Jed, I can't speak for Wlady, but our discussion may have blurred the distinction between our personal patience and the conservative movement's patience. For the conservative movement, the tank's just about on empty. This could blow over, especially with a stellar performance by Miss Miers in the confirmation hearings. And W. has also tossed conservatives a bone this week on offsets -- the Republican Study Committee was excited about his speech Tuesday to put it lightly. Again, this isn't where I am, this is just my assessment from talking to folks. Maybe our perspective is skewed from within the Beltway. But our Reader Mail from the heartland shows little difference in the level of outrage.
The Spectacle Blog
Now that the Conservative Up-Roar has resounded for the better part of four days let us get back to the other part of politics. The first part was for us conservatives to let the President know we are here. The second part is to spread throughout the polity. Harriet Miers in the judiciary will be markedly better than Ruth Bader Ginsberg -- and by a lot. During every conservative presidency there is a dust up between 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and the conservative movement. This was a good one, but beyond trusting the President I trust Ms. Miers' present record and values to be at least an acceptable justice. Carry on.
The White House said the President's speech would be be "new" and "informative," but of course it was not. Intead it was a tedious compendium of cliches, bereft of substance, and proving nothing at all except that the president and those closest to him live in a parallel universe. Our generals told Congress last week that Iraq had but a single battalion that could fight on its own; they also said insurgencies can, and usually do,go on for years. In other words, Iraq was a disaster. The president, however, was in denial. He seemed to think that if he said "freedom" and "democracy" often enough -- they're on the march, our enemies hate them, blah blah and so on -- he was saying something profound. But he wasn't, and his performance was an embarrassment. It was painful to watch his smug smile when he thought he had said something clever. Meanwhile you suspected that one of the president's men, or women, was holding up an applause sign. Nonetheless the applause never seemed more than dutiful.
Wlady, Dave: Your conversation reminds me of the day, many years ago, that I read Bill Buckley's exasperatedly witty pronouncement that his magazine had officially lost patience with the then recently-inaugurated President Jimmy. We're not quite to that point with Dubya, guys. Close, but not yet. Okay, make that mighty close.
If there's no way to calm to storm over Miers, change the subject. No doubt many will say that apropos the President's speech to the National Endowment for Democracy this morning. But that's a cheap shot, given that, for one thing, the president's NED appearance was scheduled long ago. It also marked a return to Bush's number one reason for his presidency after 9/11. We'll see to what effect, i.e. who still is willing to his respect his vision and leadership in the War on Terror. It could turn out that some of his harshest critics on Miers will turn around to laude his remarks. At least, at NRO's Corner, John Podhoretz promises to do just that in his New York Post column tomorrow. But what about those less committed to the war in the first place?
When he is not appearing on Jay Leno in cowboy boots, Al Gore finds time to decryÂ theÂ "strangeness of our public discourse." Liberals normally regard the Founding Fathers as insufficiently enlightened. But Gore today found it useful to praise the Founding Fathers as "probably" Â the "most literate generation in all of history." He said they "used words with astonishing precision and believed in the Rule of Reason. Their faith in the viability of Representative Democracy rested on their trust in the wisdom of a well-informed citizenry."
It also rested on not letting the illiterate and manifestly irrational vote -- a safeguard of republics Gore will no doubt address in his next high-minded talk.
That is, segregation Hawaiian style. Sen. John McCain supports S. 147, the Native Hawaiian Reorganization Act, or the "Akaka bill." Haven't heard of it? It would recognize native Hawaiians as an indigenous sovereign group, as with Indian tribes, thereby constitutionally permitting a race-based government in Hawaii.
TAS Politics columnist John Fund, who has been doing most of the heavy lifting against the Akaka bill, sees little good coming of it:
Dave, it takes two to breach. The alarming thing is not what grassroots and their leaders and or reps in D.C. might be thinking, but what the White House is. If Peggy Noonan is right about the White House sending out "We don't need you" and other bleep-you messages to conservatives, then I don't know if there's even going to be any alimony.
As you might imagine, Wonkette's having a field day with this on-air exchange between Chris Matthews and Howard Dean:
MATTHEWS: Do you believe that the president can claim executive privilege?
DEAN: Well, certainly the president can claim executive privilege. But in the this case, I think with a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court, you can't play, you know, hide the salami, or whatever it's called.