Friday, March 25, 2005

The Real Schiavo Divide

It is becoming apparent that the real divide in the Schiavo debate is less liberal/conservative than social conservative/traditional conservative.

Social conservatives are now calling on Gov. Bush or President Bush to take extraordinary measures and intervene despite the court orders allowing Terri to die. Indeed Roy Moore, on Sean Hannity's radio show yesterday, said that the executive branch can ignore any court decision that it does not agree with and placed the blame on Gov. Bush's feet. Also in the camp of ignoring the Courts' decisions are Bill Bennett & Brian Kennedy, Batesline, and Rusty Shackelford. In addition, there appears to growing hostility at the Bush and Bush for not taking more action.

On the other side of the debate are more traditional conservatives, who believe that process is important, even when it results in a decision that you may not agree with. Many are horrified at what they see as a willingness to disregard the rule of law in the name of "life." James Joyner, Steven Taylor and Instapundit are representatives of this camp.

As I said before, this is a fault line, and with firebrands like Moore out there to fan the flames, it will require some leadership to walk the two sides back. And that assumes that there are no extraordinary actions, which I think could result not only in a war between conservatives, but also a state and/or federal Constitutional crisis.

But this is quickly becoming a debate among Conservatives, and although I have no doubt that the anger will eventually be directed at the left and the Judiciary, the discussion on exactly what encompasses the "culture of life" will continue, and it will be contained mostly with in the GOP.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The Schiavo Debate Continues

There is a serious debate going in within the Republican party, and even among conservatives within the party, regarding Terri Schiavo and the reach of government. The NY Times has a story here, and you can go over to The Corner and witness that debate. You can also see the debate among conservatives at OTB, The American Mind, Instapundit and Jane Galt.

This is a natural reaction to the Republicans becoming the majority party. The various factions that have supported the coalition are now expecting the coalition to support their viewpoint. The danger comes when one factions viewpoint becomes dominant (Religious Right?) at the expense of another's (small government libertarians?).

I am not predicting a meltdown of the GOP, but this has certainly exposed some fault lines.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Terri Schiavo

You can read the District Court's decision here. Expect the decision to be appealed to the 11th Circuit in Atlanta this morning.

It is a well written and reasoned decision, although opponents are certain to hang on the de novo language of Congress' law to assert that the Judge could not have had time to analyze all the issues. I expect that Judge Whittemore will be on the receiving end of quite a bit of anger over the next few days, but the plaintiffs had a very high hurdle to overcome, not withstanding the recent Congressional action, and this decision was to be expected.

You can also expect this to increase the filibuster/nuclear option pressure on the Senate.

I may post on this whole matter a little later, or I may not. I have mixed feeling about how this has all played out, but on the whole I am not overly critical of the process, but do have strong feelings about the motivations. Like I said, I may or may not post on this later.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Judicial Filibuster History

This Washington Post story takes down GOP claims that a filibuster of judicial nominees is unprecedented.

As is well known, the GOP filibustered the nomination of Abe Fortas as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in 1968, and the story shows that contemporaneous reporting belies the current GOP line that this was not a full fledged filibuster. It seems that Bill Frist's line that a judge has never been filibustered when they had a support of the majority of the Senate is pretty weak as well.

Not surprising, but one would hope that the political media will at least stop saying that a judicial filibuster is unprecedented.
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Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Try This

Go to Google.

Type this: "bush's foreign friends"
(don't forget the quotes)

Hit I'm feeling lucky.

Monday, March 14, 2005

When Does Tom DeLay Become A Liability?

And perhaps more importantly, who makes that call?

Despite the continuing ethics problems, summarized in this front page Washington Post story, Tom DeLay appears to have a great reservoir of support among the GOP House members. But even more important than their "support" is that fact that there does not appear to be a rival faction waiting to seize upon his stumbles.

In 1998, the knives where out for Newt Gingrich, and when the opportunity arose, he was taken out by his own party. But the writing about that coup had been on the wall for a while. Gingrich had already put down at least one revolt, and there was a permanent camp of GOP Representatives that was against him (or at least not for him.)

I don't see the same situation here in 2005. DeLay was able to purge the only real threat to him, when he "retired" half of the GOP members of the Ethics Committee, and replaced them with loyalists. His position seems pretty secure, despite the hopes of the opposition.

But his security may ultimately be more advantageous to the Democrats. Because he is secure there is no one to take him down when he becomes a burden on the party. He will help drag the party down with him, long after he should have been jettisoned.

Ultimately it may be up to the WH to tell DeLay when enough is enough, but that day is not soon in coming. The Texas connection, as well as, the power that DeLay has shown in lining up the House to support the Bush agenda, will cause hesitation in pulling the trigger. In the meantime, expect continuing press coverage of the DeLay scandals along with a corresponding fall of the GOP's standing among the public.

Sometimes rivalry is important for political parties. Tom DeLay may be the example of why this is so.

Evolution Revolution

Once upon a time, Conservatives railed about relativism in the schools. The constant refrain was that there are right answers and wrong answers, and students should be taught the right answers and not just in a way that makes them feel good about themselves.

Cut away to today's debate on whether evolution should be taught in schools, or more specifically, the religious right's attempts to undermine it by whatever means necessary. In today's Washington Post story on this issue one of the parents is quoted as saying:

"If students only have one thing to consider, one option, that's really more brainwashing," said Duckett, who sent her children to Christian schools because of her frustration. Students should be exposed to the Big Bang, evolution, intelligent design "and, beyond that, any other belief that a kid in class has. It should all be okay."

Explain to me why every version of the "truth" is acceptable here, and not say in math class. I mean if the kid really believes that 2 + 2 = 7? Should that be OK too? What about if his parents say that 2 + 2 = 7? Is it OK then? (I should add that I wish that had been in place back in the day, because it would have really helped my math SAT score.)

Should we teach every story about how the world was created? The Hindu version? The Scientologist version? (Which I believe has to do with aliens.) The version I just made up? (It involves penguins.) And is this all that different than Oakland proposing to teach Ebonics?

That is not to say that evolution has been proven beyond a doubt, it is a theory, which is why it is called the "Theory of Evolution". But it is the best theory that incorporates the information that we have at hand, and until it is disproved, or a rival theory that can be scientifically tested is developed, lets not pollute the minds of kids with answers that make them feel good.

Religion is an important part of life to many people (including yours truly) but it shouldn't be used to hide our heads in the sand about reality. Somehow I think God can live with the fact that we think we evolved from apes, especially since it appears that we did.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Bush Lies*

Kevin Drum, Chris Mooney and The Washington Post pretty much nail the administration in one of their petty lies. The specific issue is regarding HIV and needle exchanges, but the bigger issue is this administration's consistent willingness to flat out lie if they feel it will help them.

To me this is one of the biggest reasons why I can't fully support Bush in areas where I agree with him, like bringing democracy to the Middle East. I don't trust him.

Accomplishing your goals through deceit and lies may accomplish your goals, but it makes it harder to gain support next time from the people you lied to this time. (Try to remember the "little boy who cried wolf" story that your mommy used tell you when you were a little kid.)

Now, I am not naive enough to think that lying in Washington is a one way avenue, nor is it always uncalled for. And I am well aware that the last guy, who I supported wholeheartedly, had bouts with dishonesty. But it seems to me that this has become the modus operandi in this administration. It many ways they are like little kids - why tell the truth when a lie is easier, especially if the lie is small enough so you probably won't get caught. But we don't let our 4 years old get away with such things, shouldn't the President be held to same standard?

And, by the way, I will acknowledge some hypocrisy on the issue of truth telling and the Presidency, but only when Bush administration fans acknowledge theirs.

(*This rant actually should be titled "Bush Administration Lies", but you know - the buck stops here and all that stuff should apply.)
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