Wow, today really is the day for home-run columns on judges. This piece by Sean Rushton at NRO is an absolute must-read. He really lays out the case for why judges are a political ace in the hole for Republicans if they only had sense enough to use the issue. Of course, asking Republican officials in DC to show good sense is like asking porpoises to swing from tree branches.
The Spectacle Blog
Robert Novak has an excellent column today on judicial confirmations. The White House won't push hard enough (or get its nominees to the Senate fast enough), the Senate GOP rank and file won't tell the leadership that it's a priority, and the leadership won't do quite enough (although Frist sort of/kind of intermittently "gets it") to push the rank and file to back any plans it (the leadership) has to make judges a priority. Sen. Graham and Sen. McCain (the latter more understandably, considering his heroic history) may have legitimate concerns about "torture" of detainees, but they are blaming lawyer Jim Haynes MISTAKENLY for supposedly (but not actually) advocating torture. And Graham's opposition to Haynes has risen (or fallen) to the level of asininity: arriving late for the hearing on Haynes, having his timeline and other facts wrong; in general, just being, to put it bluntly, a jerk. Meanwhile, Frist's reported decision not to have any more floor time for debate on judges before the election (which is still more than THREE MONTHS AWAY) is indefensible and pathetic.
There's a report out that Tour de France winner Floyd Landis tested positive for testosterone during the race. I knew that substance was prohibited in French government officials, but I wasn't aware they had banned it in American men. It's probably an obscure regulation put in force sometime around Christmas 1945.
No, this isn't a story from "Sesame Street" as the title might seem to portray. No, this is far more frivolous. Grover's meetings are off the record, but yesterday's meeting involved the kind of misdirection that has to be reported.
Yesterday at Grover Norquist’s "Wednesday Meeting" was attended by Jamie Brown, a former White House legislative liaison whose portfolio involved mostly judicial issues. She also was a Department of Justice political appointee during the first term, working for Attorney General John Ashcroft in the legislative shop, as well as third-party outreach. Since then, Brown has signed on with Google to be their chief policy and lobbying representative in
We're hearing from sources close to Newt Gingrich that the reported memorandum outlining plans for a presidential run "does not exist," and that there are no plans at this time for him to run for anything. Moreover, according to the source, Newt and his wife did have a social dinner over the weekend with another couple in Virginia's horse country, but it was not in any way a "strategy session."
John: A friend of mine described Pennsylvania as Pittsburgh and Philadelphia with Alabama in between. Casey is going to have to do better than leading people to think that he will raise taxes and that he is no different from other Democrats on values issues. And, as you are well aware, the immigration issue has been HUGE this year. It animates many voters and I'm betting a lot of them are paying attention.
As for the polls, two things: I should have pointed out that a few months ago Casey was ahead of Santorum by close to twenty points, so his lead clearly is shrinking. The second one is embarrassing. The first poll I referred to was from last year. Oh boy. This D.C. heat is really getting to me.
From my NYSun column WEDNESDAY 26: addend: evidence that Iran is resupplying Syria. Via overland routes through Turkey. Iranian sureveillence equipment found in Leb At present, the Zelzal-2 missiles on their mobile launchers, under Iranian rocket crews, are deployed along the Syrian side of the Syrian-Lebanese border. When the order is given - and it may already have been - the rocket crews will push over the border crossings, park about 15 meters inside Lebanon, and launch on Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The Israelis will have a few minutes to shoot down the missiles, but not many, and then a warhead of a ton of high explosives will leave a hole in Israel's confidence in fighting on alone.
I hope Mark Tooley's analysis of Randall Balmer's book, provocatively subtitled "How the Religious Right Distorts the Faith and Threatens America: An Evangelical's Lament," adds to the critical momentum of Ross Douthat's piece in First Things about that book and other similarly themed tomes.
I'm not sure what Balmer thinks he is doing writing a book like that. He's an academic, someone who has deep knowledge of American evangelicals, and should by no means have the ability to don ideological blinders sufficient to write a hit piece. As a guy who has enjoyed some of Balmer's previous work and one who is sympathetic to the religious right if not a card-carrying member, I was shocked to find out he'd written a book-length political pamphlet.
This is the sort of project that breaks up friendships. Hard to imagine it was worth it. Either the book contracts for this kind of work are really fat or the levels of what my friend Tom Van Dyke refers to as Bush Derangement Syndrome have risen well past the point of reason and fairness.
If you've been reading The Corner, or TKS, or The Note, or Wonkette, or The Plank, you know that the buzz in Washington today has been all about Dana Milbank's Washington Post column, in which an anonymous GOP Senate candidate laments the drag that Bush's unpopularity has on his candidacy. It's pretty obvious that the candidate is Maryland's Michael Steele (ABC is apparently reporting as much). I called Steele's campaign to get a confirmation or denial; they haven't called back.