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Monday, October 31, 2005
Conservatives who piled on President Bush's choice of Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court will likely be as cheerful over his new nominee as they were dispirited over the Miers nomination. The only thing that could make it better is if Democrats follow through on Sen. Harry Ried's threat that the selection of Samuel Alito would "create a lot of problems." Bring it on Harry. Apparently, the President has decided that he's ready for a fight after all. He'd better be. A good fight with, and victory over, Democrats in Congress is the only thing that can save his presidency. The initial word on Alito is that he is a clone of Antonin Scalia - only kinder and gentler. The Associated Press reported today, "So consistently conservative, Alito has been dubbed 'Scalito'; or 'Scalia-lite' by some lawyers because his judicial philosophy invites comparisons to conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. But while Scalia is outspoken and is known to badger lawyers, Alito is polite, reserved and even-tempered." Alito, from the 3rd Circuit U.S. Appeals Court, is famous (or infamous, depending on who's reviewing his record) for being the lone dissenter on a case in the early 1990s (Planned Parenthood v. Casey) in which the 3rd Circuit struck down a Pennsylvania law that would have required women seeking abortions to notify their spouses. Alito wrote, "The Pennsylvania legislature could have rationally believed that some married women are initially inclined to obtain an abortion without their husbands' knowledge because of perceived problems - such as economic constraints, future plans or the husbands' previously expressed opposition - that may be obviated by discussion prior to the abortion." The case ended up at the Supreme Court, which struck down the spousal notification provision of the law. Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist dissented from the 6-3 majority, and cited Alito's reasoning in his dissent. There are two ways this nomination could go. Democrats could back down and allow Alito to be confirmed with some saber rattling, but no action. Or, they could try to launch a filibuster, which would test the "Gang of 14" deal. If the Democrat half of the gang agrees to help the home team instead of the gang, then Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist will have to decide whether to invoke the so-called "nuclear" or "constitutional" option, and the Republican half of the gang will be tested. One way or the other, I believe the chances are better than not that Alito will be confirmed. Confirming him without a major fight would get much of Bush's base off his back. Confirming him with a fight would not only get them off his back, but would re-energize them and make it possible that he can do more than just tread water for the rest of his presidency.
posted by Jack Mercer @ 10/31/2005 06:35:00 AM  
  • At 11/01/2005 01:10:00 AM, Blogger Nölff said…

    I think Bush was trying to appease a wider spectrum with Myers. He took a strong right direction with Alito. I would have rather seen Myers get the job.

  • At 11/01/2005 05:55:00 PM, Blogger Lightning Bug's Butt said…

    Yep. They're getting what they hoped for!

  • At 11/02/2005 04:00:00 PM, Blogger Jack Mercer said…

    Nolff, I wrote this response on one of the many left-leaning blogs I visit. It was talking about the Miers nomination, but also in response to the frequent use of the term "right-winger". I thought I would reprint it here for your thoughts:

    CH, I think you're off a little on your definition of right winger. Bear with me:

    If one starts at democracy in the middle of the political model, then proceeds left he will become socialistic, communistic, then fascistic. (Credit: Lenin) If one proceeds right from democracy, then he will become libertarian, anarchic, ochlocratic, then fascistic. If you think about this, then its a big circle. If one deviates any direction from democracy then the ending point is fascism no matter which way you go.

    Now think about the Bush administration and its policy. Economically Bush's fiscal policy is almost identical to Clinton's (which was a continuation of Bush the elder's, which was a departure from Reagan's which was a reaction to Carter's). His economic policy is largely socialistic or Keynesian. I won't take the time to explain all that here, but would be happy to drop you an email if you want me to go into detail. His policies aren't RIGHT at all--nothing libertarian or any of the others--but exceedingly socialistic in nature. Most of his domestic policy is also socialistic in nature.

    You mentioned the Patriot Act--another social policy based on collectivism (giving up individual freedom for the safety of the collective).

    Much of what we see the administration and our current single party doing is moving further and further toward the left--toward fabian socialism--toward communism, then toward fascism. Most people know what complete fascism is (although we are a long way from experiencing it here--I have lived under fascism, and Americans don't have a clue--which I'm thankful for our Constitution which holds it in check) It's common sense. One way to see this very simply is to look around you and ask the question, "as a society and governmentally are we more liberal than we were 20 years ago?" If your obvious answer is "Yes", then compare our freedoms to what we had 20 years ago--and you will see them consistenly disappearing. So a leftward direction is a restriction on freedom, just as much as a rightward directio would eventually be.

    "Wait, Jack--I'm a liberal, but I believe in individual freedoms!" you might say, and yes, I have met few liberals who do not favor individual freedoms, but they are of the variety they prefer, meanwhile they empower the government to remove more and more of the checks and balances that guarantee us those freedoms. Gay marriage. The government has no business in marriage to begin with, but the current socialist thought is "gay marriage is not good for society as a whole, therefore we must legislate it away"--Socialism--although not the kind that many liberals morally want. One can't have it both ways, either we limit the power of government or we expand it, and it is the agenda of fabian socialists to involve the government in every aspect of our lives.

    CH, did you know that the original intent of the second amendment was to guarantee that citizens would have the means to arm themselves and rise up against a tyranical government when it began to overstep its boundaries? Most liberals don't, and yet they want to take away all guns from citizens not realizing that the purpose of that amendment was to give the people the power over the government to keep it from imposing "gay marriage bans", etc. Of course we are far outgunned now by our own military, but that was the purpose of the second amendment. You see, where our founding fathers came from weapons were denied the plebian class so that they could not rebel effectively against totalitarian rule. So they kept them disarmed. The left is adamant about disarming the public, all in the name of "public safety', but not once realizing that in doing so they increase the power of totalitarian rule. that what they really ultimately want? Hm...

    Several other things you say are endemic to both sides--fear--the left uses it daily to advance its agenda. Scares old people with their social security, parents with speculation of conscription, and a host of other things. Fear is used by anyone to advance an agenda. I have read more paranoia from the left in recent years, more kook conspiracy theories, more wacked our phobias than I have the "right" in a long time. Its there, and neither side owns the franchise.

    War, war has been waged from all angles of the political spectrum. From the left we saw Stalin and his socialist machine, Hitler with his fascist agenda, and the American Revolution from quite a different angle. The contemporary American liberal has been brainwashed to think: war-right, peace-left, but in all reality would have to deny that the left has been just as involved in war as the right so-called (Roosevelt, Clinton, LBJ, JFK, Truman, Wilson, etc., etc.)

    Anyhow, CH, I think that a lot of what you say is true, but if evaluated we would see that many of the things we are seeing in our present government are things that we have allowed to take place through our complacency. Keep in mind that egalitarianism is always at odds with individualism, and when we try to do away with individual rights as guaranteed by the Constitution and start making decisions for the "collective good", we end up with decisions like Kelo vs. London. Such are the aims and goals of socialism (which it proudly admits).

    Right wing--an extreme right winger would be a person who shoots an abortion doctor, just like an extreme left winger would be a person who spikes trees so that loggers kill themselves with their own chainsaws. Both have the same moral makeup, and are identical in though, just differing on issues. I happen to believe that there is no right wing faction in the United States (except maybe the libertarians--which I am most like) while the rest are out and about accomplishing those goals of the left leaning spectrum. Remember, just think over time and it becomes pretty obvious.

    Another thing, it would be unfair and inaccurate to label a originalist or Constitutionalist conservative judge "right wing". The judge I describe here recognizes that his job is to administer the law, not change it or legislate from the bench. I would think that all freedom loving liberals would want that--since we see what the liberals on the court did to us in Kelo vs. New London.

  • At 11/05/2005 02:26:00 PM, Blogger chickenhawk said…

    You know, I usually look over what I write, but I was looking to invite a ton of feedback and clarifications. And I got it. I think I took it out of context a little bit and I fell for the label of neo-con and used that. But that does not work really. It really is hard to define nowadays because there are so many overlaps. The Patriot Act is by no means conservative, thats for sure; it alters the constitution. I was definitely aware of the second amendment, and you are dead on about that. And I agree with your analysis:
    'I happen to believe that there is no right wing faction in the United States (except maybe the libertarians--which I am most like) while the rest are out and about accomplishing those goals of the left leaning spectrum.'

    According to the traditional definitions of right-wing, I do agree with that. The libertarians part, maybe. I am most like them as well; I find it to be the most centrist and rational and the platform itself has so much more moral clarity than the Democrats or Republicans. It is economic and social freedom; how is that not what this country is about?

    A little aside: I was googling articles on Libertarianism one day and I came across one from some Republican writer shooting its platform down. His main argument, comically enough, was that it was "too utilitarian." What the hell does that mean? I was a philosophy minor, I love the subject because it is so nitpicky and tries to answer everything, so it is persistent, and the principle of utility says that, that which is pleasing to most is best. Now I have to go back and check out the roots of Democracy, but does majority rule not sound like a utilitarian principle? If that is the best argument against Libertarianism that someone can raise, how are we still only a two-party system?

  • At 11/08/2005 06:43:00 PM, Blogger Jack Mercer said…

    CH, wasn't particularly critiquing so much as just saving myself some typing. You are right about the overlaps, that's the reason we have to look at things in both a micro and macro sense.

    My theory about us becoming a two party system is as follows: We have two parties in Washington whose goals are personal power and control. One is headed that direction at 75 miles per hour, the other at 55. Both parties have the same goal, but in order to stay in power (that DARNED Constitution) they have to pander to their constituents. Make them hear what they want to hear.

    We the people have willingly shirked our responsibilities and the government has willingly taken on the mantle of good samaritan (big brother)--an entity that will supply all our needs. For example, our responsibility to feed those who are unable to feed themselves (disabled) has been given to the government (whose pockets are unlimited--they keep their hands in ours) thereby creating dependence. Dependence gives that same government power. Then we have those politicians who are doing everything in their power to STAY in power (McCain-Feingold), by taking away constitutionally granted rights.

    Keep in mind, CH, that the Constitution was about giving the power to the people, not the government. When we have politicians who try to circumvent it, judges who try to rewrite it, and people who sit by and let it be taken for granted, then we simply usher in the golden age of tyranny. Is this worth a full belly? Is this worth medical care? We no longer have any patriots like Patrick Henry who would take death before giving away liberty--nor do we have any patriots who honor the scores of dead who have died to secure that liberty.

    Starting to ramble...


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