Daily Archives: June 27, 2007

Expose makes Cheney’s attack on Iran most unlikely

Though George W. Bush professes to not reading the papers, Condi Rice and Bob Gates certainly do, and I would therefore suggest that the Cheney expose’ in the Washington Post will have an important effect: the somwhat-sane will carry the day, and prevent Cheney’s last insane act, bombing Iran.

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Filed under Bill Kristol: is he smarter than you?, Condoleezza Rice: tell me again, what is her job?, Countdown to attack on Iran, Dick Cheney: Hannibal Lector in disguise?, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Iran, Middle East, Politics

John Roberts disappoints even the American Enterprise Institute

John Roberts is proving to be a poor choice as Supreme Court Chief Justice, and even the American Enterprise Institute sees it. Norman J. Ornstein:

The Wisconsin Right to Life case was couched by Roberts in careful, narrow terms, but was not simply a tiny adjustment in campaign finance law. It was a direct, in-your-face rejection of a key part of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. The decision reopened a huge loophole that had been closed by Congress through a careful, narrow, deliberative approach. Congress, contrary to the overheated rhetoric of reform opponents, did not ban any ads. It took phony issue ads that were designed to elect or defeat candidates and made sure they used only the same funds that other campaign communications used. It did so by setting a clear, bright-line standard so it was evident to all what the rules were for funding broadcast ads close to an election.

Roberts erased the bright line and basically dissed Congress. He turned the process for defining such ads on its head, making it almost impossible to define what constitutes a campaign ad. The practical reality of Roberts’ new standard is that if anyone simply asserts that an ad is about an issue, no matter how slender the pretext or blatant the campaign message, the entity or shell organization funding the ad can use corporate funds or union dues and get away with it. The floodgates have been opened up again, to the detriment of our campaign discourse, and huge, corrupting money will be back in the game as a result. Just as important, it shows not a careful, conservative deference to Congress, which made BCRA a model of careful, reasoned deliberation relying on research, data and on the court’s reasoning in Buckley v. Valeo, but a willingness by Roberts to toss aside Congress’ conclusions to fit his own ideological predispositions.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and others are right that it could have been much worse; the critical core of BCRA remains and only three justices–Scalia, Thomas and Kennedy–indicated their willingness to throw the whole law out. But it is not a good sign either for campaigns or for the future integrity of the court.

The Supreme Court’s concern about the First Amendment took a totally different turn the same day with the decision involving freedom of speech by students. Although the banner “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” unfurled by Joseph Frederick across the street from his Juneau, Alaska, school could mean anything–and probably simply meant “Look at me! Look at me!”–Roberts used exactly the opposite standard for freedom that he applied to WRTL, assuming that the meaning of the banner was encouragement of illegal drug use. That was his pretext for denying Frederick’s speech rights. In his WRTL decision Roberts wrote, “Where the First Amendment is implicated, the tie goes to the speaker, not the censor.” Apparently, that principle applies only where it fits the ideological predisposition of the chief. And once again, we saw a willingness to go with a deeply divisive 5-4 pattern that ultimately will be bad for the court and bad for the country.

….Roberts is the chief justice. I thought from his confirmation hearings that this would be a different court, moving to the right but in a less divisive way. It appears I was wrong.

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Filed under George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Politics, Supreme Court

Winning and losing in Iraq

Anonymous Liberal:

McCarthy says that “we will rue the day we leave Iraq without routing radical Islam.” But what does that even mean? How exactly are we supposed to “rout” an ideology? If we “surge” a few thousand more troops, will “radical Islam” surrender? And is there any reason at all to believe that we can kill all the radical Islamists in Iraq, much less do so without creating legions of new ones? Our very presence in Iraq has served as the rallying cry for a whole new generation of jihadists, who are popping up all over the globe and continue to flock to Iraq for valuable on the job training.

In McCarthy’s view, the only acceptable policy is to keep fighting in Iraq until we’ve defeated the terrorists. But that’s a Sisyphean task, a never-ending game of whack-a-mole. And, of course, the only reason foreign terrorists are even in Iraq is because we are. There’s no reason to believe that these foreign jihadists would stick around (or that Iraqis would let them stick around) if we were to leave.

The bottom line is that we can’t allow ourselves to be drawn into a perpetual, self-sustaining battle just because some guys in a cave in Pakistan will taunt us if we change course. The only way we really “lose” here is if we resolve to continue pursuing unattainable goals.

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Filed under Bill Kristol: is he smarter than you?, Condoleezza Rice: tell me again, what is her job?, Dick Cheney: Hannibal Lector in disguise?, Fred Kagan:an idiot running a war, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Iraq, Karl Rove:Bush's brain or Bush's as'hole?, Middle East, Mitt Romney: double guantanamo, Politics, Rudy Giuliani: NYC doesn't even like him, Think tanks