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July 26, 2005


I read your essay and envisioned a film clip of Max Cleland morphing into Osama bin Laden morphing into {Democratic senator}.

"Not only can this be you, this will be you," intones James Earl Jones.

Some folks love playing hardball. Some folks just seem to be the ones that always get thrown at because of what their teammates did. And then there's the '62 Mets.

Related question (particularly given Dem's cracks).

What they hell was up with the Karen Hughes hearing? I mean, really. Everyone in the blogosphere believes the no-show was just an example of gross incompetence on the part of the Dems. But was it? They lose their ability to ask about things like Plame if they don't show up at the hearing. So why bag? Just to postpone the aggressive questioning to the Senate floor, when they'll have better TV coverage but less ability to demand information? Or have they just decided that Karen's way better than Charlotte Beers and the position is so overdue to be filled, they'll just let Karen fly through (contrary to what they said beforehand)? I can see Biden, especially, taking that route. But Boxer? Even Obama would summon a perspicacious question. Or did the Dems find out something about Karen (she's talking?) that makes them happy to have her back in the Administration (yeah, fat chance)?

Until we get a good explanation of the Hughes no-show, I don't think we can legitimately assume the Dems will even listen to your proposal. Good though it may be.

I don't think anybody legitmately assumes the Dems will listen to my proposal.

As for skipping the Hughes hearing, I should like very much to hear that there was a strategic reason for it, besides "we can't win, anyway."

To the extent that we believe Senate Democrats would listen to this sort of strategy, we can perhaps dismiss (but lament) their decision as having been made without the benefit of it.

from yesterday's Gallup poll:

In the survey, Bush's job-approval rating was steady at 49%, in the same range where it has been for more than a year. But his standing on a series of characteristics slipped a bit to the lowest of his presidency: 54% said he was honest and trustworthy; 50% said he shared their values; and 53% said he can manage the government effectively.

Those ratings, while respectable, are 10 to 12 points lower than during his run for president in 2000. Then, voters' sense that he was honest and straightforward were among his most valuable political strengths. His current rating as a "strong and decisive leader" is 62%, about the same as in 2000.

Favorable ratings of the Republican party fell to 46%, the lowest since Bush was elected president; 52% had a favorable view of the Democratic Party.

What's up with that? Dems over 50%? My recollection is that previous polls has R's unpopular and D's more unpopular.

By the way, minority polling reported by Gallup (website) suggests no inroads whatsoever for Bush with African-Americans, slippage amongst Hispanics and stability with whites.

Suppose the trail of orchestrated stonewalling and deliberate misdirection reaches into the Senate itself. Might that not be "extraordinary"?

Goodness, I should say so. Mercy! Heavens to Betsy!

(Who's this Betsy, anyway? Queen Elizabeth I? And who's Murgatroyd?)

I like your strategy, FWIW.

The hearings won't be until September. By then we will have had the special election in OH-2 to see how the corruption theme is playing in the heartland. And there will be more and more polls about where the majority stands on things like reproductive rights and privacy.

In any event, the questions the Dems ask should not be about specific political issues, but about executive power and what checks he believes exist when the executive gets out of line and out of control. And about checks and balances generally. And about limits on the war power. To what extent does the constitution permit invalidating Congressional and/or executive decisions on constitutional grounds and on grounds such as exceeding the boundaries of the statute. Privacy as an embodiment of the "powers reserved to the people." Whether the long-standing nature of a precedent requires a greater showing to overturn it. Etc. Draw lines about the kinds of judges that are not acceptable and, if he doesn't meet them, vote against him.

Otherwise, it will be like the war. They will spend the years after it goes bad explaining that they didn't know it(he) would turn out this way, so they voted for him before they had to end up opposing his decisions.

And remember--the blue state R's who vote for him will have to withstand the Dem onslaught pinning every unpopular vote on them.

The hearings won't be until September.

Spector evidently wants to move them up, maybe to August. Anyway, he is pushing for a 'timetable' on Roberts. Is he (well, is the Administration) thinking along the same general lines as Kaygro X? That would be the biggest and best endorsement of Kaygro's strategy possible.

As for the Senate Democrats....sigh. I know that people like Nelson and Landrieu are in a tough spot, but they're in a tough spot no matter what they do, as Kaygro points out. (BTW, why is it that Dems don't target 'moderates' in the GOP?). There really seems to be a gap between doing/saying things which would actually put these moderate Dems. any more in electoral jeopardy than they already are, and how spineless they actually are - IOW, they are more spineless than they probably NEED to be. They seem to be procedurally timid. Why?

I hate to use what is doubtless not an original metaphor, but some Senate Dems seem to have something like 'battered wife syndrome': "If we make nice, maybe we can get back to the good old days of 'Comity Central'". Sorry for the fairly offensive metaphor, but...we know what often happens to battered wives who are thus deluded.

Just a side note from publius about the Roberts (dysfunctional) drama:

I'm no expert on the history or past practice of disclosing a nominee's government writings, but I do know that the assertion of attorney-client privilege as a basis of withholding them is ridiculous. The attorney-client privilege is a privilege that belongs to the client, not the attorney. Once the client waives it, it no longer exists. In Roberts' case, the "client" is the United States. And there is simply no justification for refusing to waive it when the issue is whether to approve a man who could be on the Court for thirty years or longer.

But I guess these are 'extraordinary circumstances', so extraordinary rhetoric is called for...

I would urget the Dems to look at the long game. Roberts was trotted out rather quickly and frankly is as palitable a candidate as this administration is going to deliver. I believe this is partialy a bating of Democrats to demonstrate how contentious they are. I have two pieces of advice.

1) ask for every shred of corrispondence, documentation of corrispondence and personal accounts of conversations up front and in a timely manner. Be indignant only about this administrations stone walling as evidence that there is something to hide and lace in their information gap (WMD)record.

2) Publicly and in the splashiest way possible take the candidate in your arms and lead the dance around the dance floor. So far he has been coming to capitol hill and all of the Dems have been following his lead. Get some good solid air time with human interest (Maybe visiting a verterans hospital with wounded fron Iraq War)with Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Hillary, hell every body. Embrace the candidate as your own. The reality-show-Christians and the Enron-Christians will take care of the rest.

He is not the worst possible candidate enven if he does get confirmed. the inevitable fracture in the Republican Party base could be very tricky for them especialy if more information comes out about a resess apointment to the UN seat over the next 16 months about the Valerie Wilson affair.

There is a reason we have a congress, lets use it.

No, Roberts is not the worst possible candidate. However, that doesn't enter into consideration under the strategy I outline.

Again, it's not the nominee. It's the nominator.

As bad as the nominator is, he is the nominator only because of the support that his "base" gives him. A large part of that support (not necissarily the money, but the votes) is is based entirely on anti-liberal sentiment. Not that they could identify what that is beyond particular characters identified by Reublicans as the far liberal left. If Democrats could get Jane Fonda, Ralph Nader and and Hillary to publicly embrace this candidate over and over again, I contend that the "base" would shatter into a thousand points of light where it started. Then we could start sweeping up that mess of faith based federal funding. The CIA leak from the adminstration is on slow roast and will consume this administration as soon as "what did you know and when did you know it starts being asked. This burning bush will consume itself. Roberts will be confirmed. Why not get some milage out of it.

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