Tuesday, November 01, 2005

What was he thinking?

Ok, I feel better. The Bush administration has finally focused and moved on from what I have to describe as a period of gross stupidity.

In the past weeks I have not been able to figure out what Bush was thinking.
First we had the Miers nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS).

Now at first glance the possibility of a non judge being on the court was attractive to me. Historically, the court has done so many times in the past, including the notable late Judge Rehnquist. And honestly, the elitism displayed by the Federal Judges is normally fairly repugnant, so an outsider would have been rather refreshing.

But as I read about her, it seemed she was really a crony appointee more then anything else, which is totally sad. Sure, we all know presidents appoint their pals to positions, so do all politicians of note. The desire to surround yourself with trusted allies is very comforting, and frankly necessary. But the SCOTUS is another animal altogether. It relies on a level of partisan and personal impartiality that is unparalleled. The justices that make up the SCOTUS must be free of entanglements, and someone sitting behind the scenes of Bush doors would be an easy target for conflict of interest.

Maybe some of the other justices have similar conflicts, I really cannot say for sure as I am not a SCOTUS scholar.

The left can say what they want about her, considering one of their own suggested her to Bush in the first place. But when the right rose up against her, for reasons I still don't completely follow, I just didn't know what to think. A battle seemed ready to burst, not in the Judical committee, but in the Republican ranks.

But in an act that both showed her integrity and actually proved her disqualification, she withdrew her nomination, and in effect recused herself from the Judicial Nominee hearings, fearing some (Democrats) would use them to gain information about her actions as Whitehouse Counsel. In that capacity she was privy to a lot of information that would have not been fun to have vetted in a public forum. She justified her withdrawal stating she had to protect confidentiality and lawyer client privilege.

It was the right choice, because let me tell ya folks, they would have wrung out anything they could have in spades. Oh, and please don't froth in righteous indignation Republicans, had the parties been reversed the Republicans would have been just as blood thirsty.

But the real point here is that her recusal is proof she could not place her actions and relationship to the president at arms length. Having a SCOTUS Justice recusing herself during deliberations and hearings on the High Court would have been foolish at the least.

Then there was the media pounding he took over the press conference with soldiers that most media claims was staged. According to a report issued by a soldier ( http://tinyurl.com/83a5n) who was in it, it was not, but the media has all but ignored that rebuttal. I encourage you to read the other side of that story. But I digress

Ok, lets be honest about a couple things. Bush has made a lot of efforts to use optimism to turn public tide and boost morale. The Mission Accomplished banner is a prime example. While technically accurate, it became the focus point of the left's desire to brand him a liar. The primary goal was not finished, just one facet. Congratulations were premature. His administration, as most do, has constantly showed a positive spin to the realities; and that is not really a bad thing, but if carried to far leads to faulty expectations and overconfidence.

But I have to admit the timing of this question and answer session and the all but obvious choreography made this a foolish endeavor. A better forum could have been used that would not have looked so controlled, so scripted, even though a participant insists it was not.

And while I firmly believe most town hall meetings are similarly "handled", they at least have an appearance of spontaneity.

Bush, in my opinion, lost majorly when he stopped fighting the Social Security battle. Sure, privitization may not have been the answer, but the question "is Social Security in trouble" still has the same answer: YES. Maybe his initial idea was not the best, but it could have been the basis for a bipartisan effort to fix the problem. FWIW the Democrats disgust me when they claim there is no crisis. There is. And I hope someone steps up to fix it. Bush gave up the battle, and in that he disappoints me and many of his partisan followers

Now Bush has made two steps to restore the right to the belief he is still conservative, and still in charge. First, he nominated Judge Alito to the SCOTUS, one that virtually guarantees to bring the fight back to the Senate where it belongs (filibuster baby, yea!), and he has proposed a long overdue overhaul of the income tax system.

Concerning Alito, I will look at his record and make a decision on whether he is good or not. A liberal friend has forwarded a petition being circulated against him, presumably for being too anti abortion. I don't know if that is true or not. See tomorrows blog maybe. The tax proposal is welcome though, as that system is terribly in need of changing, though I remain skeptical that he will stay the course. Remember Social Security?

But it is nice to see Washington finally heading for the full combat, guns blazing, no holds barred, free fire zone, totally entrenched take no prisoners battle for the Supreme Court that all the media, the pundits and the American people have been waiting for since Judge Bork failed and Clarence Thomas succeeded. I can see NPR, the DNC and NOW firing up their talking points to oppose him, while the RNC and Right to Life are likewise sharpening their swords. And the media, the literary vultures they are, are circling the fray, patiently waiting for the first blood to be spilled. And the Tax plan assures us of long speeches, contradictory talking points and committees and hearings galore.

This is what American politics is all about: Partisan gridlock and dissension!

Finally things are heading back to normal for DC.