Friday, October 28, 2005

Who's It Going To Be?

The hearsay around Washington is that President Bush is planning on nominating a solid conservative judge who has a judicial track record. Conservatives in D.C. are saying that the president is prepared to make a nomination of this kind despite the fight this will cause with Democrats.

The SCOTUS short list should then necessarily include Judge Luttig, Judge Alito, and Judge McConnell. All three judges would be great nominations for the presidents, and would re-unite the party that was divided over the Miers nomination. A nomination of any of these three men would be a nomination of a solidly conservative Judge, and one whose judicial experience would render them highly qualified for the position.

Luttig would perhaps be the wisest choice because along with his sound track record and summa cum laude qualifications, he also has a close frienship with the new Chief Justice, John Roberts. The two could work closely with one another to make appropriate decisions that would move the SCOTUS towards a more constructionist position.

Nonetheless, if the president can come through on this nomination and pick one of these three candidates, we should all be well pleased.

ConfirmThem's latest says that it's a toss up between Alito and Luttig. Stay tuned for the most current speculation.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Miers Withdraws

This morning Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination to the SCOTUS. Her decision came just a few weeks after she was announced as the SCOTUS's next nominee. President Bush issued this statement:
Today, I have reluctantly accepted Harriet Miers' decision to withdraw her nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States. I nominated Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court because of her extraordinary legal experience, her character, and her conservative judicial philosophy. Throughout her career, she has gained the respect and admiration of her fellow attorneys. She has earned a reputation for fairness and total integrity. She has been a leader and a pioneer in the American legal profession. She has worked in important positions in state and local government and in the bar. And for the last five years, she has served with distinction and honor in critical positions in the Executive Branch.

I understand and share her concern, however, about the current state of the Supreme Court confirmation process. It is clear that Senators would not be satisfied until they gained access to internal documents concerning advice provided during her tenure at the White House – disclosures that would undermine a President’s ability to receive candid counsel. Harriet Miers' decision demonstrates her deep respect for this essential aspect of the Constitutional separation of powers – and confirms my deep respect and admiration for her.

I am grateful for Harriet Miers' friendship and devotion to our country. And I am honored that she will continue to serve our Nation as White House Counsel. My responsibility to fill this vacancy remains. I will do so in a timely manner.
It is extremely unfortunate that Miers has withdrawn her nomination. From the beginning she was berated and criticized and she never really recovered. She certainly deserved better treatment than she received.

While there are a good number of conservative pundits who are quite satisfied with the derailment of the nomination, there are millions of everyday Republicans who supported the Miers nomination. Many of these members of the party's base believe that her withdrawal came as a result of arrogant and elitist criticism of the conservative punditry that was so happy to hear that Miers was stepping down. The nomination, even as it is withdrawn, has needlessly created division in the Republican party.

But from this point the party must lick its wounds and move forward as united body.

The problem surrounding the Miers nomination began with the president committing himself to naming a "diversity nominee." As I have said, there are certainly some extremely qualified nominees out there, who deserve serious consideration for a nomination to the SCOTUS despite their background. Gender or ethnicity should not be a factor in choosing the next nominee. It is my hope that the president will leave the diversity issue for another time, and simply choose the best person for the job.

We know now that the next nominee is going to come under real and serious scrutiny, and so it makes sense to choose one who has recently been subjected to an FBI background check. The SCOTUS is also considering a number of important decisions in the very near future, so the sooner we can get the next nominee on the court, the better.

Hugh Hewitt believes that these qualifications lead us straight to Judge Michael McConnel --whom I think would be quite well-suited for the job-- but that Judge Luttig and Judge Jones should also be near the top of the president's potential nominees list.

Nonetheless, the president's choice must re-unite the party in a way that gets both the elite punditry and the rank and file base on board in support of the nomination. Furthermore, the Republican congressional majorities need to act as if they are indeed majorities, strongly support the president in his decision, and push his next nominee on through to the SCOTUS.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Have They Really Stooped This Low?

USA Today published this photo of Condoleezza Rice that was doctored in such a way to make her look sinister and evil. Of all the ways to take cheap shots at Republicans, this is one of the lowest forms.

UPDATE: The photo has been taken down, and the editor issued this statement.
The photo of Condoleezza Rice that originally accompanied this story was altered in a manner that did not meet USA TODAY's editorial standards. The photo has been replaced by a properly adjusted copy. Photos published online are routinely cropped for size and adjusted for brightness and sharpness to optimize their appearance. In this case, after sharpening the photo for clarity, the editor brightened a portion of Rice's face, giving her eyes an unnatural appearance. This resulted in a distortion of the original not in keeping with our editorial standards.
Despite this explanation, some photoshop pros are not buying USA Today's explanation. One of Michelle Malkin's readers provides this example:
I am a professional photographer and have used Photoshop on a daily basis for many years. This malicious retouch of Condi's image is not only intentional, but must have cleared the photo director as well. In other words as a collaborative effort or a wink and a nod.

I don't believe the eye treatment could be the result of over-sharpening alone, but probably involved some heavy handed levels or curve adjustment as well, and the eyes had been isolated from the rest of the image by selection or masking.
In any regard, this is not one of the paper's finer moments.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Artificial 2000 Mark

The number of casualties in the war in Iraq reached 2000 after an announcement from the Pentagon on Tuesday. The leading Senate Democrats took the occasion as one to "honor" America's servicemen and women while criticizing the president. Ed Kennedy and Dick Durbin both made Bush-bashing statements prefaced by a brief disclaimer about honoring the troops. From the Washington Post:
"Our armed forces are serving ably in Iraq under enormously difficult circumstances, and the policy of our government must be worthy of their sacrifice. Unfortunately, it is not, and the American people know it," said Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts.

Added Dick Durbin of Illinois: "Words of tribute are in order to honor the sacrifice of these brave men and women and their loved ones. But words are not enough. We owe them leadership and a clear strategy to bring our troops home with their mission truly accomplished."
These comments are merely another demonstration of the Senate's Democrats using floor time to give the appearance of having real, factual things to say, but without really saying anything. One wonders if they really think that their hatred of the president and blatant agendas are at all covered up by their disclaimer "support" for the troops.

The 2000th soldier dead is just another opportunitty that the Dems can use to launch attacks on the administration. These high-ranking Dems do not support the war, they do not support the troops, and they do not support the president. Anyone who believes otherwise is fooling themselves.

But is this 2000th casualty really a significant mark that should be recognized?

Here are the thoughts of U.S. Army Lt. Col. Steve Boylan, the director of the force's combined press center:
"The 2,000th Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine that is killed in action is just as important as the first that died and will be just as important as the last to die in this war against terrorism and to ensure freedom for a people who have not known freedom in over two generations," Boylan wrote.

He complained that the true milestones of the war were "rarely covered or discussed," and said they included the troops who had volunteered to serve, the families of those that have been deployed for a year or more, and the Iraqis who have sought at great risk to restore normalcy to their country.

Boylan said they included Iraqis who sought to join the security forces and had became daily targets for insurgent attacks at recruiting centers, those who turned out to vote in the constitutional referendum, and those who chose to risk their lives by joining the government.

"Celebrate the daily milestones, the accomplishments they have secured and look to the future of a free and democratic Iraq and to the day that all of our troops return home to the heroes welcome they deserve," Boylan wrote.
There is a a lot of importance in those words. Democrats should take note of them, for they lay out the correct way in which to speak of the war in Iraq. Media-types should also heed his advice, and perhaps the American public might get a legitimate picture of what takes place daily in Iraq.

Speaking of which, Michael Yon has a brand new post on the recent elections in Iraq, current military operations, and more. Keep him in mind for accurate, on-the-ground reporting.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Here We Go Again

Cindy Sheehan's latest plot is to tie herself to the White House fence as soon as the 2000th soldier in Iraq dies.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Cindy Sheehan, the military mother who made her son's death in Iraq a rallying point for the anti-war movement, plans to tie herself to the White House fence to protest the milestone of 2,000 U.S. military deaths in Iraq.

"I'm going to go to Washington, D.C. and I'm going to give a speech at the White House, and after I do, I'm going to tie myself to the fence and refuse to leave until they agree to bring our troops home," Sheehan said in a telephone interview last week as the milestone approached.

"And I'll probably get arrested, and when I get out, I'll go back and do the same thing," she said.
If she thinks that her "demonstrations" are going to receive any real support from the American public she is greatly mistaken. Her recent statements and actions have distanced her from the crowd of those within the realm of sanity, though we should expect nothing less than full MSM coverage of her moment on the fence.

Hugh Hewitt's Reflections On Miers' Nomination

Read this post. It's long, but it covers just about every angle you can think of in regards to the nomination, and is very comprehensive and accurate in its assessments.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Dean Loses It, Again

"I'm tired of the ayatollahs of the right wing," Dean said. "We're fighting for freedom in Iraq. We're going to fight for freedom in America."
Only a small taste of the latest from the Democrat's National Committee chairman. Here's the story.

The problem with Howard Dean is that the majority of what he says is empty rhetoric. Nothing is fact-based, nothing is researched. What makes up most of Dean's monologues is the usual rhetoric of the MoveOn.org left. Verbal attacks and claims based on speculation and zero concrete evidence.

I get the impression that Dean is just plain mad these days. He's mad that Republicans have majorities in the house and the senate. He's mad that the President is in office for his second term, which still has over three years left. He's mad that Republicans have now appointed two of their own to the SCOTUS. And mad that his rhetoric has done nothing to bolster the Democrat's base; it has instead splintered the Democratic party and done nothing to weaken the rock-solid Republican base.

So it's understandable why Howard Dean has spent most of his mic time recently just venting. Dean is a key member of the Democratic Party, and his inability to keep his head or have any real sense of objectivity or truth in the things he says should be a warning to those who support him.