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 Spectacle Blog
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.
Word out of the White House this morning is that in prep sessions for her hearings, Miers has been working on outlining her arguments that Roe. v. Wade is "settled law."
This takes on greater significance given John Fund's report on the Arlington Group's conference call to discuss the Miers nomination. White House staff involved in the Miers nomination process knew this story was coming over the weekend, and have been attempting to construct some push back on it. "There really isn't any," says one outside consultant in the matter. "It's not like Roberts who had his own testimony to fall back on in his discussion of Roe during his Supreme Court hearings. Harriet has nothing." Roberts had testified two years ago that he believed Roe was settled law.
And the horses are fast out of the gate. First, our friend John Fund has a report in the Wall Street Journal that is sure to shiver a lot of liberal timbers. According to John's piece, two days after President Bush nominated Miers, Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht and Dallas US District Judge Ed Kinkeade --- sitting judges both -- assured a group of religious conservative activists that Miers would overturn Roe v. Wade.
Here's the money quote from Fund's piece:
"Dr. Dobson says he was surprised to learn that Messrs. Hecht and Kinkeade were joining the Arlington Group call. He was asked to introduce them, which he considered awkward, given that he'd never spoken to the former and only once to the latter. He introduced them, nonetheless, by saying, "Karl Rove suggested that we talk with these gentlemen because they can confirm specific reasons why Harriet Miers might be a better candidate than some of us think."
I was all set to pronounce here on the USC-Notre Dame game. But I ran long and out came a mini-column. So it's posted in the main page lineup, where you can boo it without being penalized.
I do agree it was a game for the ages. By the way, did you know that Justice Clarence Thomas was in attendance? I didn't either, until informed by top Washington Post sports columnist Michael Wilbon. Apparently the game was such a draw that it attracted scores of celebrities. (Yes, Notre Dame has come to this.) "So many private jets descended on South Bend it looked like McCarron Airport in Las Vegas three hours before kickoff," Wilbon wrote. But I still can't figure out if Wilbon was ridiculing Thomas when he noted: "Every NFL team seemed to have at least one representative in the house, and they were B-list celebs when considering Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas attended." Somehow I suspect that that "they" was meant to be "there."
Over at Daily Kos, Armando seems unhappily resigned to the best case scenario with regard to Saturday's referendum in Iraq.
"Yes the Constitution will win the vote," he writes writes in a post that hinted at the same sectarian strife CNN's Christiane Amanpour did (see my post today on AmSpec's main page). "And then what? Will our troops come home now? Will the Iraqi government be able to govern? What is different now than yesterday?"
Well, first of all, the country will have a constitution. Sure, it is somewhat flawed and gives way too much weight to Islamic law, but, then again, the United States has amended our own constitution 27 times. Whatever one thought about the war, the high turnout among all Iraqi factions to vote on a constitution should be welcome news.
Fortunately, no. But don't be impatient. Mondays always come, usually too soon. Before we finish our coffee, we'll be back in the quagMiers of Harriett's nomination. By mid-day, we'll be counting Iraqi votes on fingers and toes, and within another day or two wishing whatever Iraqi version of Lance Ito is presiding over Saddam's trial would restore order sufficiently for reporters to figure out just what in blazes the prosecutor said in his opening statement. But please don't mix the Saddam files with the Rove/ Libby/Miller/Wilson/Plame case or the transcript from today's Meet the Press. It wouldn't do at all to shuffle the Team Clinton stories trashing Louis Freeh with the NYT coverage trashing the Bush White House. Well, okay, maybe it would. This is Gypsy Curse Week: we live in interesting times. Get a good night's rest. You're gonna need it.
Time is reporting what we were hearing -- and reporting -- from White House sources last week ... that the White House was shifting the Miers nomination fight away from her personality and focusing on her career.
Problem is, there isn't much the White House wants to discuss there. Word inside 1600 is that looking over court filings Miers was responsible in pulling together prior to her stint in public service -- and which clients and others were willing to release -- there isn't much the White House feels comfortable letting out into the public view. "It's pretty dim stuff," says one White House vetter. "There's some paper, but not a lot. It's frustrating."