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Location: Montgomery Area, Alabama, United States

Former BUFF driver; self-styled military historian; paid (a lot) to write about beating plowshares into swords; NOT Foamy the Squirrel, contrary to all appearances. Wesleyan Jihadi Name: Sibling Railgun of Reasoned Discourse

Monday, July 11, 2005

SCOTUS Campaign -- The Forces Muster

As the WaPo reports today, Anti-Bush forces are mustering around campfires across the Bluerentheses. Even WaPonik Hanna Rosin gently makes light of the MoveOn-dot-foilhat crowd in her Style Section first page story:

Call Up the Troops, Then Clean the Grill
Summer's Hottest Social Issue: The Supreme Court in Flux

"It's like the Howard Dean days," says a lady who is standing over by the pool, eating a piece of sushi. And in form, at least, it is: groups of strangers meeting in suburban back yards or tiny downtown apartments on a Saturday night, telling stories of "how I got involved," resuscitating that common enemy from the heady pre-election days, known in these circles as "the fascist government" or "the people destroying this country" or sometimes simply "Them."

Like the sushi. Nice touch. Rosin is as lefty as they come ("they are human"), but she realizes how that line will play: "hmmmm...we eat steak and hotdogs when we grill out. What kinda mango-kiwi fruit cocktail eats sushi at a cook-out?" Rosin either finds these kinds almost as amusing as I do, or she's the most tone-deaf writer alive. Subtle digs abound:

This one is in the backyard of Chuck Fazio's house in Mount Vernon, a lovely spot on the site of George Washington's pig farm, overlooking Dogue Creek on one side and Fazio's pool on the other. The pool is decorated with what he jokingly calls his "tiki luau masks."

Hmmm. House with a pool in Mount Vernon? I wonder what Mr Fazio's income is compared with the Army NCOs who live on Belvoir across Dogue Creek from him? Bet they can't afford the luxury of being Democrats.

Then came that black post-election phase when people at the party recall feeling "pretty depressed" or "burned out" or "drained" or "exhausted." "Let's just say I suffered quietly" are Fazio's words. He moped along, feeling helpless and frustrated, watching a lot of Fox News and throwing boxes of Cheerios at "Hannity & Colmes." Then came the fateful day of The Surprise Resignation.

Fazio was working in San Francisco when his partner, Genny Morelli, text-messaged him.

"Did you hear?"

She didn't have to fill in the details. He knew, and she knew he would know.

"Oh. My. God. We're in deep (expletive)," is what she remembers him saying.

"Gen, this is the worst freakin' news I could ever imagine," is how he recalls it.

And the future suddenly took shape. No more aimless Cheerios-throwing. Genny would come home from work every day and say to herself: "Chuck is energized."

I love this stuff! "His 'partner?'" Throwing cheerio boxes at Fox? Classic.

Eighteen miles away in a Woodley Park apartment, Vijaya Thakur, 20, is holding her own house party. She's called it the "Progressive Love Fest," because "there's a Republican in my office who was making fun of the MoveOn parties and calling it that."

Thakur is a student at Bryn Mawr and works at the Genocide Intervention Fund.

Thakur? Is this a Rob's list name, or is the young lady from the Middle East? Which leads to this question: Is she against genocide or for it?

The 30 or so people who've shown up are mostly young singles. The apartment is dorm-ish and looks like it could be packed up in an hour -- a mattress on the floor and a few mismatched chairs, two old desks covered with bags of Utz pretzels and potato chips, an old TV with a turn dial, nothing on the walls.

Well, she's gotta be able to get away quickly when her brother calls from the Madrassah in Pakistan and says, "It is time to leave, little one. Travel west and do not look back."

Meanwhile, cryptic signals have been received from Planet Wimp. Spokesthing ("man" somehow just doesn't seem to fit) for "moderates," Arlen Specter (""'R'"" PA) revealed on Face the Nation yesterday that he and a "number of senators" have approached retiring Justice O'Connor about staying on if she's offered the position of Chief Justice.

What species of worm dominates your home planet, Senator, and how does it create its perception of reality? Here on Earth, this is probably the most tone-deaf political move since Grand Kleagle Robert Byrd first tried to sell himself as a liberal Democrat. This would be absolute political seppuku for president Bush. There are plenty of social conservatives in the country who were and are lukewarm about his presidency, but who voted for him anyway specifically because he might have a chance to apppoint one or more SCOTUS justices and redress the court's liberal activist imbalance. The prospect of specifically retaining an unfavorable court balance and replacing the ailing, but genuinely conservative, Chief Justice with a squishy, fern-loving, moderate fence-sitter as head of the court is one that would keep hundreds of thousands of Red Staters at home come the 2006 elections--perhaps enough to upset the congressional balance of power. These people will feel betrayed. And rightly so. Of course, O'Connor as Chief Justice is possible. After all, the Kleagle did eventually manage to sell himself to the Teddy Kennedy crowd. And Arlen the Clown is the chairthing of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

And Specter thinks CJSDO'C is an absolutely smashing idea:

"She has received so much adulation that a confirmation proceeding would be more like a coronation, and she might be willing to stay on for a year or so."

Well...yes, Senator, it would be like a coronation. That's precisely the problem.


: Nan Aron, President of the "Alliance for Justice," who consults regularly and closely with Democratic senators concerning White House judicial nominees, spoke with Hugh Hewitt yesterday and let the feral cat out of the bag:

HH: Nan Aron, is Alberto Gonzales, the Attorney General, acceptable on the Supreme Court of the United States to you?

NA: ...I will tell you this much. There are a lot of concerns in his record, going to his role in authorizing torture in prisons around the world...

HH: Judge Emilio Garza has also been mentioned. Do you expect you would have to oppose Judge Garza?

NA: ...From what we know of Judge Garza's record at this particular point, there's some very troubling cases on privacy and other matters...

HH: Judge Alito in the [3rd Circuit], could you see yourself supporting him?

NA...think the same is true with Judge Alito. He's also got a troubling record that raises many questions about his commitment to individual rights and freedom...

HH: How about if he brings back Miguel Estrada, to promote him?

NA:...Miguel Estrada appeared before the Senate Judiciary Commitee, and answered very, very few questions put to him by the Senators. I thought that situation was deplorable...

HH: Now, of course, Janice Rogers Brown was just appointed to a lifetime appointment on the federal bench...

NA: That's correct.

HH: So she could probably get through with your approval, because she's already met the test of the gang of 14, right?

NA: No, no, no. She has not.

Aron goes on to explain that the Gang of 14's "horse trading" did not involve any deal to approve future appointments for the judges involved in the deal and that all three would be "unacceptable."

Surprise, surprise. They'll oppose and filibuster anyone Bush nominates to the court, no matter how "moderate." This is an opportunity for Bush, however: since they'll be agin' anybody, go ahead and nominate real conservatives for every vacancy. Enforce the party line, invoke the nuke option, and exact a painful price for failure to comply. This may cost Republicans the Senate in 2006, but who cares? If they can't get conservatives on the court, what difference does having a Republican majority make? Right now, it just seems to exist to give Arlen the Spectre a venue from which to lobby future-President Hillary for a top cabinet post.

This is the most important domestic issue Bush will face during his Presidency. If he fails to deliver, we--the Republican rank and file--will gladly hand the country back over to the opposition so they can trash it and the world for four years and we can then get a real conservative in 2012. Comfy, collegiate cigar-puffers in Congress--on both sides of the aisle--shouldn't kid themselves: the next four election cycles (at least) will hinge on how completely Republicans can get out their Red State vote. Red Staters who are lukewarm about the Republicans will stay home and this is the only way the party of Howard Dean will win anything. We are willing to stay home and let them win, too, if this President disappoints us and if, in so doing, we can force the next Republican president to listen and can purge the party of clowns and wets like Arlen Specter.


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