Friday, October 21, 2005

Stories Of The Day

Hurricane Wilma has landed in Mexico.
CANCUN, Mexico (AP) - Hurricane Wilma tore into the heart of Mexico's Caribbean resort strip on Friday, trapping thousands of frightened tourists in darkened shelters pounded by torrential rains and shrieking winds as Cancun's half-million residents watched their streets fill with water.

At 2 p.m. EDT, Wilma's slow-moving, wobbly center was 15 miles southeast of Cozumel. The hurricane was moving toward the northwest at 5 mph, which was expected to bring the eye to shore later Friday in Cozumel and the peninsula.
Keep an eye out to see how this storm effects the Yucatan Peninsula, it will surely be news that will eventually effect us all.

Harriet Miers is gearing up for her Senate confrimation hearings.
Ms. Miers, whose confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee are scheduled to begin Nov. 7, has so far practiced in three mock hearings of three to five hours each, most recently on Tuesday. A White House official said Ms. Miers and her team planned at least a dozen more, about the same number that Chief Justice Roberts had.
I expect that by the time she goes to the Senate for the real hearings, she'll be beyond prepared, and we'll see why the president has placed so much confidence in her as his nominee. The preparations are only natural, and shouldn't be viewed as a sign of weekness.

Tom Delay's trial has been slightly delayed, due to the Judge's being a regularly contributing Democrat.
The formal arraignment of DeLay, who has stepped down as leader of the Republican majority in the House of Representatives, was delayed because his attorney said Judge Bob Perkins had made contributions to the Democratic Party and other groups that oppose the Republicans.
The facts in this case just get stickier as it goes on, and it seems the deeper we get into it, the more we see Democrat partisan motives at work in going after a good Republican representative.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Perhaps Miers Isn't Silent On Roe v. Wade

This is worth noting: "Miers Backed Abortion Ban."

(Hat Tip: Hugh Hewitt)

Warrant Out For Delay

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A state court issued an arrest warrant on Wednesday for Rep. Tom DeLay, requiring him to appear in Texas for booking on state conspiracy and money laundering charges...

The indictments charge that a DeLay-founded Texas political committee sent corporate donations to the Republican National Committee in Washington, and the national party sent funds back to the state for 2002 campaigns.

DeLay has denied wrongdoing and accused Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle - a Democrat - of having partisan motives. Earle has denied the accusation.
We'll see how this plays out, but my guess is that Ronnie Earle is going to be exposed for the cheap opportunist that he is. As I've noted before, Earle's search for recognition will fail and his partisan motivation in his charges will blemish his record forever.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Good News From Iraq

The top Iraqi terrorist was caught earlier today. From Fox News:
Yasir Sabhawi Ibrahim (search), son of Saddam's half brother Sabhawi Ibrahim Hasan al-Tikriti, was arrested in a Baghdad apartment, several days after Syrian authorities forced him to return to Iraq, the officials told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from Cairo.
A senior member of the Iraqi Defense Ministry called the capture of Ibrahim a serious blow to the terrorist networks in Iraq. Ibrahim was believe to be financially supporting various parts of the insurgency in Iraq, and his capture is a big deal to American ground troops. The capture is just a further example of our ongoing progress in Iraq.

Furthermore, over the weekend Iraq voted on its new constitution. Though the votes are still being counted, it appears that the Sunnis couldn't block the constitution as they had planned.
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Iraq's landmark constitution seemed assured of passage Sunday after initial results showed minority Sunni Arabs had fallen short in an effort to veto it at the polls. The apparent acceptance was a major step in the attempt to establish a democratic government that could lead to the withdrawal of U.S. troops.

Opponents failed to secure the necessary two-thirds "no" vote in any three of Iraqi's 18 provinces, according to counts that local officials provided to The Associated Press. In the crucial central provinces with mixed ethnic and religious populations, enough Shiites and Kurds voted to stymie the Sunni bid to reject the constitution.
This is extremely good news both for Iraq and for the administration. When the constitution passes, we will be one step closer to a true, self-sufficient democracy in Iraq, as well as a pull out of the American troops still on the ground.

Also, MyWay offers a recap of the most recent developments in Iraq.

And Michael Yon has just been re-dispatched for more on-the-ground reporting in Iraq. Keep track of him for some of the most accurate information you'll get about what we're doing over there.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

More Speculation About John Fund's Article

Yesterday Power Line had two posts on the John Fun article that I posted about yesterday. First, Paul Mirengoff wrote about how Fund's article might make a Democrat filibuster more likely.

In political terms, Fund's information increases the likelihood of solid Democratic opposition to Miers and maybe a filibuster. I've always thought that, in the end, Democrats might well come down hard against Miers. First, quite apart from any assurances Dobson and others may have received, many liberals distrust nominees with deeply held traditional religious beliefs. Second, Miers was never going to testify in way that would give the Dems (and the influential interest groups that support them) comfort about Roe. Third, Miers is vulnerable in ways that Roberts was not, making it less risky to oppose her. Now, the likelihood of unified, forceful Democratic opposition is somewhat greater.

Then in response to Paul's piece, John Hinderaker considered what might happen if Miers testified that she believed Roe was wrongly decided.
Mightn't that approach solve a number of problems? Miers would immediately become a heroine to nearly everyone on the right; most members of the public who follow the nomination process only casually would find her acknowledgement that she has indeed discussed Roe refreshing; it would be a good opportunity to confront the Democratic Senators on Roe, not in terms of abortion, but in terms of judicial activism; and it would put the Democrats in a box. Can they allow a nominee to be confirmed who admits that she thinks Roe was wrong? If they do, they've opened the floodgates, and they have no basis to object to, say, Judge Michael McConnell, who authored an article titled Roe v. Wade at 25: Still illegitimate.

Both Paul and John's posts are must reads, especially in regards to the "new" information brought forth in Fund's piece.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Assurances About Miers?

A few days after Harriet Miers' nomination, James Dobson of Focus on the Family made some comments that were music to the ears of the conservative base.
"When you know some of the things that I know--that I probably shouldn't know--you will understand why I have said, with fear and trepidation, that I believe Harriet Miers will be a good justice."

The story surrounding Dobson's approval of Miers has been one of great interest and importance recently, especially with the mixed reaction that Miers' nomination elicited among conservatives.

The story has fueled a search into where Dobson gets his confidence from, and it seems likely that a lot of his faith stems from personal conversations with Karl Rove. But in today's Opinion Journal--or the online edition of the Wall Street Journal's editorial page--John Fund offers some speculation about Dobson's confidence in Miers that could be more good news to conservatives.
On Oct. 3, the day the Miers nomination was announced, Mr. Dobson and other religious conservatives held a conference call to discuss the nomination. One of the people on the call took extensive notes, which I have obtained. According to the notes, two of Ms. Miers's close friends--both sitting judges--said during the call that she would vote to overturn Roe.

I'd have to see the notes for myself to determine how reliable this information truly is, but at the moment it seems to at least offer some reassurance. As always, time will tell.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

A New Look For Miers

The online edition of Time Magazine is running an article that recounts the tactics used in support of the Miers nomination from the administration up to this point. It then lays out the presiden't new plan for bolstering support for Miers' appointment.
Get ready for a whole new Harriet. After a disastrous two weeks, White House officials say they hope to relaunch the nomination of Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court by moving from what they call a "biographical phase" to an "accomplishment phase." In other words, stop debating her religion and personality and start focusing on her résumé as a pioneering female lawyer of the Southwest. "We got a little wrapped around the axle," an exhausted White House official said. "As the focus becomes less on who she's not and more on who she is, that's a better place to be."

So, as the White House counsel begins her formal prep sessions this week for a confirmation hearing that's likely to start in early November, President Bush will hold a photo op with former chief justices of the Texas Supreme Court who will testify to Miers' qualifications and legal mind. The White House's 20-person "confirmation team" will line up news conferences, opinion pieces and letters to the editor by professors and former colleagues who can talk about Miers' experience dealing with such real-world issues as the Voting Rights Act when she was a Dallas city council member and Native American tribal sovereignty when she was chairwoman of the Texas Lottery Commission.

The change of strategy by the administration makes sense to me at this time, but I don't see it as a desperate move. While Karl Rove and the administration may not have seen the drastic reactions from some conservatives coming, they did know that eventually they'd have to offer arguments for Miers other than her good character.

The character issues and religious stances etc. that were brought up initially are always important for first impressions, even if the right's elite punditry wasn't swayed by them. But it's a necessary step to move from these initial impressions on to evaluating what makes Harriet Miers even eligible for the position to which she was nominated, and the strategy shift that will put the focus more on her qualifications comes just at the right time.

The Time article is a lot more critical of the administration, speaking very condescendingly about efforts to bolster support for Miers among the conservative movement's own members. Time's evaluation of this shift by the president is portrayed as being a panic move on his part. The article paints a picture that shows a flustered and frustrated president abandoning his initial strategy and grasping out for a new one. But this is simply not the case.

As I've said, though the reaction the Miers nomination initially got was not at all what was expected, this strategy is the same one that was used in selling Chief Justice John Roberts' nomination. Though Roberts' credentials are far bulkier than Miers', and though those credentials were a major selling point of his nomination, the first argument for him was that he was a quality individual. While this period was brief, it still occurred, and so the administration's plan of attack is consistent with its past efforts.

Harriet Miers is the president's second nominee, and certainly there must be some adjustments in how to sell a new nominee, especially because of the difference in circumstances surrounding each of the nominations. But nonetheless, I think there exists a much stronger case for the president's collectedness rather than his panic in his managing of this appointment.