Saturday, October 29, 2005

About The President


More than a few of the anti-Miers crowd have mocked me for trusting the judgment of President Bush, and for backing a candidate they found wholly unacceptable. Some have suggested I do not know the "real" George W. Bush. The only answers I can give to this, start with the fact that I do know the real Mr. Bush, probably better than anyone outside of his direct associates and family, Crawford, or the White House, and if that sounds presumptuous of me, so be it. I know him not only from his politics, which is after all only one dimension, but I know his family, and Bush is definitely a man of his family, though that should not be taken to mean that he is all that much like his father, especially given his unique circumstances of office and resume. I also know how Bush handles adversity, which is something a lot of people never see; he’s a lot tougher in the right places, and in the right way. Whenever someone sees a glimmer of Reagan in Dubya, it’s not just because they pursue similar ideals and goals, but also because he has lost his share of fights, sometimes because his opponent fought dirty, and so he is no stuffed-shirt, no faint lily under pressure. Honestly, after everything thrown at him since his 2000 election, you’d think more people would understand that, but never mind.

I would also answer such people, that while I see weaknesses and flaws in Dubya, as is the case with every person, I do not give his opponents anything to use as a weapon against him. And I am very much a Constitutionalist where laws and policies are concerned; the Congress passes the laws, and the President sends troops where they need to go, nominates candidates for various offices, and submits various appeals for new legislation. An emporer he is not, and never tried to be. And as I have often pointed out, more than a few times a failure of an initiative comes down to promises made but not kept by the Congress, especially in some of those many meetings Bush has. To be blunt, most Conservatives would be completely delighted with President Bush, if only the Senate had done in public what it has promised in private. So, where I see an error now and then, I will take my option of writing to the White House, or perhaps speak in general, but I will in no way attack or insult the President. And in my personal opinion, anyone who does so against President Bush is harming the Movement; there is no better general in this fight than Dubya, and some of the Conservative “leaders” are following the mold of Wesley Clark, putting personal opinion ahead of a united resolve. This is, I will concede here, not a perfectly fair opinion, but it has enough of the truth to be generally correct.

What We Lost


Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, May 15 2005: “Will we permit a fair, up-or-down vote on every judicial nominee?”

Senator Elizabeth Dole, November 13, 2003: “Every President, Republican or Democrat, deserves to have his nominees voted on. Every Senator has a responsibility to exercise his or her constitutional duty to vote on the President’s nominees, and every nominee deserves a hearing, a committee vote, and an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor”

President Bush, May 9 2003: “The framers of the Constitution knew that freedom and justice depend on fair and impartial judges. To ensure judges of the highest quality, integrity, they designed a system in which the President would nominate judges and the Senate would vote up or down on the nominees.”

We Conservatives promised up-or-down. On every nominee.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Reality and the Next Nominee

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The mood surrounding the withdrawal of Harriet Miers from consideration to serve as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court has drawn strong reaction. Now, just a day later, it’s time to look at the damage done, and see what is really needed to right the ship. Make no mistake, serious damage has been done, and unless immediate and committed actions are taken, the damage will become a genuine threat to the Republican majority, and to the Conservative Movement as a whole.

In 1964, Ronald Reagan learned from Barry Goldwater how to pursue Conservative politics as an ideal. The former Democrat and Governor of California also learned about coalitions and duplicity, when he made his historic but unsuccessful run for the Republican Presidential nomination in 1976. Very few people have observed the depth of Reagan’s mind and heart, which could come up with his “11th Commandment” after the shabby way he was treated by the GOP in 1976. A lot of people have never understood that Reagan was a loyal Republican as well as a strong Conservative, enough so that he campaigned for Ford in 1976 after the Convention, and again for George H.W. Bush in 1992, though he cannot have been completely happy with either man as the standard-bearer for the Grand Old Party.

But Ronald Reagan understood the stakes and the reality of the situation. In 1976, after he lost the nomination to Ford, Reagan understood that the choice was between Ford and Carter, and he worked for the best feasible result. In 1992, Reagan understood that the choice was between Bush and Clinton, and again Reagan worked without complaint for the better of the two. In his Presidential appointments and nominations, Reagan always sought the best possible candidate, and he was well aware that the perfect choice was not always the one which could be confirmed or accepted by Congress.

President George W. Bush is a man who has had to carry the Republican Party and the Conservative Movement on more than a few occasions. His back is broad indeed, to have borne such a weight for so long, and also one which is so consistently ungracious for his help. The Miers nomination is just another in a long string of decisions, where Bush made the choice to the best of his abilities, yet the very people who owe him the most for their own success and advantage, found it preferable instead to pillory the nominee and attack the President, sometimes personally, simply because they were petulant and spoiled.

And if anyone is spoiled, it is the membership of the United States Senate. Known to many as “The Club”, the Senate is indeed a refuge of luxury and privilege for its members, who have made it no secret that they consider themselves a better sort of person than the average citizen. And that arrogance lends itself to a haughty disdain for clear ideals in government. The habit of always supporting both sides of every question was not at all unique to John Kerry; it’s quite the practice, as it allows Senators to come back later and parse their statements to make it appear they were always on the winning side. And it is that lot which decide the confirmation of every nominee sent by President Bush. By the time William Rehnquist passed away, and President Bush realized he would need to present a second nominee for the Supreme Court, the Senate had already demonstrated a strong aversion to confirming judicial nominees known for clear and firm positions, especially any evidence of Originalist thought. And earlier this same year, seven Republican Senators defected from party promises, and betrayed their own Majority Leader, joining Democrats to not only deny the “Nuclear Option”, but supported the conditional use of filibusters against judicial nominees. The demand that President Bush could only submit nominees who were known to hold positions that the Democrats and a significant number of Republicans would be sure to oppose, was never realistic.

A quick review of Bush’s judicial picks shows his preference for judges right in line with Conservative ideals. In that light, the attacks on Miers were obscenely unfair, but let that go for here, since the matter is well over, excepting that Democrats will certainly use the “Extraordinary Circumstances” claim to filibuster anyone remotely considered a threat. Which brings us to the tactical question of whom to appoint, and how to gain confirmation.

There are, in essence, three elements to the decision which I think will color the next choice. First, with parental notification on the docket along with some other significant issues, Bush wants to get O’Connor replaced as soon as possible. As Hugh Hewitt observed on his radio show yesterday, every judicial nominee needs a full FBI background check. Since nominees recently confirmed will have already had their background checks done, that will speed up the process. Also, this means that the White House is not going to look very far beyond the short list they already had. That tells me that Bush probably already knows who he wants to nominate.

The second element is one which a lot of people miss. Bush went through a lot of trouble to get his choices placed on the Circuit Courts. Those are important posts, and if one of them is considered for the Supreme Court, Bush will also have to find a replacement for the Circuit Courts, and you can count on the Democrats being just as nasty on that level as on the Supreme Court, as their history shows. That means that unless a recently confirmed federal judge is far ahead of anyone else in his opinion, I do not think Bush wants to move anyone whom he has already selected for the federal bench. Also, there is going to be a fight of some kind, no matter whom he picks, so if I had to guess, I’d say we’re going to see someone else whom Bush already knows from personal experience, and it’s likely to surprise people.

The third element is the concrete of the road. The Democrats, whatever else they are, understand that unity is the only way they can recover something of power and influence in the federal government. That means that they will get together and either vote almost everyone for a nominee, or they will make sure absolutely every Democrat votes against the nominee. In most respects, I couldn’t care less how 45 Democrats vote, but it means that the Republicans must plan on supplying 50 votes out of their 55. If we had a firm consensus in the Right side of the Senate, that would be great, but we do not. The evidence of the last year is clear, that not only can we not count on the 7 Senators who signed that damnable filibuster agreement with the Democrats, but several other Republican Senators have tried out the invertebrate posture, like Specter or Hagel. There are, in truth, only about 44 sure votes for an Originalist nominee who is known to the Senate. And only a very great fool believes that the events surrounding the Miers nomination has motivated the eleven jellyfish wearing R’s to find a spine.

In addition, the present condition is one of a damaged party. The attacks from the MSM and the Democrats have had little to do with the situation, in part because the Liberal world seems unable to discuss anything in a rational or evenhanded manner. But the damage done by the extremists in the Miers nomination is very real, and very serious. People who have voted Republican out of a sincere principle have seen that principle abandoned for expediency. It will be difficult to convince them that the principles will be maintained the next time they are inconvenient. There are certain fundamental expectations in any relationship, and one of the biggest is the sense of respect. To put it bluntly, people who put their trust in the President in the Miers nomination have found themselves insulted, and their President openly mocked by a few people with the means to broadcast their tantrums to the world at large. News flash to David Frum – I’m just a guy with a keyboard and an opinion, but you’re a published author and a reputation for speaking for the whole party. When you choose to employ personal insults against Ms. Miers and the President, you are enabling Michael Moore and validating Howard Dean. I figure there’s a couple million people who are a bit less likely to vote Republican next go-round, because you’ve just given them reason to think the Conservatives are no better than the Liberals. Nice going. With important elections coming up in places like Virginia and Ohio, this was not the time to give folks a motive to stay home.

So, there we are. One end of the Conservative spectrum has chortling celebrants, unaware that the shot they fired off has hit their own ship. On the other end, the party is losing support, possibly only temporarily, but at a bad time and for a stupid reason. The Senate has seen an exhibition of political thuggery, which will doubtless compel them to believe that any future nominee will have the blessing of multiple Special Interest groups, which will make the nomination hearings even more ridiculous and petty than they have been. The nominee will need to be someone the Senate can accept, and so not known as an “extremist”, yet must have some sort of record to track. The nominee will need to be someone who has already been confirmed in the past few years, so that their background check will go smoothly, and someone who will be familiar in appearance if not known well in fact. The nominee will, ideally, be attractive in appearance, since some took part in mocking Miers looks, and should not be a great surprise to the American public.

The next nominee, therefore, will likely be Barbie Millicent Roberts. “Born” on March 9, 1959 (according to Mattel), she is only 46, and has not aged appreciably in many years, so that many observers believe she could serve on the High Court for a very long time. Barbie is, of course, well known to and popular with many Americans, and she has never been known to take an unpopular position on any issue. Since President Bush brought up two daughters, it is believed that he is quite familiar with Barbie, yet cannot be accused of promoting a crony by nominating her. Barbie has written a number of works and several movies, and her grammar is known to be perfect, and her elocution impeccable. Barbie’s legal education is unclear, but she has never given a speech or contribution to a single Liberal group or cause, so that her political virginity should be appealing to Conservative Jihadists like Frum And in her incarnation as Lawyer Barbie (with matching briefcase and purse), it is well known that Barbie has never lost a case, a record difficult to oppose. And after seeing how smoothly the first nominee named Roberts received confirmation, President Bush may take advantage of the name to gain similar results for Barbie. Certainly, it is expected that Barbie would say nothing to hurt her chances.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Evil Triumphs


This WILL Come Back and Bite the Conservatives.

This hands a whole new weapon to the Left; Ideology as a valid litmus test in nominations. There is a continuing problem with attention by many on this issue.

I have, repeatedly, explained the difference between principled opposition to Miers and the vicious attackers against her. Her withdrawal gave the rumor-mongers exactly what they wanted, and has shown that thuggery will work as a tactic against the President. If Miers had been allowed her hearings but declined by the Senate, that would have been one thing, but instead she was rhetorically assaulted, sadly by many who used to understand the evil and stupidity in just such methods.

If you felt Miers was unqualified, but were willing to let the facts come out at the hearings, I am not talking about you. If you believe that many other people were better qualified than Miers, but were waiting for the process to work its way through, I am not talking about you.

But there were many who took great enjoyment in deliberately casting the White House Counsel as an unintelligent woman. There were many who actually claimed to know that Miers, despite signing a clear anti-Roe statement on multiple occasions, was somehow plotting to promote Abortion as a legal right. There were many who regularly took up character assassination as their mietre against Miers, insulting her personally and misrepresenting her credentials in order to attack her. She was insulted for her appearance, for casual communications, for old speeches made before she knew the President and worked for him, for graduating from a non-Ivy League school, for not impressing various unelected big-name figureheads. Such tactics are unconscionable, and exactly the sort which were used against Clarence Thomas, when he stood as a nominee. Miers was held to an impossible standard, for no better reason than petulance and a demand that the President not make his own choices, but choose only from a list created for him by special-interest groups. Such people are bastards, and since their method has come to success, those methods will certainly be used again.

Far too many people have forgotten how long and hard President Bush worked to support so many court nominees which the Conservative Movement understood to be vital to the needs. How long did so many have to wait, even with a Republican Majority, simply because the Senate lacked the resolve to support the President responsible for their majority? How many people have forgotten the knifing of Majority Leader Frist, who was assured the long-awaited “Nuclear Option” would finally settle the filibuster tactic against judicial nominees, only to see a handful of Senators presume to control that decision on their own arrogance? The plain fact is, the Left will not hesitate to say that this withdrawal “proves” that President Bush is “controlled” by “ideologues”, and they will use this as the “Extraordinary Circumstances” to filibuster, and very likely will be supported by the RINOs in the Senate. The assumption that Miers’ withdrawal is a victory for Conservatives in any way, fails to consider the recent history of the Senate, and the success which Liberals have used in applying Conservative tactics against them. Ever wonder why, when the Republicans were proportionally so much more responsible for passing the 1964 Civil Rights Act, that blacks have overwhelmingly credited Democrats for it? Ever wonder why, with the comparable nominations and appointments by Republicans and Democrats of qualified women and minorities to high positions, that Democrats can still claim it is the Republican Party which is sexist and hypocritical? The Democrats/Liberals have always been very good at manipulating appearances, and there should be no doubt that the Miers withdrawal will be cast by the MSM and the Democrats in only such light as allows them to gain. And it is avowed Conservatives, who have renewed that power in the Left, and shown a dismally poor loyalty to the President and his judgment.

And yes, it will convince more than a couple Senators that the McCain method of two-faced promise and treachery, is the most effective mode of operation. The bastards did indeed win, and on more than one level.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

History Repeats Itself

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"Caesar, come over here for a moment. We'd like a word with you"
- Lucius Brutus, 44 B.C.

"The one I kiss, is the one you arrest"
- Judas Iscariot, 29 A.D.

"I support the President, but..."
- David Frum, 2005 A.D.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


? ! ? ! ? !

(The following article is not presented as a fait accompli, nor as an attempt to provoke outrage among Conservatives, but as an analysis of the forces at work on each side of the decision, as well as the statements made by key participants.)

Harriet Miers will be confirmed as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. This is the conclusion I have reached, after reviewing the salient conditions of the relevant factors, which is to say, there is going to be a great deal of noise and gnashing of high-priced dental work over the next few weeks.

The reason this will happen can best be understood by examining the history of judicial nominations in recent years, as well as SCOTUS nominations, and of course by separating the people with real influence in the decision, from people who are simply working on the outside.

For starters, the process can be divided into five stages: The nomination and initial response; the discovery prior to the hearings and the coalescing of camps; the initial hearing questions and public statements by Judiciary Committee members; public opinion and communication to the Senators; and the Senate Committee and full Senate votes. It’s very important to know where we are on the road, to understand what effective actions may be taken.

According to a timeline of Bush judicial nominations as prepared by Confirm Them, Bush nominees average 39 days from nomination to hearing, with 5 days of hearings, 10 days from hearings to markup, and 13 days from markup to confirmation, for a process time averaging 72 days. Nominated October 3rd , Harriet Miers should begin hearings in the Senate November 7th, or 37 days after her nomination, right in line with the average for Bush nominees. It remains to be seen, of course, whether the rest of the process follows that course, but for now, despite all the noise, the Miers nomination is proceeding as others before have done.

The next point to consider is whether President Bush might withdraw Mier’s nomination. This is extremely unlikely. President Bush, for good or ill, is extremely firm on his judicial picks. Despite heavy antagonism from Democrats on such picks as Priscilla Owen, William Pryor, and Janice Rogers Brown, President Bush never retracted a single one of them, but pressed until they were confirmed. Ideologues will find it galling no doubt to consider that Bush places Miers in the same company as the “known” Conservative judges, but Bush’s statements make it plain that he does. Also, Republican friction in the past couple years concerning John Ashcroft, Donald Rumsfeld, and Vice President Cheney demonstrates that President Bush is not one to give in to pressure from his own party, much less from unelected criticism, and especially when it is emotional wailing, unsupported by the facts. While it may amuse Ideologues to insult Miers with the “crony” tag, the most likely effect, by far, that this will have on the President is to solidify his support for her. In addition, the President understands far better than most that a withdrawal would do very serious damage to future nominations and his influence in the Senate, who already have far too high an opinion of themselves. As a consequence, not only will President Bush not withdraw Harriet Miers’ nomination, but if she herself suggested it, President Bush would talk her out of it. Observers should expect Harriet Miers to march into the Senate hearings as scheduled.

One strategic mistake the Anti-Miers contingent has made, is that they have applied their fire on the targets least likely to be affected by the noise. President Bush is no more likely to withdraw Miers than he was the day he nominated her. And the public in general has not joined the revolt against her. After all the rumors and gossip against Miers, more Americans approve of Miers than disapprove of her. This is important, because if only 26% of the public disapproves of Miers, there is not likely to be any sort of public outcry to their Senators. And frankly, it’s pretty much too late for the Anti-Miers crowd to start over on that project. A shrewder move would have been to key on the leading Republican Senators on the Judiciary Committee, pressing not for Miers’ removal but for specific questions to be asked and pressed. This is still possible, but the Senate is wary of appearing to be pliable by pressure from a clear minority.

Almost two-thirds of people queried say they expect Miers to be confirmed, and of those with a strong opinion, more Americans support Miers than oppose her. That makes opposing Miers the unpopular thing to do in the Senate, which is not the road Senators historically take. As for the so-called “centrists” in the Senate, they are not only not unhappy with Miers, but have already indicated a filibuster is “extremely unlikely”, and they are leaning towards confirmation. As a result, the actual information known about Miers has not significantly increased, due to an absurd focus on rumors and guesswork by the Anti-Miers forces, instead of seeking a consensus on what should be asked and pursued. The ideologues have painted themselves as extremists, so that even Senators who approve of their position on Miers will be wary of publicly standing with them.

So here’s the trip so far: Bush nominated Miers on October 3rd, and the immediate response was in two colors – wait and see from most Senators and the public, but a strong emotional rejection from certain individuals. The emotion could have ignited public opinion against Miers, but the methods chosen to express opposition to Miers chose unsavory courses, such as selective quotes from her writing, out-of-context attribution of opinions, and a large number of personal insults, using such perjorative terms as “crony”, “battiness”, or a “disaster”, collectively showing a dismal lack of both civility and objectivity, and in some cases deliberately spreading lies about the woman, which were quoted by like-minded sites extensively until other blogs caught the lies and called down the cavilists pressing them. Bloggers supporting Miers are told they are “kool-aid” drinkers or are supporting a “crook”, they are called “Bushbots”, and even well-respected commentors are denounced as “shill[s] for the Administration”. The President himself is sullied with rumors and insults by bloggers unhappy with his choice. George Will sniffs that President Bush “has neither the inclination nor the ability to make sophisticated judgments”, that he has “forfeited his right” as President. Apparently Will would have you believe that the endless sophistry of John “Subtlety” Kerry was, in retrospect, what Conservatives really want.

Annoying, this piling-on of hate by the ideologues, but it is very poor strategy as well. If nothing else, the average American tends to favor someone perceived as an underdog or an innocent victim, and all this vitriol is making people ask the reasonable question, ‘why not just let the lady have her hearings?’ It seems to me that not only are the ideologues embarrassing themselves with such comments, they are driving the undecideds to the pro-Miers side. Also, as Strata-Sphere observed succinctly, “the anti-Miers crowd are losing other conservative factions because they called for a civil war with nothing but scary fairytales to back up their claims.”

So, it’s pretty clear that Miers should be expected to appear at her Senate hearings. This the next battleground the ideologues are already preparing, to tear her down in front of the cameras. If it were so, I would actually applaud that. The whole idea as we practice nominations to the High Court, is that questions are asked at the hearings; ambushing the nominee on the way to the court is simply unacceptable. The ideologues, however, have reason to fear that their position weakens if Miers is allowed the review all nominees are supposed to receive. It comes from knowledge of how the Senate acts, and from early statements by certain key Senators. Arlen Specter is the Chair of the Judiciary Committee, and he’s pretty pro-Miers. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist says of Miers; "She has demonstrated her leadership, her character, her integrity". Frankly, while some Senators have asked questions and stated they would like more information, the mood on the Hill, even among conservative Senators, is generally pro-Miers. Thus, the ideologues are fighting against the tide once the hearings begin.

Charles Pickering is not a Senator, but he is accepted as a “known” Conservative judge, and he also approves of Miers. In an interview with John Gibson of Fox News, Pickering said:

She has a very impressive resume. And one of the strengths that I think she has is that she has real-world experience. I think it's unfortunate that we think someone has to come from the bench or someone has to come from academia to sit on the Supreme Court. During the history of our nation, half of the judges that served on the Supreme Court did not have previous judicial experience, so this is not a new phenomenon, this is not a new situation. And the fact that she has had real-world experience, she was an experienced litigator. She served in local government, state government, and federal government. I think that's to her advantage. I think that's a perspective that the Supreme Court by and large misses."

In the end, it comes down to momentum. The ideologues have created a noisy rally against Miers, but not where it counts, in the Senate or in nationwide opinion. For all the noise, the opinion of the majority of Ideological blogs will have no more bearing on the confirmation decision, than Michael Moore. That is, there is every reason to believe Miers will remain the nominee when her hearings begin, and in the absence of significant evidence indicating she is unfit (sorry, rumors won’t help the Anti-Miers movement in the Senate), she will be recommended by the Judiciary Committee and confirmed by the Senate. After all, in 1993 Republicans did have significant reason to believe Ruth Bader Ginsburg would push the Supreme Court in a wrong and dangerous direction, yet all but 3 of them voted to confirm her. The plain fact from history is, that unless Miers completely implodes at her hearings, she will be confirmed and take her place on the Supreme Court of the United States. The wisest strategy, I contend, would therefore be (whatever your opinion of the woman) to suggest crucial questions to your Senator to ask at the hearings, and to let her answer as she will. At this point, the decision belongs to Harriet Miers, and essentially no one else.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Amerigance, Part 2


Let’s face it; Americans are weird. To start with, the nation began with a revolution, which is not all that unusual, except that the revolutionary government has continued in something not unlike its original form, to such a point that the Constitution enacted shortly after the government was put into place, is the same one we are using today. While most of the world boasts peoples, cultures, and nations which are older than America, our extant form of government has endured longer than anything else in place, and has thrived under the notion that government is derived by the consent of the governed, and that people have rights which cannot be denied.

But if that is not strange enough, there is the little matter of American cultural dominance. A wallet full of American money is likely to be accepted, and cheerfully so, at most businesses around the world; even in Communist China and Vietnam, U.S. dollars are valid for many transactions. You can find a McDonalds of Burger King in virtually every city on the planet, to the horror of the French. You can absolutely find a Coca-Cola machine in every city. You can watch an American movie in every city which has movie theaters, and you can hear American music on radio stations around the globe. And that’s not touching the impact of American clothes fashion or jargon. There is not a language in the Industrialized world which does not include American phrases in it.

And then there’s the politics. It shows my age I suppose, but I can remember when the councils and juntas would simply present the single available candidate, whose “election” would be announced before the votes were counted, if indeed they ever were. Now, how different are things, where Iraq and Afghanistan have not only held free elections, but millions of people in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, even in Iran, have publicly demonstrated for the right to hold what they themselves call “American-style” free elections, with multiple political parties and candidates. Even the worst totalitarian regimes put up the pretense of a free election, as the last go-round in China shows. Of course, that all began with Ronald Reagan, and found new strength in George W. Bush.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

I Support Harriet Miers

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N.Z. Bear is asking for bloggers to state where they stand. Here's where you can find out how to be heard, and here's my stand:

I support the Miers nomination, now more than ever.

When rumors, slander, and deliberate misrepresentation of a nominee are so prevalent, the nominee is almost always a real conservative.

I note how much of the anti-Miers venom originates not from regular people, but from well-paid and large-ego celebrities. If we find it presumptuous for Sean Penn and Martin Sheen to tell us what we must think about our President, it is no more reasonable for newspaper columnists and radio hosts to demand Harriet Miers be denied her hearings, or to demand that President Bush kowtow to their demands.

President Bush has not been perfect, but in judicial picks he's right on the mark. Somehow, I find it a great deal easier to believe him than Coulter, Frum, or any of the 'let's knife Miers now'crowd. It seems to me rank cowardice that these overfed egos think it is proper to deny the President's nominee even a moment in front of the Senate, lest they discover that their assumptions prove as false and foul as their arrogance that an unelected figurehead should control the appointments by the elected President.

At the moment, I am willing to withdraw my support if I see conclusive evidence that Miers will not prove conservative. But rumors, whisper campaigns, and haughty demands by people who do not answer to anyone will never sway me.

Empire To Free Market - The China Case


In my lifetime, I have heard over and over again, how the days of the West, and the United States in particular, are fading and should be demoted in favor of the Orient, seen as a relentless tide of innovation, population, and fate. I have read countless essays warning about the inevitable dominance by Asia, and by countless countries like Japan, Vietnam, and China, or by Supercompanies like Sony or Mitsubishi, or the front companies set up bythe PRC to claim market share in high-tech industries. While such companies have enjoyed success, and some Asian countires have enjoyed better-than-average GDP gains and improved market positioning, the long-term results remain clearly advantageous to the West, and to the United States. There are many reasons for this, but for this article I will pretty much focus on the largest and most populous country in Asia as a representative focus; the People’s Republic of China.

Just after Mao Tse Tung assumed control over Communist China, and the Communists chased the Nationalists off the mainland in 1949, the United States was full of outraged Senators demanding to know “Who Lost China?” The arrogance implicit in such a statement helps display the nature of U.S. myopia at the time, believing that any U.S. action was by definition legitimate and authorative. The very notion that we possessed China, even notionally, so that it could be “lost”, goes a way towards explaining the decision by regional powers to support Mao. Also, the Nationalist Party under Chiang Kai Shek not only was tied to organized crime (Mao’s Communists were also heavily involved with Triads, but kept this quiet), but also played up ties to the United States which not only failed to reap the benefits of Chinese appreciation for American support in World War 2, but implied that the U.S. controlled Chiang’s decisions and position, which brought up unpleasant memories of domination by Europe a century before. Anyone familiar with the Boxer Rebellion should have understood that any campaign to claim the support of the Chinese people begins on the three pillars of Chinese Racial Pride, a promise by the government to leave people alone for the most part, and as always happens in politics, the promise of a better life for the next generation.

While Mao’s Communists were unquestionably heavy-handed and brutal in various places and times, they always stayed on key with the three main pillars, and so have enjoyed if not support, at least an absence of antipathy. When the CIA began to measure and project discontent in Communist countries as a key indicator of potential instability, they discovered that by 1970, even after the “Cultural Revolution” which abused so many Chinese, discontent in China was well below any potential threshold to support revolt, compared to rising discontent in the Soviet Union which later played into Reagan’s policies and showed up in such movements as the Polish Solidarity union. This relative stability of the PRC was one reason Nixon chose to play up the Chinese condition in an alliance against the Soviets in his trip to Beijing, and represents a long-term condition of the Asian environment. American response to Chinese dissidents, therefore, must balance the attractive demand for civil liberties and individual rights with the knowledge that we cannot be seen as trying to coerce a sovereign nation and proud people.

This is not to say, at all, that there is no desire for true economic and political freedom in China, but that it must be perceived as the United States supporting a popular Chinese initiative, and not as the United States attempting to overthrow a native and legitimate government. A good scenario for the United States might be like Poland, where initial attempts to unionize industry met not only with government crackdowns, but disapproval by the citizens. Gradually, the Solidarity union and similar actions won over enough of the people to take momentum past a tipping point, where it was clear that Polish people were demanding their own course, and the Communist committes were seen as the oppressors. This gained sufficient support that even Soviet occupation failed to quell the movement, and unlike revolts in Chechnya and Kazakhstan, was almost completely non-violent. The Polish movement combined economic logic with individual rights, and while it suffered many setbacks, in the long-term it was not only successful in forcing a Soviet pullback, but helped establish a stable and constructive government of its own.

The China model is similar. As galling as it is to see Beijing crush dissent is such forms as praying in public, or even silent meditation as a group, it should be understood that this offends the Chinese sensibility at a deeper level, and the resentment will naturally flow against the Communists, unless the United States makes statements or actions which distract attention and emotion against the West. Take the Falun Gong, as an example. While many Falun Gong teachers have taken refuge in the United States, the movement is clearly home-grown and native in spirit to China. Therefore, the oppression by the Communists is not only seen as unreasonably harsh against non-violent and non-offensive actions, but also as anti-Chinese, creating and increasing resentment against the Communists as an anti-Chinese force, which they can suppress in the short term, but which weakens Communism in the long term.

At the risk of sounding like a Grand Strategist (I can get away with that, as I am only a pretentious individual, and have no place in the government where someone might be able to claim that I represent official policy), this is how the United States has sustained an economic and cultural preeminence in Asia. Japan was supposed to have passed the United States in most comparable factors a generation ago, yet the United States has not only made gains where Japan has failed to, they have caught up in areas where Japan initially appeared to be running away (such as the nanotechnology innovations), and on most economic fronts, including even the stock market, a comparison over the past 40 years between the United States and Japan favors the Americans. But this economic advantage is nothing matched to the cultural advantage; American music, movies, fashion, and language completely dominate Japan. And the Japan situation is very representative of the rest of Asia; even in Vietnam, American money is readily accepted and American business investment is highly sought. The same is true in places like Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and across the Pacific coast.

The United States did not achieve this dominance through subversion or manipulation, but by simplying offering attractive products and reasonable opportunities. The overall condition of American business, has been to create a network of generally trustworthy partners who keep their commitments for mutual gain. Synergy is a common element in American Business agreements. In the case of China, this not only allows the United States to attract investment opportunities, but also forces the Communist Party into a dilemma; in the past, the Communists simply broke agreements where they pleased, but in order to grow in the long-term, they must accept terms which force them to comply with commitments, to accept losses in individual cases where they miscalculated or failed to anticipate critical events or conditions. In other words, despite the long practice of acting autocratically in their contract negotiations, the Chinese government is coming to understand that economic success comes only through the review of independent auditors, the diligent compliance with contract terms, and essentially the embracing of truly democratic practices in trade practices. If they refuse to take on these attributes, Chinese businesses will suffer the stigma of being unreliable, and China will lose contracts to those countries whose businesses accept such conditions. If they accept those attributes, then the economic success of China will begin to influence cultural expectations. As is the case already with Hong Kong and Macau and Shang Hai, China is learning that corporate success, which brings in the coveted tax revenues, also creates an environment of expectation, where individuals demand their own standing and rights. One can hardly imagine what will happen when a Chinese Trump or Forbes comes onto the scene, but it is almost certain to happen in the next two decades. A Free-Market China will be good for their Economy but even better, is a foundation for a Free China in general.