Monday, October 31, 2005

Wal-Mart is still evil

On Tuesday, September 20, 2005, I declared in this space that Wal-Mart is evil. Some might see that as a self-evident truth that didn't need declaring, but declared it I did, and let me declare it again: Wal-Mart is still evil. Yes, the retail giant is launching a "counteroffensive," war room and all, designed "to sell a new, improved image to reluctant consumers" now that its existing image has been justifiably tarnished by... well, by being Wal-Mart.

Memo to Wal-Mart: You're Wal-Mart! We know what you are! We know that you squeeze your suppliers, screw your employees (illegally, I might add), destroy small-town shops, and sell crap. Spin yourselves into a frenzy of deceit and marketing mayhem. Do what you will. In the end, you're still Wal-Mart! You're still evil!

(Alright, so I'm in an angry mood tonight.)

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The Post is reporting that President Bush will "announce a new Supreme Court nomination today, moving quickly after a weekend of consultations to put forward a replacement for the ill-fated choice of Harriet Miers in hopes of recapturing political momentum, according to Republicans close to the White House".

The three leading candidates: Alito, Luttig, and Batchelder.

"Any of the three would draw support from many conservative activists, lawyers and columnists who vigorously attacked Miers as an underqualified presidential crony. At the same time, the three have years of court rulings that liberals could use against them."

Indeed, "Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said yesterday that he has already warned the White House that nominating Alito -- who is often compared to Justice Antonin Scalia -- would 'create a lot of problems'."

Look for the Republican Party -- and its disparate conservative elements, including those that rebelled over the Miers nomination -- to unite behind Bush's nominee, whomever it may be (unless it's, say, Gonzales, who would provoke further cries of cronyism and heresy from the right).

And look for the Democratic Party to stand firm, at least at first and through the confirmation hearings.


Around the blogosphere:

TalkLeft: "Quick action, calculated to distract the news media from the Plame investigation, may also be calculated to consolidate the Republican Party behind a nominee who is trusted to advance a conservative agenda."

Southern Appeal thinks it might be Brown (JRB). I doubt it, but anything's possible. (At least the reasoning is sound.)

If it's Alito, Confirm Them will be "delighted".

And it looks like it will be, if is to be believed: "Luttig is a possibility, but there is some concern that Luttig could 'grow' in office." (As if growth is so bad!)

All the more reason why, of the leading candidates, I hope it's Luttig.


Our previous posts on all this (in chronological order):

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Will Bush be the next Comeback Kid?

Time comments on Bush's "week from hell" and what may be left for this bruised and battered president.

It won't be easy for Bush to come back from this mess: "More than anything else, it was the Miers meltdown that dissolved once and for all the image of a President whom no one defies and whose luck never runs out. The whole debacle, even Bush insiders say, reflects the problem of a leader who doesn't hear from enough people."

Plus, Rove has not been "in top form" and "Cheney's standing has suffered".

And here, perhaps, is the problem (for all of us): "'These guys are very good at campaigning,' says an outside adviser to the White House, 'and not so good at governing.' As long as there is an election on the horizon, they function like a humming machine and their coalition stays in line. But in an environment where that isn't there, they fall apart."

Great. But look where that leaves America (and the rest of us).

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Loyalty and dissent in the Bush Administration

Jonathan Alter has a must-read column in Newsweek. Key passages:

The same president who seeks democracy, transparency and dissent in Iraq is irritated by it at home...

Instead of reaching out and encouraging disagreement, Bush let neocons like [Scooter] Libby and Paul Wolfowitz hijack his foreign policy. Amazingly, the pros and cons of invading Iraq were never even debated in the National Security Council. If you had doubts, like Colin Powell, you were marginalized.

And the conclusion:

The good news about the president's bad week is that even his conservative backers are no longer willing to keep quiet when they think he's wrong. And Fitzgerald was so impressive that the normal White House response—to savage the critic—was not an option this time. So Karl Rove survives, but the fear he stoked is easing. Four years after September 11, we're beginning to get our democracy back.

Make sure to read the whole thing.

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Sunday, October 30, 2005

Conservatism, originalism, and precedent: Going back to the source

I don't think that anyone who would think of overturning a well-established precedent (such as Roe v. Wade) deserves to call himself or herself a conservative or to serve on the Supreme Court for that matter. Conservatism, at least in the sense in which I've always understood it, is about leaving well enough alone, of avoiding change for the sake of change, particularly when it proves disruptive, for as Edmund Burke was fond of saying, "in every revolution there is something of evil."

Those on the bench who condemn the "judicial activism" of liberal judges but who have the hubris to overturn a great mass of law when they think that it runs counter to their interpretation of what the founders intended (quite a stretch already) should go back to the constitutional law textbooks and read the great Justice John Marshall's opinion in McCulloch v. Maryland. In upholding the constitutionality of the federal government granting a charter of incorporation to the Second Bank of the United States in the absence of any explicit constitutional grant of power to do so, Marshall writes:

But it is conceived, that a doubtful question, one on which human reason may pause, and the human judgment be suspended, in the decision of which the great principles of liberty are not concerned, but the respective powers of those who are equally the representatives of the people, are to be adjusted; if not put at rest by the practice of the government, ought to receive a considerable impression from that practice. An exposition of the constitution, deliberately established by legislative acts, on the faith of which an immense property has been advanced, ought not to be lightly disregarded.

And this from a man who could claim to know the intent of the founders... since he knew almost all of them, personally! It's about time that modern originalists dispensed with their pretentions to be able to divine the intent of the founders.

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What the hell's a "superprecedent"? -- or, why Luttig is looking better and better

Generally, they're good for liberals and bad for conservatives -- at least for conservatives who claim to be originalists (as if it's possible to know the "original intent" of the Framers, as if what applied back in 1789 can possibly apply in full in 2005). Jeffrey Rosen explains in the Times:

Many conservatives say they hope that the new nominee will follow the lead of Justice Antonin Scalia and, even more, Justice Clarence Thomas, who has become a conservative hero because of his willingness to overturn many liberal precedents of the last 70 years, from Roe v. Wade to cases upholding the New Deal.

But social conservatives face a problem: a new theory of "superprecedents" that is gaining currency on the right as well as the left.

The term superprecedents first surfaced at the Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Judge John Roberts, when Senator Arlen Specter of
Pennsylvania, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, asked him whether he agreed that certain cases like Roe had become superprecedents or "super-duper" precedents -- that is, that they were so deeply embedded in the fabric of law they should be especially hard to overturn.

And so:

In response, Judge Roberts embraced the traditional doctrine of "stare decisis" -- or, "let the decision stand" -- and seemed to agree that judges should be reluctant to overturn cases that had been repeatedly reaffirmed.

If that is the case, Chief Justice Roberts would be at odds with the influential part of the conservative movement that argues that the Constitution should be strictly construed in accordance with the intention of the framers, regardless of the consequences.

It would seem that Luttig is with Roberts on this -- that is, for superprecedent and against pure originalism:

Striking down a Virginia ban on a procedure that opponents call partial-birth abortion, Judge Luttig wrote, "I understand the Supreme Court to have intended its decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey," the case that reaffirmed Roe in 1992, "to be a decision of super-stare decisis with respect to a woman's fundamental right to choose whether or not to proceed with a pregnancy."

Before the Roberts confirmation hearings, Mr. Specter talked informally to several law professors, including this writer, who mentioned the theory of super-stare decisis, noting that Judge Luttig thought it was important that Roe had been repeatedly reaffirmed by different Supreme Courts, composed of justices appointed by presidents from different parties and confirmed by Senates controlled at times by Democrats and Republicans.

Yes, Luttig is looking better and better. (Maybe...)


Around the blogosphere:

Ann Althouse responds: "Quite clearly, Luttig is not saying that there is a such thing as super-stare decisis. He's a Court of Appeals judge bound by Supreme Court precedent and subject to Supreme Court review. He's paying attention to what that Supreme Court has written about abortion rights, and he's reading the Court to have intended [Planned Parenthood v. Casey] to serve as an especially strong precedent."

Confirm Them posts on Luttig on superprecedents and Alito on spousal notification.

Daily Kos has an open thread.

Kevin Drum at Political Animal makes an excellent point: "It seems to me though, that the focus on Roe is misguided in any case. If my understanding of Roe is correct, it's based on a generalized right of privacy as decided in Griswold v. Connecticut, which in turn was based on our current understanding of the doctrine of substantive due process. I suspect you can't overturn Roe without also substantially overturning Griswold and significantly weakening the modern application of substantive due process at the same time. Rosen mentions this, and it seems like it's really the key issue: not whether Roe is a superprecedent, but whether Griswold's interpretation of substantive due process is a superprecedent."

More to come -- obviously.

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Reid on Rove (resign, baby, resign!)

According to the Post, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has called on Karl Rove to resign. Appearing on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Reid also said that "Bush and Vice President Cheney owe an apology to the American public".

Reid: "I think Karl Rove should step down. Here is a man who the president said if he was involved, if anyone in the administration was involved, out they would go. Anybody who is involved in this, they're gone."

He's right, of course, but don't hold your breath.

Crooks and Liars has the video. Enjoy.

(Needless to say, conservatives aren't impressed. See The Anchoress and The Political Teen (who calls Reid the "idiot of the day" -- as if that's a helpful contribution to the debate).)

Thankfully, we have The Heretik on our side.

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An Instapundit link

I'd like to thank the one and only Instapundit for linking to me. It's quite an honour to be recognized by one of the true giants of the blogosphere.

His post is here. My post -- on Darfur -- is here. (It's particularly nice to be linked for such a good cause.)

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It's Alito or Luttig

SCOTUSblog is reporting that a nomination is imminent:

Several news organizations were saying Saturday night that President Bush is expected to announce a new nominee to the Supreme Court either on Sunday or Monday, and that the President has narrowed the choice to two federal circuit judges: Samuel A. Alito, Jr., 55, of the Third Circuit in Philadelphia and J. Michael Luttig, 51, of the Fourth Circuit in Richmond. (As usual, the How Appealing blog is on top of these news developments.)

The choice of either of those two would signal that the President was more concerned about drawing his most conservative followers back into the fold than he would be about averting a major fight with Senate Democrats by putting forward a "consensus nominee."

If either of those two is nominated (and some of the news accounts suggested that the final decision had not yet been made), Senate Democrats are expected to mount a vigorous opposition campaign.

See also, Poliblog, and another great post by Joe Gandelman at The Moderate Voice.

I'll withhold comment for now, but -- and I'm taking a deep breath as I prepare to write this -- I'm not sure I'd mind either Alito or Luttig. At least as far as a conservative nominee would go (and I think we have to expect a fairly conservative nominee -- let's not delude ourselves into thinking that Bush will pick a "moderate" (unless it's Gonzales, but that doesn't look likely)). Neither one is a Brown or an Owen or some other right-wing ideologue in the mold of Scalia and Thomas.

Indeed, back in July, prior to Roberts's nomination, I even offered a different take on Luttig and argued that he might "be an acceptable replacement for a conservative justice like Rehnquist". This is now about replacing O'Connor, not Rehnquist, but let's at least keep our minds open for now.

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Joe Wilson speaks out

In the L.A. Times, under the headline "Our 27 months of hell". I recommend the whole piece, but here's the gist of it:

The attacks on Valerie and me were upsetting, disruptive and vicious. They amounted to character assassination. Senior administration officials used the power of the White House to make our lives hell for the last 27 months.

But more important, they did it as part of a clear effort to cover up the lies and disinformation used to justify the invasion of Iraq. That is the ultimate crime.

Yes, I believe it is -- and I say that, as some of you know, as someone who supported the war in part on the basis of those "lies" and that "disinformation". (Although I'm still happy Saddam's gone.)

Those who committed both the crime of outing Valerie Plame and "the ultimate crime" of lying about Iraq need to pay. What they did to Wilson and Plame was indeed "payback". Now it's time for them to get their own.

And that means more than just Irving Lewis Libby (a.k.a., Scooter).

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From Bloomberg:

India's capital New Delhi was rocked by three explosions that killed at least 41 people and injured hundreds in crowded market places as people shopped for the main Hindu festival of Diwali and the Muslim festival of Eid.

The death toll is likely to rise, Home Minister Shivraj Patil told reporters in New Delhi today. Television channels such as NDTV 24x7 have put the toll as high as 65. The home minister said at least 50 people had been injured.

The blasts left men, women and children with burns, bruises and broken limbs as they tried to escape, eyewitnesses said on television channels. Patil said he wasn't in a position to say who was responsible for the attacks. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Once again, make sure to read the whole article for context and background.


Update: The Times is reporting that responsibility has been claimed:

A day after a synchronized string of bombs tore through packed holiday-season markets in the Indian capital, killing 59 people, a little-known militant outfit in the disputed Kashmir province took responsibility today, and the police asserted that investigations remained inconclusive.

As the city's shopping centers crept back to a cautious normalcy, a man called the Kashmir News Service, to say that his group, which he identified as Inquilabi, or Revolutionary, had carried out the bombings.

The Joint Commissioner of Delhi Police, Karnail Singh, told reporters that the lead was being investigated. The police official gave a slightly different name of the organization: Islamic Inquilabi Mahaz, or Islamic Revolutionary Group, and said it was linked to Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistan-based militant organization responsible for several attacks in India.

I'll have more as more information comes out.

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Girls beheaded in Indonesia

A truly gruesome story from The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia:

Three teenage Christian girls were beheaded and a fourth was seriously wounded in a savage attack on Saturday by unidentified assailants in the Indonesian province of Central Sulawesi.

The girls were among a group of students from a private Christian high school who were ambushed while walking through a cocoa plantation in Poso Kota subdistrict on their way to class, police Major Riky Naldo said.

The area is close to the provincial capital of Poso, about 1000 kilometres northeast of Jakarta.

Naldo said the heads of the three dead victims were found several kilometres from their bodies.

Read the whole article for background on the Muslim-Christian conflict in Sulawesi and the "wider sectarian war in the nearby Maluku archipelago in which up to 9000 perished between 1999 and 2002".

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Did Saddam agree to exile before war?

Yes, says the United Arab Emirates. From the AP:

Saddam Hussein accepted an 11th-hour offer to flee into exile weeks ahead of the U.S.-led 2003 invasion, but Arab League officials scuttled the proposal, officials in this Gulf state claimed.

The exile initiative was spearheaded by the late president of the United Arab Emirates, Sheik Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, at an emergency Arab summit held in Egypt in February 2003, Sheik Zayed's son said in an interview aired by Al-Arabiya TV during a documentary. The U.S.-led coalition invaded on March 19 that year.

A top government official confirmed the offer on Saturday, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

Saddam allegedly accepted the offer to try [to] halt the invasion and bring elections to Iraq within six months, claimed the official and Sheik Zayed's son.

Not that this matters much now, but I find much of this hard to believe. Why is it only coming out now? Would the typically defiant and vainglorious Saddam, given his massive ego and personal attachment to the destiny of Iraq, really have given up and gone into exile to live out his final days in shameful oblivion? Would he really have cared enough about the people of Iraq to try to stop the invasion? Would he really have sought to "bring elections to Iraq within six months"?

Is this an attempt to make the U.S. look bad?

Maybe something was in the works, and maybe exile was discussed or even tentatively agreed to. I'd certainly like to know more about what may or may not have been proposed prior to the U.S. invasion, but my sense is that Saddam, delusion long having gotten the better of him, wasn't going anywhere. At least until the U.S. and its "coalition of the willing" destroyed his barbarous regime and he ended up in that literal hole in the ground.

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Saturday, October 29, 2005

Who will replace Miers to replace O'Connor?

As I've said many times here at this liberal-moderate blog, it's important to pay close attention to what our friends and enemies on the right are saying. Closing ourselves off to conservatives and thereby reducing our part of the blogosphere to a self-indulgent, self-satisfying, and ultimately self-glorifying echo chamber is not an option -- well, it is, but it's not a good one. I have more to say about this, but I'll leave it for a future post.


For now, let's look at what the right is saying about who might be President Bush's next nominee for the Supreme Court -- that is, who might be Miers's replacement now that she's withdrawn her nomination. "Multiple sources are telling RedState that Samuel A. Alito, Jr. of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals will be named by the President at the next associate justice of the United States Supreme Court as early as Monday." Luttig may also be a leading candidate, but "[a]ll signs are pointing to Judge Alito right now". See also here.

Feddie of Southern Appeal, writing both at his own site and at Confirm Them, looks at Pryor, Sykes, and Alito. Go to the main page of either blog and scroll down for more.

See also Professor Bainbridge on Bush's "chance for a do over".

Back at the MSM, the Times looks at the next stage of this "pivotal battle": "The pressures from both sides present a political challenge for President Bush - and it could generate a battle that could bog down the Senate for months if Democrats decide to block a vote on the new nominee." The Times also mentions that Alito may be the leading candidate, but Luttig and Owen remain in play.

Ann Althouse responds.

PoliPundit has polled his readers "to see which potential Supreme Court nominees would be acceptable to [his] readers". Right now the top ten are, in order: Brown, Luttig, Alito, Owen, Estrada, Garza, McConnell, Williams, Cornyn, and Wilkinson. Gonzales is 18th, last on the list.

More to follow. Stay tuned.

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Friday, October 28, 2005

On Cheney's inner circle

Juan Cole (of Informed Comment fame) has an absolutely must-read piece called "All the Vice President's Men" at Salon, reprinted at Germany's Der Spiegel. Cole, one of academia's (and the blogosphere's) leading figures on the Middle East, unmasks the hawkish, largely neocon circle of advisors that Cheney put in place in early 2001. Here's a key early passage:

Most of the members of Cheney's inner circle were neoconservative ideologues, who combined hawkish American triumphalism with an obsession with Israel. This does not mean that the war was fought for Israel, although it is undeniable that Israeli concerns played an important role. The actual motivation behind the war was complex, and Cheney's team was not the only one in the game. The Bush administration is a coalition of disparate forces -- country club Republicans, realists, representatives of oil and other corporate interests, evangelicals, hardball political strategists, right-wing Catholics, and neoconservative Jews allied with Israel's right-wing Likud party. Each group had its own rationale for going to war with Iraq.

Make sure to read the whole thing. It's absolutely fascinating. And it explains just how we got to this point -- an increasingly unpopular war, an indictment of a top White House official, and unanswered questions about Niger, Berlusconi, and who knew what and who did what to whom before the war and during the Bush Administration's cover-up of its own incompetence.

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Don't they know it's Fitzmas?

Merry Fitzmas everyone!

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The Libby indictment

Think Progress has the full text of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's indictment. All five counts: 1 for obstruction of justice, 2 for making false statements, and 2 for perjury.

(Trivia question: What does the 'I' stand for? Answer at bottom of post -- don't peek!)

I'll have more on this later and through the weekend, including round-ups of reaction from around the blogosphere.

I'm disappointed, if not surprised, that Rove wasn't indicted. At least he remains under investigation, however. For my take on where liberals and Democrats can (and should) go from here, see last night's round-up.

In the meantime, go check out Talking Points Memo, where Josh Marshall is doing some typically excellent work on this story, including the Niger forgeries -- lest we forget, all this comes back to the Bush Administration's manipulation of pre-war intelligence.

(Answer: Irving. I kid you not. For more on the mysterious I.L.L, otherwise known as "Scooter," see this recent piece at Slate.)

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Miers Withdrawal Watch -- Part 5 (finis)

I don't mean to say I told you so, but, uh, I told you so. From my Miers Withdrawal Watch -- Part 1 (Oct. 22):

It's going to happen.

See also Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.


The Post puts it succinctly: "The Bush administration withdrew the Supreme Court nomination of White House Counsel Harriet Miers yesterday, bowing to intensifying attacks from right-leaning activists challenging the depth of her conservative credentials and the strength of her judicial qualifications."

It had to happen. Miers may be a nice enough person, but there's no way she's qualified for a spot on the Supreme Court. Plus, pundits and bloggers from all across the spectrum united, in a way, against her nomination. President Bush rarely gives in and admits defeat (which this was -- it wasn't about executive power, as the spin goes), but this was a doomed debacle from the very start.

Who's next? -- Alito? Luttig? McConnell? Batchelder? Sykes? Callahan? Olson? Williams? Owen? Gonzales? Cornyn? Jones? Brown? The list is long, but these are some of the names that are out there.

My prediction? I'll go with McConnell. Or Sykes. Or Callahan.

But who knows? There are any number of directions Bush could take with this pick.


The blogosphere has lit up on this story. I may do a round-up over the weekend, once things have calmed down a bit and it's easier to pick out the better posts out there, but, for now, I recommend going to Memeorandum and scrolling down for all the latest posts on Miers's withdrawal.

Oh, alright, I'll mention one... one on the right:

Captain's Quarters: "No conservative or Republican should feel like gloating over the withdrawal of Harriet Miers today, although perhaps a feeling of relief would be understandable. Bush made a mistake in nominating Miers, but it wasn't Miers' mistake -- and she acted honorably in withdrawing her name once it became clear that her nomination enjoyed little support among Republicans in the Senate and elsewhere."

And: "On the other hand, let's also not engage in sniping at each other further now that the Miers nomination has ended. We need to focus on the nomination ahead, and how best to engage the full Senate caucus to line up behind a candidate that reflects GOP control of the Senate. That requires not just a demonstrably originalist thinker who can help transform the Court from its activist impulses and return it to its traditional and balanced role, but also a unified base that can put as much energy into supporting such a candidate as we put into the debate over Miers."


Memo to my liberal and moderate friends: This is what we're up against. I called Miers the Yoko Ono of the right, and I and others pointed gleefully to the conservative crack-up that her nomination seemed to instigate, but it's clear that the right will unite behind Bush's next nominee if that nominee is clearly one of them. Just pay attention to what they're saying.

It's far too early to predict the demise of the conservative movement and/or the disintegration of the Republican coalition. We didn't win this one, because there wasn't anything to win. Miers withdrew her nomination (or had her nomination withdrawn) because the right objected to her nomination -- Frum and Kristol had more to do with it than liberal or Democratic opposition, much of which was muted.

Stay strong. The battle begins anew. And it will be far tougher than the Miers debacle ever was.

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ROVE may be FITZGERALD's target (and how Democrats should respond)

Rumors are rampant and speculation runs wild. See last night's round-up of the pre-indictment scene here.

Today brought more of the same (if no indictments or anything else of much substance).


First, the MSM:

Here's what The New York Times had to say:

Lawyers in the C.I.A. leak case said Thursday that they expected I. Lewis Libby Jr., Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, to be indicted on Friday, charged with making false statements to the grand jury.

Karl Rove, President Bush's senior adviser and deputy chief of staff, will not be charged on Friday, but will remain under investigation, people briefed officially about the case said. As a result, they said, the special counsel in the case, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, was likely to extend the term of the federal grand jury beyond its scheduled expiration on Friday.

As rumors coursed through the capital, Mr. Fitzgerald gave no public signal of how he intended to proceed, further intensifying the anxiety that has gripped the White House and left partisans on both sides of the political aisle holding their breath.

Mr. Fitzgerald's preparations for a Friday announcement were shrouded in secrecy, but advanced amid a flurry of behind-the-scenes discussions that left open the possibility of last-minute surprises. As the clock ticked down on the grand jury, people involved in the investigation did not rule out the disclosure of previously unknown aspects of the case.

See also The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, and CNN. (The Anonymous Liberal comments on the Times vs. the Post.)


Second, the blogosphere:

The Moderate Voice, as usual, is all over the story -- with links to posts by Joe, me, and my fellow co-bloggers. See also here.

AMERICAblog is making the best of it and remains optimistic: "I won't lie to you, I'd rather have a Rove indictment (and we still may get one -- let's face it, it ain't over till the Irish prosecutor sings). But having this be a non-conclusion, having the Veeps chief of staff indicted, and having Rove REMAIN under investigation is pretty damn good. It will keep the White House in chaos for years to come. I still say it's 50-50 that Rove resigns tomorrow so that the president can move on."

I'd like a Rove indictment, too -- if it's warranted. But it's certainly true that a continuation of the investigation would keep the White House off-balance.

Hunter at Daily Kos: "The 'will remain under investigation' part seems to pretty clearly paint him as a continued target, though, so I don't see much joy in Roveland for the time being."

No, but there's some joy in Reactionland. It's fun to watch the Bushies squirm.

The Heretik rejects the Clinton comparison tossed around by conservatives without a clue: "A lie is a lie is a lie, as those who attacked Clinton would say and this has come back to haunt them. But whereas Clinton’s lies were in a private sphere made all too public, what we have here are lies made in private that have done great public damage."

In an excellent post, Needlenose looks at some of the key players in this story.

See also The Mahablog. And TalkLeft has some thoughts.


On the right, which hasn't had much to say about Plamegate recently, John Hinderaker at Power Line is more positive (from the right's perspective) than most: "So, if the Times is right, it's good news for the administration and a disappointment for the Democrats, who have staked so much on Fitzgerald's investigation."

But Jonah Goldberg at NRO's The Corner is worried about what will happen if Rove is neither indicted nor cleared but left in a state of purgatory: "This situation (if it is the situation) brings no closure of any kind. The media is obviously going to take a glass-is-half-full perspective on this and keep up Rove-indictment-watch. That means Rove remains distracted, no fresh start."

Goldberg and AMERICAblog essentially agree (which may be a Sign of the Apocalypse... or a Sign of the Renaissance... I'm just not sure). And I generally agree with them. For now (given that we still don't know what's going to happen).


Generally, liberals are waiting with heightened anticipation, but Kevin Drum at Washington Monthly, whom I admire as much as anyone in the blogosphere, remains characteristically cautious (and sensible): "I hope this isn't turning into a Ken Starr-style fishing expedition. As much as I'd like to see Karl Rove frog marched out of the West Wing, I have to say that if Fitzgerald hasn't been able to make a case against him in two years, it might be time to call it a day. This investigation shouldn't last forever." Andrew Sullivan makes much the same point.

I tend to agree -- to a point. What concerns me is that many of Bush's opponents (Democrats, liberals, etc.) are still looking for the smoking gun that will bring him down. Back in June, it was the Downing Street Memo, but that really didn't go anywhere. Now it's the outing of Valerie Plame (and, beyond her, the Bush Administration's manipulation of pre-war intelligence and its dirty campaign against its own opponents), but what if there just isn't a smoking gun? Aren't Bush's opponents -- aren't we -- placing too much emphasis on Fitzgerald's investigation? Aren't we hoping for too much?

No, don't get me wrong. I'm no Richard Cohen. I'm not saying that no one did anything wrong or that the investigation should stop -- nor are Drum and Sullivan. But let's let the indictments come down and go from there. If further investigation is required, so be it. I wish Fitzgerald all the best and hope he turns up the truth. But if not, or if it's just Libby and not Rove, or if there's no evidence that Cheney was involved, or if the story ends on awhimperr and evaporates into oblivion, then shouldn't we just move on?

We seem to be stuck here, waiting, waiting, waiting, hoping, hoping, hoping, fingers crossed that Fitzmas is right around the corner, that we'll come down early in the morning, open up our stockings, and find Rove's mugshot and video of a disgraced Cheney departing Washington for Halliburton-funded retirement in Wyoming. And then... oh, what then?! Bush's approval ratings tanking back into the 30s, then into the 20s, a cannibalistic GOP descending further into self-destruction, the Plame Game become the Blame Game, and a triumphant Democratic Party sweeping through 2006 with possession of both houses of Congress, then kicking the bastards out of the White House two years later.

(Sorry, was I dreaming?)

Look, let's just remain sober about this. It looks like Libby will be indicted, but Rove may get off (so to speak). Can we live with that?

Either way, if that's what happens, if there's no Fitzmas, let's not get too down. We need to think about what we stand for, what our core ideas are, and how, more practically, we can win in 2006 and 2008 -- see here for my post on how Democrats can win again. But also, we need to focus less on what Bush's officials have been up to and more on what Bush himself has been up to. That is, if I may be so partisan, let's focus on Iraq, the war on terrorism, Katrina, the Miers debacle, social security, tax cuts and the bloated deficit, health care, and all the other issues on which we're right and they're wrong, on which Bush has been an abject failure and on which the Republicans have taken America down a path to weakness and insecurity.

I also hope for the best -- the more indictments the merrier, the more disgrace the better -- but I'm also prepared for a less-than-best outcome. Let's not get stuck here. Fitzmas or no Fitzmas, there's still a lot for us to do.

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Dennis Hastert, blogger

For what it's worth, Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-IL) has his own blog.

Two responses:

Wonkette: "Here's definitive proof that the GOP is in serious trouble: House Speaker Dennis Hastert has launched his own blog... There is, we admit, something hypnotic about Hastert's deadpan delivery of allegedly important dispatches from his cranium," but "we think the Speaker could use a bit of assistance in refining his blog voice." Indeed.

Instapundit: "[H]eck, if we can get Dennis Hastert blogging, anything's possible." Indeed again.

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Thursday, October 27, 2005

Plamegate round-up (reminder)

Again, my round-up is here (or scroll down a few posts).

Over at The Moderate Voice, Joe Gandelman's done a great round-up with commentary -- see here.

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Miers Withdrawal Watch -- Part 4

Okay, I know, it seems like piling on at this point -- but the MWW must go on! Just a quick one tonight, however. I spent so long on my Plamegate round-up that I have little energy left for Miers... for now.

Whatever Miers's qualifications for a seat on the Supreme Court (or, rather, whatever her lack of qualifications even to be considered for a seat on the Supreme Court) and whatever the various and sundry criticisms that have been hurled her way (and Bush's) from across the political spectrum, there hasn't been much doubt of her seemingly successful pre-Washington career down in Texas. After all, she managed a fairly large law firm in Dallas and was president of both the Dallas Bar Association and the Texas State Bar.

Sounds impressive, right? Sure. But was it? Uh, no.

At Slate, the well-credentialed Mark Obbie attests to Miers's fundamental "mediocrity". Apparently, that seemingly successful pre-Washington career wasn't so impressive.


Elsewhere, conservatives are still speaking up (even as they have so little to say about Plamegate and Fitzmas):

Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters has read a speech Miers delivered to the Executive Women of Dallas in 1993. And he's not impressed:

The first quality that comes across when I read this speech is its mediocrity. I assume Miers wrote it herself, because no one would pay for something written this poorly, just on a mechanical level. It's full of incomplete sentences, poor grammar, conjugation errors, and the like...

Mechanically, this speech reveals a mediocrity in composition that is truly disturbing. What about the content? Unfortunately, that doesn't improve the picture much at all, either...

And so (finally):

I'm off the fence for good now. I oppose the Miers nomination. I have no objection to allowing Miers her day in front of the Judiciary Committee; if the Bush administration wants to subject itself to that kind of political damage, let it. The quality of her prepared speech strongly suggests that the White House will deeply regret that decision, but quite frankly, that will be their problem. The Judiciary Committee should reject her, as should the Senate, once her nomination hits the floor.

But if the White House has any sense left, they'll quickly withdraw her from consideration and spare itself further embarrassment.

But that's the key question: Does the White House have any sense left?

Professor Bainbridge has many more posts on Miers -- here, here, and here, for example (scroll down his main page for the rest).

See also Outside the Beltway and (with 22 questions for Hewitt and other right-wing defenders of Miers).

(Oh, at least The Volokh Conspiracy has something on Plamegate. Sort of.)


Speaking of which, stay tuned for updates on the indictments -- and more of the MWW.

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Get well soon, Steve Clemons

The Washington Note's Steve Clemons, one of our favourites here at The Reaction, was in a car accident last night. We wish him all the best and hope he recovers soon.

He's down, and "sore," but not out. Check out his latest post here, with updates on Plamegate (and some wonderful reader comments wishing him well).

No -- there's an even more recent one here. A new website and more office space: "Fitzgerald's operation is expanding."

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ROVE and LIBBY to be indicted

The Raw Story is reporting that "Special Prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has asked the grand jury investigating the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson to indict Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby and Bush’s Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice."

In addition, "Fitzgerald has also asked the jury to indict Libby on a second charge: knowingly outing a covert operative". Two other "officials" may also be indicted.

And a deal may have been offered to Rove. And turned down.

Read the whole story.

More to come.


Around the blogosphere:

The Anonymous Liberal, who's done some great work on this story, remains "skeptical". However, the story seems "plausible".

Hunter at Daily Kos links to another post by Richard Sale at Sic Semper Tyrannis: "[F]ederal law enforcement officials told this reporter that Fitzgerald was likely to charge the people indicted with violating Joe Wilson's civil rights, smearing his name in an attempt to destroy his ability to earn a living in Washington as a consultant." "Cheney is at the center of the controversy," and Sale is reporting that "[t]he probe is far from being at an end". A new grand jury may be empanelled and more indictments may be handed down.

At Hullaballoo, Digby responds: "First of all, the fact that there have been recent contacts with Cheney suggests that something really big is up. Second, the fact that he is going to empanel a new grand jury is also huge." And: "Gird yourselves for shrieks coming from the right so cacophanous that you will have permanent hearing damage if Fitz files civil rights charges. Their heads will start spinning like Linda Blair's and the words 'criminalization of politics' are going to be bursting forth like green pea soup."

Brilliantly put, Digby.

Steve Soto at The Left Coaster: "I'm not surprised that Fitzgerald hasn't pulled the trigger yet. There have been too many recent revelations leaking out and new developments such as his bull-rush into the Niger forgeries for me to think that he was ready. I personally now think that Fitzgerald will extend this grand jury after Friday, even if the indictments come down this week."

At Tapped, Garance Franke-Ruta gets to the heart of the matter:

Rather than signaling the end of the inquiry, however, indictments will mark the beginning of the real scandal investigation -- the public inquiry into and airing out of why the president and vice president of the United States of America took the nation to war based, in part, on forged documents that had already been disproven abroad and that were also rejected by the United States' own intelligence agencies.

That is the real scandal and the real mystery, and the more that is known about the origins of the Niger forgeries and the process by which they were given to White House sources, the more questions are raised about what, exactly, the White House thought it was doing. It is one thing for politicians to be misled by allegedly inept domestic intelligence agencies; it is quite another for them to ignore the work of intelligence agencies and use forged documents acquired through highly irregular back-channels, without verification, to mislead the American people and their elected congressional representatives in order to pursue personally desired military aims.

It's a must-read post. (Follow her links to Laura Rozen and Josh Marshall, both of whom have done some excellent work dissecting the highly disturbing Niger-Italy connection. See also Kevin Drum (also here) and Bradford Plumer.)

Balloon Juice looks at Plame's "status" at the CIA.

See also The Carpetbagger Report, Talk Left, Wonkette, and TBogg.

(The Carpetbagger Report also has a good round-up of the latest here.)

And what's going on over on the right? Nation editor Katrina Vanden Heuvel, hardly a friend of the right, suggests at The Huffington Post that conservatives are going through "the five stages of political grief". And so, as we await depression and acceptance: "In the meantime, we get to enjoy the hypocrisy of listening to Republicans run through the Clinton playbook. They are currently referring to the investigation as the 'criminalization of politics,' dismissing perjury as a 'technicality,' and smearing the Special Prosecutor. It is a veritable nostalgia-fest."

Indeed it is.


Otherwise, it's all quiet, more or less, on the right-wing front. Conservative blogs like Captain's Quarters and are still on the Miers story, while others like Power Line and Outside the Beltway are posting on this and that (the latest "Beltway Traffic Jam" is here), but they don't seem to have too much to say about these impending indictments.

Can you blame them?


But the real news: Nothing today. Which means yet more waiting.

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Japan's Oskar Schindler -- in Lithuania

Earlier this week, Annie at AmbivaBlog wrote a great post about Sempo Sugihara, a Japanese Oskar Schindler (or Raoul Wallenberg): "Sugihara, the Japanese consul in Lithuania, issued transit visas, written with his own hand, to thousands of threatened Jews in 1940 in defiance of the orders of his government. He is credited with saving 6,000 -- the 'Sugihara survivors.'"

Definitely worth the read -- and check out Annie's links for more on this incredible story.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The indictments are coming! The indictments are coming!

An "uber-insider source" tells Steve Clemons at The Washington Note (who graciously linked to me yesterday) the following:

1. 1-5 indictments are being issued. The source feels that it will be towards the higher end.

2. The targets of indictment have already received their letters.

3. The indictments will be sealed indictments and "filed" tomorrow.

4. A press conference is being scheduled for Thursday.

The "tomorrow" is now "today".

Plus, Steve has learned that "McCain was approached about serving as VP if Cheney has 'health problems' or otherwise steps down" and that "Miers will step down to be replaced by a Bork-like sub".

Well, these are "unsubstantiated rumors," but such is the state of mind in Washington at the moment. No one knows what's going to happen, which means that speculation can run amok. Still, anything's possible -- and I trust that Steve's sources are generally reliable.


The blogosphere is about to go nuts. Here's a sampling of reaction during the (relative) calm before the storm (a.k.a., Fitzmas):

Kevin Drum at Political Animal: "The bad news, though, is that Steve's source confirms my worst fears: Fitzgerald will be handing down sealed indictments. If that's true, it means we won't be any wiser tomorrow than we are today. All we'll have is some names and some charges, but no evidence."

The Anonymous Liberal: "But then again, maybe the indictments will only be sealed until the individuals surrender themselves (or are arrested), at which point they will be unsealed and Fitzgerald will hold a press conference."

MyDD: "I have generally refrained from speculating on what would actually happen when Fitzmas came, but now that we are on the brink... well, I still have no idea. My bet is that Rove and Libby are both going to be indicted. The way McClellan threw them under the bus today makes that seem likely."

Digby's Hullaballoo and The Carpetbagger Report consider the anonymous Mr. X. (Yes, this is getting better and better.)

For reaction on the right, see


Sleep well, everyone. We'll know more soon enough.

To quote one of my favourite movies, Almost Famous: "It's all happening."

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Marc Chagall: The Juggler (1943)

Speaking of the Times, this is the image that just appeared when I clicked over to the front page of Chagall's brilliant and beautiful "The Juggler". Not too shabby.

For the article, click here. Apparently (and I'm bursting with rage as I type this), "arts institutions across the country are cleaning out their closets for auctions starting next week" -- including works by Picasso, Modigliani, and Chagall.

Which qualifies as Sign of the Apocalypse #24.

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Just how popular is The New York Times?

In an interesting (and misleading) post, The Truth Laid Bear notes that the Times -- that would be The New York Times, America's paper of record (Judith Miller notwithstanding) -- is just a bit more popular, in terms of "unique visitors," than Daily Kos. But, of course, TTLB is referring to, not to the Times as a whole. Lest we forget, there's still a rather popular paper version out there.

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Majority now thinks Iraq War was wrong

More -- and more important -- poll numbers (than those in my previous post). From The Wall Street Journal:

A new Harris Interactive poll shows American sentiment about the situation in Iraq remains generally gloomy, with fewer than a quarter of Americans saying they are confident U.S. policies in Iraq will be successful.

For the first time, a majority of Americans (53%) feels that military action in Iraq was the wrong thing to do, according to the survey of 1,833 U.S. adults, compared with 34% who feel it was right.

At the same time, 66% of U.S. adults now say President Bush is doing a "poor" or "only fair" job of handling Iraq, while 32% say he is doing an "excellent" or "pretty good" job. That's little changed from a September Harris poll that found 65% rated Mr. Bush negatively and 34% rated him positively.

Sixty-one percent of Americans say they aren't confident U.S. policies in Iraq will be successful, slightly higher than 59% who lacked confidence in September. Additionally, only 19% of Americans surveyed believe the situation for U.S. troops in Iraq is improving, while 44% believe it is getting worse.

U.S. adults are split on where things are headed in Iraq: 38% believe things there are moving in the right direction, while another 38% believe they're moving in the wrong direction and 24% aren't sure.

These numbers surely speak for themselves, but here's some reaction out there in the blogosphere (from two of my favourites):

Kevin Drum at Political Animal: "I have a feeling that yet another series of 'same 'ol, same 'ol' speeches from the president aren't going to turn this around." As is often the case, I agree with Kevin. The referendum produced a positive result for Iraq, but this is far from over, and I doubt that Americans are prepared to wait that long for success.

Andrew Sullivan: "Americans are mature enough both to grieve for the U.S. and Iraqi casualties while understanding that wars always mean casualties. As to the future, the public is now evenly split on whether things are going in the right or wrong direction. Count me among the 24 percent who don't know for sure. I certainly hope that the political process will work in the end." I do, too. But who knows?

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If the election were held this year, Bush would lose...

But it wasn't. It was held last year and you all know what happened. Regardless, CNN is reporting that "[a] majority would vote for a Democrat over President Bush if an election were held this year":

In the latest poll, 55 percent of the respondents said that they would vote for the Democratic candidate if Bush were again running for the presidency this year.

Thirty-nine percent of those interviewed said they would vote for Bush in the hypothetical election.

That's a 16-point spread, people. What does that tell us? Nothing that we don't already know: Bush isn't all that popular at the moment.

Surprise, surprise, surprise...

(Such numbers may dull your lingering pain, my Democratic friends, as it dulls my own -- but we must all look ahead to a brighter future of Democratic pleasure.)

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Banning goldfish bowls in Rome

Reuters is reporting that "Rome has banned goldfish bowls, which animal rights activists say are cruel, and has made regular dog-walks mandatory in the Italian capital".

Alright, that might be a bit much, I admit, but at least Italy is doing something about the serious problem of cruelty to animals, given that "around 150,000 pet dogs and 200,000 cats are abandoned in Italy every year": "In July 2004, parliament passed a law setting big fines and jail terms for people who abandon pets."

Well, yes, local governments are enacting their own rules and policing will be difficult. But it's a start.

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SCOTUS nominations in perspective

Here's a list of all Supreme Court nominations and votes from the very beginning -- John Jay in 1789 to John Roberts in 2005. A couple of things stand out at first glance:

Aside from close votes for Thomas (confirmed) and Bork (rejected), most votes since the back-to-back rejections of Haynsworth and Carswell in 1970, each nominated to replace Fortas, have been overwhelming bipartisan majorities. Clinton's two nominees, Ginsburg and Breyer, sailed through the Senate, and even Souter, now considered some sort of stealth liberal nominee by revisionist conservatives, was confirmed easily.

Voice votes may or may not have been close -- and there were many of them right up to Fortas, LBJ's first nominee -- but a few early rejections and the close votes on Jackson's, Tyler's, and Buchanan's nominees (and, later, Cleveland's nominees) indicate that partisanship is hardly a new phenomenon in American politics. Indeed, based on the numbers (which, admittedly, don't tell the whole story), most recent votes haven't been terribly partisan (perhaps because prospective nominees are now thoroughly vetted in advance). Bork and Thomas are the recent exceptions, but in both cases there were extenuating circumstances: Bork's hearings went badly, to say the least, and Thomas was clearly underqualified for the job -- and both are extremists on the far right.

Anyway, it's all quite interesting. Have a look.

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Iraq death toll reaches 2,000

Not including civilians, of course. The AP reports: "A U.S. Army sergeant died of wounds suffered in Iraq, the Pentagon announced Tuesday. The death -- along with two others announced Tuesday -- brought to 2,000 the number of U.S. military members who have died since the start of the Iraq conflict in 2003."

One hopes (perhaps against hope) that the end will one day justify the means. If not -- if Iraq doesn't transition to democracy and the Middle East remains and insoluble problem -- then for what exactly did they die?

(The ratification of Iraq's draft constitution is a positive step. I'll have more to say on that later.)

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Miers Withdrawal Watch -- Part 3

Over at The Moderate Voice, Joe Gandelman has an excellent round-up and analysis of the latest developments.

A new conservative website:, "the clearinghouse for people who believe Harriet Miers should withdraw her nomination".

Leading anti-Miers conservative (and fellow Canadian) David Frum has set up Americans for Better Justice, "a 501(c)(4) political non-profit organization made up of grassroots conservatives from across the country who support President George W. Bush, but disagree with the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court." He's even got a petition, should you care to jump on board.

Via Professor Bainbridge, here's more Hugh Hewitt. And a line-by-line critique of his Harrietaphilia at Confirm Them. Bainbridge, one of my favourites on the right (he mentions me here), has more here, here, and here.

On Monday's Daily Show, Bill Kristol predicted that the Miers nomination will be withdrawn within two weeks. (See the video via Crooks and Liars.)


The Reaction to The Truth Laid Bear: I oppose the Miers nomination.

Obviously. My initial post is here. It includes this: "America needs a Supreme Court that rises above mere competence and aspires to excellence. That, after all, is what the Framers of the Constitution envisioned. Cronyism aside, America can do better than Harriet Miers. She may be a smart, loyal, pleasant woman with a reputable career behind her, but she's no Supreme Court justice." See here for links to other posts and scroll down on the main page for more recent ones.

Previous installments of the MWW:


It's been another busy evening/night at The Reaction. Scroll down, or click on these links, for Monday/Tuesday posts on Brent Scowcroft, Zimbabwe, Darfur, Zogby on Bush, Hurricane Wilma, Ben Bernanke, and Rosa Parks.

(Meanwhile, let's see if this works. And this. And this. It's open trackbacking on the right. An interesting (and useful) idea for bloggers, and I certainly don't mind reaching out across the spectrum to conservatives -- well, some of them. After all, political difference is not necessarily preventative of mutual respect... We'll see how much more of it I do.)

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Rosa Parks is dead

From the Post: "Rosa Parks, the dignified African American seamstress whose refusal to surrender a bus seat to a white man launched the modern civil rights movement and inspired generations of activists, died last night at her home in Detroit, the Wayne County medical examiner's office said. She was 92."

And a truly courageous American.


La Shawn Barber has a good post (including a list of other bloggers commenting on Parks's death).

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Bernanke to succeed Greenspan as Fed chairman

From the Times:

President Bush [yesterday] nominated Ben S. Bernanke, a senior White House adviser and a highly regarded academic economist, to succeed Alan Greenspan as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board.

If confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Bernanke, 51, will assume the most powerful economic post in the United States -- and arguably the world -- with a promise to continue the basic policies of a man who achieved a nearly mythic reputation during 18 years at the helm of the economy...

Mr. Bernanke's nomination was in many respects the economic equivalent of Mr. Bush's nominating John Roberts for chief justice of the Supreme Court: a candidate with sterling academic credentials, no taint of cronyism and a sphinx on key political issues.

"Ben Bernanke is the right man to build on the record Alan Greenspan has established," Mr. Bush said in a brief statement at the Oval Office with Mr. Bernanke and Mr. Greenspan at his side.

Mr. Bernanke noted that the Fed would "continue to evolve" in the years ahead. But in a bid to soothe anxieties in financial markets, he emphasized his intention to preserve "continuity."

"My first priority will be to maintain continuity with the policies and policy strategies during the Greenspan years," Mr. Bernanke declared.

Reactions thus far are overwhelmingly positive. Even Democratic stalwart Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, hardly one to support Bush's nominees without a fight, has already come out with a favorable response: "We need a careful, non-ideological person who understands that the Federal Reserve's main job is to fight inflation and Ben Bernanke seems to fit that bill."

My initial reaction is similarly favorable (although I reserve the right to add nuance to it going forward).

Maybe Bush is going through a good-bad alternation for appointees and nominees. Where Michael Brown and Harriet Miers are BAD, John Roberts and now Ben Bernanke are GOOD. Regardless, it's good to see that Bush didn't succumb to cronyism here. With the health of the American (and global) economy at stake, he seems to have picked a stable rudder in the mold of Greenspan himself.


Around the blogosphere:

In the middle, Dave Price of Dean's World "welcome[s] our new fiscal overlord". Well put.

Dave Schuler has a good round-up at The Glittering Eye.

The Wall Street Journal has some reaction from "economist bloggers".

Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution lists (and analyzes) five of Bernanke's "major contributions," including inflation targeting.

On the right, Professor Bainbridge: "When President Bush nominated his personal lawyer to the SCOTUS, some wags wondered whether he would nominate his personal banker to replace outgoing Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan. Instead, the White House has put forward Ben Bernanke, who is a very credible choice. Indeed, in many respects, Bernanke is everything Miers isn't."

Celebrity-economist (and trickle-down blowhard) Larry Kudlow is similarly impressed (see also here).

So is libertarian Virginia Postrel at Dynamist.

Think Progress, however, is rather skeptical. So, too, is DHinMI at The Next Hurrah.

Also on the left, Steve Soto at The Left Coaster asks a great question: "Yikes, did Bush just make a reasonable choice for a change?"

Yes, it seems so. Obsidian Wings agrees, adding: "I think we have Harriet Miers to thank for this appointment. When the Bush administration decides to appoint someone who is eminently qualified and will win widespread support, it can do a very good job."


Back on the right, Outside the Beltway expresses ideological concern: "Bernanke is seen as being more moderate than Greenspan and that could be a bad thing. The appeal of Greenspan is that he was seen as an inflation hawk to the point that he'd bring about a recession to control inflation. A more moderate chairmen [sic] might be seen as being more willing to use monetary policy to affect the business cycle vs. simply wanting to reign in inflation."

Which, in my view, would seem to recommend him. What's wrong with a moderate guiding the Fed?

See also Brad DeLong ("Bernanke is a demand-sider"), Daniel Drezner, Bradford Plumer, The Volokh Conspiracy, and the ever-sensible Justin Gardner at Donklephant.

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