In this issue:
Once again, President George W. Bush turns to the person charged with vetting nominees for an important job to do that same important job. By selecting White House counsel Harriet Miers to be his second nominee to the high court, Bush is essentially playing the "trust me" card once again. WMD, enemy combatants, Medicare drug benefit-trust him. The funny thing is, not even his conservative base is totally onboard with him on this pick.
Several questions are bubbling to the fore. Why not go for a "known" judicial conservative, especially considering Democratic opposition was sure to be fierce in any event? Why fight to win a functional majority in the Senate if you are not going to use it? This critique, incidentally, neatly twins complaints about a House majority: Why have it if you are going to spend the country into ruin anyway?
The Bush administration now must backtrack to whip its usual lock-step supporters-the talk-radio crowd, anti-abortion activists, etc-into showing support for Miers, instead of moving forward with that support already intact. It may not matter in the long run-almost everything now hinges on Miers' performance before the Judiciary Committee-but that is an odd way to win a high-stakes Washington political fight.
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Highly-placed officials with personal connections to the President are certainly nothing odd in any administration. Jack Kennedy stashed his brother Bobby at Justice, after all.
But if Miers is confirmed, and if, as has been rumored, White House staffer Andy Card soon takes over at Treasury for John Snow, the Bush administration will have quite the tight little package of Bush insiders at key posts: Bush's former White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales at Justice, Condi Rice at State, Miers (once the president's personal attorney) on the Court, Card at Treasury, and come next spring, perhaps former Council of Economic Advisors chief Glenn Hubbard heading up the Federal Reserve.
If nothing else, this will demonstrate the importance President Bush places on having a personal relationship with the people who exercise executive power in his name. Or, as the ravings moonbats might say, maybe the President is not concerned about GOP political missteps or scandal leading up to the midterm elections because he knows there aren't going to be any.
Meanwhile, Europe is transfixed by the prospect of 72 million Turks joining the European Union. Turkey has long waited for membership in the Euro club, but now that an actual framework agreement on the conditions and form of that membership is getting down to specifics, old Europe is freaking out.
Suffice it to say that Turkey is regarded as both too poor and too Muslim to be a good fit in the EU by the likes of France and Germany, as well as Austria, which is leading opposition to full acceptance of Turkey. This opposition, in turn, has kicked up some jilted lover feelings in Turkey, with public support for EU membership sliding down from its once lofty heights of 85 percent. Now membership in the EU is viewed as somewhat anti-nationalist rather than affirmation of Turkey's position in the world.
Europe, of course, can put off new EU members indefinitely, but that does not change the fact that far too many old-line EU members are still saddled with bloated public sectors and too little private enterprise. Turkey or no Turkey, that will have to change.
Quote of the Week
"Get what units you can that you've got to tell people to get back on the bus."
"We don't have a bullhorn, if you have any bullhorns it would help."
"We'll start working on that."
"They are telling them to get off, they get on and right back off."
"I'm trying to get a bull horn."
"Do you have a unit there with a PA system?"
"If we could get a bullhorn to do this on foot."
"Reliance has a PA, when are they going to need it?"
"Sgt. Thomas be advised we are getting bullhorns sent out."
"We're gonna need em, thank you." -New Orleans police radio traffic in the days after Katrina as captured and transcribed by those with police scanners and now archived online.
Does the Contract with America Have an Expiration Date?
Fretting about Republicans' losing control of Congress has now officially begun.
The Syrian border has now become a regular battleground for U.S. forces in Iraq as the bloody run-up to the October 15 national vote on the new Iraqi constitution continues.
Yesterday's Words Today
Merriam Webster adds chick flick, bikini wax, and brain freeze, among other terms, to its collegiate dictionary. This suggests the editors had never seen a woman in a bikini before last year nor eaten ice cream way too fast.
God Acts Are OK After Act of God
Church, state, and disaster relief. Cathy Young
In Defense of Happy Pills
Why talk to a shrink if Prozac or Zoloft will do the trick? Maia Szalavitz
Was Katrina an Anti-Government Storm?
If you can't drown it in a bathtub, try a hurricane. Jonathan Rauch
And much more!
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