If I had spilled my sentences across the page in the disorderly way Ramesh responds to them, I suppose I would agree with his one-liners. But my argument proceeded more solidly. Yet from the jumble he assembles I would make one observation. My argument is for depoliticizing court nominations in as much as that is possible. That does not seem to be his wish. He is for the politics of the moment. I am for the enduring usefulness of the Constitution.
The Spectacle Blog
A friend this morning informed me that Britain's America-bashing playwright Harold Pinter has just been awarded this year's Nobel in literature. He then asked, "What do you think he'll say in his speech?" I replied: "You mean, Al Gore didn't deliver it yesterday?"
Of course, it'd would be a livelier world if Gore were as talented as Pinter. Stuart Reid wrote about Pinter for us some years ago. The piece will be posted tomorrow. Here's a preview.
Meanwhile, my mind happily goes back to what John Simon wrote with foresight in June 1967:
The White House has tried to argue that Harriet Miers is a trailblazing nonconformist. But her shunning of the Federalist Society illustrates that she made sure to restrict her trailwalking to well-worn mainstream paths. Heavy involvement in the ABA, which is basically an arm of the Democratic Party? That's okay, she figured. But the Federalist Society? Oh no, that's the kiss of death. Why should anyone think Miers would stick her neck out on the Supreme Court? She's never done so before. Her instincts are conformist. The idea that a nominee who considered mere membership in the Federalist Society to be outrÃ© would overturn Roe v. Wade and decades of liberal jurisprudence is a joke.
Drudge is now reporting that Miers, testifying in a lawsuit fifteen years ago, professed her membership in something called the "Democratic Progressive Voters League" but eschewed membership in horrids such as the Federalist Society. She apparently didn't like the way Federalist Society membership -- which she characterized as "politically-charged" -- might be seen to color her views. At the same time, she said she didn't think the NAACP was a political organization. (And, to be fair, fifteen years ago they weren't as far out in deep left field as they are today.) But what the devil is the "DVPL"?
Meanwhile, the White House has confirmed that Karl Rove did speak to James Dobson about the Miers nomination (without, I believe, confirming all the details we looked at yesterday). This second issue is much more important than the first. All the concerns about what was told to Dobson by Rove, especially about her "judicial philosophy," are going to fuel a large fire in the Judiciary Committee.
Great news if you support smaller government, better service, and free enterprise: Amtrak is one step closer to privatizing the Northeast Corridor. Now if we could only stop individual Congressmen and Senators from mandating that the rest of the country subsidize stops on low traffic routes.
Wlady, I was taught early on that great things can be achieved by writing succinctly.
Okay, Dave, Edna Ferber she's not. But have you ever seen a finer use of the passive voice than in this excerpt, quoted by Brooks? "When consensus of diverse leadership can be achieved on the issues of importance, the greatest impact can be achieved."
CJ: It goes without saying Scioscia reacted as he did. He's already focused on the next game. Somehow or other the huge injustice will end up a motivator. But I must disagree with Kruk's ex-post-facto remark, Dave. Baseball runs on its routines. If players were constantly having to worry what call an ump might concoct next, they'd never get the ball out of their glove or bat off their shoulder.
If the New York Times op-ed page were publicly available (for free, that is), their columnists might actually have an impact now and then. David Brooks takes a good, hard look at Harriet Miers' columns as head of the Texas Bar Association and finds very little to recommend her thinking and writing:
I don't know if by mere quotation I can fully convey the relentless march of vapid abstractions that mark Miers's prose. Nearly every idea is vague and depersonalized. Nearly every debatable point is elided. It's not that Miers didn't attempt to tackle interesting subjects. She wrote about unequal access to the justice system, about the underrepresentation of minorities in the law and about whether pro bono work should be mandatory. But she presents no arguments or ideas, except the repetition of the bromide that bad things can be eliminated if people of good will come together to eliminate bad things.