The Spectacle Blog
Former Clinton national security advisor Sandy Berglar -- he of the famously overstuffed underwear, chock-full of top secret documents being smuggled out of the National Archives -- is charged with violating his federal probation by being charged with reckless driving on Route 66. Berglar was charged with doing 88 mph in a 55 zone. Reflecting on my recent purchase of a certified go-fast machine, a longtime friend and distinguished member of the Virginia Senate admonished me that if I were caught speeding at 80 mph or more, I could be sure of spending a night in whichever jail was handiest. So why is Berglar exempt from that rule? There are no reports of Sen. Clinton's reaction to Berglar's latest escapade. We should hope he continues on his current path at whatever speed he chooses. Now that Monica and Web Hubbell are long gone, Team Clinton needs a new mascot.
The Los Angeles Times also managed to break details from the ATR meeting, with quotes that the Post apparently didn't have.
UPDATE [9:20 a.m.]: Ralph Z. Hallow, of the Washington Times, takes the taboo breaking one step further than the Post or the L.A. Times: his own observations and quotes from ATR meeting as if it were on the record.
I'm not sure the breach is irreparable. Wlady, I'm just a pup by Washington standards, so could you compare the level of grassroots unrest to any other situation in your time here?
At least the grassroots groups aren't yet in outright opposition to Harriet Miers. And the key word is yet. They've raised millions of dollars for this moment. They wanted to spend it. Now they'll hold onto their money. But they're also holding their fire. The only loudly critical figure I can find is Manuel Miranda, who has a prominent quote in today's Post piece. It could be worse: they could be spending their money against the nomination. Groups like the Family Research Council and senators like Brownback are playing "wait and see," but barring a crisis they'll quietly nod and let Miers onto the Court.
Long term is the most problematic for the party and the conservative movement. This fact makes Peggy Noonan's column a must-read:
Here's how Washington works. Each Wednesday morning conservative activists and operatives gather at a large meeting room at Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform in downtown Washington to discuss matters. Sometimes or even often times a prominent guest drops by. But the meeting operates under a simple rule -- it's off the record. Everyone respects it. No one goes rushing off afterward to spill the beans on a blog site like this one about what was said.
Yesterday at ATR, even though a few prominent Bush representatives showed up to defend the selection of Harriet Miers -- and were soundly criticized for their efforts -- it didn't make news. Not until the Washington Post reported on the event, among others, in the first editions of today's paper. Its reporters clearly aren't honor-bound by the rules of the Wednesday gathering. Enough gossip was flying about town after the meeting at ATR that they could easily piece things together.
Conservatives end up taking the higher road, but the media bias brigade controls the spin. On page one.
With the right columnists calling for nominees from the right schools who will be taken seriously in the right circles, I hereby call on all pundits and columnists to disclose fully their academic resume at the end of each article or TV appearance. Clearly, as The American Spectator was founded on the campus of a state school, the staff tosses and turns at night, hoping, praying that one day we too will be taken seriously in the right circles.
This transparency must begin, of course, right after this post.
Post Metro columnist Courtland Milloy caught my eye this morning on the Metro, but I forgot to mention it. He defends Bill Bennett's comments about aborting all black babies lowering crime. Nothing huge here -- other mainstream types have shown reason on this mini-kerfuffle.
But then he turns his pen on blacks. The left doesn't put up a fuss about incredible mismatch of the percentages of black women and black abortions (that's 13% versus 32%, respectively). Prior to Bennett's comments, that's not a "genocide," but business as usual in the District of Columbia, where half of all pregnancies end in abortion.
That is, until Bennett spoke of aborting "black babies," and suddenly those fetuses become precious pre-born black people who must be saved from the evil Dr. Bill.
...is my friend. At least that's a decent rule of thumb on today's political scene. Is it intellectually sound? Admittedly, no. But when the left begins smearing Miers for her faith, I'm compelled to defend her. Left-wing opposition to Miers for illegitimate reasons may be enough to rally a conservative defense.
With MoveOn now weighing in, a conservative defense appears more likely. And what's worse, it's clear George Will-provided ammo:
Cronyism on the Supreme Court is a serious threat to our democracy. In fact Alexander Hamilton
specifically argued that the Senate should be empowered to confirm or reject judicial nominees in part to prevent the President from using the Court to reward friends and political allies.
I'm not as down on George Will as Wlady, The Prowler, and George N., though I do agree that rooting for Wilkinson wasn't exactly a credibility-builder for Will. But I wonder how much conservative critiques of Miers even matter. So far, as the Prowler says below, there are six Republican Senators who might not support Miers. But how likely are Democrats to go along with a conservative revolt, knowing that the next nominee will probably be (by their lights) worse than Miers?
My big fear is that Miers will prove reliable on abortion but not on federalism. That could split the Social Right from the Judicial Right; the priorities of the pro-life movement and of Federalist Society-types won't necessarily line up as neatly as they do now if we can no longer count on an anti-Roe judge to be pretty good across the board. The results for the conservative movement would not be good. I'm left where I was yesterday: holding my breath and hoping Miers exceeds expectations.
We're just about an hour away from the Hugh Hewitt show on Salem Radio Network. I'll be subbing for Hugh and our guests include Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, just back from Iraq where he was in charge of training the Iraqi forces. We're going to inject some facts in the debate about Iraqi progress. You don't want to miss this.