Friday, July 01, 2005

We're Playing By the Enemy's Rules


It’s funny, last week I was going to write that the
big battle of the summer would be over the U.S.
Supreme Court. Although I admit, I was thinking of

O’Connor was the one who, when it was announced that
Al Gore had elected President in 2000, said, “this is
terrible.” I guess she was thinking of leaving and
couldn’t. But then the Supreme Court put Bush in the
White House and she stayed until now.

But she’s leaving, and since she really is “the swing
justice,” the battle to replace her will be fierce.

I won’t predict who Bush will nominate. I can’t read
his mind and don’t care to learn how. Besides, as one
liberal blogger said, “every time I write about Bush
and say, ‘but he wouldn’t really do that, would he?’
he goes and does exactly that.”

Knowing Bush, though, he won’t shy away from
controversy, and it will probably be someone
relatively young and possibly Hispanic.

If it isn’t a woman, then we’ll have 8 men and 1 woman
on our highest court, which seems odd for a country
where more than half the voters are female.

Suppose 6 or 7 justices were women? What do you think
the odds would be then of overturning Roe v. Wade?

Oh well, ladies, you can’t have everything.


If you think it’s been a while since we’ve had a
vacancy, you’re right.

On February 3, 1812, Justice Joseph Story was sworn in
as Associate Justice. For the next eleven years and
one month, the same 9 Justices would serve together on
the Supreme Court until Justice Brockholst Livingston
died on March 18, 1823 -- the longest time without a
change in our country's history.

On August 3, 1994, Justice Stephen Breyer was sworn in
as Associate Justice. Since then, the same nine
Justices have served together on the Supreme Court
and, on September 13th, 2005, they will surpass the
old record set in 1823.



I really don’t know who he should or will nominate.
But one Republican wrote this today:

“By definition, those will never be "consensus"
nominees. Justices Ginsburg and Breyer were not
"consensus" nominees, nor should any Republican
nominees be—particularly when Republicans control the
Senate, for heaven's sake. “

This is absolutely false.

Bush could, but won’t, find a consensus nominee. A
war is not inevitable.

Look, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer WERE
consensus nominees.

Orrin Hatch recommended them to Bill Clinton --
because Clinton consulted with him, even though
Republicans were in the MINORITY.

Ginsburg was confirmed 96 - 3 and Breyer 87 - 9.

Maybe Bill Clinton had some deep-seated psychological
need to please everybody, I don’t know.

But America was a lot less divided when he was the
President, and there was a reason for it.



I won’t bore anyone with my thoughts on Sandra Day
O’Connor as a justice, though liberals could have done
a lot worse. She was very thoughtful, clearly the
driving force of the court the last few years, and
therefore has come in for a lot of criticism on the
left and right for her obvious attempts at crafting a
political compromise on recent issues.

Not only will the war over her replacement be tough,
but the court itself will be a more divisive place.

No, my favorite memory of Sandra Day O’Connor involves
former football great John Riggins. John Riggins was
truly a great player and very popular among Redskins
fans. Apparently he was sitting next to O’Connor a
formal dinner and as a dinner companion he found her a
bit stiff, compared to the women he was used to.

Drinking perhaps too much, he managed blurt out:

“Hey, loosen up, Sandy baby!”

before sliding under the table and passing out.

Maybe now Sandy will finally get the chance.



Like you, I watched Bush’s speech the other night with
great interest.

Ha. Ha. Just kidding. Like everyone else, I skipped
it, which got lower ratings than the Home Shopping
Network, in favor of the appropriately titled
“Empire,” which is not, surprisingly, about the

The general consensus seems to be that it’s the worst
major speech he’s ever given. I’m not just saying
that. I admit that most people loved his inaugural,
both convention speeches, and most of SOTUs.

But here he is, at Fort Bragg (I mean, how perfect is
that?), in front of his favorite prop, U.S. soldiers,
giving a very emotional speech, with tributes to the
troops, and he got one ovation other than at the end.
Other than that, there was polite applause.

Obviously they felt it was necessary for Bush to look
serious about the war and address growing concerns.

So we heard about how Iraq is a hot bed of terror and
that we’re not leaving. About how we’re going to win,
or why we’re there now, or what our objective is, or
what the plan is: nothing.



"Some wonder whether Iraq is a
central front in the war on terror.
Among the terrorists, there is no debate.
Hear the words of Osama Bin Laden:
'This Third World War is raging' in Iraq."

-- George W. Bush

Yes, he really quoted his new best friend, Osama Bin
Laden, in the middle of the speech. As an authority
on the war, I guess.

This is not just a joke on my part.

Honestly, what do you think Bin Laden’s goal was on
September 11th?

To kill a lot of Americans?

Try again.

It was to start a worldwide war between the Christian
West and the Muslim East, with himself as spokesman
for Islam.

In other words, in attacking the TwinTowers and the
Penatgon, they were trying to provoke the U.S. into
launching a war in the Middle East.

And guess what happened.

Even taking Bush at his word -- and I don’t -- that
we’re fighting “terror” over there (a ridiculous
phrase, BTW), we are fighting this war BY THE OTHER

Osama started this war, and we’re fighting on HIS
turf! Ever heard of "home court advantage"?

Listen to Bush:

"We fight today because terrorists want to attack our
country and kill our citizens, and Iraq is where they
are making their stand."

Who the hell cares where they’re making their stand?

Ever thought about NOT letting Osama bin Laden drive
American foreign policy?

Guess not.


I said it the afternoon of September 11, 2001. The
Republicans would ride this horse for years.

They still can’t decide if it was the worst day in
American history or the best.

They want us to remember it, anyway, because of how
you felt that day: unquestioning faith in our new,
untested, unexperienced, unknowledgeable, novice

Remember the Bush campaign slogan of 2004, referencing
9/11: "The nation's darkest hour and Bush's finest."

So in his speech to the troops he mentioned,
“September the eleventh,” as he is wont to do, both in
phrase and habit, over and over and over again.

The reaction is:

No one’s buying it. Not this time. Americans don’t
want to hear your romantic fantasies about being a big
9/11 hero anymore. Enough already.

He’s like Al Bundy reliving high school football glory
days. “Remember that time I scored the winning

Yes! Be the way, the kids are out of control, the
house is a mess and the dog needs to be walked. Also,
Osama bin Laden is still at large, in case you forgot.

So why don’t drop the happy memory routine, put away
the football jersey that doesn’t fit you anymore, get
off the couch and get a real job?


Time between the September 11 attacks, and today,
while Osama bin Laden remains at large:

1,380 days

Time elapsed from the assault on Pearl Harbor to the
surrender of Japan, in which the U.S. managed to
defeat German, Italy,and Japan, fighting a war in Europe
and across the Pacific ocean.

1,365 days


The Republicans are trying to find someone to run
against Hillary in New York. And not succeeding.

I read this on the AP wire:

“Gearing up for a possible run for Senate against
Hillary Rodham Clinton, former President Nixon's
son-in-law Edward Cox announced the formation
Wednesday of an exploratory committee that includes
Henry Kissinger and other GOP elders."

"The exploratory committee includes Kissinger, Nixon's
national security adviser and secretary of state;
Theodore Roosevelt IV, former chairman of the League
of Conservation Voters and a managing director at
Lehman Brothers; and William H. Taft, a former
ambassador to NATO and legal adviser to the State

"Westchester County District Attorney Jeanine Pirro
has been mentioned as a possible Republican

First of all -- Cox, Kissinger, Nixon, Roosevelt, Taft
??– couldn’t he find anyone NOT straight out of some
liberal fantasy of an Old Boys Network?

The Brandy and Cigar set on the Titanic was more
diverse than this crowd.

As far as Jeanine Pirro is concerned – if she wants to run, I
say, bring it on!

Not only is she easily defeated – does the term
“tax evasion” mean anything to you – but we’ll probably
take the D.A. spot in Westchester too.


You know by now that 17 U.S. soldiers were killed in
Afghanistan this week when the Taliban a rocket to
shoot down a US helicopter. This is the second US
helicopter lost this week. Earlier in the week, Iraqi
guerrillas north of Baghdad downed one, killing two US

I support the war in Afghanistan, so I'm not going to
make a big deal about this, and the war there is
actually going well considering how few troops are

This is probably not unrelated to the fact that is was
a war of necessity, and not just for “fun,” or
whatever this week’s reason for Iraq adventure is.

So chalk this is to unfortunate things that happen,
but also note that the Taliban may be making a
comeback, and with sophisticated weapons.

Could it be that if we had more troops to spare we
could secure Afghanistan even more?

Just a thought.



Guerrillas launched a major attack in Samarra on

Carloads of gunmen came into the city and attacked a
building used by security forces with rocket propelled
grenades. They then attacked the hospital, until U.S.
and Iraqi government forces drove them back.

Samarra is an important city north of Baghdad, with a
population of nearly 200,000. Its early Islamic
monuments make it symbolically important.

One Middle East expert wrote:

“When ten carloads of guerrillas can just drive into
town and shoot it up, you know no one is really in
control of the place.”


"Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps,
the most to be dreaded because it comprises and
develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of
armies; from these proceed debts and taxes, known
instruments for bringing the many under the domination
of the few. No nation could preserve its freedom in
the midst of continual warfare."

-- James Madison, 4th U.S. President,
Political Observations, 1795

Happy Fourth!

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