Bill Kristol and Brit Hume

Thursday, October 06, 2005
I can not add to Knucklehead's excellent post on the Miers controversy.

But I can make an observation and a suggestion.

Today on Fox news I saw two things that caught my attention.

Bill Kristol called for Harriet Miers to withdraw her nomination. He did this days before an election in Iraq that will have a profound effect on the lives of the Iraqi people and the hope of Arab democracy.

This struck me as insanely narcissistic.

Especially when one considers his socalled support for the war.

Then I heard Brit Hume say that almost all the people he had heard from were very irate and betrayed conservatives.

So I dropped him a line.

These people can complain about Harriet Miers and her qualifications all they want but a good many of them are probably not qualified to be her secretary. I know I am not.

So If you are interested let Brit know [Email -] that somethings are more important than Bill Kristol's temper tantrum.


Syl said...

Good on you, Terrye!

These elite conservatives have been massaging their judicial hopefuls for years now. And Bush didn't choose one off their favored list.

Well, boo-hoo. Bush will get another chance I'm sure.

Even if he doesn't I think he's done very well.

If these conservatives really believed in the constitution they'd see the SCOTUS isn't meant to be a bunch of superior beings whom we worship.

And the hearings haven't even started yet.

Kristol? Take your snit and sit on it.

chuck said...


I've also noted a definite male/female split on this. Women seem much more sensitive to the disparaging, can I use the word sexist, tone of much of the criticism. Bush, on the other hand, obviously enjoys the company of strong, competent, high achieving woman. I expect he genuinely feels at a loss at some of the criticism, as do I.

Anyway, here is another woman on The Bloviating Bowtie and His Cheerleaders.

terrye said...

I just think it is dumb, stupid, assanine, ridiculous...

If you go on some of the sites like polipundit this what you hear:

he lied to us.

she is not qualified

we worked our fingers to the bone and see where it got us.

Bush is not a real conservative.

I want Luttig I want Owen..

These people do not know a damn thing about these potential nominees unless some talking head has instructed them. Most of them do not know the law, they are paranoid and can be very nasty when crossed.

And of course it is all Bush's fault..If he had just kissed their asses all would be well.

Why.... the American people could go through months of contentious raving partisan fights over their dream candidate along with Rove and Delay and oh yeah, that war for oil in Iraq.

When Bush is gone I am really going to have to rethink my party affiliation.

flenser said...

I'm sorry, but much of the commentary on this site on the Miers matter is childish in the extreme. I get the feeling that I have stumbled across a Yahoo mesaage board at times.

What happened to all the smart, thoughtful, well mannered commenters from Rogers place?

Let me pick one example out of a great many.

Here is chuck ;"Women seem much more sensitive to the disparaging, can I use the word sexist, tone of much of the criticism."

The charge that the criticisn of Miers is due to sexism is idiotic.

Many of the favored candidates were women. Edith Jones, Priscilla Owen, and Janice Brown were just three of the top notch women judges whom eveyone would have swooned over.

This "sexist" smear is despicable ad hominem. A great many other blogs and blog commenters have allowed their emotions to get the better of them over this. I would hope that this group of people, and this blog, might demonstate a superior tone.

If people have arguments to make, one way or the other, lets make them in a clear, thoughtful, and respectful manner.

chuck said...

The charge that the criticisn of Miers is due to sexism is idiotic.

Evidence? Does the opinion of women count, or do you know better?

Edith Jones, Priscilla Owen, and Janice Brown were just three of the top notch women judges whom eveyone would have swooned over.

Women are some of your best friends? Do you know why these woman were not chosen? Might there have been sound politcal reasons? What about the rumor that Bush wanted Owens but the senate didn't want the fight?

A great many other blogs and blog commenters have allowed their emotions to get the better of them over this.

I had that impression of your own postings. YMMV.

If people have arguments to make, one way or the other, lets make them in a clear, thoughtful, and respectful manner.

Now you tell us. After starting a fight in a previous thread and running down Miers, when you knew nothing whatever about her. Telling us how unqualified she was and all.

flenser said...

It's the seventh sign.

World to end tomorrow.

flenser said...


My comments on Miers are what they have always been. It was a bad pick politically. We don't know how she will do a a judge. I hope she turns out great, but I expect she wil be be in the mold of O'Connor or Kennedy.

"Do you know why these woman were not chosen? Might there have been sound politcal reasons? "

I do not know why they were not chosen. I assume there were sound political reasons. I do not assume there was any sexism involved in the decision.

"What about the rumor that Bush wanted Owens but the senate didn't want the fight?"

You know as much as I do. I assume that it is true. It sounds plausible. I don't see the relevence to the charge that Miers detractors are sexist though.

"After starting a fight in a previous thread and running down Miers.."

I have not started any fights to my knowlege. If you have seen me get ticked off at people at Rogers then you will know that. I have disagreed slightly with some people on some issues. Nor have I run down Miers. I have acknowleged that she may turn out to be a good judge. If I am running down anyone it is Bush and the Republican senators, for making a poor political move.

I suppose that is equally heretical to some.

Rick Ballard said...


Who could get past the Seven Dwarves plus Spector? Spector's got the gavel and I believe that the only time I've seriously disagreed with Hugh Hewitt was when he advised against opposing him. He is completely untrustworthy (in the political sense) and this chairmanship is his swansong. The Seven Suckups grabbed the power position in the Senate and Ms. Mier is the result. That's the politics of it and the President is playing a hand that makes the best use of the cards in it.

Friction within the coalition is going to flare up from time to time. The dismissive tone of the law profs and sundry pundits clearly isn't winning any points with a portion of the coalition. They might want to shut up and sit down for a bit unless they can come up with a method to put spines in jellyfish or take the gavel out of Spector's hand. Absent that, they might reflect on fighting for Bork and winding up with Kennedy.

vnjagvet said...

Does anyone detect an age issue in the Miers nomination? I commented on Althouse yesterday and asked how many 60 year women have better credentials for the SCOTUS seat than Miers. Ann seemed somewhat indignant that I would deign to ask such a question, responding:

"How many sixty year old women have better credentials for the Supreme Court than Harriet Miers?" But 60 was considered too old to be a candidate until just now and apparently still is for the males. And what male candidate who is considered Supreme Court material takes a mid-career job doing something like the Texas Lottery Commission? Can you picture Roberts doing something like that even early in his career? Even if she was in the limited set of women who were law grads in 1970, huge numbers of women flowed into the profession very shortly later. Go to women in the 50 to 55 age range, the same target range used for the male candidates, at there are plenty of individuals with superior credentials. My problem isn't with her lack of judicial experience, it's that there are no elite credentials of the sort that say this is a superior intellect -- a mind that should decide the most important issues for us over a period of decades! If you think about it that way, her nomination is an absurd imposition on us by the President."

Ann is roughly 50. I thought I detected a bit of envy and condescension there. Whatchathink?

Keep in mind that Justice Ginsburg was appointed when she was 60.

terrye said...


the seventh sign might be Rove testifying in front of the grand jury again....without protection against indictment.

I am sorry if you feel we are not being proper about this.

I personally would have preferred if people had been cool but restrained in their response and then waited until the confirmation hearings and allow the process to proceed in a dignified fashion.

But certain members of the right chose instead to get really stupid and attack not only a lady who has done them no harm, a president who thus far has made some very good judicial picks, but anyone and everyone who did not get outraged along with them.

I did not get this snotty overnight. I would say it was the fifth or sixth time some crazed prolifer/constructionist started calling me names and doubting my credentials as a conservative that I got kinda pissed off. I guess it was the overt lack of respect for all and sundry.

Miers is qualified for the job, there is no reason to believe that she can not handle it.

I think the country is fed up with the antics and a big bad fight with the Democrats right now over Owen or whoever would be a very bad idea.

Just today some liberal I know told me what fun it was to watch the right wingers go crazy.

It is nice to know we are good for something, even if it is just comic relief.

terrye said...

I read that Brown is 57.

And there have been Supreme Court justices before who had real jobs.

That Texas Lottery crack is uncalled for.

Miers is among the top lawyers in the country. She ran a huge firm and she has real life experince.

Look at Ginzburg for heavens sake.

But yes, I think age is part of it and I think Roberts is a tough act to follow.

But that does not explain the malice.

chuck said...

Another good take on the meltdown. Or one that speaks for me, anyway. Link.

flenser said...


The intriguing question in all this is, did the Dwarves inform W that all the A list people were "out of the mainstream" and open to filibuster?

If so, that is information that really needs to get out. For some reason I have never understood, the WH is slow to release information which would put them in the clear. On a whole range of issues.

Again, if that is so, then several peoples presidential aspirations should be finished.

Further thoughts - Reid, the supposed minority leader, is now giving Bush a list of candidates to chose from. That is stunning and unprecendented. I wish the WH would fight back more aginst it, for their own sake and the sake of the office.

It would be interesting to watch Coriolanus having to announce on the senate floor that he is going to uphold the filibuster of Owen, for example. What we he do, if it came to that? The argument that it would lead to a showdown is unpersuasive to me. You have to stand up to bullies.

Going forward, this atrocious process is now in place for all subsequent picks Bush gets to make. If Stevens steps down, Reid will hand Bush a list of possible succesors.

This is a far, far cry from where we thought we were just a few months ago. I cannot blame people for feeling upset and betrayed and outraged. Regrettably, some of that anger is being turned against the wrong targets.

As for the whole "elitest thing - most of those up in arms about this pick are not at all "elite". They are regualr people from middle of the road colleges. The "leftiness" of the charge has done a lot to inflame people. If you look around I think you'll find that the everyman types are not happy either.

The point really is that policy decisions are not properly argued, in our party, on those kinds of grounds.

terrye said...

The next thing we will hear about is the approval rating. I read CBS has one out at 37%, but I have not seen it. It was up to 45 or 46.

It will be down and of course that will weaken him further and make it even more difficult for him to do the very things these people say they want Bush to do.

MeaninglessHotAir said...


No offense to the law-school professors, but having a "superior intellect" doesn't seem to me to be ipso facto the best qualification for a Supreme Court justice. The reason is that the higher a case rises through the appellate system, the less decidable it is by intellect alone. By the time it reaches the Supreme Court, if intellect could have decided it, it would surely have done so already. Those cases get there by and large because they are by definition sitting on a razor thin balance between competing philosophies and rationalities.

To what does a Supreme Court justice turn when reason is at an impasse? Their gut-level feelings of course. And so to me it is an issue of who's gut-level feelings are most likely to produce the sort of nation in which I wish to live. By and large that means a justice who is what is now called a "strict constructivist". (Oops, I guess I'm "conservative" again.) Accordingly, I ask myself, who's gut-level instincts fit that bill better, those snobs from the Ivy-league who have spent all their lives isolated in the ivory tower (and only a few elite Northeastern ivory towers at that), or is there some advantage in having at least one individual on the Supreme Court whose gut-level instincts have been formed in the fire of real-world experience and hands-on lawyering?

The academics like Ann Althouse seem to be confused on the issue. We're picking a Supreme Court justice for everyone in the Republic here, not a professor for Harvard Law. It's just like an academic to convince themselves that their utter lack of experience is the only necessary experience in life.

chuck said...

A read that Althouse response also (Hi vnjagvet) and thought it was pretty weak. Anne started off neutral, and then drifted. I don't think she was envious, though definitely condescending. As much as anything, she just seemed to be caught up in the current.

I felt like posting that if she was as hard driving and hard working as Harriet and was willing to make the sacrifices, she too might have amounted to something. Instead she chose a cushy academic job. And don't tell me academic jobs aren't cushy. But I didn't post it, seemed a bit snarky ;)

terrye said...


I made my point about elitism based on what some pundits were saying.

And people like Coulter and Frum had it coming. Their remarks were an insult to anyone who was not a graduate of an Ivy League school and it could well have been left out of the discussion.

My understanding is that this list is not just Reid's list, it is a list of suggested candidates from the bipartisan group of Senators.

ergo a conspiracy.

Bush could not nominate someone else, but would that be fair if it only accomplished a hellish process for all concerned with defeat almost inevitable?

Perhaps Bush is trying to protect the party. Seven of those Senators are Republican and we can not know what else may be involved.

but Syl was right, Justices have become far too deified. I like the idea of putting regular people on the court and Roberts, brilliant as he is, seems a very humble man to me.

I do not know if Miers is as gifted, but considering her ability to rise in whatever area she finds herself I would say she had to possess some gifts of her own.

Syl said...

Excellent link, Chuck.

BTW, I'll never listen to Ann Coulter again when she talks about 'The Elite'.

Pot. Meet. You know the routine.

Rick Ballard said...


I think her litigation background sticks in the craw of some of the law profs. Her other work with the bar associations was performed while she was working full time representing some very high quality clients. That's a heavier load than most practising attorneys would consider taking on. I've know three women litigators of her age or slightly older. I met two of them through work in a church setting, serving with one on what's known as a session - governing body of a local church and the other as opposing counsel on a case for which I was selected to represent a larger church body in ecclesiastical court, the case that went through trial and two appeals, the last heard by the denomination's equivalent of the Supreme Court. The 'church ladies' both had wide employment litigation experience and were both as tough as boots.

I am looking forward to Ms. Mier's appearance before the Judiciary Committee and I'm confident that she is going to satisfy most of her critics. I doubt that there will be many questions remaining concerning her ability at the end of the hearings.

I don't doubt the existence of condescension and a bit of envy among the profs. It's tough to get your bubble burst and even tougher to watch a practitioner move ahead of theoreticists.

terrye said...

a real life story about academics:

Back in the 80's we had a drought. It was bad.

We were running out of feed for the cows and my husband was going to go ahead and cut what precious little sudan grass we had for hay.

But it was only knee high [should have been shoulder high] and we knew the nitrate concentrations would be high because of the slow growth.

Well Purdue had a hot line going for all of us rednecks to call in. He got hold of a man with a PhD in Dairy Science. I had not even known there was such a thing.

This man told my husband to take a "lesser" cow and put her out in the field and if she did not die we would know the feed was ok.

Well...the old man decided to take matters in his own hands. He cut some of the hay and sent it off to a chemist. We discovered we could feed it if we mixed it with enough other feed.

and the lesser cow did not have to be sacrificed to the God of Academia.

flenser said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rick Ballard said...


I'm not happy with the process at all. The WH will not disclose that the Seven Dwarves "presented a list", Reid's list is immaterial. They won't disclose the Seven Dwarves perfidy because at least they remember Reagan's 11th Commandment. One of those dweebs could stumble into the nomination (St. Jude protect us) and we can't afford to lose in '08. In '12, yes, but not in '08. We have a war that must be finished and it's going to take six more years to get the necessary changes in the ME done.

flenser said...


I'm sure it is bad form for me to quote my own comment, but I'm going to do it.

"Going forward, this atrocious process is now in place for all subsequent picks Bush gets to make. If Stevens steps down, Reid will hand Bush a list of possible succesors.

This is a far, far cry from where we thought we were just a few months ago. I cannot blame people for feeling upset and betrayed and outraged. Regrettably, some of that anger is being turned against the wrong targets."

For a lot of people in the Republican party, the courts, and this moment, are something they have been working toward for decades. Literally, for decades. They care about this issue more than any other. Just when they thought that all those years of work were on the verge of paying off, they see the rules of the game changed to try to prevent them from winning. They see the football seemingly snatched out from in front of them again.

For you, and the other posters on this board, to whom the courts are just not a big deal, its easy to say that they should just shrug and move on. Doing that is exactly the wrong thing though. It is the one thing designed to drive them into a frenzy. If you were in the same position you would feel the same way. It's like someone scoffing at Terry Schavio for you. It's pushing all the wrong buttons.

The anti-abortion people really do believe that millions of people are being murdered every year, and are desperate to at least slow it down. This is a bigger issue for them than anything else.

I understand that the courts are not an issue to most people who post here. But they are an important issue to lots of the people we depend on to get good people elected. Caring what your allies think is a tough thing to do. But neccesary.

flenser said...


"They won't disclose the Seven Dwarves perfidy because at least they remember Reagan's 11th Commandment."

Sadly, the Gipper seems to have taken that to the grave with him.

But I wonder if that is really the reason.

chuck said...


I cannot blame people for feeling upset and betrayed and outraged.

Then I will. Controlling these feelings is what being a grownup is all about. Sometimes it is simply a big mistake to spew, and this was one of those times. I expected better. At the least, I expected common courtesy to be shown to Miers. It wasn't *her* choice, you know. She just answered the Presidents call.

Syl said...


You cannot assume that Bush picked her because she's on Reid's list. It may have played a role, but Bush picked her because he believes in her.

And that's the point, isn't it? You're going off all half-cocked because you ASSUME she will not be the type of judge you want. You guys can't wait until the hearings! Off with her head right now!

That's what I object to the most. And the fact that the complainers believe only people on THEIR list qualify.

So quit trying to shame us into joining your hissyfit.

flenser said...

Syl, chuck

Grow up, please. Your hissyfit is starting to get on my nerves.

And at least attempt to read what I write sometime.

Syl said...


I read you alright.

It's about abortion.

It's about the process.

And you assume this nominee is not what you want.

There's way too much bitching from people who don't even know her yet.

There's a lot of people acting all betrayed and they don't even know if they've actually been betrayed.

I just think everyone should take a deep breath.

chuck said...

I just think everyone should take a deep breath.

Yeah. And when this is over I'm going to take a length of 2x4 and beat a bit of sense into some folks. I have a little list ;)

truepeers said...

Well, now that everyone is a little pissed, consider how lucky you all are to live in a country where you can get passionate and pissed - to engage the sacred center and have it give meaning to your lives - in ways others cannot. If you lived north of the border, you'd have to put up with a system in which the Prime Minister, on the advice of elite lawyer organizations, chooses the Supreme COurt Justices with no need to have them confirmed by Parliament. Since the elite lawyers all tend to have similarly elitist views - at least no great public debate is allowed a venue, to give an appearance otherwise - there is rarely any great hue and cry about the unsuitability of a court selection. The will of the people has nothing to do with it. They are not consulted. No political symbols are put up for their contemplation and contest. Rather, the consensus of the liberal elites rules in the name of rights, freedom, etc. And when you get to reading the decisions of these duly anointed intellectual elites, well, even they can disappoint. In regards to certain matters one thinks one knows something about, and that are not much the concern of liberal elites, well, they can even seem naive.

And then there's Zimbabwe :->

RogerA said...

Good Morning sports fans--the Miers thingee is still going strong I see! I will defer to my old boss' advice: General Creighton Abrams, a cigar smoking, opera loving officer whose tank battalion led the break out at St Lo, used to tell us--Never miss an opportunity to keep your mouth shut.

But look on the bright side--were this a KOS or DU site at least half of us would have been banned or labelled under an anonymous rating system--Stalinism revisited.

So the debate is good and one of the ironies is that we have been turned into the very people we are chastising: We are all pundits now.


terrye said...


Thank you for that.

terrye said...


It might do some of those people well to remember that without the rest of us they would not even have a shot at naming these judges because they could not win an election on their pristine own.

And why in heaven's name would they not believe that an evangelical would not be anti abortion?

I do think the courts are a big deal, but we have a process here and people need to be respectful of it.

As for millions of people being murdered every year...there are people whose lives are in jeopardy and they are taking a back seat right now because Bill Kristol and his kind decided to duke it out with their own damn president who just happens to be the only major politician with the balls and the desire to confront that enemy.

But hey, we have conservative pundits stabbing Bush in the back and maybe even getting his aides indicted.

With friends like that Bush does not need an enemy.

But he has one, we all do and I think it would be nice if some people kept that in mind.

terrye said...

Oh yes and lest I forget, I find the charges of cronyism against this woman to be unfair.

On one hand we hear that being in private practice is beneath her and on the other we hear that because she worked in the WH, she should not be considered.

Is Gonzalez a crony?

Roberts used to work for the Reagan White House and has attachments to the party going back decades, is that not a form of cronyism as well?

Rehnquist was said to be a crony of Nixon's.

This is just one more slur against a woman who does nothing to deserve this assault.

I think that if conservatives truly believe this they need to pass a law to the effect that no one that has had a job or held a position in any administration of the ruling party can be nominated.

That would have kept a large portion of the conservative judges off the bench, but what the hell. We don't like cronies.

And yet there were some conservatives floating the idea that a Republican Senator like Kyl be nominated.

The ultimate cronyism, the Senate voting on one of their own.

Seneca the Younger said...

I was going to complain that I never get 34 comments, but I've thought better.

Anonymous said...


For one demanding decorum from where I sit-you are the one throwing around pejoratives.

I came to this board to escape that kind of thing-that is allowed to run rampant elsewhere.

Guess I'll have to keep searching.

Knucklehead said...


I have to say that I've suffered, and surely dished out, a whole lot worse than Flenser has been dishing out. He's passionate about this. I, for one, can live with that. Better passion than apathy.