Saturday, June 14, 2008

Shock...and A Cautionary Tale

Shocker: Tim Russert died yesterday… at age 58… and that’s waaay too young to leave this mortal plane. He died with his boots on, so to speak, collapsing at work while editing voice-overs for this Sunday’s Meet the Press. It was very clear yesterday just how respected…if not loved… Mr. Russert was. Both my “must-see” news programs (Special Report with Brit Hume and The News Hour) ran touching tribute segments on Mr. Russert, his career, and his considerable impact on American political journalism. Not everyone is conceding the media’s right to eulogize one of their leading-lights, however:

MSNBC has been running nothing but a 5 hour (and presumably it will go until 11 pm or beyond) marathon of Russert remembrance. CNN has done their due diligence, and Fox news has spent at least the last half hour talking non-stop about him.
But let’s get something straight- what I am watching right now on the cable news shows is indicative of the problem- no clearer demonstration of the fact that they consider themselves to be players and the insiders and, well, part of the village, is needed. This is precisely the problem. They have walked the corridors of power so long that they honestly think they are the story. It is creepy and sick and the reason politicians get away with all the crap they get away with these days.

Tim Russert was a newsman. He was not the Pope. This is not the JFK assassination, or Reagan’s death, or the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion. A newsman died. We know you miss him, but please shut up and get back to work.

Yeah, and MS-NBC’s tribute lasted only a few hours on the very day Mr. Russert died, too. You’re a small, small person to begrudge them their grief and their tribute, Mr. Cole. But that’s entirely in character for you. Frickin’ moonbat.

RIP, Tim Russert. You’ll be missed.


Sound familiar?

WASHINGTON — Thanks in no small part to Justice Antonin Scalia’s dire warning that granting Guantánamo detainees access to habeas corpus “will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed,” the Supreme Court finds itself on the verge of becoming something that it has not been for many election cycles — a campaign issue.

Senator John McCain, the presumed Republican presidential nominee, opened a town-hall-style meeting in New Jersey on Friday morning by telling the crowd of 1,500 people that the Supreme Court “rendered a decision yesterday that I think is one of the worst decisions in the history of this country.”

Mr. McCain’s initial response to the court’s 5-to-4 ruling in Boumediene v. Bush had been considerably milder. The decision “obviously concerns me,” he said on Thursday afternoon.

But overnight, the prospect of using the decision as a rallying point seemed to occur to many conservatives simultaneously. The ruling has “teed up the Supreme Court issue nicely for the G.O.P.,” Curt Levey of the Committee for Justice, a group that advocates for Republican judicial nominees, wrote on his blog. The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page quoted Justice Robert H. Jackson’s famous observation that the Constitution is not a suicide pact and added, with reference to the author of Thursday’s majority opinion, “About Anthony Kennedy’s Constitution, we’re not so sure.”

Well, it should…assuming you’ve been reading EIP for a while. The war on Islamic Fascism is the defining issue, as far as I’m concerned, in this year’s presidential election…or, to put it another way… who’s gonna bring me more dead terrorists, McCain or Obama? But filling Supreme Court vacancies is my second defining issue, for reasons that should be entirely obvious now, even to the clue-impaired. From the WSJ:

The court split along typical ideological lines, with Justice Kennedy, the maverick conservative, writing the majority opinion joined by the four liberal-leaning justices, Mr. Souter along with John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer. Chief Justice John Roberts dissented, joined by Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.


The two senators running to succeed Mr. Bush had different reactions to the ruling, reflecting the differences they have with the president's detention policies. The ruling may highlight to voters the president's role in appointing Supreme Court justices.

Republican John McCain, who supported the Military Commissions Act provision struck down Thursday, said of the ruling: "it obviously concerns me. These are unlawful combatants, they are not American citizens." He added that since the court had spoken, it was time "to move forward. As you know I always favored closing Guantanamo Bay and I still think we ought to do that."

Democrat Barack Obama praised the ruling as "an important step toward re-establishing our credibility as a nation committed to the rule of law, and rejecting a false choice between fighting terrorism and respecting habeas corpus." The Illinois senator said he had opposed the Military Commissions Act in part "because its sloppiness would inevitably lead to the court, once again, rejecting the administration's extreme legal position."

One of these two men… Obama or McCain… depending on the outcome of this November’s election, will nominate at least one, if not three, members to the Supreme Court. Justice Stevens is 88 years old, Justice Ginsburg is 75, and Justice Kennedy is 71. At least two of these three have mused about retiring in the very recent past. All three sided with the majority in Boumediene. If the tea leaves are correct and the congress becomes overwhelmingly Democratic, Obama’s nominations will sail through virtually unimpeded. We’ll survive a single-term Obama presidency, if push comes to shove. But will we survive a liberal Supreme Court that will last at least one generation, if not more? I’m not willing to roll the dice on that one.

Americans have a God-given right, enshrined in our Constitution, to vote for whomever they please. Americans have a God-given right to be stupid, too. I’ve read a LOT of stupidity...and there's no other word for it... emanating from the mouths of so-called “conservatives” of late…stupidity in the form of “I’ll vote Libertarian” or “I’ll vote independent” or “I’ll stay home, rather than vote for McCain.” Any one of those actions is nothing more than an Obama-enabler, coz that’s the way our system works… like it or not. And by enabling Obama, you enable a Liberal Court.

Think about that… long and hard. You have a God-given right to be stupid, but I hope you choose not to exercise it. To say “there’s a lot at stake in this election” belabors the obvious.

Further: Lex put up a good post yesterday on the impact of the Boumediene decision on the war and the military, specifically.

The fact that two co-equal branches of government co-operated to create the Detainee Treatment and Military Commission Acts does not in itself overthrow the principle of judicial supremacy. Justice Kennedy gets to be The Decider.

The fact that of the many detainees who challenge their detention in court, some will be released and some of those find a way back to the killing fields is neither novel, nor, really any barrier to those who interpret law: If you cannot prove forensically that a terrorist committed a crime, you may not legally restrain him for what he might do. So, tighten up those chain-of-custody procedures, soldier.

The fact that the Supremes have decided, having offered the President and Congress the opportunity to get it right, that they hadn’t after all does rather smack of a hubristic declaration that, “We don’t actually have a plan, we just know that we don’t like yours.”

It just sucks.

Good stuff.


  1. I am in total agreement with you on the Supreme Court issue. Some people may not want to vote for McCain, but if they give their vote to some third party, they are giving it to Obama and whomever he chooses to sit on the Supreme Ct. What part of that do they not understand?

    I listened to some talk radio on my way home from WF yesterday. I heard lots of talk on Tim Russert - very sad to die so young and unexpectedly.

    I also listened to a speech from some "voice of Ft. Sill" on Flag Day. Good stuff!

  2. Yeah, sad about Tim Russert. I don't remember listening to him, but it's always sad when someone dies so young.

    The Supreme Court. I don't even know what to say about that totally whacked out ruling.

  3. I did enjoy your write up on Tim Russerts death, Buck. It brought a chuckle or two out of me despite the fact he died!

  4. Lou and Becky: I'm glad we're in agreement.

    Dawn: Glad to have made you smile, M'Lady!


Just be polite... that's all I ask.