Everybody's swooning over new Republican war defectors Dick Lugar, Pete Domenici, and George Voinovich -- "It's as if the dike has burst," moderate Sen. Susan Collins gushed -- taking their statements of frustration as a sign the Senate could finally pass tough legislation to end the war. It's harder than that, though: Think of the politics on this as a simple elementary-school-field-day-style tug-of-war, where, when one side gives, the other rushes back too, so they don't end up any nearer to each other after all.
Today's NYTimes front-pager on the Bush administration's growing acquiescence to reality in Iraq has an interesting tidbit after the jump. As much as LugarDomeniciVoinovich have forced the White House's hand on the issue of withdrawal "post-surge redeployment," it's McCain that the Bushies are most nervous about: "Everyone's particularly worried about what happens when McCain gets back from Iraq," one official said, a reference to the latest trip to Baghdad by Senator John McCain, who has been a stalwart supporter of the "surge" strategy. Mr.
Via Ramesh Ponnuru, Robert Novak has an interesting report on a recent meeting between Stephen Hadley and "a half-dozen senior Republican senators:" Hadley called his expedition a "scouting trip," leading one senator to ask what he was seeking. It was not advice on how to escape from Iraq. Instead, Hadley appeared interested in how previous supporters had drifted from Bush's course. In the process, he planted seeds of concern. Some senators were left with the impression that the White House still does not recognize the scope of the Iraq dilemma.
Russell Kirk, though once revered on the right as a crucial link in the synthesis that made twentieth-century conservatism a viable intellectual force, was, in retrospect, a shallow thinker who said little that was original and twisted himself into self-tied knots to avoid confronting the contradictions in his worldview. That, in the essence, was the argument of my TNR review ("Contempt," July 2). Now Kirk's defenders have rushed to set the record straight.
By Cass Sunstein According to conventional wisdom, the Supreme Court is equally divided between a conservative wing and a liberal one, with Justice Anthony Kennedy acting as the swing voter. But there is something extremely strange about this view of the current situation. By the standards of the recent past, the liberal wing isn't liberal at all. According to conventional wisdom, the Court has long been evenly balanced between left and right, and it has finally shifted a bit to the right under Chief Justice John Roberts. But there is something strange about this view as well.
Editor's Note: Due to a formatting error, this post was originally misattributed to Cass Sunstein. We regret the error. By Sanford Levinson Imagine the following quite plausible events over the next 20 months: 1. Both Houses of Congress are repeatedly rebuffed in their attempts to subpoena the testimony of executive branch officials who almost certainly played key roles in the probably illegal politiciziation of the Department of Justice.
A big scoop in the Los Angeles Times: It seems that in the early 1990s, Fred Thompson accepted lobbying work on behalf of a family-planning group. At the time, the organization was urging the Bush 41 White House to loosen a rule that forbade abortion counseling at federally funded clinics. More: Thompson spokesman Mark Corallo adamantly denied that Thompson worked for the family planning group.
by Sanford Levinson A number of readers of my previous contribution to Open University have chastised me, some quite severely, for using the words "constitutional crisis" to describe the commutation by George W. Bush of I. Lewis ("Scotter") Libby. Part of me is tempted simply to plead guilty to engaging in a case of blogger's hyperbole and let it go at that.
Islamabad--Abdul Rashid Ghazi, the strategist and brains behind the Taliban-inspired movement that has taken over the Pakistani capital in recent months, may have overplayed his hand. On June 23, just after midnight, a squad of Islamist vigilantes set out from Ghazi's Lal Masjid, or "Red Mosque," in the direction of a Chinese massage parlor across town.
by Sanford Levinson I cannot restrain myself from offering some comment on the President's commutation of I. Lewis ("Scooter") Libby's prison sentence. There are so many things that one might say: The most obvious point is that Mr. Bush has been notably uncompassionate in his use of his pardoning power in his first six-years in office; moreover, as Governor of Texas he exhibited almost blithe disregard--enabled, to be sure, by his lawyer Alberto ("Fredo") Gonzales--of the poor wretches condemned to die under a notably slipshod system of Texas criminal justice.