The Spectacle Blog

We Love …

By on 10.31.05 | 12:53PM

... the smell of a good political fight in the morning.... And this afternoon, if President Bush had any doubts about where he stood with conservatives, and where he needs to stand on policy issues to turn things around, he's seeing it unfold right now.

The energy up here on the Hill is amazing, and you can even sense among Democrats that they are unsure of what to do. Sure, the press releases have gone out and Sen. Chuck Schumer has done his morning quota of TV appearances, but coming out of lunch meetings, a number of Democrats are worrying that they may have already overplayed their hand.

"We're waiting on some polling data," says one Senate Democratic leadership staffer, when approached about where her boss thought he might go the Alito front. "[Alito] looks a little more difficult to pin down than we thought yesterday." Even Sen. Harry Reid is having some doubts about the strategy of setting up an early bogeyman. According to one DNC staffer, the office of Howard Dean was abuzz with gossip that Reid and Dean had spoken at about 10 am, with Reid asking Dean to tone down the rhetoric for a while. Apparently, Dean declined.

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Principle Comes First

By on 10.31.05 | 12:52PM

Sunday's Washington Post Style section had some fun with the bash we at The American Spectator hosted last Thursday night: "The luminaries of the right were all there at the Hotel Monaco in Chinatown. The drinks were flowing at the pre-meal reception, and regrets [about Harriet Miers's withdrawal earlier that day] were not to be found."

Why this absence of regret on a day of major Republican embarrassment? "For a lot of conservatives, our mind-set is we're not Republicans," AmSpec publisher Al Regnery explained to the Post. "We're swimming upstream, we're holding the party accountable, we're on the outside. Our job is always swimming upstream." What we saw in Miers's defeat was "principle ris[ing] above politics." Standing for principle, in other words, "is what we should be doing."

The nomination of Samuel Alito should make that a lot easier.

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Gunning for Alito

By on 10.31.05 | 11:39AM

The New Republic is reporting that Judge Alito wrote a dissent to a decision upholding the federal law prohibiting private ownership of machine guns. TNR's Michael Crowley writes, "Applying the logic of the Constitution in Exile for all it's worth, Alito insisted that the private possession of machine guns was not an economic activity, and there was no empirical evidence that private gun possession increased violent crime in a way that substantially affected commerce -- therefore, Congress has no right to regulate it. Alito's colleagues criticized him for requiring "Congress or the Executive to play Show and Tell with the federal courts at the peril of invalidation of a Congressional statute." His lack of deference to Congress is unsettling."

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At Last…A Little Offense

By on 10.31.05 | 11:30AM

Sam Alito is just the beginning of the Bush comeback. As Bill Kristol noted this morning on FOX, the economy is growing, gas prices (while still high) are coming down, and the President seems poised to fight to make the tax cuts permanent.

By choosing Judge Alito, the President has brought his foot soldiers back into the ranks, locked, loaded and ready to charge that hill. Was that a loud "Hooah!" I just heard emanating from every corner of the conservative movement?

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The Post and the Catholic Church

By on 10.31.05 | 11:12AM

What a weekend for inquisitive, thorough, and objective journalism. First we have 60 Minutes' coverage of Plamegate, and today we open the Washington Post to find a front page editorial/feature on the faith of Tim Kaine, VA Democratic candidate for governor. Usually when the mainstream media examines the position of the Catholic Church and how it impacts a politician's positions, it's with the distasteful tone of "how dare the Church insist its members listen on matters of faith and morals."

What a difference another party can make. The Post uncritically accepts John F. Kennedy's compromise on his faith in insisting it won't intrude upon his governing. Tim Kaine shares that same devotion to Catholic Church principles, at least when it comes to matters of life and death. He insists that his faith is a fair question, since it's part of who he is. But he won't bring that aspect of his character to the state house in Richmond.

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The Evangelical Monolith

By on 10.31.05 | 10:47AM

In his TAS article today, Paul Chesser suggests that because Harriet Miers' most visible backers were evangelicals and they "disengaged their minds in feeble attempts to justify her nomination," their conduct in that battle stained the whole movement. Chesser at first detaches specific intellectuals -- Hewitt, Dobson, Olasky, and Starr -- from the movement as a whole.

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How Thoughtful

By on 10.31.05 | 10:20AM

After three hours of serious and patient consideration of Samuel A. Alito's qualifications and judicial temperament, the National Organization for Women (or National Association of Gals -- NAGs -- as Rush calls them) is taking to the streets. The gals (will there be guys too?) are protesting outside the Supreme Court building at 4 p.m. today. Isn't the Supreme Court the wrong building? Alito isn't there yet. Perhaps their choice of venue to vent reveals the NAGs resignation that Alito's confirmation is a fait accompli.

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Alito’s Way

By on 10.31.05 | 10:03AM

Ok, troops. This is gonna be an in the trenches, hand-to-hand fight. Here's your homework: a quick guide to some of Alito's opinions. (With thanks to Hugh Hewitt for pointing it out on his blog.)

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Duh!

By on 10.31.05 | 9:47AM

You'd think the MSM would learn by now. Two years after the media did the Democrats' dirty work in getting an independent counsel appointed in the Joe Wilson scandal, it occurs to them here that maybe it wasn't in their interest to do so.

Democrats got their story, and the MSM got a story too, but it wasn't the one they wanted. In the end, they had to report that their own are either liars or duplicitous dunces. Nice.

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Scalito’s Way

By on 10.31.05 | 9:42AM

People for the American Way doesn't lay a glove on Alito in its 24-page preliminary brief on his record. This will be a replay of the Roberts nomination: a serious student of the law vs. Democratic hacks whose interest in the Constitution is nil. Sounding disappointed, PFAW concludes its report by noting that Alito "does not have Scalia's penchant for sarcasm and divisive language."

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