Friday, October 28, 2005

Miers nomination: Harriet's Legacy

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I originally posted this photoshop doodle of mine on Friday but took it down because I thought it was an excessively partisan way of expressing my point. Ruminating on it over the weekend, I still feel very strongly about what I was trying to say... This for me is the real legacy of the Harriet Miers debacle:

Bush said this when he announced her nomination:
"I believe that senators of both parties will find that Harriet Miers' talent, experience and judicial philosophy make her a superb choice to safeguard the constitutional liberties and equality of all Americans."

How can the very same people who so effectively campaigned against the Miers nomination now enthusiastically return to wholeheartedly supporting this President? How can you criticize Bush's judgment for concluding that Miers was the best qualified person to replace Sandra Day O'Connor on the one hand, and then retain confidence in his judgment in every other aspect of his governance?

Can someone explain that to me, because I don't get it... Is it a good thing that he was forced into ceding to the superior judgment of Conservative columnists and his party base? Is it a good thing that if Bush gets it wrong they can just aggressively articulate the error of his ways and change the course of Administration policy?

If the President sincerely believed in Harriet Miers as a Supreme Court Justice then what does the decision to withdraw her nomination say about his confidence in his own reasoning? A great leader stands up to his base, takes the political hit, and pursues what he/she believes is right, because results, and not politics are what matter in the end... it's one of the reasons that I believe that Tony Blair is a great Prime Minister in the UK.

That's what should give everyone pause for thought, regardless of their political leanings... We have a President who hasn't used a single veto, while non defense discretionary spending has soared, and the national debt has risen to almost eight trillion dollars. We have a President who took no initiative to consider and plan for the broader consequences of regime change in Iraq... who allowed the Republican Guard to be disbanded, dramatic, unhelpful economic reforms to be implemented, and who, after three years has been unable to find alternative solutions and make changes to failing strategies. We have a President who has done nothing to address the changing world, our environment, and future energy needs... at least not with the requisite vigor, and foresight. We have a President who in the midst of a national crisis, Hurricane Katrina, did nothing to exercise leadership, binding the nation together in determination and grief... like Reagan would have... like Giuliani did in NY.

Many of those who criticized Miers said that it wasn't a question of ideology, it was a question of her credentials and qualifications. But, ironically, haven't most of these people turned a blind eye to the President's failings simply because his ideology is so in keeping with theirs?

Isn't that the real legacy of the failed Miers nomination... The poor judgment and inadequacies of this President... that jeapordize the US economy, its safety, its foreign policy, and the integrity of world affairs, only really matter to his supporters when he disagrees with them. And even then, such is the President's lack of belief in his own reasoning, those who pulled the strings to incentivize the Miers withdrawal are confident that if required they can easily assert their influence in the future...

Maybe Bush will prove me wrong and nominate Alberto Gonzales to the Supreme Court... the man that HE always wanted to... but, I seriously doubt it.

Buzz words for Democratic Congressman here, here, here.

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18 comments:

Lisa said...

That's a very creative graphic. Did it ever occur to you at some point that maybe he didn't indict Karl Rove because, well...THERE WASN'T ENOUGH EVIDENCE TO DO SO?
Now I'm convinced that you are an flaming liberal tree-hugger who burns American flags in his spare time. :P

Just a thought.
Sign me...

The Evil Neo-Con. ;)

Graham said...

Hey Lisa,

Yes, I think that after the indictments we have to accept that until evidence proves otherwise. I've been pretty heated over the Plame affair since July but, I think it's time to let it go. If after two years Fitzgerald, who I completely respect, can't discern criminal activity in her exposure then I think that ultimately says everything.

Well I am a vegitarean, so I guess you can put that in with the political stereotype, lol :P.

M A F said...

Graham, I like it. It has a horror movie motif. I makes me think of a cross between Rose Mary's Baby and the Shining. "Here's Annie."

As for the more serious aspects of your writing, I find your question, "How can you criticize Bush's judgment for concluding that Miers was the best qualified person to replace Sandra Day O'Connor on the one hand, and then retain confidence in his judgment in every other aspect of his governance?" to be equally as pointed as your "photoshop doodle."

I find it most ironic that the people that Bush refers to as his "opinion leaders" would lead the opposition movement against Miers.

Of course, I don't believe that Bush made the same effort for Harriet Miers as he did other judicial nominees like Priscilla Owens and Janice Rogers Brown. To say nothing of the effort that went into Judge Roberts.

I did find an article that you might find interesting in light of your previous review of potential nominees. According to the article Bush will name either Samuel Alito or Michael Luttig. So much for my prediction of Alberto Gonzales.

Lone Ranger said...

Both this Bush and his dad have the weinie gene. They actually think they can compromise with people (liberals) whose only wish is to see them dead. If conservatives have to apply a cowboy boot to his butt to keep him on the straight and narrow, then that's what should be done.

Henry O said...

How can the very same people who so effectively campaigned against the Miers nomination now enthusiastically return to wholeheartedly supporting this President?"
I was one of those complaining. It was a bad move one his part. I still support him. He is human you know. We human often make bad decisions. He'll lose support if he continues on a string of bad decisions.

Lisa said...

If you think that conservatives wholeheartedly support the President on everything he does, with all due respect, Graham, you're not paying attention. Sure there are some Bush-bots out there. But most of the conservatives who opposed the Miers nomination also have opposed him in other areas, like spending, and to a lesser degree, they have criticized the strategy for post-war Iraq. Maybe those voices haven't been as loud as they should have been pre-Miers, but they are out there.

I don't blindly support the President. There are many conservatives like myself who are disappointed with some of the things he's done, and have said so publicly. But I do agree that Bush needs to be strong enough to make his own decisions without being influenced by either side.

President Bush wasn't sold on Miers in the beginning. He picked her to avoid a fight with Democrats. That's why he couldn't effectively sell her nomination. I'm not sure why you are convinced that Bush really wanted to pick Gonzales. What's your reasoning for that?

So President Bush isn't Giuliani, Reagan, or Blair. What could he have done after Hurricane Katrina that would have fit your definition of leadership? The speech he gave was appropriate enough, although I didn't like some of the things he said in that speech. There are more than a few groups of people to blame for the response to Hurricane Katrina, and strong, decisive leadership was missing on several levels, not just the federal level.

It's almost an unfair comparison to compare Bush with Tony Blair. Tony Blair has been an outstanding PM for the UK, and I would love to have a leader like that here in the U.S.

The deficit is not purely a result of the tax cuts, it's a result of the spending increases. President Bush allowed those spending increases to happen, and he deserves criticism for that. It's to the great credit of some in Congress right now that they are trying to cut that spending to fund Katrina relief. The economy is on the rebound. Look at the numbers.

Look at some of the strong conservatives you have mentioned in the past, like Bill Kristol. They haven't been shy about criticizing the spending, the energy policy, and some of the other issues you mentioned. The Supreme Court is a very important appointment, and it will have a greater long-range impact on this country than some temporary spending cuts made to appease Bush's conservative base.

I'm not saying that all of the concerns you have about this President's policies are baseless. Some changes need to be made, and conservatives should use their influence to insist on those changes. I believe we are beginning to start that process.

However, I do think that it's a rather broad generalization to suggest that all conservatives (or the ones with the pens and microphones anyway) blindly follow the President no matter what he does. Read National Review or the Weekly Standard, or even the Cato Institute website, and you will see that there has been some dissent on some of the things you mentioned.

Your argument, though very well-written, fails to convince me this time. Sorry. :P

Kel said...

LOL! I love the image!
Kel

Alice: In Wonderland or Not said...

I certainly don't think that people that have a sense of mind can be expected to support everything the president does and I see no dichotomy in supporting some decisions and not others. This whole scenario that is playing out here though is much more complicated than that and just plays to the point that plotics is a game . In regard to Harriet it was not worth the time and effort to stand by her and would have wasted countelss more of our government dollars trying to confirm someone who was obviously not going to get confirmed.Her credential were a joke and I think they had a right to go that way with this on the other hand obviously there was never any real reasoning behind much of what was done here, the plan was already out there and the situation was formed to fit the situation so that the end goal- going into Iraq - could be achieved.
Of course they see it and many of them are embarassed.

Do Love the image although you did Coulter a favor.

Graham said...

Hey MAF :),

Well my photoshop doodle doesn't even begin to meet your incredible standards. For anyone reading I highly recommend you check out:

Macdonalds Animal Farm.

It seems that article you posed about Alito is correct, and he's been the name most heavily banded around. It's conceivable that it won't be him, but the fact that the short list includes J. Michael Juddig is not a good sign :(. There are a few others who have been mentioned who would be less controversial like Karen Williams by Lindsey Graham.

It's clear however Bush wants a fight. The key to whether he gets one is whether the Liberal members of Gang of 14 Senators construe this nomination as extreme circumstances, in which case Dems can fillibuster.

Thanks for the comment :).

Hey Loneranger,

I'm not sure what you consider the weenie gene to comprise of. I'd also be interested in you naming a President, Republican even, who has been more to divide and polarize people into their respective extremes, and felt absolutely no obligation to reach out to the center.

Contrary to popular opinion it's the political center that have abandoned the Administration, at least for now, not his base. It was just that the criticism's from the right helped add to the way Bush was being perceived by the rest of the nation.

My problem isn't so much with you disagreeing with Bush, it's the fact that it was argued that he didn't retain the knowledge, faculties, and judgment to make this kind of decision... I'm just curious why people who reached this conclusion over Miers don't think that this affects any other area of governance.

Hey Conservative trail head,

That makes perfect sense. Of course, he'll never stray too far, employing his own judgment, because it now seems he's being kept on a tight leash by his party base... which exacerbates how weak and intimidated he appears IMO. Doesn't that concern you that he doesn't retain belief or conviction in own reasoning or judgments, deferring to others. Isn't it for exactly that reason, that in the midst of a crisis like Katrina there is a leadership vacuum from the White House.

Graham said...

Hey Lisa,

I failed to convince you :(. Hmmmm, lets see if I can re-state my position referencing yours:

I wouldn't say that Bush retains wholehearted support, and I NEVER said that people generally blindly support him...(u always mischaracterize me :P)... but yes, fundamentally, even though the Harriet Miers debacle highlighted severe deficiences in his Presidency, he isn't at political risk from his own party in the same way his father was in 1992. But that wasn't my point either, lol.

See I don't think you picked up on my main focus which is that some of the criticisms of the White House, not specific concerns with spending, and post war strategy, but attacks of the President's abilities, grasp of constitutional law, his judgment, his leadership skills... all of these were called into question... And yet, those criticism's have dramatically abaited... And yet, all that is changed is that Bush was intimidated by his base into withdrawing Harriet Miers.

1) How is this a good thing?
2) How does this offset deeper criticisms, not policy criticisms, but of Bush's effectiveness to govern?
3) Does anyone care about the more general implications of the President concluding that Harriet Miers was the "best qualified" person to replace Sandra Day O'Connor?

It's not general discontent I'm addressing, it's the specific arguments, and criticism's and why, taken to their natural conclusion they're not applied to the economic pitfals we've faced, or the situation in Iraq, or spending...

It seems to me it all ultimately came down to wanting the President to agree and withdraw Harriet Miers, because some had absolutely no faith in his judgment... and his pleas "to trust his heart" fell on deaf ears... (justifiably so)... But, what are the bigger implications of saying what Lone Ranger said above? "The President doesn't know what he's doing, but as Conservatives we'll keep him in check."

As a citizen, wherever I am, I don't know everything, I'm prone to ideological biases, and I'm not exposed to all of the requisite information... I want leaders who can make their own minds up, and do what is right, regardless of whether I, as a supporter, agree with them or not.

I disagree that Bush picked Miers because the Dems liked her. That was maybe a talking point argument in the campaign for her withdrawal but we all really know why Bush picked Miers... because he knows her, trusts her, and has depended upon her. It's the way he appoints virtually everyone... he needs that personal reassurance. You can't blame Harriet Miers on the Dems, lol. This is the President of the United States, and "listening to Harry Reid," doesn't abdicate him of his responsibility in that decision.

On Gonzales from the WP:

Although Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales has less time on the bench than other Supreme Court candidates, he has a crucial advantage: the friendship of President Bush.

When conservative groups criticized Gonzales in July, Bush said: "I don't like it at all." What the president does like, according to advisers, is the idea of naming the first Hispanic to the Supreme Court.

But Gonzales could face opposition from both ends of the political spectrum: those on the left who disapprove of the terrorism policies he helped craft after Sept. 11, 2001, and those on the right who view him as insufficiently opposed to abortion.

If you think President Bush's leadership during the Katrina crisis was sufficient then all I can say is that you're going to be in for a pleasant surprise sometime in the future with another Prez of your political persuasion. For the examples of the type of leadership the country requires from its President and that the world requires from the leader of free nations check out:

1) Bush’s brother in Florida: taking responsibility, owning the disaster, exposing himself, regardless of the politics involved to get the right thing done. He's scored some political points on FEMA, but otherwise has been very brave, with huge shoulders IMO.

2) Reagan’s challenger speech.

I’m not criticizing Bush because he’s not a great President, it’s ok to not be Reagan, or Kennedy. I recognize that there are critical writings in Conservative magazines, and that Bill Kristol and others have, on occasion, made cogent arguments critiquing Bush Administration policy or its political missteps. I know my criticism’s of this Administration aren’t baseless: Debt has almost doubled in five years, Post war planning in Iraq was non-existent, the surplus built up by Republican’s and Clinton has been wasted, Internationalism is dead... the fact Israel/Palestine and Kashmir have all progressed as far as they have without US involvment is a very fortunate indeed...

I also disagree with your assessment of the economy booming. Last time I checked unemployment rose from 4.9% - 5.1%, which might have receded again in the last quarter. That’s still a net increase from 4.1% after 5 years since Bush took office. And it will continue to go up, and down, and up, and down. That is essence of the Boom & Bust economics employed by this Administration... We might have 4% growth this quarter, and be in a recession the next. It's just so unstable.

Inflation is suddenly an issue again for the first time in a generation. Rising healthcare costs are just as much of an issue as rising Gas prices, which many conveniently like to think is the be all and end all of economic difficulties that most people face. A stable, secure, growing economy is not propped up by irresponsible comprehensive tax cuts + bloated government spending (which is responsible for a huge proportion of the job growth since the heady days of 6.1% unemployed under Bush). It requires planning, management, smart investments, smart incentives, and smart gov’t activism to help retrain, re-educate people in a changing world in need of new skills. This has been entirely absent since January 2000. Let's face it Lisa, a five year old could get the economy to grow by cutting taxes like Reagan and spending like Lyndon Johnson at the same time… but we compromise so much running things that way.

But this is not my criticism either, lol…

To book end this long diatribe…

…I’m criticizing those, like Kristol (who I have the utmost respect for) who argued so effectively about why the decision making process for the selection of Harriet Miers was flawed, not just because of their ideological disappointments. I’m criticizing them because they don’t seem to think that these failings affect other areas of governance. For instance, excessive spending is not an isolated problem… it’s a consequence of the President not employing his Veto. The same with planning in Iraq. It's leadership and judgement in every instance...
It’s also a specific criticism of mine, and doesn’t apply to the overall tenor of his support or lack of it like you suggest. I'm not saying everyone blindly follow Bush. I wonder sometimes :P, but it would be wrong of me to say that.

I think this lengthy reply of mine qualifies as a cure for insomnia, lol. I'm shutting myself up now.

Chris said...

You hit it perfectly Graham. You have found the wedge the Dems need to drive through the conservative base. The president cannot be trusted to do the duties of his office. I'm not sure the Dems are united enough to drive the wedge, however.

And to briefly add to your's and Lisa's debate, a new grand jury will convene this week to look at Rove and Cheney. This thing isn't over by a long shot. I don't think Bush dodged a bullet on Friday, I think he's living on borrowed time.

Lisa said...

DISCLAIMER:
THE FOLLOWING STATEMENTS ARE MERELY MY INTERPRETATION OF WHAT I THINK GRAHAM WAS TRYING TO WRITE IN THIS POST. ANY MISREPRESENTATION OF SAID IS PURELY GRAHAM'S FAULT. :P

This is what you said:

"How can the very same people who so effectively campaigned against the Miers nomination now enthusiastically return to wholeheartedly supporting this President? How can you criticize Bush's judgment for concluding that Miers was the best qualified person to replace Sandra Day O'Connor on the one hand, and then retain confidence in his judgment in every other aspect of his governance?"

My comments on yours:

Who were those people, exactly, that torpedoed this nomination? Kristol, NRO, other conservative bloggers, conservative talk radio? That's part of the long list. "Retaining confidence in his judgment in every other aspect of his governance" would naturally suggest that complete confidence in his judgment was there in the first place, wouldn't it? Except that it wasn't there in the first place. There have always been questions about his effectiveness and his judgment by conservatives.(Maybe we should use our big megaphones next time so that the liberals can hear our dissent and disagreement from way across the pond. :P) Have those questions disappeared just because Miers withdrew her nomination? Absolutely not. He made a mistake nominating Miers in the first place. So he makes one mistake like this, and that's a good reason to re-examine every single decision he's made for possible errors in judgment? (I'm asking the question because I wouldn't want to be accused of assuming anything...)

How is the Miers withdrawal a good thing?
It's a good thing for the conservatives because we now have a nominee we can support who is qualified and shares our views about the role of the Supreme Court. It is also a good thing to annoy Harry Reid and Ted Kennedy, which most of us enjoy doing whenever possible. It's probably not so good for those of your political persuasion, but like you said before, if you want someone on the Court who agrees with you, win some elections. :P

How does it offset deeper criticisms...etc?
It doesn't. Wrong decisions are still wrong decisions. It's very possible that we might disagree on what exactly those wrong decisions were.

I agree that we should have strong leaders who can make up their minds independent of any political pressure, and I believe I actually wrote that somewhere in all these comments.

As far as Bush and Katrina: I said the speech was appropriate. I also said that strong decisive leadership was MIA on ALL levels, not just the federal level. FEMA wasn't as effective as it could have been. But there was also some major screw-ups in Louisiana by New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Governor Kathleen Blanco (neither of whom have to worry about re-election).

You point out the effectiveness of Jeb Bush. See above paragraph. The same people were heading FEMA during many of Florida's other hurricanes since Bush took office. Because of their governor's leadership, Florida made it through all those hurricanes with the previous FEMA leadership. So all of a sudden, it becomes primarily the fault of FEMA and the President when Louisiana can't figure out how to prepare for a hurricane? The President had the ability on 9-11 to strike the right emotional notes, and to rally the country. He wasn't able to do the same thing this time, and I can't explain why that didn't happen.

This administration has made mistakes. I agree with your assessment on that.

Read what I wrote. I didn't say that the economy was booming. I said that it was on the rebound. Wasn't unemployment higher under Clinton, an average of about 5.5%? I think I read that number somewhere. Don't shoot the (possibly inaccurate) messenger. Don't you think that 9-11 had some sort of impact on the economy, which could possibly skew the numbers negatively? I'm not excusing the irresponsible spending, but that's the fault of both parties. We absolutely do need to do some of what you suggest as far as other economic stimuli to pair with the tax cuts. I hope that Coburn and his merry band of pork-busters can bring some fiscal discipline to Congress. I am not convinced that he will succeed, unfortunately.

But none of this has much to do with Harriet Miers. He made a mistake nominating her. I'm not sure that this decision is a suitable justification for re-examining his other decisions, at least not by itself. If you want to take the sum total of everything he's done as President, and make judgments about his weakness and (in)effectiveness, that would be a more accurate overall picture to paint.

Just my opinion...feel free to tear it apart. :) BTW, Check your inbox.

Graham said...

You kicked my butt Lisa :). I've been up all night finishing this website design so I don't have the strength to reply, lol. Yeah, yeah, I know, easy cop out.

I'm glad for the disclaimer btw, very necessary for your dastardly attempts to mischaraterize my statements talk radio style :P.

Hope you're good Lisa :).

Graham said...

Hey Lisa, just re-read your comment. A couple of things:

1) You don't have to voice criticism's loudly enough for Liberals like me to hear, lol. I think for all of the frustration from the right with Bush, the natural conclusions to the general criticism's about the Miers pick weren't really pursued. That's my point, I just think it's convenient to scream incompetence and poor judgment when a decision directly affects your expectations while not looking ahead to see how that incompetence and poor judgment has permeated other aspects of this Administration's governance.

I still don't get this :).

2) Hmmmm, well I'm glad you all enjoy riling our old timers, lol... hopefully the Administration and Senate Republicans continue to focus on that instead of addressing people's concerns, and disappointments directly... perhaps somewhere along the way Dems can fill that void if the right voice emerges.

3) I don't think that's fair at all. I was remarking upon Bush's leadership or lack of it when the nation needed him. The performance of state and local officials is irrelevant within that regard. People needed their President, because it was a terrible disaster, and because their governor and mayor were not competent or able... this is not the case in Florida for sure... it doesn't change the way in which you assess Bush's response. I expected so much more, I think everyone did... check out what I wrote:

Bush Will Rise to the Occasion

I was so wrong. I don't want to criticize for criticism's sake. I don't want to appear as somebody who can't objectively praise this Administration when I feel they've made a positive difference. My problem is that their missteps have broader implications if thought through, that's what really worries me for the economy, our presence in Iraq, and almost every other issue on the table... although it's fair to say the Administration are doing very little in terms of an agenda by any standard.

4) That's a disengenuous statistic. Unemployment steadily declined under Clinton and the economy steadily grew. Which was my point... as Clinton said in 1992 "we are in the grip of a failed economic theory." It's fundamental. Unemployment may be down next month, but it could sky rocket the next, the economy might grow next month, and be in a recession the next, interest rates and inflation might rise exponentially over the next five months... I acknowledge that 9/11 had a huge impact but that was four years ago. I recognize that the war in Iraq has cost the government a lot of money, but the poor post war planning is a significant part of that. And yet, you cannot simply disregard the influence of this Administration's economic policy which comprises of tax cuts, tax incentives, and, yes, that's right, more tax cuts. No stimulus from below, no attempts to help people help themselves, just trickle down economics which is a ridiculous basis upon which to organize society. Clinton showed progressives like me that free markets are engine of growth but within that, an additional engine can be efforts to offset the deficiencies of the market... investing in people, retraining people, helping the long term unemployed get back to work... building up instead of hoping enough scraps will fall from the table for the middle and lower classes from tax cuts inspiring a rampant economic boom. It's just so speculative.

5)I agree. Harriet Miers shouldn't in isolation be the basis for critiquing his Presidency. But, the reason it exposes Bush is because those who support him regardless didn't in that instance... I just don't understand why people think these criticism's don't apply to everything else... poor economic management... poor planning and foresight and diplomacy in taking the initiative, rightly so, to confront Saddam. Acting too late in Afghanistan. Creating turbulence and antagonism throughout the world disregarding treaties, the ICC, Kyoto, without even feeling obliged to respectfully, and diplomatically manage those extrications. Who cares about the rest of the world right? Well it doesn't get any better on the Domestic front. It's just a lack of initiative... on social security, healthcare, reknewable energy... I could go on and on so I'm just going to shut myself up now. My point is basically the same... the criticisms of the Harriet Miers debacle apply to everything else, it's just politically covenient to think "she's the most qualified person for the job," is an isolated mistake.

Lisa said...

1) I guess that's a legitimate argument to make. I still don't buy the idea that the failed Miers nomination would suddenly be a reason to question other aspects of the Administration's governance. He made a bad Supreme Court pick. This happened to other Presidents as well, and shockingly enough, they were still viewed as competent Presidents. This may end up hurting Bush more than any of his predecessors.

2) I believe that the Republicans are also starting to listen to the people more, at least some of them are. Hopefully YOUR scenario will not play out the way you want it to. :P

3) Would I have liked to see Bush act like he was in control of the situation during Hurricane Katrina? Without question. He didn't act like Giuliani or Blair or anyone similar to that during Katrina. I have no explanation or excuse for it, and I have never said that Bush responded the way we expected him to. It would be silly to divorce the FEMA response to Katrina from Bush's personal response to it, because that's the context in which Bush's response is judged.

4) As far as disingenous stats, may I remind you...YOU BROUGHT IT UP in the first place. (So if I can't use the unemployment numbers, then you can't either.) :P I think we can agree that some of the things you suggest would be good for the economy. I'm not sure that your party as currently constructed is sold on your economic plan, as brilliant as it may be. ;)

5)Those criticisms were there before the Harriet Miers pick. There's no cause-and-effect relationship here. Maybe sometime we can get into the justification for the Iraq war. I would be interested in hearing your take on it. As far as the world community is concerned, I have no problem with diplomacy and trying to make concessions to their interests when it doesn't harm our own national interests. You have a more optimistic view of what we would actually gain by making concessions on Kyoto (which is deeply flawed, BTW...even Blair says so) or on international treaties. I'm not saying that the US attitude should be "screw the rest of the world, we will do whatever we want to do". I'm saying that we don't gain as much as we would like to out of diplomacy and trying to compromise on treaties, etc. Every country is looking out for its own self-interest. Why should the United States be any different?

Graham said...

Okay, in response to your first comment go to the top of my blog and see why the mistake of Harriet Miers isn't isolated.

I think the most impressive Republican so far looking ahead to 2008 has been Newt Gingrich. He's really gone out and listened to people and he's brave enough to take some tough positions on governance that actually stand for something, and work towards a legacy for the future and not an easy fix for today or tomorrow. George Allen uses nice sports metaphors a lot. And of course John McCain makes me go weak at the knees but unfortunately for the GOP I'm not the desired demographic.

I totally concede that's it's easy to throw around facts and figures. The truth perhaps is somewhere in between economically. Blair wholeheartedly embraces Kyoto. My point was that even if you think Kyoto's a bad idea, or the ICC is a bad idea, there's this thing in international affairs called diplomacy. Y'see the US has all the power, and yet it plays nice and makes other nations feel like they really matter. That's why everyone loved Clinton... because he massaged egos and made us feel special. It's a charade that works for everybody, and together, united we can do something about the world's problems, while divided we can't. In Kosovo just like Iraq the security council wouldn't budge, this time because of historic links between Serbia and Russia... and yet the response of the international community was very different to Iraq. There was no UN security council resolution to launch that military campaign.

Hope you're doing good today Lisa. I'm in a ratty mood after reading Michael Brown's emails :(. Sorry if I sounded impolite.

Lisa said...

I like Newt Gingrich. His book Winning The Future was full of those ideas that he is now expressing out loud for the public to hear. My only concern about him is the one I've already told you about...that he might possibly have too much political baggage from the past to overcome and become a viable candidate. I'm not even going to address the comment about McCain, because along with the AS fixation...that's too weird for me. I will add that McCain hasn't proved that he can run a successful campaign. It's not enough to be a media darling. You have to win primaries, where actual voters decide how worthy you are.

Ok...I think that I misunderstood what Blair actually said here. He didn't say it was deeply flawed, but he did say that it falls "significantly short" of expectations. But that is a minor point in this argument, I suppose. We can debate Kyoto another time. :) I'm not opposed to diplomacy, massaging egos, and whatnot. It serves a useful purpose. I just don't think that going through the motions with diplomacy and foreign aid has had any deep permanent effect on the way we are viewed in the world and especially in the Middle East. With some of these countries, it would be impossible to make enough concessions to make them happy with us. Should we make the attempt to reach out to the rest of the world? Yes. I'm not sure how much impact it will have in the long run, however.

If Michael Brown was the only thing that ruined your day...you must have had a pretty decent day. :) Do yourself a favor, and stop reading Sullivan and Daily Kos for a day or so...you will feel so much better about life, trust me.

Lisa said...

BTW, you HAVE to read this. It's quite funny.