Friday, September 5 2003
"NO REGRETS":
So says Chuck Schumer about the way the Dems treated Miguel Estrada's nomination in the United States Senate.

Ted Kennedy called Estrada's withdrawal "a victory for the Constitution, for the nation's judicial system and for the American people." He should re-read the document.

Pat Leahy called Estrada's nomination “a casualty of the White House’s insistence on dividing instead of uniting the American people over the president’s decisions for the federal courts.”

Terry McAuliffe said Estrada's withdrawal was timed to embarrass the Dems in front of Latino voters right before the big debate last night in Albuquerque. I hope it's true, because the Dems should be embarrassed.

And then there's the pack of left-wing special interest groups, reveling in the fact they've succeeded in slapping an ideologically-tinted glass ceiling on one of the Hispanic-American community's brightest stars.

Planned Parenthood "welcomed" Estrada's withdrawal and called on President Bush to nominate more "mainstream" judges who hold their view that abortion on demand is a "fundamental civil right."

Ralph Neas, President of People for the American Way, issued a statement that read:

"Estrada’s withdrawal will shift the focus to these and other Bush nominees who have extremely troubling records of ideological extremism and right-wing judicial activism. These nominees reflect the Bush administration’s intention to pack the federal appeals courts with judges who would turn back the clock on civil rights, privacy and reproductive rights, environmental protection, religious liberty, and much more."

In other words, "one down and more to go." At this point there's no reason to believe the Dems can't defeat any or all of the Bush nominees they're currently filibustering.

WAIT, THERE'S MORE: Byron York gives a little more detail on why Estrada called it quits.

President Bush responded to the withdrawal via statement yesterday:

"Mr. Estrada received disgraceful treatment at the hands of 45 United States Senators during the more than two years his nomination was pending. Despite his superb qualifications and the wide bipartisan support for his nomination, these Democrat Senators repeatedly blocked an up-or-down vote that would have led to Mr. Estrada's confirmation. The treatment of this fine man is an unfortunate chapter in the Senate's history."

Tom Delay called it "a political hate crime."

Orrin Hatch said the Senate "ought to be ashamed of its unfair treatment of Miguel Estrada."

Lastly, I think Roger Pilon from the Cato Institute put it best:

"But the deeper problem, is that Democrats are poisoning the confirmation process by insisting that nominees declare their views on highly charged political issues of the day as a condition of being confirmed. That politicizes and corrupts the rule of law by breaking down the fundamental distinction between politics and law. It undermines the civility that is essential to the confirmation process. And it discourages those with any regard for their integrity from accepting nominations to high office. The time has come for Senate Republicans to revisit the filibuster rule. It has no place in the Constitution's confirmation process."

MILLER KNOWS BEST: Here's a story that nicely complements the post above. Zell Miller has written a book titled "A National Party No More: The Conscience of a Conservative Democrat" which talks about why he feels his party has drifted so far out of touch with mainstream America.

Miller writes:

"Once upon a time, the most successful Democratic leader of them all, FDR, looked south and said, 'I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill clad, ill nourished. Today our National Democratic leaders look south and say, 'I see one third of a nation and it can go to hell.' "

There's no better example of this than yesterday when a way-left liberal like Teddy Kennedy stands up after spiking the nomination of a well qualified Hispanic judicial nominee and gloats that it is somehow a "victory for the American people."

Which people would that be exactly? The 35.3 million Latinos now living America? The 62% of Americans who -unlike Ted Kennedy - think partial birth abortion isn't such a good thing? Or maybe the 73% of Americans who believe the Constitution guarantees the rights of individuals to own guns? You get the point.

Zell Miller is absolutely right: Kennedy, along with a growing number of Democrats in the House and the Senate increasingly represent less and less of mainstream America's values. It's a consequence of decades spent tending to the needs of narrow special interest groups and not trying to forge and promote a vision for a united America. - T. Bevan 9:51 am

Thursday, September 4 2003
DOWN THE TUBES:
Estrada has pulled his nomination. The $64,000 question is why. This is obviously a big loss for President Bush and the GOP and a huge victory for Senate Dems.

Estrada is well aware of the significance of the struggle over his nomination and the ramifications of giving up this fight. We don't have many details at the moment, but don't be surprised if we learn Estrada was frustrated and fed up - not with the Democrats' historic obstruction - but with the lack of support from the White House and Senate Republicans.

They've had two years - and almost a full year in the majority - to put the screws to the Democrats and make them pay over the Estrada nomination. They simply did not do what needed to be done to get Estrada an up-or-down vote. It's too bad. Now the opportunity is gone and the country has lost the service (at least for the time being) of one its most qualified and respected legal minds. - T. Bevan 11:35 am


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TERRIBLE CRUZ: No, I'm not talking about this. And I'm definitely not talking about this. I'm referring, or course, to Cruz Bustamante, Lt. Governor of the state of California and political hack extraordinaire.

Aside from having the distinction of being a member of the administration responsible for sending California right into the toilet, Bustamante started his campaign for governor by calling for an $8 billion tax increase on businesses and entrepreneurs. He followed this with an even more asinine proposal: government price controls for gasoline.

He's fought to avoid condemning the separatist notions of MEChA, publicly crucified corporations that are critical to California's economy as greedy and evil, and now he' also openly flouting the spirit - if not the letter - of California campaign finance laws to take a $2 million donation from the casino Indian tribes.

If you sat a person down and said, "sketch out the profile of a political candidate using all the things you dislike most about Democrats" it would probably fall short of where Bustamante is right now. In most places, running on this sort of platform would kill your candidacy. Not in California. Bustamante continues to be in the thick of this race, and God help the people of California if they actually make him the new leader of the state and steward of the world's 5th largest economy.

POWELL 1, RUMMY 0: Actually, there have been a number of State vs. DoD battles over the last three years so the cumulative score is much higher than this - and probably in Rumsfeld's favor. But according to today's Washington Post, it looks like Powell has won the latest round:

People close to the administration said the Joint Chiefs and Powell (a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs) did not win a bureaucratic battle as much as Rumsfeld lost one. "Rumsfeld lost credibility with the White House because he screwed up the postwar planning," said William Kristol, a conservative publisher with close ties to the administration. "For five months they let Rumsfeld have his way, and for five months Rumsfeld said everything's fine. He wanted to do the postwar with fewer troops than a lot of people advised, and it turned out to be a mistake."

This, I'm afraid, is probably close to the truth. The Pentagon was phenomenal on the front end of the war but it's becoming apparent that they haven't been able to match that performance on the back end. And our "allies" have sat on their hands and enjoyed watching us struggle to do what they all know is right for the Iraqi people and the world. - T. Bevan 8:51 am

Wednesday, September 3 2003
PK SPEAKS: Check out this interview with Paul Krugman over at Liberal Oasis. I'm sure Donald Luskin will give it a good fisking over at his blog soon, so I'll just highlight a couple of quotes that caught my attention:

Quote One:

"The key thing, in terms of the state of the world right now, is that the United States has gone mad."

Believe it or not, this was part of Krugman's response to a question about globalization. Nevertheless, describing what America has done over the past two years (i.e. responding to the attacks of September 11 and confronting a tyrant who stood for 12 years in defiance of the international community) as "mad" gives you a good indication of just how far out in left field he is.

Quote Two:

"My dream for America would be to return to a situation in which people of decency and good will can have vicious arguments of globalization again. Right now, that seems to be a luxury we canít afford."

The obvious implication of this statement is that Bush and his administration are the opposite of "people of decency and good will." They aren't people to be reasoned with but enemies to be attacked and defeated.

Quote Three:

"In some ways for me, the low point was those months after September 11, when everyone wanted to believe in the picture of a heroic president and a noble, unified nation confronting the threat.

And I was watching the actual policies. I was in touch with people in Congress who knew what legislation was being pushed. And that wasnít what was happening. What you actually had was a cynical power grab.

I felt for a little while there like I was all alone, [that] theyíre all mad but me.

And now, a large number of people understand whatís been going on. Itís still, unfortunately, a minority. But itís a large minority. Itís not a handful of voices in the wilderness."

This response combines two standard left/liberal themes: First, that nothing Republicans do can be considered sincere. Everything is a conspiracy based on lies, deception, greed, and a lust for power. What's striking is how out of touch this is with public opinion. Of course George W. Bush's response to the attacks of September 11 was sincere, both on an emotional level and from a standpoint of political leadership. Ninety-five percent of the country recognized this and supported the Bush Administration's reactions.

The second theme is that the masses are stupid, easily misled morons and Krugman is the only one in the country smart enough to see what's going on. Again, this is a canard based on some sort of genetically encoded elitist arrogance which is one of the things most people really dislike about those on the left. - T. Bevan 8:00 am

Tuesday, September 2 2003
MORE KERRY: Here's the link to Kerry's speech. And by the way, where's the outrage from the Dems over Kerry's use of an aircraft carrier as a political prop? Let's compare:

"I am loath to think of an aircraft carrier being used as an advertising backdrop for a presidential political slogan, and yet that is what I saw." - Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV)

CRUNCH TIME FOR JFK: You know things are bad when the biggest newspaper in your home state doesn't give front page coverage to your official announcement to run for President of the United States. Instead, they run a front page story on the draft Wesley Clark movement and the hope that he will announce for President soon. Ouch.

The Globe snub is just the latest in a string of bad news for the Kerry campaign: the Senator from Massachusetts has dropped to just 5% in the latest national poll, is running a distant third in Iowa, and is being routed by 21 points in neighboring New Hampshire. It's no wonder people are questioning whether his campaign is in total free fall or joking that he should really use today's big announcement to endorse Howard Dean and try to get himself a shot on the ticket as VP.

Despite all the recent setbacks and the lack of enthusiasm over his campaign thus far, Kerry still has a chance to turn things around. He should get a small bump from his announcement today and from his turn on Meet the Press this past Sunday where he struck very reasonable notes on taxes and national defense - as well taking some very pointed shots at Dean. It was the first time I think he's appeared as a credible alternative to Dean's candidacy.

This week's debate will be another critical test for Kerry. Even though the public won't be paying much attention, the centrist power brokers of the Democratic establishment will be. And they'll be looking at Gephardt, Kerry and Lieberman to see who can become the most effective "stop Dean" candidate and the most viable general election candidate. If Kerry wants to survive and have a shot at winning the nomination, he's got to start closing the deal before it's too late.

DRUDGE'S VENDETTA: Is it just me or does anyone else get the sense that Matt Drudge is on the war path against Arnold Schwarzenegger?

Anyone who visits Drudge knows that the Schwarzenegger's camp absolutely burned him over the announcement back in early August. Drudge was touting his "inside sources" that Arnold wouldn't run right up until the very taping of the Tonight Show. It was a big miss for Drudge and I'm sure he was furious at being used (or being fed bad info) and not real inclined to forgive and forget.

Since then it's been one unflattering headline about Arnold after another blaring on Drudge's front page. I'm not saying the stories he's plugging aren't news, but the manner and duration in which he's presenting these stories - especially this latest one about accusations from a fellow body builder about racist comments Arnold made years ago - suggests a conscious effort to do Schwarzenegger harm.

Drudge's vendetta may or may not effect the outcome of the election, but I will tell you this: I watched our local NBC broadcast last night and toward the end of the show I saw three consecutive stories that I'm almost certain were pulled straight off Drudge's site. In other words, I think Drudge has an enormous influence on shaping what's reported on radio and television stations all across the country and you can bet anything he decides to profile on the recall race will crackle through the mainstream media in California like lightning. He's just not a guy you want to have as an enemy when you're out trying to win votes, and I think Arnold is definitely on his list. - T. Bevan 10:18 am

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