Monday, October 31, 2005

They're Not Supposed To Be Pleased

Though some self-styled conservatives recently forgot this, it's important to note that the Left really shouldn't be thrilled with your Supreme Court nominations. It's part of how you know you're getting it right.

Harry Reid and other Dems were thrilled with Harriet Miers, which should've been the first alarm bell. All is now right with the world, because they hate Sam Alito.

A sampling:

Reid has changed his tune a little:
This appointment ignores the value of diverse backgrounds and perspectives on the Supreme Court. The president has chosen a man to replace Sandra Day O'Connor, one of only two women on the court. For the third time, he has declined to make history by nominating the first Hispanic to the court.
Yes, it took some reminding, but President Bush today remembered that he's a Republican, Harry. With the exception of a disturbing three week period in October, conservatives don't play affirmative action identity politics.

The ever-vacuous Dahlia Lithwick from Slate magazine fumes:
In the true spirit of Halloween, a month of vicious attacks from the right has been papered over, and this nomination is dressed up as if the last one never occurred.

So rededicated is President Bush to keeping his promise to elevate a Clarence Thomas or an Antonin Scalia to the high court, that he picked the guy in the Scalia costume. Alito offers no surprises to anyone.
No suprises. Yes! Somebody finally gets it. Meanwhile, Chucky Schumer says:
It is sad that the president felt he had to pick a nominee likely to divide America instead of choosing a nominee in the mold of Sandra Day O'Connor, who would unify us.
Oops, Planned Parenthood doesn't like him either. Says interim president Karen Pearl:
Judge Alito would undermine basic reproductive rights, and Planned Parenthood will oppose his confirmation. It is outrageous that President Bush would replace a moderate conservative like Justice O'Connor with a conservative hardliner.
Am I the only one glad to see that the president has gone back to the much more successful political tactic of outraging his political enemies?

But has Alito ever been associated with the dastardly (gasp!) Federalist Society? Yup--he's a member. It just doesn't get any better than this.


Elated. Overjoyed. Euphoric.

Better to do the right thing late than never. Samuel Alito is among the very finest candidates the president could have nominated to the Supreme Court, for which the president deserves a great deal of credit. And Alito is confirmable too, as the pantywaist appeasement wing of the Republican Party will soon discover.

On this Reformation Day, the president has taken the first step towards re-forming his base and thus the conservative movement. I'm energized and ready to fight any and all who attempt to derail this nomination. This one is worth going to the wall for. It's nice to finally wake up to some good news. Let's finally put that governing majority to some conservative use.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


Our power was restored at about 7pm this evening. I want to find the nearest Florida Power and Light employee and give him a big, wet kiss on the lips.

Thus ends one of the strangest weeks of my life.

The Quagmier Ends

Judging by the irate emails being received over at National Review Online, it looks like the conservative movement could be undergoing a much needed pruning, with the real conservatives reasserting themselves in the party and the swooning "Bush is so handsome and strong" crowd sputtering off into incoherency.

This is not a conservative president. I'm a Christian first, and a conservative second. Somewhere down around 53rd on the list is "Republicans Uber Alles cheerleader." I feel no obligation to support a liberal president just because he has an "R" after his name. I'm not interested in participating in some sort of cult of personality. I support Bush insofar as he's conservative, which is to say not much these days. And any real conservative worth his salt ought to feel the same way.

If President Bush's legendary arrogance gets the best of him, he will use the Miers withdrawal as a reason to permanently estrange himself from the conservative base of the Republican Party. If, on the other hand, this incident knocks some sense into him and he begins to realize that the conservative voters who elected him would like to see him include some actual conservatism in his governing, it could be a truly vital boost to the Republican Party.

We'll see. But mark this: Bush has nobody to blame for his sputtering presidency but himself. What kind of fool uses the lowest ebb of his popularity as a launching point for attacking his base? If the next pick stinks as badly as this one did, true conservatives will scream just as loud, and Bush will again be left in the smoldering wreckage. If he sulks (as he is said to be capable of), his presidency will be effectively over. But if he embraces the fight and names a truly conservative star to the Supreme Court, his presidency can be revitalized. The choice is his. Past history tells me not to be too optimistic.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


We're coming to the end of our third day without electricity. If you have to be without power, you couldn't ask for better weather to do it in. It's been about 75 in the daytime and in the upper 50's at night. We haven't even missed the power that much, except for the few moments of my cold water shower, which were among the most unpleasant moments of my adult life.

I find myself becoming annoyed with some of my fellow Broward citizens. The radio is full of residents complaining about FEMA and some apparent botching of water and ice deliveries yesterday. My reaction to that is: Hey, idiot! Had you done even a minimal amount of preparation, you wouldn't have anything to complain about. You were complaining about FEMA's inability to deliver water less than 24 hours after the hurricane left! With a major hurricane approaching and something like six days of notice, if you didn't have enough water to last you for a day, you deserve to pass out from dehydration. I'm no fan of federal agencies, but it's not FEMA's fault that you are too stupid to even stock up on two or three days worth of supplies after all the hurricane problems we've had in the last two years.

Ranting aside, I got out of my neighborhood for the first time today and explored some of our area trailer parks to check up on some folks from church we hadn't been able to reach by phone. The parks, as is usually the case in these storms, looked like war zones, though the people there mostly seemed positive and helpful. Noticably absent was the brittle tension of New Orleans in the days immediately following Katrina.

After getting a look around today, I realized how fortunate we were. Our house sustained very minimal damage and we have enough supplies to get us through the next week or two. We also filled up the cars with gas right before the storm hit. Today out on the road, I passed gas lines several miles long at the few open stations. I'm also told that the few open supermarkets are quite chaotic.

Fortunately we have a working phone line, and I've been able to jump on the Internet to gather information occasionally from my battery-powered laptop computer. Until yesterday, most people didn't even have working phone lines. I appreciate your prayers and expressions of concern. So far, we're in good shape. All of our church members are accounted for and well, though some sustained major damage.

It's overall very strange here right now. We are under a 7pm-7am curfew, and over 90% of the Broward County is still without electricity. Sitting out on my back patio at night, it's suprising how much it reminds me of Tanzania. It's absolutely dark, there are open flames in backyards all over the place where people are cooking dinner, and the stars are visible in the night sky in a way they never are here. It's downright pleasant--though my opinion will likely change when the temperatures begin to rise again this weekend.

Monday, October 24, 2005

After The Storm

The storm is gone and there's a lot left to clean up. According to the news reports, there are 3.2 million people without power in South Florida, which is pretty much everyone. Unfortunately, they are warning us to think in terms of weeks rather than days for having our power restored. I'm set up for days without power, but not weeks.

In my neighborhood, most of the damage is tree damage, with some of the older roofs also taking a beating. We're closed into our subdivision by fallen trees. The wind snapped the basketball hoop next to our driveway in half; evidently it caught the backboard like a sail. It toppled over onto the top of one of our cars. Other parts of Broward had it worse, including downtown where skyscrapers had a bunch of windows blown out. The helicopters are only finally getting into the air right now to survey the damage.

It's hard to know what the coming days and weeks might hold.

Well, At Least It's A New Experience...

As I write this, we are in the midst of a direct hit by Hurricane Wilma here in Broward County. We're at the edge of the eyewall and hopeful that the eye itself will pass over sometime in the next few minutes. We'd be at the southern portion of the eye if we get it at all. It would be nice to have the break. But it appears that the border of the eye itself is just north of I-595, about three miles north of us.

For the last couple of hours, we've had winds blowing through here that have reached over 100 mph at some points. A few minutes ago, I watched a portion of my neighbor's roofing blowing down the street. There appear to be as many trees toppled in my neighborhood as still standing. I'm frightened to look at my own roof once it's safe to go out and have a look. The wooden fence in our back yard has completely blown over, and the screen enclosure over our swimming pool is being lifted by one corner. My wife can feel the house vibrating when she leans against the wall.

I can't even begin to imagine what it must be like to go through a category four or five storm. We've had a lot of hurricane scares here in South Florida, and Katrina even crossed into Florida right at the Broward county line. But I've never experienced anything even close to this. According to the radio (our electricity has been out for several hours), this is the hardest hit to Broward County in over 50 years.

I'm finding it not to be much fun, and looking forward to the end of it in a few hours. Fortunately, I believe our lives are safe, but there's going to be a fair deal of property damage.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

All Is Vanity

Sometimes you get lifted up just to get smacked down again. It's cruel, but that's sports, I guess.

Still, those 48 hours were among the best I've ever had as a sports fan.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

I Am Blogger, Hear Me Roar

Hey, did you hear about the big GodBlog Conference this past weekend? Thousands of bloggers from across the nation attended, and the blogosphere is abuzz with rep....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Ah, sorry, dozed off there for a minute. It turns out that mind has not yet conceived anything more boring than pontificating about blogging as a medium.

Join me tommorrow as I begin my 42-part series on why I blog, what blogging means to me, what I hope to accomplish through it, and the highly imporant place I occupy in the universe as a blogger. If there's one thing I've intuited over the last few years, it's that people are hungry for lots of blog theory!

How Was The Play, Mrs. Lincoln?

Today's stupidest newspaper story comes from my hometown St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

They sent a reporter out in Houston to discover that most of the thousands of hurricane refugees temporarily in that city are not all that caught up in the Astros post-season run at the National League pennant.

Reporter Jake Wagman makes a non-story up in his head, and then reports it ominously:
In the storybook world that baseball can evoke, it would be easy to imagine the scores of displaced people in Houston adopting the hometown team as their own, rallying around the Astros during otherwise turbulent times.
Hmmm. Can't really say I was imagining that. My guess would have been that out-of-towners living as refugees wouldn't give a hoot about the baseball playoffs, considering that New Orleans doesn't even have a baseball team. But imagination is all this story has, so let's go with it a minute.
Left out of the fun are many of the thousands of transplants from two devastating storms, still trying to put their lives back together as the rest of Houston is consumed by 18-inning games, Roger Clemens and the Killer B's.

"I've got way more important things than a game," said Lloyd Chapman, 27, who left New Orleans for Houston after Hurricane Katrina hit. "I'm trying to survive and live."

The fan gap is a subtle but telling sign of the growing divide between hurricane evacuees and the rest of Houston.
Those evil, selfish Houstonians. Why, they're leaving the refugees out of their fun! These hurricane victims are being excluded.

The amazing thing about this story, keep in mind, is that the entire sum and substance of it is merely some idiot reporter wandering around shelters asking displaced homeless people "How 'bout those baseball playoffs?"

When they correctly respond "We couldn't give a flying rip about the baseball playoffs, you moron," it's seen as a "rift" developing between citizens of Houston and the refugees. Whereas I see it as a "rift" developing between reporter Jake Wagman and his dignity.

Perhaps there could be a huge, roiling "rift" between Houstonians and hurricane evacuees. But it seems like it could also simply be that the locals are really into their baseball team while the out-of-towners are not. Maybe it's not a "rift" at all. If I suddenly lost my home and had to move to Indianapolis, I can't imagine my first concern would be cheering on the undefeated Colts, to which I've never devoted more than 20 seconds of total thought. But my indifferent reaction would be no reflection on the fine people of Indianapolis.

For Jake Wagman's next story, I hear he's going to wander through a children's cancer ward asking the kids what they think of the ABC hit "Desperate Housewives."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

"Go Crazy, Folks, Go Crazy!"

My heart sinks as Lance Berkman hits a three-run homer in the seventh inning to put the Astros on top 4-2. The Cardinals don't come back from that. Not in this series. Not the way they've been hitting. Not against Brad Lidge.

I was 13 when the Cardinals won their only World Series title of my lifetime in 1982. It was a landmark event in my life. There's nothing quite like your team winning the World Series when you're 13. My son is 13 now, and possibly a bigger Cardinals fan than I was.

"It's not over yet," he says as the game heads into the top of the ninth. Poor kid, I think. He really believes that. He just doesn't understand how it works.

One strikeout. Two strikeouts. One ball, two strikes on David Eckstein. "They still could do it. If Eckstein got on, Edmonds would be up next. And you'd have Pujols on deck," my son observes.

Right. I've seen teams come back in the ninth inning. With two outs even. But you don't come back when you're one strike away from elimination. Especially when you're down two runs, nobody's on base, your team is having trouble scoring two runs in nine innings, and the team you're playing against has gone 136-1 since June 2004 in games in which they took a lead into the ninth. He just doesn't understand how this works.

"I'm so sick of this," I think. "I'm sick of the Cardinals having a great regular season only to embarrass themselves in the playoffs. I'm sick of defending them. I'm sick of having a whole season amount to nothing. I'm sick of these stupid wild card teams going to the World Series when they can't even win their own divisions." I'm in a foul mood, to say the least.

"The city of Houston has been waiting for this moment for 45 years," says FOX announcer Thom Brennaman. Minute Maid Park is going nuts. The grounds crew is finishing putting the plastic up in the Astros locker room for the champagne that will be spraying minutes from now.

But plucky David Eckstein momentarily delays the celebration by poking a single through the infield on 1-2. That brings the tying run to the plate in the form of Jim Edmonds. But Edmonds is a strikeout machine and Lidge is known for making the Cardinals look foolish swinging the bat. You just don't come back from being one strike from elimination.

But Lidge is pitching Edmonds gingerly. His blazing fastball keeps missing inside. Edmonds walks, bringing Albert Pujols to the plate with the go-ahead run.

My son is getting excited now. Pujols is the guy you want batting in this situation, he tells me. But my son doesn't understand how this works--even Pujols, the Cards' greatest hitter since Stan Musial, bats only in the low .200's against Lidge. He takes an anemic swing at the first pitch (way low) and misses. I chuckle ruefully--this is what the Cardinals look like against Lidge.

The next pitch appears to be a slider (as Pujols would remember it later). A hanging one.


We're standing up in the living room. Screaming. Shouting. Jumping. It's nearly midnight, and the neighbors must be wondering what in the world is going on at the Rabe house. All the frustration of the last four games instantly melts away, replaced by utter euphoria. We were one strike away from elimination. The Cardinals lead 5-4, and finishing the final three outs is merely academic. The Astros are crushed.

If any of the last few pitches is a quarter inch another way, everything is different. But it happened. Maybe I'm the one who doesn't understand how this works.

For two hours we stay up and just bask in it. Whatever ends up happening in the series, we have almost 48 hours to enjoy this. We get another game at the soon-to-be-no-more Busch Stadium.

I can't remember the last time I enjoyed a baseball moment this much. Probably about when I was my son's age. With one strike left, things looked hopeless. But now everything has changed. The momentum has shifted--radically. Historically, teams don't come back from what just happened to the Astros. Think Neidenfuer against the Cardinals, Eckersley against Kirk Gibson, Mitch Williams against Toronto, Donnie Moore against the Red Sox.

I'm not a cynic anymore. Not this year. Not with this team. My son still thinks they have a good shot to win the whole thing. I'm going to start listening to him. He understands how this works.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Against The Wall

In a comment over at Brian's blog, under a post wherein he points my attention to the Cardinals' three-game collapse, I ask whether anyone else has noticed that Tony LaRussa, Super Genius, has been swept in two World Series' and just watched his team drop three straight in the NLCS.

Well, Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has noticed it:
The theories are plentiful why the Cards have up until now played this NLCS as though it were a joyless burden, rather than a carefree pleasure, much of it hinging on the maddening overthinking and uptight postseason managerial style of one of baseball's sharpest thinkers, Redbirds skipper Tony La Russa.

La Russa is one of the sharpest tacticians in the history of the game, and will one day have his bronzed bust in Cooperstown. But so many baseball insiders wonder why La Russa's teams thrive in the heat of the summer, yet struggle mightily in the cool of autumn.

What happens to his teams in October can best be epitomized by the way the Cards have been playing since the momentum-shifting Game 2 loss back at Busch. Over the past few days, you could see it in the body language of their biggest star and likely National League MVP, Albert Pujols. He has spent most of the NLCS snarling at reporters and sending off an uneasy, tense vibe in the clubhouse.
LaRussa's overmanaging is always annoying, but in the post-season it becomes positively infuriating. Is he to blame for the Cardinals' bats falling asleep? Considering he insists on hitting Larry ".095" Walker cleanup, yes he is.

If there's any good news, it's that Burwell reports there's been a turn in attitude in the Cardinal clubhouse:
Yet about a half-hour after this difficult loss, just when you expected to see the players as uptight and edgy as their boss, there was a much-needed personality shift that began with the most important guy in the clubhouse - Pujols.

If you're looking for a sign that this series is not over, that this team has not emotionally packed it in, that tonight might be a free-and-easy bit of postseason enjoyment, not a panicky walk off the edge of a plank, perhaps the sight of a smiling Albert Pujols was it.
On another note, what is the deal with Major League umpiring? This is getting embarassing. Everyone has seen the umpires' travails in the ALCS, and in yesterday's NLCS the home plate ump tossed out LaRussa and center fielder Jim Edmonds (which, frankly, may have been the best thing that happened to the Cardinals yesterday. It was at least one less crucial strikeout, and one less boneheaded one-pitch pitching change).

Don't get me wrong. Umpiring is not the Cardinals' problem. But Bernie Miklasz provides some interesting history on home plate ump Phil Cuzzi:
Cuzzi has an odd history. He failed to get a minor-league job three times after attending umpire school. He finally got a shot at the big leagues as a fill-in ump, ironically working his first major-league game at Busch Stadium on June 4, 1991. But in 1993, the National League fired Cuzzi.

And Cuzzi stayed out of umpiring for nearly three years, until knocking on the hotel-room door of then-NL President Leonard Coleman in 1996 to beg Coleman for another shot at umpiring. Cuzzi navigated through the minors again, then was hired by Major League Baseball in 1999 after more than 20 regular umps were replaced after resigning during contentious labor negotiations.
These are the kinds of umps MLB wants to put on display in its fall showcase?

Friday, October 14, 2005

October Suprise

I interrupt the Harriet Miers furor for a couple of quick baseball observations.

I notice that the vaunted American League East playoff teams are both currently watching the League Championship Series' on television. All year I heard about how much better they were than everybody else, yet they were each eliminated from the playoffs (the Red Sox via a humiliating sweep) by teams from "inferior" divisions.

And, of course, in the National League, the only teams remaining are the two teams from the "inferior" National League Central. If the post-season is going to be the only real measure of success (as has been argued by many), then the teams remaining in the playoffs are clearly better than the Yankees and the Red Sox.

Oh, and another quick open letter to Tony LaRussa:
Dear Mr. LaRussa, Esq.,

It was ugly and violent, but I'm a man of my word. I hope you enjoyed Julian Taverez and the two runs he gave up last night. Just as a side note, have you ever seen a game where Julian Tavarez came in and didn't give up runs? Me neither. That's why it's so strange that you'd keep doing it. But they keep telling me you're a genius, so what do I know?

Anyway, we still have a couple of cats left, and they look pretty scared. They're starting to think you don't love animals as much as you really claim to. Please prove them wrong.

Your fan,
John Rabe

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Let Me Take You Down, 'Cause I'm Going...

Peggy Noonan, sexist-elitist snob who graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University, calls for the "Miers withdrawal/removal/disappearance."

Says Noonan:
An essential White House mistake--really a key and historic one--was in turning on its critics with such idiotic ferocity. "My way or the highway" is getting old. "Please listen to us and try to see it our way or we'll have to kill you," is getting old. Sending Laura Bush out to make her first mistake as first lady, agreeing with Matt Lauer that sexism is probably part of the reason for opposition to Ms. Miers, was embarrassingly inept and only served to dim some of the power of this extraordinary resource.

As for Ed Gillespie and his famous charge of sexism and elitism, I don't think serious conservatives believe Ed is up nights pondering whiffs and emanations of class tension and gender bias in modern America. It was the ignorant verbal lurch of a K Street behemoth who has perhaps forgotten that conservatives are not merely a bloc, a part of the base, a group that must be handled, but individuals who are and have been in it for serious reasons, for the long haul, and often at considerable sacrifice. They don't deserve to be patronized by people they've long strained to defend.
Noonan does, however, give the administration a sane, sensible way out. They'd be well-advised to listen to her.

Meanwhile, the elitist sexists at Concerned Women for America have refused to endorse the Miers nomination. Jan LaRue (J.D., Trinity International University School of Law) writes:
We do not agree that conservative "activists" care only about how a judge will vote on issues but only conservative "intellectuals" care about the rationale and process by which a judge arrives at a decision. CWA opposes judicial activism whether it is liberal or conservative. No one should use the position of a judge to advance a personal policy preference. To do so disrespects the separation of powers mandated by the Constitution and the role of the judiciary.

A qualified nominee for the Supreme Court must have more than intellectual ability and legal competence. It requires a deep knowledge of and experience in constitutional law. That must be coupled with the ability to stand one's ground as a stalwart and persuasive voice for interpretation of the Constitution faithful to its text and the Founders' intent. We believe the best evidence of that is a record of having done so.

White House representatives and other supporters of Miss Miers immediately announced that she is an evangelical Christian. There is continual emphasis on her faith and the advantage of having an evangelical Christian on the Supreme Court. We do not doubt Miss Miers' faith in Christ--we share it.

Like CWA, most of those emphasizing Miss Miers' faith have resisted any attempt to impose a religious test on any person seeking public office. The Constitution forbids it. We find it patronizing and hypocritical to focus on her faith in order to gain support for Miss Miers.
(Hat tip: Michael Spencer)

LaRue follows with a list of 17 unanswered questions that Hugh Hewitt ought to put down the Schlitz bottle and read.

And finally, did you see the other day that Miers, when asked her favorite Supreme Court justice in history, cited Warren Burger? That in and of itself ought to be grounds for scuttling her nomination. It's like Howard Dean citing Job as his favorite book of the New Testament. It has the more-than-faint whiff of somebody who doesn't know what they're talking about. It's doubtful that Warren Burger was even Mrs. Burger's favorite justice, let alone that of anyone who's ever taken even a passing interest in the Court. Burger (who, incidentally, voted in the majority on Roe v. Wade) was known as a dim bulb and a paper-pusher even by his friends.

For the first time, today I am finally convinced that this nomination is (deservedly) going down one way or the other.

The defenses have been unsatisfactory. The justifications have been risible. After ten days, the explanations are serving to increasingly inflame the base rather than soothe it. If President Bush is smart (a proposition called into question by the nomination itself), he'll get out in front of the process so he can get some credit for doing the right thing. But given the White House's dubious political instincts, I'm not holding my breath.

Masters Of The Realm

According to a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, President Bush's approval ratings have dropped to an all-time low of 39%. Only 28% of the people polled feel the country is moving in the right direction, and 29% think that Harriet Miers is qualified for the Supreme Court.

Looks like that revolutionary screw-the-base strategy is really paying off. The White House has already accused actual conservatives of being sexists and elitists. If they can toss out a "Neanderthal" in the next day or two, I think they could have a shot at hitting the 20's by the end of the month.

Those Machiavellian geniuses.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Choking On The Dom

This is a must-read. Mark Levin absolutely disembowels Hugh Hewitt over the Miers nomination on Hewitt's radio show. It's a near-perfect summary of both sides of the entire discussion.

The best part:
HH: But Mark, what I'm saying is that the conservative critics, not only will they not wait for the arguments to be made...

ML: Well, we have to wait.

HH: the hearings, they are denying all the other traditional evidences of acceptability. For example, Judge Ken Starr calls her terrific.

ML: Look, I'm not taking a popularity contest. If we want to go down the list of conservatives, Bob Bork says she's a disaster. Okay?

HH: Again, it's not a popularity contest. It's a question about why are, all of a sudden, the rules of evidence about people we do not know suspended?

ML: Where do I have to go to find her judicial philosophy? To a Chinese restaurant and crack open a fortune cookie? Where am I going to find her judicial philosophy?
And a moment or two later:
HH: So O'Connor came out of the box. No one opposed her. Eight years later...

ML: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. You just cited Ken Starr on Harriet Miers. It was Ken Starr who vetted Sandra Day O'Connor.

HH: Yes, I know. He was a young man, and he made a big mistake.
When you filter through all the haze, Levin directly asks Hewitt one simple question at least a half a dozen times: "What's her judicial philosophy?" And Hewitt has no answer to the question. He ducks, he obfuscates, he throws out names of people who might possibly know her judicial philosophy. What he doesn't do (and indeed what he can't do) is actually tell us what her judicial philosphy is or where we can find it.

Republicans have put seven of the nine current justices on this disasterous Supreme Court. So no, "trust me" doesn't cut it. There's been too much trust. It's now time for some evidence.

Keeping A Sister Down

Former Bush appointee Linda Chavez on the Miers nomination:
I want to know how she forms her views. I want to know what she thinks the role of the courts is -- and why. I want to know her intellectual habits. What does she read? Has she spent time grappling with ideas? When confronted with unfamiliar territory, how does she prepare herself to learn what she needs to know in her professional life? Is she a curious person by nature? What does she expect of her subordinates when they are briefing her on an important matter? Is she good at playing devil's advocate? Is she a student of history? In the long run, answers to questions like these will be a more reliable barometer of her performance on the court than her current opinion on any given issue.
But Chavez is a Hispanic woman who graduated from the University of Colorado, so she's obviously a sexist elitist.

Affirmative Actions

"[Rove] also made it clear that the president was looking for a certain kind of candidate, namely a woman to replace Justice O'Connor. And you can imagine what that did to the short list. That cut it . . . "

--James Dobson, describing his much-speculated-on conversation with Karl Rove just before the Miers nomination was made public
So there's your conservative, anti-affirmative action "soft bigotry of low expectations" president. Luttig, Alito, neither McConnell, nor the rest of the qualified men never even had a shot.

Listen to the White House over the next few days. Listen to how often they hail Harriet Miers for "breaking through the glass ceiling" while simultaneously accusing their conservative critics of sexism. Then ask yourself if you've ever heard real conservatives use such ridiculous, politically correct language.

They walk like Hillary and talk like Hillary, but at least they're not Hillary. We can still tell them apart because they're not as tough on border security as she is.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Harriet Miers O'Connor?

While the Bush Administration continues to pursue the mystifying course of attacking the motives of the very base of conservatives that put them in the White House, thoughtful analysis from real conservatives (including those who have worked for this very president) continues to roll in.

Stanley Kurtz of National Review Online offers an analysis that ought to chill the blood of every conservative. He's talking about a feminist lecture series Miers has enthusiastically participated in. If he's right, Harriet Miers is a feminist who will at best be another Sandra Day O'Connor:
That [lecture] series is named after Louise Raggio, a prominent feminist lawyer from Dallas. Raggio and her fellow Texas feminists supported Miers in her bid to become head of the Texas Bar Association. They knew that Miers was anti-abortion, yet also knew that Miers was sympathetic to liberal feminism in other respects. In the very conservative Texas Bar Association, Miers was the most like-minded female president the feminists could get.

...The most telling thing about Miers is that she sees membership in the Federalist Society as excessively “political,” yet doesn’t think twice about associating herself with a lecture series that invites the likes of Gloria Steinem, Pat Schroeder, and Susan Faludi. That’s because Miers’ political career is based on being the one member of the conservative Texas establishment that liberal feminists can best work with. Miers has spent a lifetime being the sort of conservative who tries to swim within the “mainstream.” Miers would rather make a partnership with the far left, than risk being called an outsider on the right. Her almost obsessive silence about her political views probably derives in part from the fact that her own support base comprehends everyone from pro-life evangelical conservatives to Susan Faludi-like feminists.

...Whatever her personal views, Miers doesn’t feel comfortable openly positioning herself to the right of what liberals call the “mainstream” on social issues. My sense is that this makes Miers into something of a Sandra Day O’Connor figure–someone who could go either way on the big social issues. On the one hand, Miers’s personal instincts are conservative. On the other hand, she is used to working in coalition with, making concessions to, and often sympathizing with, feminist liberals. (David Frum's excerpts from Miers's writings broadly support this point.)
Meanwhile, Ned Ryun, a former George W. Bush speechwriter, tells of Miers' involvement in killing a Christmas speech he had written for the president because it was too Christ-y:
In 2001, I was given the task of writing the President’s Christmas message to the nation. After researching Reagan, Bush, and Clinton’s previous Christmas messages, I wrote something that was well within the bounds of what had been previously written (and in case you are wondering, Clinton’s messages were far more evangelical than the elder Bush’s).

The director of correspondence and the deputy of correspondence edited and approved the message and it was sent to the Staff Secretary’s office for the final vetting. Miers emailed me and told me that the message might offend people of other faiths, i.e., that the message was too Christian. She wanted me to change it. I refused to change the message (In my poor benighted reasoning, I actually think that Christmas is an overtly Christian holiday that celebrates the birth of Christ and the beginning of the redemption of man.).

The director and deputy of correspondence supported me. I even emailed Ken Mehlman (then the Political Director at the White House, now the Republican National Committee Chairman), to see what he thought about the message. He was not offended by it in the least. Miers insisted that I change the tone of the message. I again refused, and after several weeks, the assignment was taken out of my hands. I was later encouraged to apologize to Miers. I did not apologize.

That is my one personal anecdote about Harriet Miers. Some will probably write that incident off as an insignificant, almost meaningless, occurrence. And perhaps it is. But Miers purposefully sought to dilute the Christianity of the message, thus revealing to me at least a willingness to compromise unnecessarily without outside pressure. That is my opinion based off that experience and I would be more than happy to be proved wrong.
(Hat tip: Amy Ridenour.)

And did you notice Antonin Scalia's veiled shot at the nomination over the weekend? According to
Questioned about Harriet Miers, Bush's nominee to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Scalia said he had never met her.

"Never having met her, I have no impression of her," he said.
Of course, as expected from Scalia, this is precisely the right response. Since personal, firsthand knowledge is the only justification or defense President Bush has given for this nomination (because she has no legal writings to commend her), everyone who has not personally met her has no real basis for supporting her nomination. The president banked on a criterion for approval that can only be met by a few hundred people.

Meanwhile, Hugh Hewitt continues guzzling the Dom Perignon.

Monday, October 10, 2005

October Anxiety

As if there weren't enough worries in life, I've added a few more over the last couple of days:
  • I'm worried about the Cardinals' bullpen. If one only looked at the final scores of the San Diego games, one might think the Cardinals won easily (which, for the most part, they did). But what you would miss is how the bullpen came in to make blowouts much closer than they should have been. I can see it coming a mile away--as soon as Tony LaRussa takes a good starting pitcher out to play his righty/lefty games, things start falling apart. Why, why, WHY would you ever bring Julian Tavarez into a game under any circumstances? LaRussa does it all the time, and always pays a heavy price for it. I see it coming, you see it coming, everyone in the ballpark sees it coming, and everyone watching on TV sees it coming. The only one who doesn't see it coming is LaRussa, who does it over and over again.
  • I'm worried about the Astros pitching. In a short series, does anybody want to be facing Pettitte, Clemens, and Oswalt? Add to that reliever Brad Lidge (who made the Cardinals in last year's NLCS look like blindfolded children swinging at a piƱata), and things become worrisome indeed.
  • Did I mention how worried I am about the Cardinals' bullpen? In game one, "closer" Jason Isringhausen was brought into the 9th to extricate the Cards from a first-and-third jam, and instead gave up four straight hits before finally getting out of the inning. That's fine in an 8-2 game, but won't be too great in a 3-2 nail-biter.
  • I also have some concerns about the Cardinals' bullpen. Taverez and Brad Thompson (who I'd never even heard of until last week) each have 13.50 ERA's for the post-season so far.
Which leads me to a letter I've been meaning to write:
Dear Mr. LaRussa, ESQ.,

I'm no expert, and while you are the third winningest manager in baseball history, I have yet to win even one game. But I do have two eyes and a calculator. And in running the numbers, I've come to the conclusion that whatever statistical advantage you think you might be getting from a righty-lefty matchup is, in my opinion, largely erased by pitchers with 13.50 ERA's. Perhaps you could consider allowing your starters, who amassed the lowest staff ERA in the league this year, to continue to pitch in these situations so that we could go to another World Series.

I know you are reputed to be a genius, but in the bustle of it all, this might be an angle you haven't had a chance to consider.

Hey, you and I have a lot in common! I know you are an ardent animal rights advocate, and my family happens to own three adorable cats. We enjoy them a lot. They're cute and furry, and if you saw them, I know you'd just love them. I just wanted you to know that each time you bring Julian Taverez or Brad Thompson into a game in the Astros series, I will painfully kill one of them. Your call.

Have a great series!

John Rabe
Cardinals fan/junior mathematician

Thursday, October 06, 2005

On The Road Again

I'll be in Minneapolis starting tommorrow for the annual Desiring God national conference. This year's topic is "Suffering and the Sovereignty of God."

I believe Tim Challies will be live-blogging it, for those who are interested. It would be hard for me to be more excited about this conference than I already am.

See you Monday, unless I get a chance to check in from the road.

The True Defeatists

If you are still having trouble understanding the angst of true conservatives over the Harriet Miers pick, I urge you to read Amy Ridenour's post from yesterday, "Defeatism in Defense of the Constitution is No Virtue."

It comes from one who's fought in the trenches on the Bork and Thomas nominations, and has poured out a lot of sweat on Capitol Hill over the past two decades trying to get conservative, originalist judges onto the bench who would be worth nominating when this time came.

Says Amy:
I say to the GOP-Uber-Alles crowd: It is not those of us who think we can do better than a stealth candidate who are the defeatists.

It is those of you who are afraid to fight for the Constitution.

In his clarion call of conservatism, Barry Goldwater declared that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue. Could defeatism in defense of the Constitution be any different?
Most of today's accomodationist, expedient Republicans would probably look at that and say "Well, Goldwater got creamed in '64, so what good was it? He should have toned it down and gotten elected." And in their historical ignorance, they'd be missing the fact that Goldwater's speech almost single-handedly spawned the modern conservative movement, inspiring thousands of young future leaders of the Reagan Revolution.

Hugh Hewitt keeps claiming that true conservatives don't understand that President Bush is governing for the "long-haul." No. It's Hewitt who doesn't understand conservatism. Fighting these battles and setting a vision, even against difficult odds, is governing for the long-haul. Expedience always reaps only a short-term benefit.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Breaking News

According to witnesses, President Bush tonight peed in a Schlitz bottle, which he then impishly handed to radio host and author Hugh Hewitt as a prank.

Hewitt immediately declared the liquid to be "the choicest Dom Perignon."

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Last Betrayal

From my standpoint, it's beside the point whether Harriet Miers turns out to be a great Supreme Court justice or not. I hope she will. Nothing would please me more.

What my outrage is about is the fact that we again have to wonder at all. That we have to accept the president's wink and his "trust me" again after he's burned far too many IOUs. Conservatives worked to give Republicans the White House, the House, and the Senate. The judiciary was a flashpoint, motivating issue in all of that. And the Bush Administration, with the selection of Harriet Miers, showed that what's most important to us isn't even a little important to them.

Conservatives--in fact the nation--deserved the opportunity to finally hash out the role of the courts, 18 years after the Robert Bork debacle. The time has never been better. People have awakened to the issue. The administration was given a gift several weeks ago when a federal court again declared the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional. The time was ripe for a battle. And Bush sent up the white flag before a shot was fired.

I'm sick of conservatism being regarded as out-of-the-mainstream when it keeps winning election after election. I'm tired of conservatives tacitly agreeing to the notion that they have to hide or obscure their views. I'm tired of stupid, cant phrases like "compassionate conservatism" which imply that real conservatism isn't compassionate. I'm sick of the idea that solid, originalist constitutionalism has to be hidden under a plain brown wrapper while ACLU lawyers have an unimpeded path to the High Court.

By refusing to pick an open originalist conservative for either Supreme Court opening, this president has made clear that conservatism is something to be ashamed of, that it's certainly not worth fighting for, and that anyone who publicly admits to (or worse, takes pride in) merely reading the Constitution as it was read for nearly 200 years is now officially disqualified from being nominated to the Supreme Court. That's a disgrace.

The president nominated Harriet Miers for one reason and one reason only: he didn't want to fight that battle. He betrayed conservatives on the most important issue of our times--an issue more important, even, than Iraq and the war on terror. Even if Harriet Miers turns out to be more conservative than Scalia, it will not change the fact that Bush felt he had to nominate someone with no paper trail whose views were publicly obscure. It will not change the fact that he deemed true, bold conservatism to be not ready for prime time.

Over the last 24 hours, I've had a smoldering anger that's been actually growing in intensity. I keep thinking it will subside, but it just keeps getting worse. If any substantial numbers of conservatives feel the same way I do, President Bush just effectively ended the "Republican Revolution." Many are beginning to realize that the president frittered away the issue that was most important to them. Those are people who are not going to bust their tails in the next election cycle trying to get more of the same elected. If I'm right, the president has just decimated his base heading into the '06 elections. It's the beginning of the end of the hold on the White House and Congress. Which isn't all that bad, since this lock on power was never particularly conservative to begin with, as we now all know.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Conservative Reaction on Harriet Miers

From David Frum, former Bush speechwriter:
I worked with Harriet Miers. She's a lovely person: intelligent, honest, capable, loyal, discreet, dedicated ... I could pile on the praise all morning. But there is no reason at all to believe either that she is a legal conservative or--and more importantly--that she has the spine and steel necessary to resist the pressures that constantly bend the American legal system toward the left.

...The pressures on a Supreme Court justice to shift leftward are intense. There is the negative pressure of the vicious, hostile press that legal conservatives must endure. And there are the sweet little inducements--the flattery, the invitations to conferences in Austria and Italy, the lectureships at Yale and Harvard--that come to judges who soften and crumble. Harriet Miers is a taut, nervous, anxious personality. It is hard for me to imagine that she can endure the anger and abuse--or resist the blandishments--that transformed, say, Anthony Kennedy into the judge he is today.
From William Kristol:
I'm disappointed, depressed, and demoralized...It is very hard to avoid the conclusion that President Bush flinched from a fight on constitutional philosophy. Miers is undoubtedly a decent and competent person. But her selection will unavoidably be judged as reflecting a combination of cronyism and capitulation on the part of the president.
From Manny Miranda, former judicial aide to Bill Frist:
The reaction of many conservatives today will be that the president has made possibly the most unqualified choice since Abe Fortas, who had been the president's lawyer. The nomination of a nominee with no judicial record is a significant failure for the advisers that the White House gathered around it.
From the editors of National Review Online:
Being a Bush loyalist and friend is not a qualification for the Supreme Court. She may have been the best pick from within Bush’s inner circle. It seems impossible to maintain that she was the best pick from any larger field. It seems highly unlikely that she will be the kind of justice who, in combination with Roberts, Scalia, and Thomas, will attract additional votes by the sheer force of her arguments. This nomination was a missed opportunity.
But as always, Hugh Hewitt has the pom-pons on, scolding real conservatives for stubbornly having taken the president at his word. Anyone who's still cheerleading for the Bush Administration after this choice cares nothing about conservatism nor a Christian worldview, and is simply a partisan hack. The administration promised us a Scalia or a Thomas, and it's now official: they lied to us.

Gotta Serve Nobody

The White House has pulled off an amazing feat. At a time of dismal unpopularity, this president actually managed to make a Supreme Court choice that (based on my radio listening on the way into work this morning) has drawn outrage on the conservative Laura Ingraham show, the semi-conservative Glenn Beck show, and the ultra-liberal Air America network all at once.

I guess you don't get popularity ratings this low without learning how to make lots of choices that please absolutely no one.

That Karl Rove--what a Machiavellian political genius!

I Feel Fine

Leo Sternbach, the inventor of Valium, has died at 97.

Strangely, I feel totally peaceful about that. A bit euphoric, even.