A friend's e-mail greets me as I open my computer:
The Spectacle Blog
There's an interesting dynamic that's overtaking the Miers nomination. In an interview I did with him on the Hugh Hewitt Show today our friend John Fund of the Wall Street Journal said that Miers's time on the Texas Lottery Commission will become the new Dem focus on the nomination, and that they now plan to use it -- and old CBS fave, former Texas Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes -- to revive the whole Bush Air National Guard story. Even the CBS fake-but-accurate memos. The Dems would be nuts to revive that stuff. But the old scandals at the Lottery Commission could lead to something that would damage Miers (but not likely the president). Stay tuned. The needle on the Ugliometer is twitching.
Finally, an interesting perspective on Harriet Miers, who in the fight over her future has been described as either saintly or a dolt with few other qualities allowed to creep in. In yesterday's Sunday Outlook section of the Washington Post Lorraine Woellert of Business Week argued that Miers, like John Roberts before her, is a welcome nominee from Corporate America's perspective:
As a keen observer of the New York political scene and devoted fan of the state's Conservative Party and its Chairman Mike Long, I'm keeping a close eye on the gubernatorial and Senate races there, and watching with glee as Long stands up to the state Republican party which, after years adrift under the sad leadership of George Elmer Pataki, has probably never been further to the left. It's like the Rockefeller era all over again up there, but with more distasteful individuals around.
The great thing about Long and his party is that the Pataki people don't have a snowball's chance in hell of being successful in retaining the Governor's mansion nor defeating HRC if they cannot field consensus candidates for the two seats. Pataki clones just ain't gonna cut it this time around, as the Conservatives have been there, done that, and are not all that interested in doing it again.
George (Neumayr) -- you hit the nail on the head. One thing to add: The New York Times and Washington Post articles underline the irony in the whole sordid affair -- Judy Miller was already in the doghouse, and by many insider accounts, on her way out for her shoddy WMD reporting before the Plame story broke. Pat Fitzgerald put the NYT in the uncomfortable position of defending a reporter they would have rather seen leave before they were forced to giver her the "full Jason Blair." Instead, Judy gets martyr status. Now, with the full story coming out, Miss Run Amok seems less martyrish... Still, St. Judy should send the prosecutor a dozen roses and a thank you note for rescuing her career.
The Supreme Court today declined to hear the federal government's appreal in the lawsuit against the tobacco industry. Quite rightly, the courts found that the $280 billion award for past tobacco profits was ridiculous. Of course, this suit began under the Clinton Administration's Justice Department. But why has Bush's Justice continued to pursue it? In 2001, Justice maintained budget levels for the tobacco suit. Since the inquiry wasn't expanded, Democratic Senators asked then-AG Ashcroft if he supported the suit. He replied, "The Justice Department is proceeding with the case and I support the department's position." That's the reply of a man obeying the White House. For more on the lawsuit's affront to free speech, see Jacob Sullum in Reason earlier this year.
The New York Times' own story on Judith Miller's absurd melodrama confirms that the episode, far from rehabilitating the paper after HowellÂ Raines-era debacles, has deepened the paper's slide into self-important nonsense. The episode is a monument to nothingness: it revolves around a story not written, about a crime not committed, involving no source needing protection. It is no wonderÂ Miller's colleaguesÂ felt likeÂ booing her after she returned to the newsroom.Â
Grover Norquist doesn't need my help defending himself in this dustup with the social conservatives over his decision to keynote the Log Cabin Republican dinner, but alas...
Anyone familiar with Grover's "Wednesday meeting" knows that it serves mainly as a forum for the broader center-right community -- not just for the more hardcore among us. (As a contrast, Paul Weyrich runs a similar weekly meeting where the focus is much more on social conservatism.) Anyway, Grover's focus as the host of these sessions has always been on identifying key issues on which most groups on the right can agree, and then working to move the ball forward on said issues. I neither find it unusual nor disturbing that he would appear at a Log Cabin event, as there are a host of issues that come up at his meetings which I am sure the LCRs support enthusiastically. Grover's "thing" is inclusion and consensus-building, it always has been, and everyone knows that. So to smack him around for being there for a group that's probably been there for him on some key fights is, I think, a little uncalled for.