and bloodied remains of Ted Kennedy while striding victoriously away, leaving the groveling likes of Arlen Specter and John McCain to the uncertain mercy of Sam Brownback.

I dare say that the Senate scrutiny of Harriet Miers will not quite fill the bill. Mind you, it's been widely reported that she's a very nice lady, and I have no reason to doubt it. Hell, I'll bet she even likes cats.
-- Francis M. Hannon, Jr.
Melrose, Massachusetts
P.S. Dear Mr. (Federal Bureau of) Investigator, The above is intended to be taken metaphorically only; that is, the part about Ms. Miers' affinity for cats.

The nomination of Harriet Miers seems to have thrilled the Republican base with the sound of a soft Bronx cheer and the cacophony of one handed applause instead of a high five.

I am personally baffled. With the screw job the Republicans have given us here in Pennsylvania in pandering to Fast Eddy and lining their own pockets, the gutless leadership in the Senate, and now this, why did we vote for these people and why did we work so hard? Democrats could only be marginally worse.
-- GMS
Media, Pennsylvania

SUPREME REVOLT
Re: George Neumayr's The Vision Thing:

Bullseye!
-- Paul Doolittle

I think George Neumayr touched on a reality that few in the GOP want to admit. If one looked closely at the President's actions, accomplishments, and staffing decisions, it is difficult not to label President Bush a Mild Liberal. Perhaps this is what the President meant by Compassionate Conservative, but for obvious reason cannot admit. The apple it turns out, didn't fall far from the tree.

Most conservatives have been quite patient as well as forgiving of the President's passed mistakes (steel quotas, the education bill, run-away domestic spending, signing McCain Feingold, and the prescription drug bill); however, it has been almost 12 months since the election. Many of the President's excuses no longer hold true (a slim GOP lead in the Senate, for example). The year 2005 has been an unmitigated disaster for him and the GOP. We have seen the President run from his successes such as the economy and the War on Terror. His administration seems almost embarrassed by them. We found out this year the President had absolutely no plans for Medicare reform, Social Security reform, nor did he aggressively push Congress to make his tax cuts permanent, nor has he even considered revision or modification of our current tax system. His achievements to date are two mammoth spending bills. Then Katrina hit. Conservatives had at least the idea his Supreme Court nominations would reflect his rhetoric.

Unwilling to fight the good fight, the President nominated one stealth candidate and one private attorney. History may prove Bush correct on both nominations; again, Roberts and Miers may form a new left of center coalition that only slows the unconstitutional direction our Court has been on (Much the same way that Warren Burger and Lewis Powell did in the 70s).

It's too bad for the President that the Democratic Party has moved so far too the left. One cannot almost imagine that he would feel more comfortable with them and their old ideas. For the time being, conservatives will remain with the GOP (where else can we go?) and clean up the mess President Bush will leave when he exits the White House in 2008.
-- Jerome Koch

George W. Bush poised at the edge of an historical moment. All the stars have aligned for him to be able to do something historic -- that will shape the direction of this nation for decades. The ideological balance of the Supreme Court is in his hands. He not only has a Republican majority in the Senate, but he also has a plethora of fabulous strict constructionist candidates from which to pick. He has an enthusiastic base just spoiling for a fight with the liberal Democrats over one of these candidates. So, what does he do? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. He makes a non-pick. He passes. He does exactly what his moderate/left daddy would have done. He punts. I could not be more angry and disappointed if he had nominated Hillary's long lost cousin. In fact, he may have.
-- Keith Kunzler
Arnold, Missouri

President Bush will be looked upon in 25 years as an unmitigated disaster for the conservative movement. Sure, he reduced taxes, and sure, his actions against Saddam were courageous. But he has made no effort or has even paid lip service to reducing the size of government, spending is wildly out of control, the prescription-drug benefit will be an added drag on the economy, and campaign-finance reform is a laughable, contemptible joke. All of these could have been prevented with a simple sentence or two out of his mouth. He wouldn't have had to veto anything.

Worse, by 2008, Americans in general will conclude that there is no fundamental difference between the parties. How is one supposed to argue with a straight face that Republicans are more fiscally responsible than Democrats?

I foresee, due to the increasing burden of government, a strong possibility that the economy will go into the tank sometime before 2008. If this happens, the Republican Party at all levels will be swept out of office.

When you are a Republican and you promote Democrat policies, you've got nobody to blame but yourself.
-- Paul McGrath
Cameron Park, California

BROWNIE POINTS
Re: Ralph R. Reiland's FEMA Is Crazy!:

Ralph R. Reiland, in his article "FEMA Is Crazy!" asserts that Michael Brown was an inept leader and disputes what Brown called a "pretty good job" because volunteer firemen were required to attend sexual harassment classes in Atlanta. I don't see this as a failure of Michael Brown as much as I see it as a result of the actions of the ACLU and the political correctness crowd. Mr. Reiland seems to make light of "endless numbers of desperate women who can't wait to get their litigious hands on a chauvinist rescuer and drag him to court," but how many times have we seen similar examples? In this instance I don't condone the sexual harassment training due to the time sensitive nature of the rescues, but I can understand the reasoning.

As for Mr. Reiland's other comments about putting up numbers of the displaced in cruise ships, providing $150,000 homes for these families is all well and good, but does Mr. Reiland think we have storerooms full of prebuilt homes just ready to plop down in the nearest communities? Building homes takes time, not to mention how long it will take to clean up the devastated neighborhoods so people can rebuild. Where do they stay in the meantime? Existing homes in nearby communities are hard to come by. Right here in Baton Rouge, our population nearly doubled and there is not enough existing housing to go around. A temporary solution has to exist if people are going to return. If that means they stay on a cruise ship for six months while their new house is built so be it.
-- Michael J. Kearns
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Who do I get in touch with in the federal government to have them steer the next hurricane to Northern Indiana? I've never been on a six-month cruise. (I've never been on a cruise of any duration, unless you count canoeing on the Elkhart River a cruise...)

If that's possible, I hope they wait until we start recycling hurricane names from the beginning of the alphabet again (I know, I know, they are using the Greek alphabet, but humor me). That way the one they send to Indiana can be called Evan, in honor of our blustery Senator.
-- Mark Pettifor
Goshen, Indiana

Don't you just love it, our TAX dollars at work. This is the very reason we need someone in the White House that has a RED PEN and need to keep relief efforts given to the STATE. At least then the citizens of that state can vote them out if they are not happy.
-- Elaine Kyle
Cut & Shoot, Texas

TRY A PUNDIT
Re: Doug Bandow's Why Not a Non-Lawyer?

You are absolutely right. I nominate P.J. O'Rourke, Mark Steyn, or Joe Queenan. At least the hearings would be massively entertaining.
-- Ron Pettengill
London, United Kingdom

If memory serves, Lincoln appointed Samuel Freeman Miller, an M.D., to the court. I believe Miller had studied law on his own, which may cloud his status as a non-lawyer justice. Miller wasn't much good as a justice either, pretty much giving Lincoln whatever he wanted. Too bad he wasn't around for FDR.

In any case, Mr. Bandow's point is well taken. What needs to change on the court is its culture. There are as many "conservative" judges as there are "liberal" judges who'd like to have a go at writing a bit of legislation -- excuse me, judicial opinion -- to make things right.

They should run for office.

Or maybe spend some time in the civil code world where the legislature is philosophically, constitutionally, legally and culturally the superior of the courts. Much as we love bashing our Gallic allies, no judge there has ever (1) written a regulatory program for abortion, (2) reallocated public budgets for schools or other purposes, (3) managed whole industries, or (4) ever even maintained the thought of doing anything like the foregoing or remotely close to it.

The French have the quaint idea that this is what we pay legislators to do, and that it's actually the more democratically responsible way to run a republic.
-- William L. Roughton, Jr.
Wall, New Jersey

EXPENSIVE VERSATILITY
Re: James Bowman's review of Dear Wendy:

If the liberals who believe so much in "root causes" of things had any semblance of logic, they would see the absurdity of thinking an material object like a gun can be the cause of violence. The fact that violence begins in the heart and mind of the individual is, of course, a foreign concept to people who are still on board the Marxist-Freudian train. Logic shows us that the true cause of our "culture of violence" has to do more with a combination of bad or no parenting, a revolving door prison system and a breakdown in the social structure of society that is caused directly by the socialist policies that liberals adhere to.
-- Jerry Sorrentino

VIRTUAL FLASHBACKS
Re: Howard Hirsch's letter (under "Hurricane Hayworth") in Reader Mail's Happy Dispositions:

"Are you kidding? I'm 55 and I barely remember her."

This is why God invented DVDs and Turner Classic Movies.
-- Eugene Schmidt

SLEEP ON IT
Some Reader Comments on AmSpecBlog:

Harriet Miers is going to end up being to the right of Thomas and Scalia. Within a year, Roe v. Wade will get kicked back to the states. Kelo will get a re-look, and BAM, bye. Why so much distrust of President Bush? He said he'd appoint someone of the mindset of the aforementioned justices, what? We all of a sudden think he was kidding?

This is a terrible analogy, but here it is: The Jihadists say they want a caliphate, yet everyone reads into that something different. Sorry, they really do want a caliphate, and it's time we listen to them at their word. Bush said he'd nominate a conservative: I think he's got one, in spades.

Liberals should be really quaking now, yet they'll not know for five years what the Miers rollover they're about to do has wrought their cause.

Bush isn't running again, and this is his legacy.
-- James Cooper

Comments or an essay follows, I'm not sure which. But first of all, good luck [to Jed Babbin] on the O'Reilly show tonight.

The blogs are not "just for fun"; they are of real consequence. To put it into perspective all you have to do is think back to around 1975 when there were four television networks (three commercial, one public)... all spouting the same leftist groupthink drivel. I mention 1975 because that was before cable TV became widespread so there really weren't any alternative sources of electronic media and the networks reigned supreme.

Slowly this was eroded. Cable television appeared and though this didn't change the news landscape much it did dilute the networks' influence as people had other things to watch besides just those four sources of programming. Later CNN entered the picture marching lockstep with the aforementioned networks, but at the same time further fragmenting and diluting their influence.

Then, in 1987 something quite significant happened. As Daniel Henninger of the Wall Street Journal pointed out, in 1987 Ronald Reagan undid a federal regulation carrying the misnomer of the "Fairness Doctrine." This law, which had been in place for over 40 years under the purported purpose of requiring "fairness," effectively allowed there to be control over what was broadcast. But, of course, the Fairness Doctrine did no such thing. A restriction on what is allowed to be reported is a restriction of speech and press. The result was the stranglehold the Left held on broadcast news lo those many years.

However, doing away with the "Fairness Doctrine" regulation allowed the blooming of Rush Limbaugh's show, the Fox News Network, et al. Now there are options to whence we obtain our news* and just as importantly the news is subject to at least some degree of "market control." So information and ideas are disseminated and conflicting opinions see the light of day.

So now if, hypothetically, some network news personality were to put forth as evidence supporting his position a forgery so crude that anyone with a memory of what a typewriter is could recognize the document as fake, well, it's now far more difficult to get away with that type of thing then it used to be. The truth will out. Or at least the truth has a better chance of getting out.

And finally, now any shmuck such as me can contribute to a discussion with nationally publicized writers such as you. If that isn't democratization of ideas I don't know what would be. Our founding fathers would be very pleased.
-- R. Trotter
*Yes, excellent publications such as TAS were around during this time but people had to actively seek them out. The blogs (such as this one) get the information out at Internet speed.

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