Friday, October 28, 2005

Talking Out of Both Sides of Their Mouths...

Besides littering, there's nothing I despise more than bald-faced hypocrisy.

In E.J. Dionne's column in the Washington Post this morning, he does a beautiful job of capturing the double talk of the conservative movement to stack the Supreme Court in their freakish favor. (I know, I know. There are those of you out there who say that when the Dems are in power, they engage in the same games. The difference is, when the Dems do it, it's whiny--as in, "If you're not nice to me, I'm going to go home and tell my mommy you were mean." When the Reps do it, it's strident--as in, "Watch it, you heathen SOB, or I'll knock you out because God said I could." It's the self-righteous, religious indignation of the Right that makes the hypocrisy so much more blatant then the social minded Left and its foibles.)

Here's part of Dionne's column (italics added for emphasis are mine):

Republicans had railed against Democratic efforts to press court nominees (including Chief Justice John Roberts) for their views on legal issues. Back in July The Post disclosed a planning document circulated among Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee. The document said nominees for the Supreme Court should avoid disclosing "personal political views or legal thinking on any issue." Liberals were terribly gauche and inappropriate for wanting to know someone's opinions before awarding that person life tenure on the nation's most powerful court.

But it was neither gauche nor inappropriate for conservatives to demand that Miers clarify her views on a slew of issues, notably Roe v. Wade . When liberals asked for clarity, they were committing a sin. When conservatives asked for clarity, they were engaged in a virtuous act. Thus are conservatives permitted to alter their principles to suit their own political situation.

There was also that small matter of a nominee's religious views. Conservatives condemned liberals who suggested it was worth knowing how Roberts's religious convictions might affect his judging. But when Miers started running into trouble with conservatives, the Bush administration encouraged its allies to talk up Miers's deep religious convictions to curry favor among social conservatives. I guess it's okay for conservatives to bring up religion whenever they want, but never appropriate for liberals to speak of spiritual things.

Even the manner of Miers's exit was disingenuous, not to mention derivative. In announcing her withdrawal, the White House said that "it is clear that senators would not be satisfied until they gained access to internal documents concerning advice provided during her tenure at the White House -- disclosures that would undermine a president's ability to receive candid counsel." Miers's decision, the statement said, "demonstrates her deep respect for this essential aspect of the constitutional separation of powers."

The White House was following, almost to the letter, the exit strategy outlined last week by my conservative colleague Charles Krauthammer. But Krauthammer was honest enough to admit what the White House could not: that all this verbiage was about saving face.


All I can say, yet again, is, Canada is looking better and better every day. Vancouver or Bust!

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