I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
I temporarily reopened Middle Earth Journal when Newshoggers shut it's doors but I was invited to Participate at The Moderate Voice so Middle Earth Journal is once again in hiatus.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Confirmation Interruptus

The previously tried and true tactic of the Bush Administration and the GOP controlled congress when the news is going bad for them is to try to change the focus of attention. There were a number of topics which the Rovians had in their bag which were often useful for shifting attention away from things like lies on pre-war intelligence or congressional corruption or Katrina. Some of the early big hitters were Social Security and, of course, TERRORISTS ARE GOING TO KILL US ALL! With none of those topics playing very well these days, though, and more corruption scandals plaguing Washington, Bush's numbers hitting new all time lows and an election coming up, they've been forced to dig deep in the bag for an old favorite. Judicial nominations. As this wapo editorial points out, this is exactly what they're up to this week.
SENATE REPUBLICAN leaders have decided to reignite the judicial nomination wars. The reason is politics. Majority Leader Bill Frist's strategy, with elections coming, is to schedule votes on the most controversial of the president's remaining appeals court nominees, forcing Democrats to capitulate or filibuster -- either of which works for him.
The party has strongarmed Bush into throwing two names back in the ring for Federal bench positions which are so odious as to raise a hue and cry in Congress... Brett Kavanaugh and Terrence W. Boyle. Kavanaugh is Bush's staff secretary, worked with Ken Starr on impeaching Clinton, and has never sat a single day on the bench as a judge at any level, say nothing of a Federal Court of Appeals. Boyle has had a large number of his cases overturned as unsound judgments, has a horrid civil rights record and has, on multiple occasions, refused to recuse himself and tried cases involving companies in which he held stock. (Which is still a no-no, by the way. I guess there are lots of people these days who think of the laws as more "suggestions" than rules which apply to them.)

If the Dems rise to this bait and allow this to swing the entire discussion during the runup to the midterms, they are simply too stupid to be the majority party. The Republicans can, until the next elections, win on virtually any confirmation hearing they really want to. The Democrats need to hold the confirmation hearings, go on record with the appropriate questions, cast their "no" votes and move on, regardless of the outcome to these second tier court nomination questions. There are bigger fish to fry and many races to concentrate on. Distracting the public at a time like this is a perfect trap set by the GOP and the Dems fall for it, they have nobody but themselves to blame when they are still the minority party next year.


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