Saturday, October 29, 2005

Who will replace Miers to replace O'Connor?

As I've said many times here at this liberal-moderate blog, it's important to pay close attention to what our friends and enemies on the right are saying. Closing ourselves off to conservatives and thereby reducing our part of the blogosphere to a self-indulgent, self-satisfying, and ultimately self-glorifying echo chamber is not an option -- well, it is, but it's not a good one. I have more to say about this, but I'll leave it for a future post.


For now, let's look at what the right is saying about who might be President Bush's next nominee for the Supreme Court -- that is, who might be Miers's replacement now that she's withdrawn her nomination. "Multiple sources are telling RedState that Samuel A. Alito, Jr. of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals will be named by the President at the next associate justice of the United States Supreme Court as early as Monday." Luttig may also be a leading candidate, but "[a]ll signs are pointing to Judge Alito right now". See also here.

Feddie of Southern Appeal, writing both at his own site and at Confirm Them, looks at Pryor, Sykes, and Alito. Go to the main page of either blog and scroll down for more.

See also Professor Bainbridge on Bush's "chance for a do over".

Back at the MSM, the Times looks at the next stage of this "pivotal battle": "The pressures from both sides present a political challenge for President Bush - and it could generate a battle that could bog down the Senate for months if Democrats decide to block a vote on the new nominee." The Times also mentions that Alito may be the leading candidate, but Luttig and Owen remain in play.

Ann Althouse responds.

PoliPundit has polled his readers "to see which potential Supreme Court nominees would be acceptable to [his] readers". Right now the top ten are, in order: Brown, Luttig, Alito, Owen, Estrada, Garza, McConnell, Williams, Cornyn, and Wilkinson. Gonzales is 18th, last on the list.

More to follow. Stay tuned.

Bookmark and Share

Friday, October 28, 2005

On Cheney's inner circle

Juan Cole (of Informed Comment fame) has an absolutely must-read piece called "All the Vice President's Men" at Salon, reprinted at Germany's Der Spiegel. Cole, one of academia's (and the blogosphere's) leading figures on the Middle East, unmasks the hawkish, largely neocon circle of advisors that Cheney put in place in early 2001. Here's a key early passage:

Most of the members of Cheney's inner circle were neoconservative ideologues, who combined hawkish American triumphalism with an obsession with Israel. This does not mean that the war was fought for Israel, although it is undeniable that Israeli concerns played an important role. The actual motivation behind the war was complex, and Cheney's team was not the only one in the game. The Bush administration is a coalition of disparate forces -- country club Republicans, realists, representatives of oil and other corporate interests, evangelicals, hardball political strategists, right-wing Catholics, and neoconservative Jews allied with Israel's right-wing Likud party. Each group had its own rationale for going to war with Iraq.

Make sure to read the whole thing. It's absolutely fascinating. And it explains just how we got to this point -- an increasingly unpopular war, an indictment of a top White House official, and unanswered questions about Niger, Berlusconi, and who knew what and who did what to whom before the war and during the Bush Administration's cover-up of its own incompetence.

Bookmark and Share

Don't they know it's Fitzmas?

Merry Fitzmas everyone!

Bookmark and Share

The Libby indictment

Think Progress has the full text of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's indictment. All five counts: 1 for obstruction of justice, 2 for making false statements, and 2 for perjury.

(Trivia question: What does the 'I' stand for? Answer at bottom of post -- don't peek!)

I'll have more on this later and through the weekend, including round-ups of reaction from around the blogosphere.

I'm disappointed, if not surprised, that Rove wasn't indicted. At least he remains under investigation, however. For my take on where liberals and Democrats can (and should) go from here, see last night's round-up.

In the meantime, go check out Talking Points Memo, where Josh Marshall is doing some typically excellent work on this story, including the Niger forgeries -- lest we forget, all this comes back to the Bush Administration's manipulation of pre-war intelligence.

(Answer: Irving. I kid you not. For more on the mysterious I.L.L, otherwise known as "Scooter," see this recent piece at Slate.)

Bookmark and Share

Miers Withdrawal Watch -- Part 5 (finis)

I don't mean to say I told you so, but, uh, I told you so. From my Miers Withdrawal Watch -- Part 1 (Oct. 22):

It's going to happen.

See also Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.


The Post puts it succinctly: "The Bush administration withdrew the Supreme Court nomination of White House Counsel Harriet Miers yesterday, bowing to intensifying attacks from right-leaning activists challenging the depth of her conservative credentials and the strength of her judicial qualifications."

It had to happen. Miers may be a nice enough person, but there's no way she's qualified for a spot on the Supreme Court. Plus, pundits and bloggers from all across the spectrum united, in a way, against her nomination. President Bush rarely gives in and admits defeat (which this was -- it wasn't about executive power, as the spin goes), but this was a doomed debacle from the very start.

Who's next? -- Alito? Luttig? McConnell? Batchelder? Sykes? Callahan? Olson? Williams? Owen? Gonzales? Cornyn? Jones? Brown? The list is long, but these are some of the names that are out there.

My prediction? I'll go with McConnell. Or Sykes. Or Callahan.

But who knows? There are any number of directions Bush could take with this pick.


The blogosphere has lit up on this story. I may do a round-up over the weekend, once things have calmed down a bit and it's easier to pick out the better posts out there, but, for now, I recommend going to Memeorandum and scrolling down for all the latest posts on Miers's withdrawal.

Oh, alright, I'll mention one... one on the right:

Captain's Quarters: "No conservative or Republican should feel like gloating over the withdrawal of Harriet Miers today, although perhaps a feeling of relief would be understandable. Bush made a mistake in nominating Miers, but it wasn't Miers' mistake -- and she acted honorably in withdrawing her name once it became clear that her nomination enjoyed little support among Republicans in the Senate and elsewhere."

And: "On the other hand, let's also not engage in sniping at each other further now that the Miers nomination has ended. We need to focus on the nomination ahead, and how best to engage the full Senate caucus to line up behind a candidate that reflects GOP control of the Senate. That requires not just a demonstrably originalist thinker who can help transform the Court from its activist impulses and return it to its traditional and balanced role, but also a unified base that can put as much energy into supporting such a candidate as we put into the debate over Miers."


Memo to my liberal and moderate friends: This is what we're up against. I called Miers the Yoko Ono of the right, and I and others pointed gleefully to the conservative crack-up that her nomination seemed to instigate, but it's clear that the right will unite behind Bush's next nominee if that nominee is clearly one of them. Just pay attention to what they're saying.

It's far too early to predict the demise of the conservative movement and/or the disintegration of the Republican coalition. We didn't win this one, because there wasn't anything to win. Miers withdrew her nomination (or had her nomination withdrawn) because the right objected to her nomination -- Frum and Kristol had more to do with it than liberal or Democratic opposition, much of which was muted.

Stay strong. The battle begins anew. And it will be far tougher than the Miers debacle ever was.

Bookmark and Share

ROVE may be FITZGERALD's target (and how Democrats should respond)

Rumors are rampant and speculation runs wild. See last night's round-up of the pre-indictment scene here.

Today brought more of the same (if no indictments or anything else of much substance).


First, the MSM:

Here's what The New York Times had to say:

Lawyers in the C.I.A. leak case said Thursday that they expected I. Lewis Libby Jr., Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, to be indicted on Friday, charged with making false statements to the grand jury.

Karl Rove, President Bush's senior adviser and deputy chief of staff, will not be charged on Friday, but will remain under investigation, people briefed officially about the case said. As a result, they said, the special counsel in the case, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, was likely to extend the term of the federal grand jury beyond its scheduled expiration on Friday.

As rumors coursed through the capital, Mr. Fitzgerald gave no public signal of how he intended to proceed, further intensifying the anxiety that has gripped the White House and left partisans on both sides of the political aisle holding their breath.

Mr. Fitzgerald's preparations for a Friday announcement were shrouded in secrecy, but advanced amid a flurry of behind-the-scenes discussions that left open the possibility of last-minute surprises. As the clock ticked down on the grand jury, people involved in the investigation did not rule out the disclosure of previously unknown aspects of the case.

See also The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, and CNN. (The Anonymous Liberal comments on the Times vs. the Post.)


Second, the blogosphere:

The Moderate Voice, as usual, is all over the story -- with links to posts by Joe, me, and my fellow co-bloggers. See also here.

AMERICAblog is making the best of it and remains optimistic: "I won't lie to you, I'd rather have a Rove indictment (and we still may get one -- let's face it, it ain't over till the Irish prosecutor sings). But having this be a non-conclusion, having the Veeps chief of staff indicted, and having Rove REMAIN under investigation is pretty damn good. It will keep the White House in chaos for years to come. I still say it's 50-50 that Rove resigns tomorrow so that the president can move on."

I'd like a Rove indictment, too -- if it's warranted. But it's certainly true that a continuation of the investigation would keep the White House off-balance.

Hunter at Daily Kos: "The 'will remain under investigation' part seems to pretty clearly paint him as a continued target, though, so I don't see much joy in Roveland for the time being."

No, but there's some joy in Reactionland. It's fun to watch the Bushies squirm.

The Heretik rejects the Clinton comparison tossed around by conservatives without a clue: "A lie is a lie is a lie, as those who attacked Clinton would say and this has come back to haunt them. But whereas Clinton’s lies were in a private sphere made all too public, what we have here are lies made in private that have done great public damage."

In an excellent post, Needlenose looks at some of the key players in this story.

See also The Mahablog. And TalkLeft has some thoughts.


On the right, which hasn't had much to say about Plamegate recently, John Hinderaker at Power Line is more positive (from the right's perspective) than most: "So, if the Times is right, it's good news for the administration and a disappointment for the Democrats, who have staked so much on Fitzgerald's investigation."

But Jonah Goldberg at NRO's The Corner is worried about what will happen if Rove is neither indicted nor cleared but left in a state of purgatory: "This situation (if it is the situation) brings no closure of any kind. The media is obviously going to take a glass-is-half-full perspective on this and keep up Rove-indictment-watch. That means Rove remains distracted, no fresh start."

Goldberg and AMERICAblog essentially agree (which may be a Sign of the Apocalypse... or a Sign of the Renaissance... I'm just not sure). And I generally agree with them. For now (given that we still don't know what's going to happen).


Generally, liberals are waiting with heightened anticipation, but Kevin Drum at Washington Monthly, whom I admire as much as anyone in the blogosphere, remains characteristically cautious (and sensible): "I hope this isn't turning into a Ken Starr-style fishing expedition. As much as I'd like to see Karl Rove frog marched out of the West Wing, I have to say that if Fitzgerald hasn't been able to make a case against him in two years, it might be time to call it a day. This investigation shouldn't last forever." Andrew Sullivan makes much the same point.

I tend to agree -- to a point. What concerns me is that many of Bush's opponents (Democrats, liberals, etc.) are still looking for the smoking gun that will bring him down. Back in June, it was the Downing Street Memo, but that really didn't go anywhere. Now it's the outing of Valerie Plame (and, beyond her, the Bush Administration's manipulation of pre-war intelligence and its dirty campaign against its own opponents), but what if there just isn't a smoking gun? Aren't Bush's opponents -- aren't we -- placing too much emphasis on Fitzgerald's investigation? Aren't we hoping for too much?

No, don't get me wrong. I'm no Richard Cohen. I'm not saying that no one did anything wrong or that the investigation should stop -- nor are Drum and Sullivan. But let's let the indictments come down and go from there. If further investigation is required, so be it. I wish Fitzgerald all the best and hope he turns up the truth. But if not, or if it's just Libby and not Rove, or if there's no evidence that Cheney was involved, or if the story ends on awhimperr and evaporates into oblivion, then shouldn't we just move on?

We seem to be stuck here, waiting, waiting, waiting, hoping, hoping, hoping, fingers crossed that Fitzmas is right around the corner, that we'll come down early in the morning, open up our stockings, and find Rove's mugshot and video of a disgraced Cheney departing Washington for Halliburton-funded retirement in Wyoming. And then... oh, what then?! Bush's approval ratings tanking back into the 30s, then into the 20s, a cannibalistic GOP descending further into self-destruction, the Plame Game become the Blame Game, and a triumphant Democratic Party sweeping through 2006 with possession of both houses of Congress, then kicking the bastards out of the White House two years later.

(Sorry, was I dreaming?)

Look, let's just remain sober about this. It looks like Libby will be indicted, but Rove may get off (so to speak). Can we live with that?

Either way, if that's what happens, if there's no Fitzmas, let's not get too down. We need to think about what we stand for, what our core ideas are, and how, more practically, we can win in 2006 and 2008 -- see here for my post on how Democrats can win again. But also, we need to focus less on what Bush's officials have been up to and more on what Bush himself has been up to. That is, if I may be so partisan, let's focus on Iraq, the war on terrorism, Katrina, the Miers debacle, social security, tax cuts and the bloated deficit, health care, and all the other issues on which we're right and they're wrong, on which Bush has been an abject failure and on which the Republicans have taken America down a path to weakness and insecurity.

I also hope for the best -- the more indictments the merrier, the more disgrace the better -- but I'm also prepared for a less-than-best outcome. Let's not get stuck here. Fitzmas or no Fitzmas, there's still a lot for us to do.

Bookmark and Share

Dennis Hastert, blogger

For what it's worth, Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-IL) has his own blog.

Two responses:

Wonkette: "Here's definitive proof that the GOP is in serious trouble: House Speaker Dennis Hastert has launched his own blog... There is, we admit, something hypnotic about Hastert's deadpan delivery of allegedly important dispatches from his cranium," but "we think the Speaker could use a bit of assistance in refining his blog voice." Indeed.

Instapundit: "[H]eck, if we can get Dennis Hastert blogging, anything's possible." Indeed again.

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Plamegate round-up (reminder)

Again, my round-up is here (or scroll down a few posts).

Over at The Moderate Voice, Joe Gandelman's done a great round-up with commentary -- see here.

Bookmark and Share

Miers Withdrawal Watch -- Part 4

Okay, I know, it seems like piling on at this point -- but the MWW must go on! Just a quick one tonight, however. I spent so long on my Plamegate round-up that I have little energy left for Miers... for now.

Whatever Miers's qualifications for a seat on the Supreme Court (or, rather, whatever her lack of qualifications even to be considered for a seat on the Supreme Court) and whatever the various and sundry criticisms that have been hurled her way (and Bush's) from across the political spectrum, there hasn't been much doubt of her seemingly successful pre-Washington career down in Texas. After all, she managed a fairly large law firm in Dallas and was president of both the Dallas Bar Association and the Texas State Bar.

Sounds impressive, right? Sure. But was it? Uh, no.

At Slate, the well-credentialed Mark Obbie attests to Miers's fundamental "mediocrity". Apparently, that seemingly successful pre-Washington career wasn't so impressive.


Elsewhere, conservatives are still speaking up (even as they have so little to say about Plamegate and Fitzmas):

Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters has read a speech Miers delivered to the Executive Women of Dallas in 1993. And he's not impressed:

The first quality that comes across when I read this speech is its mediocrity. I assume Miers wrote it herself, because no one would pay for something written this poorly, just on a mechanical level. It's full of incomplete sentences, poor grammar, conjugation errors, and the like...

Mechanically, this speech reveals a mediocrity in composition that is truly disturbing. What about the content? Unfortunately, that doesn't improve the picture much at all, either...

And so (finally):

I'm off the fence for good now. I oppose the Miers nomination. I have no objection to allowing Miers her day in front of the Judiciary Committee; if the Bush administration wants to subject itself to that kind of political damage, let it. The quality of her prepared speech strongly suggests that the White House will deeply regret that decision, but quite frankly, that will be their problem. The Judiciary Committee should reject her, as should the Senate, once her nomination hits the floor.

But if the White House has any sense left, they'll quickly withdraw her from consideration and spare itself further embarrassment.

But that's the key question: Does the White House have any sense left?

Professor Bainbridge has many more posts on Miers -- here, here, and here, for example (scroll down his main page for the rest).

See also Outside the Beltway and (with 22 questions for Hewitt and other right-wing defenders of Miers).

(Oh, at least The Volokh Conspiracy has something on Plamegate. Sort of.)


Speaking of which, stay tuned for updates on the indictments -- and more of the MWW.

Bookmark and Share

Get well soon, Steve Clemons

The Washington Note's Steve Clemons, one of our favourites here at The Reaction, was in a car accident last night. We wish him all the best and hope he recovers soon.

He's down, and "sore," but not out. Check out his latest post here, with updates on Plamegate (and some wonderful reader comments wishing him well).

No -- there's an even more recent one here. A new website and more office space: "Fitzgerald's operation is expanding."

Bookmark and Share

ROVE and LIBBY to be indicted

The Raw Story is reporting that "Special Prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has asked the grand jury investigating the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson to indict Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby and Bush’s Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice."

In addition, "Fitzgerald has also asked the jury to indict Libby on a second charge: knowingly outing a covert operative". Two other "officials" may also be indicted.

And a deal may have been offered to Rove. And turned down.

Read the whole story.

More to come.


Around the blogosphere:

The Anonymous Liberal, who's done some great work on this story, remains "skeptical". However, the story seems "plausible".

Hunter at Daily Kos links to another post by Richard Sale at Sic Semper Tyrannis: "[F]ederal law enforcement officials told this reporter that Fitzgerald was likely to charge the people indicted with violating Joe Wilson's civil rights, smearing his name in an attempt to destroy his ability to earn a living in Washington as a consultant." "Cheney is at the center of the controversy," and Sale is reporting that "[t]he probe is far from being at an end". A new grand jury may be empanelled and more indictments may be handed down.

At Hullaballoo, Digby responds: "First of all, the fact that there have been recent contacts with Cheney suggests that something really big is up. Second, the fact that he is going to empanel a new grand jury is also huge." And: "Gird yourselves for shrieks coming from the right so cacophanous that you will have permanent hearing damage if Fitz files civil rights charges. Their heads will start spinning like Linda Blair's and the words 'criminalization of politics' are going to be bursting forth like green pea soup."

Brilliantly put, Digby.

Steve Soto at The Left Coaster: "I'm not surprised that Fitzgerald hasn't pulled the trigger yet. There have been too many recent revelations leaking out and new developments such as his bull-rush into the Niger forgeries for me to think that he was ready. I personally now think that Fitzgerald will extend this grand jury after Friday, even if the indictments come down this week."

At Tapped, Garance Franke-Ruta gets to the heart of the matter:

Rather than signaling the end of the inquiry, however, indictments will mark the beginning of the real scandal investigation -- the public inquiry into and airing out of why the president and vice president of the United States of America took the nation to war based, in part, on forged documents that had already been disproven abroad and that were also rejected by the United States' own intelligence agencies.

That is the real scandal and the real mystery, and the more that is known about the origins of the Niger forgeries and the process by which they were given to White House sources, the more questions are raised about what, exactly, the White House thought it was doing. It is one thing for politicians to be misled by allegedly inept domestic intelligence agencies; it is quite another for them to ignore the work of intelligence agencies and use forged documents acquired through highly irregular back-channels, without verification, to mislead the American people and their elected congressional representatives in order to pursue personally desired military aims.

It's a must-read post. (Follow her links to Laura Rozen and Josh Marshall, both of whom have done some excellent work dissecting the highly disturbing Niger-Italy connection. See also Kevin Drum (also here) and Bradford Plumer.)

Balloon Juice looks at Plame's "status" at the CIA.

See also The Carpetbagger Report, Talk Left, Wonkette, and TBogg.

(The Carpetbagger Report also has a good round-up of the latest here.)

And what's going on over on the right? Nation editor Katrina Vanden Heuvel, hardly a friend of the right, suggests at The Huffington Post that conservatives are going through "the five stages of political grief". And so, as we await depression and acceptance: "In the meantime, we get to enjoy the hypocrisy of listening to Republicans run through the Clinton playbook. They are currently referring to the investigation as the 'criminalization of politics,' dismissing perjury as a 'technicality,' and smearing the Special Prosecutor. It is a veritable nostalgia-fest."

Indeed it is.


Otherwise, it's all quiet, more or less, on the right-wing front. Conservative blogs like Captain's Quarters and are still on the Miers story, while others like Power Line and Outside the Beltway are posting on this and that (the latest "Beltway Traffic Jam" is here), but they don't seem to have too much to say about these impending indictments.

Can you blame them?


But the real news: Nothing today. Which means yet more waiting.

Bookmark and Share

Japan's Oskar Schindler -- in Lithuania

Earlier this week, Annie at AmbivaBlog wrote a great post about Sempo Sugihara, a Japanese Oskar Schindler (or Raoul Wallenberg): "Sugihara, the Japanese consul in Lithuania, issued transit visas, written with his own hand, to thousands of threatened Jews in 1940 in defiance of the orders of his government. He is credited with saving 6,000 -- the 'Sugihara survivors.'"

Definitely worth the read -- and check out Annie's links for more on this incredible story.

Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The indictments are coming! The indictments are coming!

An "uber-insider source" tells Steve Clemons at The Washington Note (who graciously linked to me yesterday) the following:

1. 1-5 indictments are being issued. The source feels that it will be towards the higher end.

2. The targets of indictment have already received their letters.

3. The indictments will be sealed indictments and "filed" tomorrow.

4. A press conference is being scheduled for Thursday.

The "tomorrow" is now "today".

Plus, Steve has learned that "McCain was approached about serving as VP if Cheney has 'health problems' or otherwise steps down" and that "Miers will step down to be replaced by a Bork-like sub".

Well, these are "unsubstantiated rumors," but such is the state of mind in Washington at the moment. No one knows what's going to happen, which means that speculation can run amok. Still, anything's possible -- and I trust that Steve's sources are generally reliable.


The blogosphere is about to go nuts. Here's a sampling of reaction during the (relative) calm before the storm (a.k.a., Fitzmas):

Kevin Drum at Political Animal: "The bad news, though, is that Steve's source confirms my worst fears: Fitzgerald will be handing down sealed indictments. If that's true, it means we won't be any wiser tomorrow than we are today. All we'll have is some names and some charges, but no evidence."

The Anonymous Liberal: "But then again, maybe the indictments will only be sealed until the individuals surrender themselves (or are arrested), at which point they will be unsealed and Fitzgerald will hold a press conference."

MyDD: "I have generally refrained from speculating on what would actually happen when Fitzmas came, but now that we are on the brink... well, I still have no idea. My bet is that Rove and Libby are both going to be indicted. The way McClellan threw them under the bus today makes that seem likely."

Digby's Hullaballoo and The Carpetbagger Report consider the anonymous Mr. X. (Yes, this is getting better and better.)

For reaction on the right, see


Sleep well, everyone. We'll know more soon enough.

To quote one of my favourite movies, Almost Famous: "It's all happening."

Bookmark and Share

Marc Chagall: The Juggler (1943)

Speaking of the Times, this is the image that just appeared when I clicked over to the front page of Chagall's brilliant and beautiful "The Juggler". Not too shabby.

For the article, click here. Apparently (and I'm bursting with rage as I type this), "arts institutions across the country are cleaning out their closets for auctions starting next week" -- including works by Picasso, Modigliani, and Chagall.

Which qualifies as Sign of the Apocalypse #24.

Bookmark and Share

Just how popular is The New York Times?

In an interesting (and misleading) post, The Truth Laid Bear notes that the Times -- that would be The New York Times, America's paper of record (Judith Miller notwithstanding) -- is just a bit more popular, in terms of "unique visitors," than Daily Kos. But, of course, TTLB is referring to, not to the Times as a whole. Lest we forget, there's still a rather popular paper version out there.

Bookmark and Share

Majority now thinks Iraq War was wrong

More -- and more important -- poll numbers (than those in my previous post). From The Wall Street Journal:

A new Harris Interactive poll shows American sentiment about the situation in Iraq remains generally gloomy, with fewer than a quarter of Americans saying they are confident U.S. policies in Iraq will be successful.

For the first time, a majority of Americans (53%) feels that military action in Iraq was the wrong thing to do, according to the survey of 1,833 U.S. adults, compared with 34% who feel it was right.

At the same time, 66% of U.S. adults now say President Bush is doing a "poor" or "only fair" job of handling Iraq, while 32% say he is doing an "excellent" or "pretty good" job. That's little changed from a September Harris poll that found 65% rated Mr. Bush negatively and 34% rated him positively.

Sixty-one percent of Americans say they aren't confident U.S. policies in Iraq will be successful, slightly higher than 59% who lacked confidence in September. Additionally, only 19% of Americans surveyed believe the situation for U.S. troops in Iraq is improving, while 44% believe it is getting worse.

U.S. adults are split on where things are headed in Iraq: 38% believe things there are moving in the right direction, while another 38% believe they're moving in the wrong direction and 24% aren't sure.

These numbers surely speak for themselves, but here's some reaction out there in the blogosphere (from two of my favourites):

Kevin Drum at Political Animal: "I have a feeling that yet another series of 'same 'ol, same 'ol' speeches from the president aren't going to turn this around." As is often the case, I agree with Kevin. The referendum produced a positive result for Iraq, but this is far from over, and I doubt that Americans are prepared to wait that long for success.

Andrew Sullivan: "Americans are mature enough both to grieve for the U.S. and Iraqi casualties while understanding that wars always mean casualties. As to the future, the public is now evenly split on whether things are going in the right or wrong direction. Count me among the 24 percent who don't know for sure. I certainly hope that the political process will work in the end." I do, too. But who knows?

Bookmark and Share

If the election were held this year, Bush would lose...

But it wasn't. It was held last year and you all know what happened. Regardless, CNN is reporting that "[a] majority would vote for a Democrat over President Bush if an election were held this year":

In the latest poll, 55 percent of the respondents said that they would vote for the Democratic candidate if Bush were again running for the presidency this year.

Thirty-nine percent of those interviewed said they would vote for Bush in the hypothetical election.

That's a 16-point spread, people. What does that tell us? Nothing that we don't already know: Bush isn't all that popular at the moment.

Surprise, surprise, surprise...

(Such numbers may dull your lingering pain, my Democratic friends, as it dulls my own -- but we must all look ahead to a brighter future of Democratic pleasure.)

Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Banning goldfish bowls in Rome

Reuters is reporting that "Rome has banned goldfish bowls, which animal rights activists say are cruel, and has made regular dog-walks mandatory in the Italian capital".

Alright, that might be a bit much, I admit, but at least Italy is doing something about the serious problem of cruelty to animals, given that "around 150,000 pet dogs and 200,000 cats are abandoned in Italy every year": "In July 2004, parliament passed a law setting big fines and jail terms for people who abandon pets."

Well, yes, local governments are enacting their own rules and policing will be difficult. But it's a start.

Bookmark and Share

SCOTUS nominations in perspective

Here's a list of all Supreme Court nominations and votes from the very beginning -- John Jay in 1789 to John Roberts in 2005. A couple of things stand out at first glance:

Aside from close votes for Thomas (confirmed) and Bork (rejected), most votes since the back-to-back rejections of Haynsworth and Carswell in 1970, each nominated to replace Fortas, have been overwhelming bipartisan majorities. Clinton's two nominees, Ginsburg and Breyer, sailed through the Senate, and even Souter, now considered some sort of stealth liberal nominee by revisionist conservatives, was confirmed easily.

Voice votes may or may not have been close -- and there were many of them right up to Fortas, LBJ's first nominee -- but a few early rejections and the close votes on Jackson's, Tyler's, and Buchanan's nominees (and, later, Cleveland's nominees) indicate that partisanship is hardly a new phenomenon in American politics. Indeed, based on the numbers (which, admittedly, don't tell the whole story), most recent votes haven't been terribly partisan (perhaps because prospective nominees are now thoroughly vetted in advance). Bork and Thomas are the recent exceptions, but in both cases there were extenuating circumstances: Bork's hearings went badly, to say the least, and Thomas was clearly underqualified for the job -- and both are extremists on the far right.

Anyway, it's all quite interesting. Have a look.

Bookmark and Share

Iraq death toll reaches 2,000

Not including civilians, of course. The AP reports: "A U.S. Army sergeant died of wounds suffered in Iraq, the Pentagon announced Tuesday. The death -- along with two others announced Tuesday -- brought to 2,000 the number of U.S. military members who have died since the start of the Iraq conflict in 2003."

One hopes (perhaps against hope) that the end will one day justify the means. If not -- if Iraq doesn't transition to democracy and the Middle East remains and insoluble problem -- then for what exactly did they die?

(The ratification of Iraq's draft constitution is a positive step. I'll have more to say on that later.)

Bookmark and Share

Miers Withdrawal Watch -- Part 3

Over at The Moderate Voice, Joe Gandelman has an excellent round-up and analysis of the latest developments.

A new conservative website:, "the clearinghouse for people who believe Harriet Miers should withdraw her nomination".

Leading anti-Miers conservative (and fellow Canadian) David Frum has set up Americans for Better Justice, "a 501(c)(4) political non-profit organization made up of grassroots conservatives from across the country who support President George W. Bush, but disagree with the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court." He's even got a petition, should you care to jump on board.

Via Professor Bainbridge, here's more Hugh Hewitt. And a line-by-line critique of his Harrietaphilia at Confirm Them. Bainbridge, one of my favourites on the right (he mentions me here), has more here, here, and here.

On Monday's Daily Show, Bill Kristol predicted that the Miers nomination will be withdrawn within two weeks. (See the video via Crooks and Liars.)


The Reaction to The Truth Laid Bear: I oppose the Miers nomination.

Obviously. My initial post is here. It includes this: "America needs a Supreme Court that rises above mere competence and aspires to excellence. That, after all, is what the Framers of the Constitution envisioned. Cronyism aside, America can do better than Harriet Miers. She may be a smart, loyal, pleasant woman with a reputable career behind her, but she's no Supreme Court justice." See here for links to other posts and scroll down on the main page for more recent ones.

Previous installments of the MWW:


It's been another busy evening/night at The Reaction. Scroll down, or click on these links, for Monday/Tuesday posts on Brent Scowcroft, Zimbabwe, Darfur, Zogby on Bush, Hurricane Wilma, Ben Bernanke, and Rosa Parks.

(Meanwhile, let's see if this works. And this. And this. It's open trackbacking on the right. An interesting (and useful) idea for bloggers, and I certainly don't mind reaching out across the spectrum to conservatives -- well, some of them. After all, political difference is not necessarily preventative of mutual respect... We'll see how much more of it I do.)

Bookmark and Share

Rosa Parks is dead

From the Post: "Rosa Parks, the dignified African American seamstress whose refusal to surrender a bus seat to a white man launched the modern civil rights movement and inspired generations of activists, died last night at her home in Detroit, the Wayne County medical examiner's office said. She was 92."

And a truly courageous American.


La Shawn Barber has a good post (including a list of other bloggers commenting on Parks's death).

Bookmark and Share

Bernanke to succeed Greenspan as Fed chairman

From the Times:

President Bush [yesterday] nominated Ben S. Bernanke, a senior White House adviser and a highly regarded academic economist, to succeed Alan Greenspan as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board.

If confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Bernanke, 51, will assume the most powerful economic post in the United States -- and arguably the world -- with a promise to continue the basic policies of a man who achieved a nearly mythic reputation during 18 years at the helm of the economy...

Mr. Bernanke's nomination was in many respects the economic equivalent of Mr. Bush's nominating John Roberts for chief justice of the Supreme Court: a candidate with sterling academic credentials, no taint of cronyism and a sphinx on key political issues.

"Ben Bernanke is the right man to build on the record Alan Greenspan has established," Mr. Bush said in a brief statement at the Oval Office with Mr. Bernanke and Mr. Greenspan at his side.

Mr. Bernanke noted that the Fed would "continue to evolve" in the years ahead. But in a bid to soothe anxieties in financial markets, he emphasized his intention to preserve "continuity."

"My first priority will be to maintain continuity with the policies and policy strategies during the Greenspan years," Mr. Bernanke declared.

Reactions thus far are overwhelmingly positive. Even Democratic stalwart Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, hardly one to support Bush's nominees without a fight, has already come out with a favorable response: "We need a careful, non-ideological person who understands that the Federal Reserve's main job is to fight inflation and Ben Bernanke seems to fit that bill."

My initial reaction is similarly favorable (although I reserve the right to add nuance to it going forward).

Maybe Bush is going through a good-bad alternation for appointees and nominees. Where Michael Brown and Harriet Miers are BAD, John Roberts and now Ben Bernanke are GOOD. Regardless, it's good to see that Bush didn't succumb to cronyism here. With the health of the American (and global) economy at stake, he seems to have picked a stable rudder in the mold of Greenspan himself.


Around the blogosphere:

In the middle, Dave Price of Dean's World "welcome[s] our new fiscal overlord". Well put.

Dave Schuler has a good round-up at The Glittering Eye.

The Wall Street Journal has some reaction from "economist bloggers".

Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution lists (and analyzes) five of Bernanke's "major contributions," including inflation targeting.

On the right, Professor Bainbridge: "When President Bush nominated his personal lawyer to the SCOTUS, some wags wondered whether he would nominate his personal banker to replace outgoing Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan. Instead, the White House has put forward Ben Bernanke, who is a very credible choice. Indeed, in many respects, Bernanke is everything Miers isn't."

Celebrity-economist (and trickle-down blowhard) Larry Kudlow is similarly impressed (see also here).

So is libertarian Virginia Postrel at Dynamist.

Think Progress, however, is rather skeptical. So, too, is DHinMI at The Next Hurrah.

Also on the left, Steve Soto at The Left Coaster asks a great question: "Yikes, did Bush just make a reasonable choice for a change?"

Yes, it seems so. Obsidian Wings agrees, adding: "I think we have Harriet Miers to thank for this appointment. When the Bush administration decides to appoint someone who is eminently qualified and will win widespread support, it can do a very good job."


Back on the right, Outside the Beltway expresses ideological concern: "Bernanke is seen as being more moderate than Greenspan and that could be a bad thing. The appeal of Greenspan is that he was seen as an inflation hawk to the point that he'd bring about a recession to control inflation. A more moderate chairmen [sic] might be seen as being more willing to use monetary policy to affect the business cycle vs. simply wanting to reign in inflation."

Which, in my view, would seem to recommend him. What's wrong with a moderate guiding the Fed?

See also Brad DeLong ("Bernanke is a demand-sider"), Daniel Drezner, Bradford Plumer, The Volokh Conspiracy, and the ever-sensible Justin Gardner at Donklephant.

Bookmark and Share

Hurricane Wilma heads north

(Click on images for easier viewing in a new window.)

Earlier today, at The Moderate Voice, I wrote about how Wilma smashed through Florida. Now, Wilma is racing up the Atlantic coast towards New England and the Maritimes.

Check out the latest update at StormTrack: "Surface pressures of the Mid-Atlantic are dropping steadily as Hurricane Wilma continues to gain strength. The latest advisory lists Wilma as a strong Category 3 hurricane with sustained winds of 125 mph and a central pressure of 959 mb. Wilma is racing northeast at 47 mph. That is very very very fast for a hurricane."

Here's what to expect: "Wilma's effects are already being felt well up into New England. [Tuesday] will bring near hurricane force winds and several inches of rain and snow to the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic."

It could have been a lot worse, to be sure, but stay tuned for regular updates.

Bookmark and Share

Zogby on Bush's "bounce"

According to Zogby, President Bush's approval rating is back up to 45%:

President Bush, his job approval rating beleaguered by poor marks in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, rebounded from historic lows this summer to 45% in Zogby International’s latest poll, with job approval numbers bumping back up into the range where they have hovered for most of his second term.

The survey also found that, while voters do not give the President passing marks on his handling of the Iraq War, half (50%) believe the recently-passed Iraqi constitution is a major step in the right direction for the strife-torn nation that will lead to peace and democracy. Meanwhile, 37% believe Iraq is on the brink of a civil war...

While the President’s overall job approval is up, and a 52% majority of voters hold a favorable opinion of him, his handling of any number of issues continues to score negative marks—including his handling of the War on Terror, which is now disapproved by 53% in the survey; this is typically President Bush’s strongest area in the survey.

Bush’s bounce appears to be tied to overall perception of the nation’s direction; three weeks ago, just 40% said the nation was on the right track. This number now stands at 45%.

Make of it what you will.

Bookmark and Share

Death and despair in Darfur

Also from the Coalition for Darfur, two posts linking to two important pieces on the worsening situation in Darfur by Robert Rotberg and Eric Reeves -- the original pieces are here and here, respectively.

From Rotberg's piece:

"Never again!" promised Washington, London, Brussels and the United Nations after the massacres in Bosnia, Cambodia, and Rwanda. But the killing fields of Darfur are more than two years old, and still the world permits innocent farmers, children, and displaced people to be killed and women repeatedly raped. What is to be done?

Despite the presence of African Union military observers, displaced people living in squalid encampments in Darfur and along the western border have been attacked by marauding janjaweed, Arabic speaking militia on camelback. Official Sudanese military helicopters have reputedly strafed villages in support of janjaweed assaults. Soldiers from several armies of the African Union have ''monitored" many of these attacks, but without interfering.

Their limited and constrained mandate and their insufficient numbers (not yet at the 7,000 target strength for a war-ravaged area the size of France) give the African Union effort more of a cosmetic than a meaningful role in damping down the persistent conflict between the government-backed janjaweed from northern Darfur and their prey from southern Darfur.

More than 100,000 Darfurians have been killed since 2003. Nearly 2 million people, pushed out of their homes and fields by combat and the janjaweed, are attempting to survive in precarious huts of palms, reeds, and plastic bags in the dozens of camps in Darfur and along the western border with Chad. The scale of Darfur's human tragedy dwarfs natural disasters and all but the most destructive recent wars of Africa. President George W. Bush has called the mayhem "genocide." UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has used equally strong words. Must the powers of the world merely wring their collective hands, but do nothing?

From Reeves's piece:

A series of extraordinarily dire warnings have recently been issued by various UN officials, a last desperate attempt to force the international community to take urgent cognizance of Darfur’s deepening crisis. Full-scale catastrophe and a massive increase in genocidal destruction are imminent, and there is as yet no evidence that the world is listening seriously. The US in particular seems intent on taking an expediently blinkered view of the crisis... But European countries and other international actors with the power to speak the truth are little better; the absence of an effective voice emerging from the Blair government is especially dismaying in light of British willingness to intervene in Iraq.

Even so, there is no possible escape from the most basic truth in Darfur: Khartoum’s National Islamic Front, ever more dominant in the new "Government of National Unity," is deliberately escalating the level of violence and insecurity as a form of "counter-insurgency" warfare, with the clear goal of accelerating human destruction among the African tribal populations of the region.

In failing to respond to this conspicuous and now fully articulated truth, the world is yet again knowingly acquiescing in genocide. But as the shadows of Auschwitz and Treblinka, Bosnia, Cambodia, and Rwanda fall more heavily over Darfur, we cannot evade this most shameful truth: we know -- as events steadily, remorselessly unfold -- more about the realities of ethnically-targeted human destruction in Darfur than on any other previous such occasion in history. So much the greater is our moral disgrace.

Yes, it's a disgrace. (See my two of my previous posts on Darfur here and here.)

Bookmark and Share

Monday, October 24, 2005

The nightmare of Zimbabwe

The good people at Coalition for Darfur, of which I'm a member, sent out a link to this fascinating (and terrifying) piece about Zimbabwe's "dust people" in The Times:

Some call them the “dust people”, others the “people with no address”. President Robert Mugabe’s government has a more graphic term: “Sniff out the rats who have sneaked back in” is the name of the latest campaign by police and soldiers against the city dwellers whose homes they demolished earlier this year but who have refused to flee.

Thousands of Zimbabweans are now living like animals in the midst of rubble, crawling in and out of hovels less than 3ft high, fashioned from cardboard boxes and broken asbestos.

With no means of earning a living — and with aid agencies banned by the government from helping them — they are forced to forage in rubbish for rotten vegetables or prostitute themselves for the equivalent of 10p to feed their children. A doctor who managed to get in said tuberculosis was rife.

These are the victims of Operation Murambatsvina (drive out the filth), Mugabe’s so-called urban beautification campaign which, according to a damning report by the United Nations, left more than 700,000 homeless or without an income.

Oh, and here's how the "international community" deals with Mugabe, one of the world's worst thugs:

Yet last week the United Nations flew Zimbabwe’s president on an all-expenses-paid trip to Rome to celebrate World Food Day in defiance of European Union travel sanctions. Flanked by bodyguards, he proclaimed that there was no hunger in his country and blamed its problems on George W Bush and Tony Blair, branding them international terrorists and likening them to Hitler and Mussolini.

How petty our current preoccupations seem -- Miers, Plamegate, etc. Live8 notwithstanding, hardly anyone pays attention to Africa, let alone to Darfur, let alone to Zimbabwe. Yet Mugabe is terrorizing his people in an effort to "cleanse" his country of undesirables. Hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people have been left homeless. How many have died?

Yet the United Nations turns away and we in the West don't do much better. I've never been one to demonize the U.N., but its treatment of Mugabe is simply shameful. Where's the outrage? Or has the U.N. absolutely no credibility left?

Anyway, the Times article is a must-read. Make sure to check it out.

Bookmark and Share

Brent Scowcroft on George W. Bush

Thanks to Steve Clemons at The Washington Note, we have this:

Jeffrey Goldberg has written a critique in The New Yorker of the Bush White House that equals Ron Suskind's devastating critique of Bush before the last election titled "Without a Doubt."

In "Breaking Ranks: What Turned Brent Scowcroft Against the Bush Administration?", Jeffrey Goldberg coaxes Brent Scowcroft to delineate his differences with the foreign policy proclivities of George W. Bush, Condoleeza Rice, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Cheney, and others.

And in the piece, George H.W. Bush is interviewed about Scowcroft -- and while Bush 41's comments are more elliptical, he stands clearly by Scowcroft's side in clear criticism of the decisions his son made.

The article isn't yet available online (it may soon be, I'm not sure), but Steve posts "some longish excerpts to give insight into some of the most intriguing and useful commentary".

This post is a must-read (see also the thoughtful comments from readers), but so, too, is the full article.


Around the blogosphere:

Kevin Drum at Political Animal: "Since Scowcroft is a close friend of George Bush Sr., it's a significant piece." Absolutely. Although we've known for a long time that Scowcroft, one of America's leading realists, isn't terribly enamored of neocon idealism.

Digby at Hullaballoo: "I have often felt that the real story of this time will be written as a family history between a father and a son. If only Shakespeare were alive to write it."

Et tu, Brentus? Yes, only Shakespeare could truly do (literary) justice to this family drama.

Emptywheel at The Next Hurrah: "It appears the Sunday shows and Brent Scowcroft's scathing condemnation will have to tide us over until the indictments start popping up on Fitzgerald's website. So I'd like to take a moment, before the New Yorker piece comes out, to consider how closely the comments may coincide with the impending indictments (if any)." Scowcroft may be one of the missing links in The Plame Game. Interesting post.

Matt Yglesias at TPM Cafe criticizes Scowcroft and other Republican dissenters like Larry Wilkerson and Richard Haas for coming out too late in the game: "Everything they say could have been said 12-18 months ago when it would have made a difference for the future of the country. But that would have meant taking fire from the then-intact conservative attack machine, and gotten them labeled as bad party men. Instead of speaking out when Bush was strong and trying to weaken him, they've waited until Bush is weak and decided to pile-on in an effort to save their own reputations."

But Armando at Daily Kos rightly points out that Scowcroft said much the same thing in August 2002.

Not that Matt's wrong, however. Republicans are known for their blind loyalty, but there isn't much left to which to be loyal -- and now the smart ones (including Colin Powell) are abandoning ship. Harriet Miers may be the right's Yoko Ono, but Iraq, Katrina, and scandals galore (Tom DeLay, Bill Frist, Plamegate, etc.) have also contributed mightily to the demise of the Bush presidency and the cracking up of the conservative movement.

Credit Scowcroft for putting truth above friendship, principle above party.

Bookmark and Share

Sign of the Apocalypse #23: Professor Cameron Diaz

I know it's something of a joke, but so much for academic excellence. AP reports:

Cameron Diaz surprised a class at Stanford University when the Charlie's Angels star helped lead a lecture on environmentally friendly design.

Diaz's appearance came as part of taping for an mtvU program called Stand-In, in which celebrities teach a class. On Tuesday, Madonna lectured students at New York's Hunter College.

A champion of environmental causes, Diaz served as a sidekick for friend and renowned environmental architect William McDonough, a consulting professor at Stanford.

"He's very charismatic, captivating," Diaz said of McDonough, who Time magazine once called "Hero for the Planet." "Bill is one of those people who is thinking big, but is also producing."

Students gasped and giggled when Diaz interrupted the class during McDonough's lecture, and later lined up to snap pictures with the actress on their cell phones.

A joke... and, yes, a good cause. But Cameron Diaz? And Madonna?

The dumbing down of the American mind continues...

Bookmark and Share

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Miers Withdrawal Watch -- Part 2

GOP Bloggers addresses the rumors of a Miers withdrawal: "I don't see it happening," but "I still think that conservatives should lay off for a bit and see what developes [sic] over the next week."

Whatever. The big news today is George Will's second major assault on the Miers nomination (see here for my post on the first), a column in the Post called "Defending the Indefensible". Key passages:

Such is the perfect perversity of the nomination of Harriet Miers that it discredits, and even degrades, all who toil at justifying it. Many of their justifications cannot be dignified as arguments. Of those that can be, some reveal a deficit of constitutional understanding commensurate with that which it is, unfortunately, reasonable to impute to Miers. Other arguments betray a gross misunderstanding of conservatism on the part of persons masquerading as its defenders...

In their unseemly eagerness to assure Miers's conservative detractors that she will reach the "right" results, her advocates betray complete incomprehension of this: Thoughtful conservatives' highest aim is not to achieve this or that particular outcome concerning this or that controversy. Rather, their aim for the Supreme Court is to replace semi-legislative reasoning with genuine constitutional reasoning about the Constitution's meaning as derived from close consideration of its text and structure. Such conservatives understand that how you get to a result is as important as the result. Indeed, in an important sense, the path that the Supreme Court takes to the result often is the result.

And this is what it comes down to:

Can Miers's confirmation be blocked? It is easy to get a senatorial majority to take a stand in defense of this or that concrete interest, but it is surpassingly difficult to get a majority anywhere to rise in defense of mere excellence.

Still, Miers must begin with 22 Democratic votes against her. Surely no Democrat can retain a shred of self-respect if, having voted against John Roberts, he or she then declares Miers fit for the court. All Democrats who so declare will forfeit a right and an issue -- their right to criticize the administration's cronyism.

And Democrats, with their zest for gender politics, need this reminder: To give a woman a seat on a crowded bus because she is a woman is gallantry. To give a woman a seat on the Supreme Court because she is a woman is a dereliction of senatorial duty. It also is an affront to mature feminism, which may bridle at gallantry but should recoil from condescension.

As for Republicans, any who vote for Miers will thereafter be ineligible to argue that it is important to elect Republicans because they are conscientious conservers of the judicial branch's invaluable dignity. Finally, any Republican senator who supinely acquiesces in President Bush's reckless abuse of presidential discretion -- or who does not recognize the Miers nomination as such -- can never be considered presidential material.

I'm hardly a conservative critic of the Miers nomination, but Will is right: This is about "excellence," Miers's lack thereof, and "Bush's reckless abuse of presidential discretion". It may be tempting for Democrats to vote for her, but they should stand firm and refuse to condone such blatant cronyism and the denigration of one of America's most important institutions. (Plus, Miers may very well be a hardline conservative on such issues as abortion, executive prerogative, and corporate law.)


The News Blog: " Miers seems to have had no relevant experience except cheering George Bush on with the most obsequious notes in presidential history. Her abject idol worship is discomforting in a woman 60 years old."

It's discomfiting in anyone.

Hugh Hewitt responds to Will. But, given his knee-jerkingly loyal defence of Miers, does Hewitt have any credibility left?

Professor Bainbridge looks at the Wills v. Hewitt battle (Hewitt certainly seem to be paying close attention to Will. Does Will even care what Hewitt has to say?). Check out the links, but here's the thrust of his post: "First, the blogosphere. Then Robert Bork. Then National Review. Now George Will. These are serious people and real conservatives who have concluded that the Harriet Miers nomination was a slap in the face to those who have toiled for decades to bring the Constitution beck from exile. It's sad to see Miers' defenders like Hewitt dismiss such folks as having 'run off the cliff.'"

Confirm Them weighs in here.

Jonah Goldberg at NRO here.


Meanwhile, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is claiming that Miers lacks the votes for confirmation: "'If you held the vote today, she would not get a majority either in the Judiciary Committee or the floor,' said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York. On the 18-member GOP-controlled committee, 'there are one or two who said they'd support her as of now.'" And here's more:

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, rejected suggestions that the White House was considering whether to withdraw Miers' nomination. Hutchison said the former Dallas lawyer is highly qualified and deserves to present her case. Confirmation hearings are set to begin Nov. 7.

"She is the only one whose entire career is in private practice," Hutchison said, in contrast to the current justices. "I can't imagine not having someone with practical real-world experience."

Sens. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., have asked the White House to release more information on the nonlegal work Miers has performed there over the past five years.

Brownback, a Judiciary Committee member, cited concerns he had about Miers' views on affirmative action following reports that she supported diversity and numerical set-asides when she was president of the State Bar of Texas.

"I do think we're going to have to see more information -- not attorney-client privilege type information, but more information of the work product that she was involved with at the White House that was not of a legal nature but that's of a policy nature," Brownback told "Fox News Sunday."

Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, the ranking Democrat on the committee, agreed. "The president has based that decision based on what he's seen her do in the White House. We ought to at least know what she did in the White House," he said.

The head of the Democratic National Committee, Howard Dean, said it was his guess that Miers would not be confirmed if the White House failed to provide the request documents.

For more, see Taegan Goddard's Political Wire and The Mahablog.

And Newsweek examines how Katrina hurt Harriet: "The tale of how Katrina hurt Harriet is just one glimpse inside a White House that seems overwhelmed by crisis and in desperate need of some kind of relief." It's a very good review of everything that has gone (and is going) wrong for the White House. Definitely worth a read.

Bookmark and Share