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Sunday, October 30, 2005

I am travelling for business and will be heading out shortly to play in a golf tournament... But I wondered what everyone was thinking about the impending SCOTUS nomination. First, I think the nominee will be made quickly to dampen the news coverage of Scotter Libby's indictment. The President can either choose a moderate or a hard right wingnut. Polls show that, even with all the histrionics over the Miers nomination, he never lost his base. They stuck by him. They will likely continue to stick by him. We all know that they didn't support Miers because of her lack of wingnut credentials - but their talking points were her lack of qualifications. So does he nominate a highly qualified wingnut or a highly qualified compromise candidate?? Any thoughts or strong feelings on who it will be? Share!!

You've Come This Far - So Read more & Comment!

posted by RenaRF at 7:47 AM 3 comments links to this post
Friday, October 28, 2005

So many of us have been so caught up in the CIA leak investigation, and I think rightfully so. I saw CNN doing a series of "on the street" interviews of Americans in seven different cities, all of whom seemed to have different opinions as to whether or not the CIA leak investigation and subsequent indictments are important. The ones who feel that it isn't that important most commonly cited those issues they felt were more important - specifically, the more important issues were the Iraq war and the deaths of American soldiers in that war. They are the same thing. The leak investigation, if carried through to its true fruition, will answer many questions about why we went, how long we were planning to go, what was real in our reasons for going, and what was manufactured and by whom. They are the same.

So now that my editorial comment is out of the way, it is not news to anyone that I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was indicted by special prosecutor Patric Fitzgerald today on five criminal counts. They are as follows:

For the legally impaired:

Obstruction of justice - refers to the crime of offering interference of any sort to the work of police, investigators, regulatory agencies, prosecutors, or other officials. [Source]

Perjury - lying or making verifiably false statements under oath in a court of law. Perjury is a crime because the witness has sworn to tell the truth, and for the credibility of the court, witness testimony must be relied on as being truthful. It is seen as a very serious crime as it seeks to usurp the authority of the courts, because it can lead to miscarriages of justice. [Source]

Making false statements - In the context of this charge, a statement that is willfully untrue. [Source]

All of these charges are felonies. They are not small charges, either. The glaring absence of any allegation that Libby was the leaker should not take away from how much legal peril he is facing, particularly with the charge of obstructing justice. Remember also that former President Clinton was impeached on the basis of perjury. I saw one news commentater who talked about the Republicans having hoisted themselves on their own petard with the perjury issue - given that it was of supreme moral and leadership importance in the case of Bill Clinton and given also that the whole Bill Clinton event was in the very recent past, Republicans can't really back away from the charge or wave it off as being somehow not a serious offense.

The broader issue, really, is why. If you just sit back and as yourself:

"Why did anyone in the White House think it was important to leak Valerie Plame Wilson's name to the press?"

Work backwards from there. And, if you're tempted to fall back on the idea that White House officials didn't know Ms. Plame's status was covert, you should read this, from Talking Points Memo:

Overlooked in the current discussion.

Go to page 5 of the indictment. Top of the page, item #9.

On or about June 12, 2003, LIBBY was advised by the Vice President of the United States that Wilson's wife worked at the Central Intelligence Agency in the Counterproliferation Divison. LIBBY understood that the Vice President had learned this information from the CIA.

This is a crucial piece of information. The Counterproliferation Division (CPD) is part of the CIA's Directorate of Operations, i.e., not the Directorate of Intelligence, the branch of the CIA where 'analysts' come from, but the DO, where the spies, the 'operatives', come from.

Libby's a long time national security hand. He knows exactly what CPD is and where it is. So does Cheney. They both knew. It's right there in the indictment.

Don't be fooled.

Related, Karl Rove's lawyer confirms that he continues to be under investigation. This isn't even close to over.


You've Come This Far - So Read more & Comment!

posted by RenaRF at 4:17 PM 5 comments links to this post

The blog in question? The News Blog. The shooting? Complicated, but I'll try to make it as simple as possible.

First, Tim Kaine is a Democrat running for Governor of Virginia. The election is being held on November 8th of this year. So yes, if you're checking your calendar, it's right around the corner - about a week away. Kaine has had a pretty heated and close battle with the Republican candidate, Jerry Kilgore. This is a race that is within the MOE of any reputable poll and it's going to come right down to the wire.

So, having that background, it won't surprise you that Tim Kaine's campaign has been doing a lot of advertising - it's critical at this stage of the race, especially given how close all the polls are. One of the ad buys he did was on The News Blog. So now that you have that background, I'll direct your attention to this post on The News Blog. I don't want to steal Steve Gilliard's (the blog's owner) photoshopped picture of Michael Steele for a variety of reasons, one being that stealing other people's stuff isn't ok and another being that the picture itself is repulsive - suffice it to say that it is a photoshopped picture of Michael Steele, Republican Lieutenant Governor in Maryland. Mr. Steele appears to be running for the Senate. Mr. Steele is black. The picture itself has been altered to make Mr. Steele look like sambo. I am not a fan of Mr. Steele nor a fan of his politics. The picture is - well, inflammatory, especially to a casual observer who doesn't read the text associated with the post. Mr. Gilliard, in my opinion, has a solid point to make about Mr. Steele's politics and his reputation (which is not good) within the Maryland black community - but labelling him "Simple Sambo" and captioning the altered picture with "I's Simple Sambo and I's running for the Big House" is likely something that an advertiser, especially a political candidate in the dwindling days of a heated race, would run away from at full speed. So now that you have that background, here's what I can figure out.

Steve Gilliard publishes the "Simple Sambo" post. For reasons unknown, Andrew Sullivan and people who frequent his blog have seen the post and have sent emails and made comments about Gilliard being a racist. Mr. Gilliard fires back with this post to the Sullivan crew. Although I can't say for certain how it transpired, Mr. Gilliard insinuates that Sullivan's supporters have been emailing Tim Kaine's campaign as to the "Simple Sambo" post. It is also possible that Kaine's campaign simply saw the post in question and had a negative reaction. In any case, Kaine's campaign writes this email to Mr. Gilliard:

Mr. Gilliard:

Please remove all advertising for Kaine for Governor from News Blog http://stevegilliard.blogspot.com/) immediately.

If you have any questions, please contact me at 202-465-XXXX or at john@xxxxxxxxx.xxx.

John Rohrbach
Internet Director
Kaine for Governor

I have x'd out certain details in an effort not to perpetuate what is likely an innundation of the Kaine campaign staffer's email inbox and voicemail

Note for the record that the request was to pull the ad that was already paid for. Kaine's campaign is not asking for a refund. Gilliard has his money, the email was sent directly to Gilliard (e.g., it wasn't a public event), and Gilliard, imo, is unharmed in any way.

Now the shit hits the fan. Gilliard fires off this post, entitled Tim Kaine is a Coward. In the post he features a full campaign photo of Tim Kaine as well as the text of the original email and an encouragement that his readers contact John Rohrbach from Kaine's campaign. Gilliard doesn't really seem to be calling Kaine a coward for pulling the ad - moreover, Gilliard seems angered that Tim Kaine is "caving" to pressure from the readers of Andrew Sullivan's blog.

All right. That's the background - you can go over to The News Blog and read the posts yourself - above was only my summary. Now for my commentary. Imagine that The News Blog is The Washington Post. Tim Kaine does an ad buy in The Washington Post. During the duration of the ad run, The Post comes out strongly against Tim Kaine, writing a scathing editorial or what have you such that the Kaine campaign begins to believe that they are perhaps hurting (rather than helping) their cause. They request that The Post discontinue their ad - they don't ask for money back. The Post continues to be free to criticize Tim Kaine on the issues associated with his campaign. But can you even envision The Post writing an article all about how cowardly, in their opinion, Tim Kaine is/was because he pulled his ads? Absolutely not.

What Gilliard did was bad enough - and bear in mind that generally I agree with Gilliard politically and admire his diligence in blogging his opinions and news items - but other blogs, namely the venerable Daily Kos jumped into the act. Kos himself posted this to the front page. Note that he references a "chilling effect". I find that highly ironic - to me, the "chilling effect" is a blogger who shoots himself in the foot by doing what no other publication, online or otherwise, would do. The "chilling effect" is the ridiculous lack of professionalism demonstrated by Steve Gilliard. Do you think any candidate in their right mind would now purchase ad space on his blog? No. Is political advertising the high water mark of the legitimacy of someone's views and writings? No, but it certainly doesn't hurt, if one is a progressive blogger, to have progressives interested in buying ad space. Markos further compounded what was already an embarrassing (to me, at least, as a blogger) episode by further publicizing it on his blog, which is heavily trafficked. Not only did he just give the other side ammunition - he loaded the gun for them and placed it in their hands.

I love Daily Kos and I can't say how disappointed I am. Tim Kaine could lose this race - it's that close - Daily Kos is a site founded by Markos to elect Democrats and progressives. To what end does such a post assist in that cause? I'll answer for you - it doesn't. It works against it. Moreover, I live in Virginia and I would rather see silence than a thwarting of support from the blogging community where Tim Kaine is concerned. Yes, Markos tried to amend his front-page post to point out that Tim Kaine is still "better" than Jerry Kilgore, but the damage is done - and likely more to the blogging community and to himself than to Tim Kaine.

Note: A special thanks to kid oakland for pulling all of the details together in his diary on the same subject at Daily Kos. Visit his blog, k/o if you get a chance - it's a daily read for me. Kid oakland's diary was the inspiration for my post here.


You've Come This Far - So Read more & Comment!

posted by RenaRF at 5:35 AM 4 comments links to this post
Thursday, October 27, 2005

Every other day, I post a daily news summary over at ePluribus Media. It is designed to be a quick snapshot of the news dominating the headlines on a particular day. I figure I may as wellprovide it here if anyone has interest.

So without further dekat, woo hoo!!  Here's your daily news.

++++++++++++

Wow.  Although not totally unexpected in the great scheme of things, the timing on this is remarkable.  The White House has withdrawn the nomination of Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court.  Says CNN:

The White House said Miers had to withdraw over concerns that senators wanted documents of privileged discussions between the president and his top lawyer.

Commentary, however, makes it clear that what the Senators were asking for was NOT privileged information.  The prevailing opinion is that Bush spoke with Frist yesterday and Frist gave his opinion that Republicans would not support the nomination.  Us - 1.  Them - 0.  Let's see who he puts up in replacement before we pop the champagne corks, though.

I can hardly stand it - the anticipation of the coming Fitzmas is becoming overwhelming.  The Washington Post is reporting that an announcement is expected on Friday (tomorrow).  The case has been summarized by Fitzgerald for the grand jury and the investigation remains pretty much leak-proof.  From the Post article:

The down-to-the-wire moves in Fitzgerald's investigation have made for a harrowing week at the White House, where officials are girding for at least one senior administration official to be indicted, according to aides.

Seems to me that if you don't like the discomfort of waiting for the shoe to drop, you shouldn't break the damned law.

++++++++++++

Related to the leak case, The New York Times is reporting that the name of Rove's aide appears in two Washington inquiries.  Susan Ralston, key aide to Karl Rove since 2001, has been involved in both the CIA leak investigation as well as the ongoing investigation into Jack Abramoff.  Ms. Ralston worked with Mr. Abramoff during the period of time under criminal investigation.

Can you say "Culture of Corruption"?  I'm starting to like the three C's at this point - Culture of Corruption and Cronyism.

++++++++++++

In a court ruling yesterday, the New York Port Authority was found negligent in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.  This pretty much paves the way for civil suits against the Port Authority in the first WTC act of terrorism.  The court essentially found that the Port Authority did not heed warnings that the WTC's underground garage was vulnerable to terrorist attack.

++++++++++++

Finally, in weather news, the season's 23rd named storm, Tropical Storm Beta, has formed off the coast of Nicaragua.  No impact is anticipated to the United States.  In related news, President Bush will get a first-hand view of the damage caused by hurricane Wilma.  Criticism against the government is again mounting as people go to distribution centers to receive ice and water and food, only to wait in line for what sometimes becomes ten hours.  A further issue is that power outages are causing gas stations to be unable to pump gas, leading to long lines and fuel shortages in those places where power is present.


You've Come This Far - So Read more & Comment!

posted by RenaRF at 5:40 AM 1 comments links to this post
Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Let me just state for the record that it is NOT normal that I jump every single time the "breaking news" music plays on CNN. I can barely stand this.

Patrick Fitzgerald's grand jury convenes today. As I understand it, Mr. Fitzgerald must have a quorum to take any action (e.g., issue indictments). All the legal and political talking heads on CNN and MSNBC are saying that Mr. Fitzgerald would most likely take whatever actions he's going to take with an abundance of caution in mind. In other words, Mr. Fitzgerald would be unlikely to wait until Friday, the day the grand jury expires, to issue indictments - the possibility, for example, that a quorum could not be achieved on Friday would create HUGE issues - the grand jury would expire without Mr. Fitzgerald having extended it and without the necessary quorum to issue indictments. So, logic has it that if he's going to do something indictment-wise, he'll do it today rather than wait until the last minute.

The Washington Post is reporting (as is virtually every other major news outlet with the exception of Fox News, perhaps) that Bush Aides Brace for Charges. From the article:

In a possible sign that Fitzgerald may seek to charge one or more officials with illegally disclosing Valerie Plame's CIA affiliation, FBI agents as recently as Monday night interviewed at least two people in her D.C. neighborhood. The agents were attempting to determine whether the neighbors knew that Plame worked for the CIA before she was unmasked with the help of senior Bush administration officials. Two neighbors said they told the FBI they had been surprised to learn she was a CIA operative.

What's the point of that, you may ask? Well, it's important for Fitzgerald to establish that Ms. Plame did, in fact, seek to conceal her covert status.

And this nice summary:

Fitzgerald's investigation has centered on whether senior administration officials knowingly revealed Plame's identity in an effort to discredit a critic of the Bush administration -- her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV. On July 6, 2003, Wilson accused the administration in The Washington Post and the Times of using flawed intelligence to justify the war with Iraq. Eight days later, Novak revealed Plame's name and her identity as a CIA operative.

I have a lunch meeting today. I have the luxury of working from home as I choose (which I do about half of the time) and on days like this, I can have CNN on in the background while I work, and I DO work. But today I have this lunch meeting which is going to entail that I actually leave the proximity of the TV for a period of time. Today. While the grand jury meets. The day that could forever more be known as Fitzmas.

So I have a favor to ask of anyone reading this - if news breaks between noon and 2pm EST, please please please leave a comment with a summary to this post. If you do, I'll get it on my Blackberry. :-) Sounds like at least a semblance of a plan.


You've Come This Far - So Read more & Comment!

posted by RenaRF at 6:15 AM 2 comments links to this post
Tuesday, October 25, 2005

There is a "call to action" for blogs up over at Daily Kos. I'm going to excerpt the first part of the diary (authored by VirginiaDem) and then give you a link.

This weekend, I made a call to arms on actually doing something with the great work of Media Matters. When a "reputable" journalists (i.e., not Bill O'Reilly and his ilk) makes an untrue statement or such, we shall blog about it and scream about it until that untruth becomes news and until that person feels the heat - apologizes, retracts, resigns, gets fired, whatever.

It's time to clean up the mess, and we're starting with you Andrea. As I noted (via Media Matters), she made this doozy of a comment recently on national television:

Joe Wilson went on television with us and in interviews and said he had been dispatched by the vice president . . . He led people to believe, he said publicly, that he had been dispatched by the vice president. And that was clearly not the case by every bit of reporting that I have been able to do."

You were wrong Andrea Mitchell, chief foreign affairs correspondent for NBC, and you must let your viewers know.

You can read the entire diary and all the comments here. In it is great action information which I will also excerpt because it's important that you make these contacts either way - either from here or from the original diary.

NBC News contact info here. Andrea is most affiliated with Today/Weekend Today, the Nightly News with Brian Williams, and Hardball (where the untruths were told). It wouldn't hurt to hit the others as well (esp. Dateline NBC, Meet the Press, and MSNBC TV).

Post this on your blog - get it some attention. Let's keep them honest!!


You've Come This Far - So Read more & Comment!

posted by RenaRF at 8:48 PM 2 comments links to this post

I have nothing of any super import today - no great tomes, no rants, no reflections. But it's been a big news day, I think, and I'll round it up a little here just to make note of it for my blog record.

From the rumor mill - The Washington Note has this to say about Fitzmas:

October 25, 2005
Indictments Coming Tomorrow; Targets Received Letters Today

An uber-insider source has just reported the following to TWN:

  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 shoe is dropping.

More soon.

-- Steve Clemons
Posted by steve at October 25, 2005 04:32 PM

There have been some excellent diaries posted in the last two days about Fitzmas that are worth a look:

Fitzmas-related diaries:

The New York Times also ran an excellent article catching Cheney and Scooter Libby in their own web of lies - Cheney Told Aide of C.I.A. Officer, Lawyers Report. You already knew that, you say? Well think back a little farther - Cheney is on record saying that he didn't know where the name came from. Libby is presumably on record saying that he got Plame's name from a reporter. This article essentially outs correspondence and notes that show that Cheney gave Libby the name, and knew who Plame was a full month before Novak's article officially outed her to the public. This isn't a lie about a blowjob - this is a lie that outed a covert CIA agent and put a host of other agents and a carefully cultivated years-long cover in the open. Further, it's not just about the leak. It's about the fact that the leak occurred to ensure that the WHIG's carefully crafted "war marketing campaign" wasn't obfuscated by something as pesky as the truth. I can feel the impeachment coming.

Also in the news, civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks died at her home last night. She was 92. To me, she epitomized and will continue to epitomize what it means to be a true patriot - someone who sees injustice and is willing to put his/her life on the line to ensure it is corrected.

In yet another bafflingly arrogant move, Bush is refusing to hand over documents related to the SCOTUS nomination of Harriet Miers. There are times when I almost feel sorry for Miers - her personal views aside (whatever those are), she is likely an accomplished and professional woman who is being painted as a person of marginal intelligence with some kind of Bush-adoration complex. The latter may be true, but I doubt very much the former. Don't get me wrong - I couldn't disagree more with her based on my impressions of where she stands on key privacy and abortion issues and I DO NOT want her as a SCOTUS justice - but realistically speaking, had Bush handled this even slightly better than he has, he could have saved her reputation somewhat. But I guess she gets what she deserves for being such an unabashed Bush-lover, a strike against her in my book if ever there was one.

That's all I have, at least for today if no new news breaks. What's catching YOUR attention today??


You've Come This Far - So Read more & Comment!

posted by RenaRF at 4:17 PM 1 comments links to this post
Monday, October 24, 2005

Well... Interesting timing. CNN is confirming reports that President Bush will nominate the Chairman of his Council of Economic Advisers to replace Alan Greenspan as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. Greenspan's term expires on December 31st of this year.

From White House.gov:

Biography of Dr. Ben S. Bernanke

Dr. Ben S. Bernanke Ben S. Bernanke was sworn-in on June 21, 2005 as Chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers. Prior to his appointment to the Council, Dr. Bernanke served as a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

Dr. Bernanke was born on December 13, 1953, in Augusta, Georgia. He received a B.A. in economics in 1975 from Harvard University (summa cum laude) and a Ph.D. in economics in 1979 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Before becoming a member of the Board, Dr. Bernanke was the Howard Harrison and Gabrielle Snyder Beck Professor of Economics and Public Affairs and Chair of the Economics Department at Princeton University (1996-2002). Dr. Bernanke had served as a Professor of Economics and Public Affairs at Princeton since 1985.

Dr. Bernanke has published many articles on a wide variety of economic issues, including monetary policy and macroeconomics, and he is the author of several scholarly books and two textbooks. He has held a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Sloan Fellowship, and he is a Fellow of the Econometric Society and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Bernanke served as the Director of the Monetary Economics Program of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and as a member of the NBER's Business Cycle Dating Committee. Dr. Bernanke's work with civic and professional groups includes having served two terms as a member of the Montgomery Township (N.J.) Board of Education.

Dr. Bernanke and his wife, Anna, have two children.

I'm sorry - the idea of one of Bush's economic advisers replacing Alan Greenspan doesn't inspire a lot of confidence. Surely Bernanke has had involvement in the President's tax policy, the annihilation of the budget surplus, and the record government spending. It's going to be a long three years.

Is it Fitzmas yet? The sooner it's Fitzmas, the sooner we can impeach.


You've Come This Far - So Read more & Comment!

posted by RenaRF at 10:53 AM 1 comments links to this post
Thursday, October 20, 2005
A SurveyUSA poll now has Tim Kaine on top of Jerry Kilgore 47% to 45%. The election is less than a month away - NOVEMBER 8th.

You want to see something funny? My friend over at a la gauche blog submitted a comment on my blog that linked to a video clip of Kilgore's performance in the debate against Tim Kaine. The subject is abortion and the moderator is Tim Russert. To say that Russert delivers a smackdown on old Jerry Kilgore is an understatement.

Click here to watch the video. It's hysterical and well worth the time to watch.


You've Come This Far - So Read more & Comment!

posted by RenaRF at 8:30 AM 2 comments links to this post
Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Let me explain some terminology first. As many of you who read my blog know, I love Daily Kos. We've all been anxiously awaiting the results of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation in the leaking of CIA agent Valerie Plame's name. It's become laughable at times - over the past week or so I've seen at least three recommended diaries a day on the subject of the Plame investigation. Needless to say, after Rove's 4th (and seemingly final) round in front of the grand jury, the chatter has been constant. A few terms have been coined over the past two years of this investigation that we use extensively at Daily Kos:

  1. Frog-march: a visually-inspiring term to indicated someone in handcuffs (and maybe ankle-cuffs?) being led out of (presumably) the White House.
  2. PISS - An acronym referring to Pre-Indictment Stress Syndrome.
  3. Fitzmas - You can guess this one - for progressives, indictments, especially ones on the higher-ups, will be just like Christmas - therefore, FITZMAS!!

Now that you have a bit of background, a diary went up today called Fitzmas Carols!. If you guessed that it's a diary spoofing Christmas carols to represent the current indictment watch, you'd be correct. With attribution, I've extracted a few of my favorites.

I'll start with my two contributions.

Silent Night

Silent night.
Paranoid night.
Charges loom
To Cheney's gloom.
Round yon President
ru-umors fly.
The Miers nomination
has go-one awry.
Watch! His numbers they plu-unge!!
Wa-atch, his numbers they plunge.

We Need A Little Fitzmas

Haul out the handcuffs!
Get to the White House as the
Boys are frog-marched out!

It's so exciting
All the corruption will be
Fin'ly talked about!

(ooooh)

Cause we need a little Fitzmas!
Right this very minute!
Let's end all this PISS-mas
And watch the polls deflating
Cuz we need indictment spirit!
So we can cheer and jeer it!
We need a little Fitzmas NOWWWW.....

Hehe. And now the contributions of the diary author, Biblio:

O Aspen Tree

O Aspen tree,
O Aspen tree,
Your roots are all connected.
O Aspen tree,
O Aspen tree,
But your sources aren't protected.
How shall we sell the war to them?
Just send some lies to Judy M.
O Aspen tree,
O Aspen tree,
Your roots are all connected.

O Little Town of Washington

O Little Town of Washington,
How still we see thee lie.
The folks below
Don't seem to know
That Fitzmas day is nigh.
The grand jury is weighing
Indictments `gainst these crooks.
Hopefully, we soon will see,
Fitzgerald throw the book!

"Plame!" The White House Sources Say

"Plame!" the White House sources say,
"Wilson's wife is CIA!"
"She's the one who booked the trip"
"To debunk the Niger tip."
Slowly now the Aspens turn!
Fitz has energy to burn!
He'll flip the sources from the WHIG,
Turn this into something big!
"Plame!" the White House sources say,
"Wilson's wife is CIA!"

Walking in a Beltway Wonderland!

Pundits talk, are you listening?
On Rove's brow, sweat is glistening.
A beautiful sight,
Fitz will indict,
Walking in a beltway wonderland!

In the meadow we can build a snowman,
And pretend that he is Preznit Bush.
We'll call him an indicted co-conspirator,
And then we'll start to kick him in the tush!

Can you tell, we're excited?
Just to see, who's indicted!
Those who have clout,
Will be frog-marched out,
Walking in a beltway wonderland!

This one comes from Debby:

Rockin' Around the Fitzmas Tree

Rockin' around the Fitzmas tree
As we're waiting for the news.
Everyone bloggin' merrily
Will the liars pay their dues?
Rockin' around the Fitzmas tree
As the bright gold leaves do swing
Later we'll serve some humble pie
And we'll do some frog-marchin'

You will get a patriotic
feeling when you hear...
Fitzie chargin' his indictments
Happy U.S.A. excitement!

Rockin' around the Fitzmas tree
Oh, won't the day come soon?
BushCo will all dress up in orange
When Fitzie drops the boom!

And from Eddie Haskell:

Santa Fitz is Hanging Then Down

We're ready to shout
We're ready to sigh
We're all watching out
I'm telling you why
Santa Fitz is handing them down.

He knows just who's been freepin'
He knows who's on the take!
He knows what Rove told so and so
Scooter's aspens he will rake

So we're ready to shout
And cry with delight
When news finally comes out
Of whom he'll indict
Santa Fitz is handing them down!

From renaissance grrrl:

O Come All Ye Libruls

O come all ye libruls
joyful and triumphant!
O come ye, o come ye, and watch them go down.
Come and behold them--
burned all Cheney's minions--
O come let us abhor them, o come let us abhor them,
O come let us abhor the-em...
Libby, and Rove.

Sing, all you snitches,
sing in desperation--
Exult, all you citizens of heaven and earth!
They will be goners,
We will say, "I told you so"--
O come let us indict them, o come let us indict them,
O come let us indict the-em...
Right to the top.

From cityduck:

Fitzy the Lawman

Fitzie the Lawman
Was a jolly happy soul
With a fresh indict and a rubber hose
And two eyes that glow like coal

Fitzie the Lawman
Is a fairytale they say
He turned a White House aide
And Scooter's afraid
He may get 10 to life one day

There must have been some magic
In that old forged doc they found
For when they leak their looking at it
The Kossacks dance around

Fitzie the lawman
Was as tough as he could be
And Cheney prays
He will get to stay
Just as free as you and me

Fitzie the Lawman
Knows how to chase bad men away
So he said let's run
And we'll have some fun
And make GW go away

Thumpety thump thump
Thumpety thump thump
Look at Fitzie go
Thumpety thump thump
Thumpety thump thump
GW screams "OH NO!"

From Joan in Seattle:

Karl Rove, the Bald-Faced Liar

Karl Rove, the bald-faced liar,
never gives Truth a chance.
He, Scooter, Bush and Cheney,
Have to wear asbestos pants.

They sold the country a war,
Based on fraud and for-ger-ies.
They lied to us and Congress,
They're awfully good at per-jur-y.

Then one crisp clear autum day,
Fitzgerald came to town.
"Karl Rove and your whole cabal,
you are going DOWN!"

Then how the rats did scurry!
Everyone was jumping ship!
Karl Rove, I hate to tell ya,
All the other Aspens flipped!

One of my absolute favorites from TexasDemocrat:

Prison Cell, Prison Cell, Prison Cell Rock

Prison Cell, Prison Cell, Prison Cell Walk
Let's let them Swing for their Treasonous Ring
Spinning, and Lying, their hiding is done
And the Frog Marching has begun

Prison Cell, Prison Cell, Prison Cell Walk
Republicans whine while they do their time
Hannah flips Hadley, and they got em Square
In Fitzy Frosty Stare!

Internal Fight time,
It's the Right's Time
To send their KKKnights away
Prison Cell Time is a swell time
For Gay marriage in another way

Froggy up, Cheney/Bush, pick up your feet
Prison's around the block
Mix and a mingle in a jingle that's sweet
That's the Prison Cell
That's the Prison Cell
That's the Prison Cell Walk!

This one was awesome, too, from maxomai:

We Three Aides

We three aides of Washington are
Trembling in the Watergate bar
Fearing Fitzy, getting tipsy
Wond'ring how things fell this far
Oh, oh....

Misses Val'rie Wilson Plame
Wish I didn't know that name
'Tis the season to prosecute treason
Played by Rove for election gain

We two aides of Washington are
Running a tab in the Watergate bar
Our companion ran off with Gannon
Ran off so very far
Oh, oh....

(Chorus)

I, an aide of Washington are
Sloshed as hell in the Watergate bar
Facing indictment, too much excitement
Soon to be tabloid star
Oh, oh....

(Chorus)

From TrueBlueMajority:

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

it's the most wonderful time of the year!
with indictments a-coming
the Goopers are running
and hiding in fear!
it's the most wonderful time of the year!

it's the hap-happiest season of all!
Georgie's pants are on fire
the bigger the liar
the harder they fall!
it's the hap-happiest season of all!

there'll be democrats grinning
and pundits for spinning
and leaking the secrets they know
there'll be scary Rove stories
and tales of the glories
of Watergate long long ago

it's the most wonderful time of the year!
what a gift we're receiving
with Kossacks believing
impeachments are near!
it's the most wonderful time
it's the most wonderful time
it's the most wonderful time of the year!!!

And finally, from manicprogressive:

The Indictment Song

Rove's nuts roasting on an open fire
Chimpy nipping at the blow
worthless alibis being sung by the choir
And folks dressed up in prison clothes

Everybody knows frog-marching and some
resignations help to make the season bright
Happy Kossacks with their eyes all aglow
Will find it hard to sleep tonight

They know that Fitzie's on his way
He's got indictments and lots of charges on his sleigh
And every mother's child is gonna spy
To see if GOPigs really know how to fly

And so I'm offering this simple phrase
To kids from one to ninety-two
Although it's been said many times, many ways
Merry Fitzmas
Merry Fitzmas
Merry Fitzmas to you


You've Come This Far - So Read more & Comment!

posted by RenaRF at 6:01 AM 1 comments links to this post
Tuesday, October 18, 2005

(Cross-posted at Daily Kos)

I did what georgia10 recommended (number 4, if you're counting) in her excellent diary, Dealing with Fitzmas.

Visit Freeperville: Watch the tension melt away as you read about how Wilson was the leaker, how Fitzgerald is really a closet Dem fucking Hillary at the Watergate hotel, and how Plame orchestrated all this just to get name recognition for 2008. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you might even throw up in your mouth a little bit. But it'll be a great distraction from the anticipation of Fitzmas.
It's a dark and scary place, Freeperville is. I am loathe to do it, but I've done it before. For your enjoyment, here's what they're talking about tonight. A note - I have interspersed a few of my comments in among the quotes, always italicized and in parentheses.

Pray for President Bush - Day 1856

Article Snippet: Dear Heavenly Father, it is with reverence and awe that we praise You for Your Sovereigny, Your Omniscience, and Your mercy and love. We confess that our lack of faith sometimes causes us discouragement, and Lord, we look to You tonight as our Creator and Lord, and the answer to all of our questions and problems.

Lord, we thank You for answered prayer, as we have lifted up our brother, George W. Bush to You. We thank You that You rescue him, sustain him, and deliver and honor him. We thank You that you continue to protect him from his enemies; those who would destroy his life and his reputation. We ask for him continued guidance and wisdom in every decision he must make, and ask that You help him to continue to acknowledge Your name and call upon You to meet all his needs, and to guide his every step. We pray for Laura as well, that You would help her to be the loving, supportive wife that You intend for her to be, and ask that You would enrich their marriage and deepen it with every passing moment, that their commitment to You and to each other might become even stronger through the trials they must endure. We pray for their entire family; for Barbara and Jenna, and for their parents, that they might have peace in knowing they are in Your care.

Feel free to barf now. I'll wait. Ok? Better? I'll move on.

Next is an article by Murray Waas from National Journal. The article is what it is - the comments are what are fun.

CIA Leak Prosecutor Focuses on Libby

Comment Snippets: "Anyone else getting the impression that, after two years of investigation, Fitzpatrick is desperately grasping at straws???" - DustyMoment

"It may bore the heck out of people, but if Fitzgerald indicts Libby on even 1 charge, it will cripple the Bush administration. One is all the leftist, liberal bastards need to be grist for the rumor mill. For 2 years, inuendo has been the grist. Can you imagine what they will say with a bill of indictment? True or not true, it will convict a good man and the Bush administration in the eyes of the public. Opens the doorway for a dem to step into the Oval office." - Texas Songwriter

Well Duh. Moving on - another post about the US News and World Report article on Cheney (note: these posts just seem to be stolen articles without any commentary by the poster):

US News: Cheney resignation rumors fly

Comment Snippets: "Gee that is not what I heard. What I head was Rove is going to be Greenspan's replacement and Card will be the new chief of staff." - MNJohnnie

(???)

"This is just so much gossip, prolly started by Chrissy Matthews....

I swear that man will start crying right on TV if Cheney or Rove don't get indicted in this Plame farce." - Txsleuth

"Chrissy Matthews will surely be angered if he doesn't get his "watergate" scenerio. I live to see his meltdown." - griswold3

Well allrighty. Seems no one likes Chris Matthews these days.

This next one seems to come from a comment posted in some part of The National Review Online.

GOOD NEWS FOR SCOOTER - BUT MORE MSM CONFUSION (Friend of Fitz & Former Fed Prosecutor Comments)

Article Snippet: In talking on Sunday about Judy Miller's revelations and their possible fallout under the espionage act (which generally prohibits leaking classified information), Mark Levin and yours truly batted around whether the "fact" that Valerie Plame worked in CIA's WINPAC unit could have been classified information. The question seemed important because Judy Miller says that's what Scooter Libby told her.

Well, it looks like the fact was not a fact. AP reports that Plame, according to agency sources, never worked in WINPAC at all. Obviously, for something to be classified information, it has to be information that the government (a) possesses and (b) has classified. If Plame didn't work where Scooter said she worked, his saying it cannot have been an illegal communication of classified information.

(huh?)

Comment Snippets: "I've wondered something similar. If Wilson was doing something to discredit the Administration, they have every right to discredit him right back. Who says they have to stand there smiling and let people kick them in the groin and not retaliate?" - Enterprise

(you've got to be kidding me, Enterprise)

"Why has the MSM treated Fitzgerald so nicely as compared to the demonization of Ken Starr.Is it because they feel that Fitzgerald being from the very liberal NYC Jesuit run Regis high school will be inclined to go after Bush?" - ardara

(if I had an account at Freep I would let her know that it's because Starr was a fucking tool where Fitzgerald is a professional)

"It would have been a crime not to discredit Joseph Wilson." - AZLiberty

Well that's one way of looking at it. The wingnut, batshit crazy way. But it's a way, right??

I go places so you don't have to. Now I'm going to take a shower. I feel dirty.


You've Come This Far - So Read more & Comment!

posted by RenaRF at 8:35 PM 2 comments links to this post

Late last night (EST) I saw a CNN report on Arlen Specter's comments about his meeting yesterday with the newly re-nominated (do-over, anyone?) Harriet Miers.

What Specter heard her say is remarkable. And then the controversy set in.

Here is the original statement out of Specter's office:

Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers told the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday that she believes there's a right to privacy in the Constitution, a basic underpinning of the Supreme Court's landmark abortion ruling Roe v. Wade.

Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., the panel chairman, said that during a nearly two-hour private meeting Monday, Miers also told him that she believed the court had properly decided a precedent-setting 1965 privacy case, Griswold v. Connecticut, which established the legal foundation that led to Roe v. Wade.

(Source: The Washington Post)

My emphasis added. If true, this is potential insight into Miers' feelings about the legal and Constitutional nature of Roe v. Wade and an insight that is very favorable to those who want to protect Roe and choice at all costs.

At the same time, however, it's obvious that this could and would kick up a shitstorm within the conservative community. Already suspicious of her "far right" credentials, this will be another and perhaps final nail in the coffin of her nomination.

But wait. Now this:

Last night, a spokesman for Specter issued a statement saying that Miers had called him after his public comments "to say that he misunderstood her and that she had not taken a position on Griswold or the privacy issue."

"Sen. Specter accepts Ms. Miers's statement that he misunderstood what she said," the statement said."

(Source: The Washington Post)

Now see Ed Henry's interchange with Anderson Cooper when the story was originally breaking after 11pm EST last night:

ED HENRY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the White House tonight is denying this claim by Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter that Harriet Miers told him in a private meeting this afternoon that the 1965 ruling in Griswold vs. Connecticut was -- quote -- "rightly decided."

That's significant, because the Griswold case was the underpinning for legalized abortion in America, with the subsequent Roe v. Wade decision. So, Miers suggesting it was the correct decision could further erode her support with conservatives.

Now, Specter, who supports abortion rights, was unequivocal in telling me and several other reporters -- quote -- "She said she believes there's a right to privacy in the constitution and she believes Griswold was rightly decided."

A White House official tonight told me this was not true. Miers did not discuss the Griswold case with Specter, and the senator would, quote, "correct the comments. But Specter put out an official statement that did not exactly correct his comments. He revealed that Miers called him tonight to declare that the senator had, quote, "misunderstood what she said."

That explanation is raising some eyebrows among conservatives I spoke to tonight, like Jan Larou (ph) of Concerned Women for America. She's puzzled that Specter, known for being meticulous about Constitutional law, would have a miscommunication about such a seminal case.

More interesting, this controversy comes the same day Miers told another senator, Chuck Schumer, that nobody knows how she'll vote on abortion. That question sparked by this column in today's "Wall Street Journal," alleging that during a conference call with conservatives, two Texas judges declared Miers would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Now, conservatives on that call, like James Dobson, later announced their support for Miers. I spoke tonight as well to David Frum, a former Bush speechwriter, who has come out against Miers. And he told me the Specter matter suggests Miers is trying to play this abortion issue both ways. From what he -- Frum basically said, quote, "It's remarkable and disturbing that James Dobson would be left with the impression Harriet Miers completely agrees with his position against Roe, and that Arlen Specter was left with the impression she agrees with his position on Roe."

The bottom line, this is just yet another cloud in a confirmation battle already stormy, Anderson.

COOPER: Well, a couple questions. Why would Harriet Miers have conversation with Arlen Specter? Because all along, they have been saying, I think what the White House is saying, is that she's not discussing specifics on any case, or says she hasn't made up her mind about particular cases. Is that correct?

HENRY: You're absolutely right. She's having this meeting because she's been doing meet-and-greets with lawmakers in both parties. Specter, as chairman, is obviously a key lawmaker on this.

It was stunning that she would talk about a specific case, as you suggest. Now, of course, the White House is insisting she did not talk about a specific case. But I can tell you, I was standing there with Arlen Specter. He -- this is his ninth or 10th Supreme Court battle. Unequivocally, twice, he said that she believes that Griswold was rightly decided. He said it twice.

So you have to -- you know, who do you believe? A Republican chairman, or the White House? This is going to be a very interesting dispute, and it's very delicate for the White House, because they don't want to antagonize Specter, who's going to be overseeing these big hearings.

COOPER: And I know you said it once, but just repeat it, the White House had said that he was going to come out with a new statement correcting himself, but his new statement doesn't really correct himself, does it?

HENRY: It doesn't really correct it. When you read it very closely, he basically says, OK, I'll take Harriet Miers at her word that I, Arlen Specter, misunderstood what she said.

The White House is saying, She said no such thing. Arlen Specter is saying, I misunderstood what she said, again, indicating that she said Griswold was rightly decided.

So clearly, to me, not a correction, maybe a clarification. But this is not the last you've heard of this story, Anderson.

CNN coverage today has subtly reinforced the fact that Specter did NOT withdraw or correct his statements; merely that he acquiesced to some level of misunderstanding. The point has also been made the Specter has extensive Constitutional and Supreme Court experience and is not one to misunderstand discussions about key cases.

So back to the speculation machine. What if Miers is signalling that she fundamentally supports the underpinnings for Roe? I'm not saying she does - I just don't know - I'm just saying "what if"? If this story grows legs, expect to see hard religious right Republicans come out strongly against her nomination. The question is: if the progressive community essentially decided that she's a good option (in light of circumstances), could they get the 5 or 6 Republican senators needed to provide the illustrious "upperdownvote"??

I realize I'm speculating wildly here - but the prospect of Miers being a privacy proponent coupled with the potential to shove her down the religious right's throat all while extending the non-partisan olive branch of the up or down vote is irresitable. Imagine that religious right Republicans now become the ones insisting on more than a simple majority to confirm a Justice... Too fucking rich!!

Ok. I'll go back to reality now.


You've Come This Far - So Read more & Comment!

posted by RenaRF at 9:52 AM 1 comments links to this post
Monday, October 17, 2005

"The more I read about this the less I understand it."

I guess I feel slightly less stupid that those words were said by Jeff Greenfield, political analyst for CNN and someone whose coverage and commentary I generally like.

He said it about the entire Judy Miller - New York Times - grand jury investigation issue. Essentially, Greenfield had read Miller's opus in the Sunday New York Times. Then he read the New York Time's account of Miller's reporting, a substantially unfavorable account, and was trying to draw conclusions between the two. In his analysis he made some interesting points.

Make the jump.
In talking about the articles and the entire question of Miller's involvement in the Plame affair:


BLITZER: It seems no one comes out of this situation from the news media looking very well.  Give us your thoughts, first of all, on what you read about Judy Miller's account.


GREENFIELD: Well, the whole... this struck me as sort of a neutron bomb.  Maybe the buildings are left standing but everybody involved seems to have been levelled including Scooter Libby and the Times and Judith Miller.  


But you take the two pieces together and start with The New York Times' coverage - among other things, the executive editor of the Times Bill Keller says as soon as he became editor... executive editor he told Judith Miller - who had been writing a lot of stories about the alleged weapons of mass destruction in Iraq - 'Don't do those stories anymore' because the reporting turned out to be wrong, as she conceded.  And he says - and sometimes she kept covering it.  


There are other people at The New York Times raising a whole lot of complaints about Ms. Miller about everything from her personality to her reporting.  And so... here's the paper on whose behalf she went to jail for 85 days - writing a story that paints her in - as you say - extremely unflattering terms.  Moreover, [the article] says that she never told her editors or the reporters doing the story about her some basic facts.  Like, who were these potential other sources?  What did she say to them?  How did she do this reporting?  And so in effect you have The New York Times, the publisher Arthur Solsberger Jr., the editor Bill Keller going to bat for her - putting the paper on the line in some ways - and not really knowing what the fundamental story was.  That alone is just a remarkable and strange occurrence.


My emphasis added.


Nothing overly shocking in those statements.  There's a feeling that I got, personally, that the Times and its publisher and editor were duped by Miller and that that is the way others in the mainstream media will play it (protecting NYT?).  Only it seems to me it can't be a duping when the editor fails to ask for the kind of information that would allow it to keep its nose clean in the first place.


The analysis continues:


BLITZER:  You know... it's pretty surprising to me and to a lot of journalists I've spoken to over the past 24 hours - Jeff - she writes in her notebook 'Valerie Flame' - obviously Valerie Plamee - but she writes 'Flame'.  She says that Scooter Libby was not her source for that but she can't remember who gave her the name.  I've been a reporter for a long time - so have you - a story like that, it's hard to believe you don't remember who told you information like that.


GREENFIELD: Well, you have among many other strange things in this whole story - you have her onetime lawyer Floyd Abrahams, a prominent first amendment attorney Ubasically challenging her on that point, or at least not backing her up*, saying 'well that's her story'.  You know, which gets us to a whole other point.


She says 'I took Lewis Libby - Scooter Libby's letter to me saying 'you know, by the way, all the other reporters say I had nothing to do with the leaking of her name' as a kind of hint that that's what she should say.  And she says in her story 'but I couldn't say that because I had discussed the situation with him'.  And then you have - Mr. Abrahams I believe - saying 'well, that's not entirely clear'.


There's so many mysteries about this fundamental fact: Where did she get that name?  If it wasn't from Scooter Libby, didn't she tell - and didn't she have her lawyer tell - special prosecutor Fitzgerald 'don't ask me about any other sources but Libby because he's the only relevant person', which is something Floyd Abrahams has said.  So you seem to have Judith Miller saying one thing about where she got her name and her onetime attorney saying another.


If I may add one other thing, at one point she agrees with Scooter Libby to describe him as a "former Hill staffer".  Which, in terms of the readers - it's one thing to say 'a highly placed source' if you don't want to tell who it is - but that's almost a deliberate act of misdirection which is why so many people at the Times, Wolf, are saying 'we went to bat for a reporter not who protected a whistleblower but who protected a high government official who was trying to keep stuff, in terms of the leak, secret.  It is one of the most bizarre journalistic stories I've ever run across, Wolf.


Again, my emphasis added.


It sounds to me like The New York Times is finally wising up.  I'm beginning to think of her published story and then the Times' published story as "A Tale of Two Judys".  The Times' story seems a belated attempt to backpedal and protect its reputation.


It also struck me that all the analysis in the press about whether or not she could be jailed for protecting a whistleblower has yet again proven the special prosecutor's decision to jail her.  She wasn't protecting a whistleblower.


BLITZER: Very quickly.  The fact that she says she did get government security clearance when she went to Iraq looking for weapons of mass destruction - I don't remember a journalist getting government security clearances when they're on these kinds of stories - do you?


GREENFIELD: No - that was back in Iraq when she was embedded with a WMD search group and that's a whole other element to this story that perhaps makes it even more [unintelligible].  The more I read about this the less I understand it, Wolf.


Amen to that.  I've read every diary on the recommended list regaring the Plame case.  There are so many twists and turns and things that are unexplained that I can't help but thing that it is so much bigger than even what the great minds here have postulated.


In either case, I'm glad to see the wolves turning on Judy Miller.  Maybe now Lou Dobbs (whom I usually like for covering "unpopular" subjects) will shut up already about her "noble" imprisonment.


You've Come This Far - So Read more & Comment!

posted by RenaRF at 4:12 PM 3 comments links to this post

Yes. I realize this is a political blog. But I can't resist. LOOK at the little panda at the National Zoo!!



They have named the baby Tai Shan, which means 'peaceful mountain'. If you want a view of the PandaCam, click here.

You've Come This Far - So Read more & Comment!

posted by RenaRF at 2:39 PM 2 comments links to this post

Let me first just say that I don't buy the whole Iraqi constitution thing. Essentially what they are voting to enact is a theocracy, and one that actually moves women backwards from where they were under Saddam Hussein (and no, I am NOT arguing that he was a good guy). Moreover, there are widespread reports of election fraud - it seems they learned something from us after all - see this diary on Daily Kos for an account.

In an ever-increasing attempt to get the "terrorists" in Iraq, the US unleashed airstrikes in Ramadi, an Iraqi city west of Baghdad on Sunday. Initial US reports were that 70 "terrorists" were killed. Yet a doctor on the ground says that he personally witnessed twenty of the dead and that six of them were children. He further treated another 25 wounded all of whom, he says, were civilians. See this article for more details.

This story is now being widely reported. If you engage the logic zone of your brain, would you say that you think this kind of information will increase goodwill towards the US, or increase hostility? How many borderline terrorists just crossed over with the vision of dead children right in front of them? I can only imagine.

I used to think that the peace movement was a good counterbalance to the war mongering that got us into Iraq. I was not, however, for pulling our troops out. I just thought it would be egregious to leave those people without even the smallest semblance of stability after we had taken the box labelled "Iraq" and shaken it vigorously and then dumped it upside down on the ground... But I am increasingly believeing that the reason there is so much violence and unrest in Iraq is precisely because we are there. Blowing up women, children and civilians is not helping to this end. So therein lies the conundrum. Do we pull out because eventually our absence will allow these people to rebuild, knowing fully well that the interim period between any pull-out and stability would be indeterminate and fraught with peril for Iraqis or do we stay and invite violence on a smaller scale over a longer period of time?

I just don't have the answer any longer.

You've Come This Far - So Read more & Comment!

posted by RenaRF at 9:54 AM 1 comments links to this post
Sunday, October 16, 2005

(Cross-posted at Daily Kos, My Left Wing and Booman Tribune)


First a disclaimer. It is pretty much assumed that Bush cannot hand me a SCOTUS nominee with whom I will be happy. Therefore, it's imperative, for me, to try to get someone who doesn't make my skin crawl.

Having said that, I'm torn on Miers. I've seen all of the speculative arguments about whether or not she is a raging far-right evangelical wingnut and then further speculative argument about why she is not a raging far-right evangelical wingnut.

So I took a time-consuming approach. I researched public statements made by Republican Senators and the Independent Senator from Vermont in a effort to get a feel for which way the wind was blowing. Upon reading their statements, I cam up with the following regarding the Miers nomination (purely subjective): Opposed, Neutral and Favorable. Unknown was assigned if I simply couldn't find a public statement by a Senator. Below the fold is my analysis of these statements and perhaps some conjecture as to what it all means.


I have to admit that it was my grandmother who has made me step back and take a second look. No, not because she called me with some inside information on Miers that caused me to raise an eyebrow. Rather, my 86 year old grandmother is a Limbaugh-listening Texas Republican. I don't think she has ever voted for a Democrat in her life. She is also a bona-fide Church-going Christian, so much so that her social events are church-related and she attends not only services but Bible study and Sunday school as well. I've been with her to her church - I wouldn't say, generally, that it's a choice-loving crowd. Yet my Grandmother is adamantly pro-choice - always has been. She hasn't succumbed to her church or her friends or talk radio or her party in her choice/life position. So I started thinking about that in the context of Harriet Miers and at least came back to a middling position as to whether or not being an evangelical guarantees that she is pro-life (and yes, pro-choice vs. pro-life is THE issue for me in this nomination - I realize that there are other important issues but this one's a dealbreaker for me in the SCOTUS).

But that's not enough - so call what follows my attempt to read the tea leaves. Here's a high level summary:

Republican and Independent Senators

Faovrable: 18
Neutral: 28
Opposed: 2
Unknown: 8

What follows is a list, alphabetically by state, of Senators, public comments they have made on the Miers nomination (if any), and my assessment of their favor/oppose/neutral status:


Jeff Sessions (R-AL)

"My conversations with Harriet Miers indicate that she is a first-rate lawyer and a fine person. Her legal skills are proven and her reputation throughout the legal community is excellent. It is not necessary that she have previous experience as a judge in order to serve on the Supreme Court. It's perfectly acceptable to nominate outstanding lawyers to that position. I look forward to the confirmation process and to learning more about her judicial philosophy."

Assessment: Neutral

Richard Shelby (R-AL)

"I am pleased with President Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers to the United States Supreme Court. I intend to carefully review her judicial philosophy and qualifications for this important position. I believe it is imperative that the Senate continue to confirm judges who will interpret the Constitution and the law without prejudice and with the utmost respect for the rule of law."

Assessment: Neutral

Lisa Murkowsky (R-AK)

"On the first day of the new Supreme Court session, with a new Chief Justice confirmed, I'm pleased that we have received the nomination of Harriet Miers so that we may quickly begin the confirmation process and fill the remaining Court vacancy. I'm also pleased that the President has nominated a woman to fill the vacancy left by Sandra Day O'Connor. I look forward to the confirmation process, learning more about Harriet Miers and working with my colleagues to ensure a fair and thorough hearing, a civil and dignified debate on the Senate floor followed by an up or down vote on Harriet Miers nomination. The Senate moved quickly and fairly during the confirmation of Chief Justice John Roberts and I expect the same during this next round of hearings."

Assessment: Neutral

Ted Stevens (R-AK)

[Unable to find an official statement]

Assessment: Unknown

John Kyl (R-AZ)

[Unable to find an official statement]

Assessment: Unknown

John McCain (R-AZ)

"I commend the President for his nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court of the United States. Over the course of thirty years, Ms. Miers has accumulated vast experience as a legal practitioner, led her peers as the head of state and local bar associations, and worked tirelessly as a dedicated public servant. Her record is one of deep commitment to the law and service to our nation. If the Senate confirms Ms. Miers, she will be only the third woman to have served on the highest court of our nation. Her accomplishments demonstrate that the distinction would be well deserved. I trust that Ms. Miers will have a smooth confirmation process and receive a swift up-or-down vote in the Senate."

Assessment: Favorable

Wayne Allard (R-CO)

"I am pleased the President has moved swiftly to nominate an Associate Justice. I have a high regard for Harriet Miers and enjoyed working with her on several occasions in her capacity as legal counsel to the President. But I do have questions regarding her legal background on issues important to the West, issues such as water law and public land policy, which I outlined to President Bush when Justice O'Connor announced her retirement.

"I plan to meet personally with the nominee soon to discuss her approach to Western issues, which have not arisen during my earlier dealings with her."

Assessment: Neutral

Mel Martinez (R-FL)

"I have been impressed with Harriet Miers in my dealings with her in the Administration. She is a woman of great intellect and integrity. Her professional experience as a practicing attorney and her long record of community involvement will serve her well in deciding cases of national significance. Ms. Miers has served in more than a dozen community organizations including the Young Women's Christian Association, Goodwill Industries, and the Legal Aid Society. She has been a trailblazer for women throughout her professional and private life and continues in that role with her nomination to the United States Supreme Court.

"I view Ms. Miers' non-judicial experience as an asset that will add to our nation's highest court in the same spirit as former Chief Justice William Rehnquist. In the words of President Bush, `A Justice must strictly apply the Constitution and laws of the United States, and not legislate from the bench.' I look forward to that in Ms. Miers."

Assessment: Favorable

Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)

"I am confident that President Bush has stood by his commitment to appoint conservatives to the bench. I look forward to hearing her testimony throughout the Senate confirmation process where the philosophy of Ms. Miers will be thoroughly examined."

Assessment: Favorable

Johnny Isakson (R-GA)

"I am delighted President Bush has nominated a woman to replace Sandra Day O'Connor. I look forward to meeting Ms. Miers and to listening to her testimony during the confirmation hearings.

I look forward to considering the President's nominee deliberatively, fairly and expeditiously. I will not apply any kind of litmus test for Ms. Miers, and I expect the Senate to treat her with respect and dignity during the confirmation process.

Every judge nominated by this president - or any president - deserves an up or down vote, one way or another. It is the responsibility of the Senate. It is the direction of the Constitution."

Assessment: Neutral

Larry Craig (R-ID)

"Harriet Miers is an impressive legal talent with a reputation for hard work. I look forward to learning more about her and her judicial philosophy, and I commend the President for bringing this nomination forward quickly.

While rumors of a Democrat filibuster began before Ms. Miers was even nominated, I'm hopeful that all Senators will give her full and fair consideration before deciding whether or not to confirm her."

Assessment: Neutral

Michael Crapo (R-ID)

"The President has put forth a good nomination with Miers," Crapo said. "With the depth of her legal background and accomplishments, I expect that the Judiciary Committee will again be able to lead a fair and expeditious inquiry into her nomination. So far, I've been impressed by the information I've reviewed in regards to this nomination and I look forward to meeting with and learning more about Miers. I am hopeful and optimistic that she will also receive bipartisan support from the Judiciary Committee and on the Senate Floor."

Assessment: Favorable

Richard Lugar (R-IN)

A Lugar spokesman says the senator is looking forward to "a swift and thorough confirmation process."

Assessment: Neutral

Chuck Grassley (R-IA)

Sen. Charles Grassley (news, bio, voting record), an Iowa Republican, emerged from his meeting with Miers, saying he wanted to know more about the nominee before saying whether he would vote for her.

Asked if he expected her to be confirmed, Grassley said, "It's probably too early to tell ... But if other people hear what I heard in the 45 minutes I spent with her ... I think that they would be satisfied that the president has met his commitment" to nominate a strict constructionist.

Assessment: Neutral

Sam Brownback (R-KS)

"I congratulate Harriet Miers on her nomination to be Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court and I look forward to learning at her confirmation hearing whether she possesses a firm commitment to the Framers' Constitution and to the rule of law," Brownback stated. "I am hopeful that Ms. Miers will be, as President Bush promised, a qualified nominee in the mold of Justices Scalia and Thomas who will strictly interpret the law and will not create law."

"I have said in the past that I would like a nominee with a proven track record on important issues to all Americans and whose judicial philosophy is well-formed. I am not yet confident that Ms. Miers has a proven track record and I look forward to having these questions answered. President Bush has a long-standing working relationship with Ms. Miers and I trust the President knows her heart and her mind. Even so, the confirmation process has just begun and questions about her views on the Constitution need to be answered. As President Bush and President Reagan have commented in the past, in this regard I feel we must trust but verify."

Assessment: Oppose

Pat Roberts (R-KS)

[Unable to find an official statement]

Assessment: Unknown

Jim Bunning (R-KY)

"I dealt with Harriet Miers in her position as White House Counsel during the appointment process of some of our federal judicial vacancies in Kentucky. I look forward to learning more about her background and I hope the Senate moves on her nomination in a fair and respectful manner."

Assessment: Neutral

Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

"Harriet Miers has an exemplary record of service. Moreover, I agree with her belief that the proper role of a judge is to strictly apply the laws and the Constitution, not legislate from the bench. I commend the President for his choice and look forward to Ms. Miers confirmation."

Assessment: Favorable

David Vitter (R-LA)

[Unable to find an official statement]

Assessment: Unknown

Susan Collins (R-ME)

"From talking with people who know Harriet Miers, I understand that she has a remarkable work ethic and was very well-respected as an attorney when she was in private practice. I am intrigued by the idea of having someone with significant experience in private practice as well as government join the Court because such as person can bring a fresh and practical perspective to the Court's decision-making process.

"I look forward to meeting with Ms. Miers, and I will be watching the confirmation hearings carefully so that I can gain an understanding of her views and her judicial philosophy. "

Assessment: Neutral

Olympia Snowe (R-ME)

"With the President nominating Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, the Senate once again takes up its `consent' role as expressed under the `advice and consent' clause of the Constitution.

"I commend the President for embracing the spirit of diversity by nominating a woman to replace Justice O'Connor, the first woman to occupy a seat on the nation's highest Court of the land. I also applaud his efforts to reach out to Senators from both sides of the political aisle leading up to this nomination.

"The Senate Judiciary Committee must be allowed to thoroughly, thoughtfully, and independently evaluate her qualifications, and under Chairman Specter's leadership I am confident that will occur.

"As a United States Senator, I take my role in the process of approving a Supreme Court nominee very seriously and will extensively review Harriet Miers' record and the Judiciary Committee's hearings and proceedings. I believe that any Supreme Court nominee should bring a balanced approach to cases, possess a strong intellect and suitable judicial temperament, and follow a disciplined judicial methodology in reaching decisions.

"I will be in close contact with my colleagues, especially with our group of fourteen senators who developed the compromise to forestall a filibuster on recent judicial nominees as the Senate begins consideration of this nomination."

Assessment: Neutral

Norm Coleman (R-MN)

"I am pleased that President Bush has moved quickly to nominate White House Counsel Harriet Miers to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. The President's decision to nominate a woman to the court is praiseworthy and sends a very important message to all of America. It is my intention to withhold judgment on this nominee as we continue to get a better sense of her qualifications as the confirmation process moves forward."

Assessment: Neutral

Thad Cochran (R-MS)

"President Bush has again nominated a well-qualified nominee for the United States Supreme Court. Harriet Miers' experience in private legal practice, public service and counsel to the president will bring valuable diversity to the court. I look forward to the Senate's consideration of this nominee."

Assessment: Favorable

Trent Lott (R-MS)

"I don't know her. But, I'm going to give her nomination consideration."

Assessment: Neutral

Christopher Bond (R-MO)

"Throughout her career, Harriet Miers has distinguished herself both in the legal field and within the highest levels of government. As the first woman to serve as President of the Texas State Bar and the Dallas Bar Association, Ms. Miers has a reputation as a hard-working, skilled lawyer who has a record of repeatedly breaking new ground for female lawyers within the legal profession. In her position as Counsel to the President, Ms. Miers has addressed a wide variety of critical legal issues facing our nation and is well-qualified to serve on the nation's highest court. As the nomination process moves forward, it is my hope that Ms. Miers is afforded a dignified, fair and objective consideration followed by a simple majority vote on the Senate floor."

Assessment: Favorable

James Talent (R-MO)

"The President nominated a person he believes has the integrity, legal judgment and record of accomplishment to serve on the nation's highest court. Harriet Miers has had a distinguished legal career and much of her professional life has been dedicated to public service.

"I've always said I would support the President's Supreme Court nominee provided the person is honest, has a strong record of accomplishment and applies a consistent jurisprudence. Her record needs to be thoroughly vetted during the confirmation process, but Harriet Miers appears to be another outstanding nominee.

"To the Senate's credit, the nomination of Chief Justice John Roberts was handled with respect and civility. My hope is that the Senate will treat Harriet Miers in the same way, avoiding personal attacks during the confirmation process."

Assessment: Favorable

Conrad Burns (R-MT)

"We [Burns and Miers] had an extremely positive meeting this morning," said Burns. "Ms. Miers has a great sense of humor and a great understanding of the importance of the legal arena in our nation. I was happy to have the opportunity to sit down with her today and discuss many of the issues important to my state of Montana, especially with respect to private property rights and natural resources, and I believe she has a great understanding of western values which is a good thing in my book. I am confident we will learn a great deal more about Ms. Miers in the coming weeks as the Judiciary Committee holds confirmation hearings, and I look forward to this next step in the confirmation process."

Assessment: Favorable

Chuck Hagel (R-NE)

"President Bush has chosen someone he trusts and who has a record of accomplishment. I look forward to learning more about her as the confirmation process moves forward," Hagel said.

Assessment: Neutral

John Ensign (R-NV)

Senator John Ensign is keeping mum on whether he shares fellow conservatives' concerns about Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers.

Ensign spokesman Jack Finn says the Nevada Republican wants to know more about Miers' qualifications before deciding whether to support her nomination.

Assessment: Neutral

Judd Gregg (R-NH)

[Unable to find an official statement]

Assessment: Unknown

John Sununu (R-NH)

[Unable to find an official statement]

Assessment: Unknown

Pete Domenici (R-NM)

"While I don't know Harriet Miers personally, based on what I have heard and read about her legal career, I believe she is a very competent attorney who is dedicated to the legal profession. I look forward to her confirmation hearings, where she will have the opportunity to demonstrate why President Bush chose her to serve on the Supreme Court."

Assessment: Neutral

Richard Burr (R-NC)

"I welcome President Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers to serve as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. As the confirmation process begins, I will carefully review Ms. Miers' qualifications and I look forward to meeting with her personally."

Assessment: Neutral

Elizabeth Dole (R-NC)

"As the nomination process moves ahead, I look forward to reviewing Ms. Miers' qualifications and her views on the proper role of the federal judiciary. I am hopeful that the confirmation process will be both fair and civil."

Assessment: Neutral

MIke DeWine (R-OH)

"As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I take very seriously the Senate's role in providing advice and consent with regard to a President's nominee to the Supreme Court of the United States and I look forward to our hearings on her nomination. I hope and anticipate that Ms. Miers will be treated with the same decency and respect that the Committee extended to Chief Justice Roberts.

"Ms. Miers has been a trailblazer for women in the legal profession. She was the first woman hired at a large Dallas law firm, the first woman elected president of that firm, and the first woman elected president of the Texas Bar Association. She has the kind of real-world, practical experience that I believe is important for our justices to have. I have been impressed with my interactions with her while she has served as President Bush's White House Counsel."

Assessment: Favorable

George Voinovich (R-OH)

"During the confirmation process for Chief Justice John Roberts, I had several conversations with Ms. Miers and I found her to be a very impressive yet unassuming person. I was pleased that the President again consulted with members of the Senate before making this nomination and hope that will make for a smooth confirmation process. Although I like Ms. Miers very much personally, I know nothing about her legal background and I am looking forward to finding out more information about her. I hope her confirmation hearings will be conducted with the same speed and fairness as the hearings for now Chief Justice Roberts were conducted."

Assessment: Neutral

Tom Coburn (R-OK)

"Harriet Miers deserves a fair and thorough hearing and confirmation process. I look forward to learning more about her qualifications and judicial philosophy in the coming days," Dr. Coburn said, adding that he plans to meet with Miers this week.

Assessment: Neutral

James Inhofe (R-OK)

"The United States Senate has recently demonstrated its commitment to fair and dignified confirmation proceedings and I hope that Harriet Miers' nomination will receive the same treatment. Harriet Miers is an accomplished member of the legal community and I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure a fair and thorough review process."

"The American people need highly qualified, fair-minded and independent judges who are committed to strictly interpreting the Constitution. I intend to carefully review Harriet Miers credentials to assess her qualifications and commitment to the rule of law."

Assessment: Neutral

Gordon Smith (R-OR)

[Unable to find an official statement]

Assessment: Unknown

Rick Santorum (R-PA)

"My feeling on the nominee is I don't know much about her,"

Assessment: Neutral

Arlen Specter (R-PA)

"If there are backroom assurances and if there are backroom deals and if there is something which bears upon a precondition as to how a nominee is going to vote, I think that's a matter that ought to be known."

Assessment: Neutral

Lincoln Chafee (R-RI)

"I congratulate the President on his efforts to consult the Senate prior to this nomination. The President has made his selection and now we must let the Senate process take its course. This is a critical vacancy. We owe it to the American people to conduct ourselves with the dignity and objectivity this process demands."

Assessment: Favorable

Jim DeMint (R-SC)

"Ms. Miers has a long and distinguished career as one of the foremost lawyers in the country. I'm hopeful she will demonstrate that she is well qualified to serve on the Supreme Court, and that she will strictly interpret the Constitution and laws of the United States, without legislating from the bench.

"Ms. Miers would bring a wealth of personal experience to the Supreme Court. I expect she will show that she has the intelligence, fairness, and open-mindedness needed to serve on the Court.

"The Senate has an important duty ahead. The Supreme Court of the United States is the custodian of our Constitution. Justices of the Supreme Court must not only be jurists of the highest competence, they must be attentive to the proper role of the courts in our democratic system.

"I was disappointed so many Democrats voted against Chief Justice Roberts. They proved that no matter how qualified the nominee, they will reject anyone put forward by this President. Democrats must remember that the American people elected President Bush because they agree with his view that judges should not legislate from the bench.

"I hope they will resist the temptation to attack Ms. Miers unfairly. Like all judicial nominees, she deserves a fair hearing, an honest debate, and a timely up-or-down vote."

Assessment: Favorable

Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

"President Bush has made a solid pick for the Supreme Court.

"Harriet Miers has been in the legal trenches throughout her career and has a tremendous understanding of how the law works in people's everyday lives. Her legal experience combined with her life experience makes her a solid choice.

"I hope for and anticipate a smooth confirmation process with a significant bipartisan vote in support. In my opinion, there will be no filibuster as she is a mainstream conservative who will be a strict constructionist on the Supreme Court.

"I expect the liberal left to make demands upon the Administration to produce information protected by attorney-client privilege. Efforts such as these to derail a qualified nominee like Miers should fail."

Assessment: Favorable

John Thune (R-SD)

"The nomination and confirmation process of Judge Roberts was a fine example of the Senate performing its Constitutional responsibility of advice and consent. Just as Judge Roberts received a fair up-or-down vote after a thorough examination by both Republicans and Democrats, I expect the same treatment for Harriet Miers. However, I will reserve judgment on this nominee until the Senate studies her qualifications. It has been my expectation that President Bush would nominate someone in the mold of Justices Scalia and Thomas and it is my hope that Harriet Miers will prove to be such a person."

Assessment: Oppose

Lamar Alexander (R-TN)

"Harriet Miers has a strong background in the practice of the law. She is respected by members of the United States Senate. We in the Senate now have a responsibility to hold a full and fair hearing and then promptly conduct an up or down vote."

Assessment: Neutral

Bill Frist (R-TN)

"This morning, after a bipartisan and inclusive consultation process, President Bush nominated Harriet Miers as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. With this selection, the president has chosen another outstanding nominee to sit on our nation's highest court.

"Ms. Miers is honest and hard working and understands the importance of judicial restraint and the limited role of a judge to interpret the law and not legislate from the bench. She has extensive legal experience ranging from private practice to Counsel to the President and was the first woman to serve as president of the Dallas Bar Association and the State Bar of Texas."

"As we begin the confirmation process, I hope the Senate continues to move beyond the partisan obstructionism of the recent past. I hope we carry forward the lessons learned from Chief Justice Roberts' nomination. A bipartisan majority of senators agreed that judges are not politicians and should not campaign for office. A bipartisan majority of senators also agreed that senators can make an informed decision on the fitness of a judicial nominee by focusing on the individual's qualifications and not her political ideology and by looking at the individual's record, testimony, and writings, without probing into confidential and privileged documents. Finally, a bipartisan majority of senators agreed that we should not ask or expect nominees to compromise their judicial independence by pre-judging cases or issues that may come before the court.

"I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure a fair and thoughtful hearing, a civil and dignified debate on the Senate floor followed by an up or down vote on Harriet Miers' nomination by Thanksgiving.

"I congratulate Ms. Miers on her nomination to the Supreme Court, and look forward to welcoming her to the Senate later today."

Assessment: Favorable

John Cornyn (R-TX)

"The President has announced his nominee to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court of the United States: Harriet Miers, currently serving as White House Counsel. As he did with Judge John G. Roberts, Jr., the President has chosen an outstanding nominee for our nation's highest court. The Senate should consider this nomination in both a thorough and expedient manner.

"Harriet Miers is a brilliant legal mind. She is a woman of outstanding character who clearly understands what it means to follow the law. She is deeply committed to public service, and has a distinguished history of professional achievement. It is clear that her past experiences have well prepared her for the honor of serving our country as a Supreme Court Justice. I strongly support her nomination.

"It is important that we put aside partisanship, and that the Senate fulfill its constitutional responsibility of advice and consent. This fine nominee must be treated with civility and respect, not as a political pawn. I hope that we in the Senate can move forward in a manner worthy of the American people."

Assessment: Favorable

Kay Baily Hutchinson (R-TX)

"President Bush has made a wise choice in his nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. I spoke with Harriet this morning. Harriet Miers is known throughout the legal community for her wisdom and integrity. I believe she will make an extraordinary justice. She was a trailblazer in the legal community and will bring a much-needed gender and geographical balance to the high court. Notably, like William Rehnquist, Harriet has been a practicing lawyer most of her career. This experience, too, brings a balance to the court. I look forward to helping Harriet Miers through a fair Senate process after which I am confident she will be confirmed."

Assessment: Favorable

Robert Bennett (R-UT)

[Unable to find an official statement]

Assessment: Unknown

Orrin Hatch (R-UT)

"Harriett Miers will bring diversity and depth to the Court," Hatch said. "She has broad professional experience that will provide a fresh perspective from outside the insular walls of the judiciary. As White House Counsel, she has been overseeing the process of choosing judges who will interpret, but not make, the law. Throughout her life, she has been dedicated to the law and has always set an example of integrity, accomplishment and service. It's important that we don't prejudge the nominee; I hope the Senate again shows the American people that we can conduct a dignified and thorough confirmation process."

Assessment: Favorable

Jim Jeffords (I-VT)

"President Bush today nominated Harriet Miers to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, and I look forward to reviewing her record and her qualifications to serve on the Supreme Court. Justice O'Connor is a steadfast supporter of constitutional rights, and Ms. Miers must prove that she will continue in this fine tradition. Given her lack of a judicial record, the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings will be critical to learn more about how Ms. Miers will approach the law as a Supreme Court justice."

Assessment: Neutral

George Allen, Jr. (R-VA)

"While Ms. Miers has not previously served as a judge, legal expertise, wisdom and fairness are not traits exclusive to those currently on the bench. President Bush has an outstanding track record of nominating fair-minded men and women who fairly adjudicate cases based upon the Constitution and the law and do not superimpose their personal views to amend the Constitution by judicial decree.

"I look forward to learning more about Ms. Miers' qualifications and discerning her judicial philosophy in the weeks ahead. I trust that Senators from both parties will conduct themselves with dignity and that this nomination process will be a fair one ending ultimately with an up or down vote."

Assessment: Neutral

John Warner (R-VA)

"I have had the privilege of working with Harriet Miers over the years, and I have the highest respect for her professional knowledge and standards. This nomination is another home run by the President."

Assessment: Favorable

Michael Enzi (R-WY)

"With the confirmation of Chief Justice Roberts this Senate showed it could treat a nominee from President Bush with dignity and fairness and that we could complete the appointment in a reasonable amount of time. I hope my colleagues on both sides of the aisle are ready to deliver a repeat performance of the process with the nomination of Harriet Miers.

"I'm sure many of us will monitor the proceedings and as we do we need to keep in mind that judges are not elected officials. Supreme Court justices are not chosen by voters and the people are not their constituents. If that were the case, our confidence in an impartial hearing and ruling on cases would collapse. A Supreme Court justice's only constituent should be the United States Constitution. We need to know that judges will not make promises to prejudge future cases in order to win votes.

"The President picked a nominee from his home state and she has worked closely with him for years. I have not had the pleasure of working as closely with her, but I will closely review her qualifications and observe and learn from her confirmation hearing. The Senate has the duty to give its advice and consent to the President's nomination and as a senator I am aware of my serious responsibility."

Assessment: Neutral

Craig Thomas (R-WY)

"My only involvement with Harriet has been in her capacity as a senior adviser to the President, so I'm anxious to learn more about her legal qualifications and fitness to serve on the Court."

"She'll have much to prove in the coming weeks ahead."

Assessment: Neutral

Now let's look at the Republicans who were members of the "Gang of 14" who averted a nuclear showdown in July of this year:

Gang of 14 Republicans:

McCain: Favorable
Graham: Favorable
DeWine: Favorable
Warner: Favorable
Chafee: Favorable
Snowe: Neutral
Collins: Neutral

Of the two Republicans on that list, DeWine and Chafee are facing tough re-election bids in 2006.

The arch-conservative Senators tell a mixed story:

Arch-Conservative Republicans:

Brownback: Oppose
Sessions: Neutral
Coburn: Neutral
Thune: Oppose
Santorum: Neutral

(Yes, I realize there are likely more than this - please add yours in the comments and I'll append)

I almost excluded Santorum from the list - he's in such a political pickle these days that all of his rhetoric has been seriously dialed back.

And finally, the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee:

Judiciary Committee Republicans:

Hatch: Favorable
Grassley: Neutral
Kyl: Unknown
DeWine: Favorable
Sessions: Neutral
Graham: Favorable
Cornyn: Favorable
Brownback: Oppose
Coburn: Neutral

I don't know where Kyl is going to come down on this - I simply have no appreciate as to how owned he is by the religious right. I'm also not surprised by Cornyn - he is, of course, from Texas, Miers' state. Suffice it to say that there's room even in the Judiciary Committee (Specter, Brownback and Coburn) for this nomination to fail to achieve recommendation.

In researching this I also found this article from October 5, 2005 indicating that the 'Gang of 14' have met on the Miers nomination.

So what does it mean? Well, first, I think there is plenty of room in the Neutral category that makes this nomination far from a done deal. Interestingly, some of the farthest-right wingnuts fall into the Neutral column. My only two Republican "Opposes" are screaming wingnuts.

All this analysis equates to PHOG - Prophecy, Hearsay, Opinion and Guesswork - I freely admit that. But the statements by Senator are there for each of you to look at and analyze as you see fit. I will say that the only hesitancy I have as to Miers' wingnut-status is that she is opposed by Brownback and Thune. Hardly enough to hang my hat on when she has been endorsed by Robertson and Dobson.

So, after hours of work, I find I'm still confused.

What do you think?


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