July 21, 2005

THE JIG IS UP (via David):

Judging Roberts (The Forward, July 22, 2005)

Years from now, when historians try to explain George W. Bush's influence on the American political landscape, they may well start by pointing to July 19, 2005, the day he nominated John Roberts to the Supreme Court. In choosing Roberts, Bush appears to have found the combination that has eluded conservatives for a quarter-century in their efforts to remake the high court: a brilliant legal mind with deeply conservative views but a slim paper trail, widely admired in the legal community and all but certain to win easy Senate confirmation.

The nomination is one more reminder that liberalism's four-decade reliance on the federal courts as a means of advancing its favorite causes has reached the end of its usefulness. Democracy is about winning elections, not lawsuits. Liberals should have figured that out years ago. Now they have no choice.

Man, everbody has the Democrats figured.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 21, 2005 11:57 PM

This editorial is illogical on its face. The president's approval rating is 43 percent and falling, immediately subsequent to his introducing the programs by which he wishes his legacy to be defined. The Republican-controlled Congress's ratings are in similar territory. Obviously, Republicans are in grave danger of losing their electoral grip.

Equally obvious, the Republican seek to extend their influence whatever their electoral fortunes through the courts.

The evidence this editorial adduces point to the opposite ofits conclusion: using the federal courts as a means of advancing your movement's favorite causes is a very useful strategy indeed. Only now it's the Republicans' strategy.

Posted by: Rick Perlstein at July 22, 2005 12:24 AM

Republicans can't lose their grip because of the demographic math.

Posted by: oj at July 22, 2005 12:29 AM

Gallup poll for July says 49% approval rating, and that's for everyone over 18, not likely voters. Where'd Rick cherrypick the 43% from? CBS/NYT?

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at July 22, 2005 12:37 AM

Beat me to it, Jim. Here's the link. The president's approval rating, while still low, is about where it was a year ago and is 1% net positive. The 43%, his absolute low, was recorded last month, so there has been a fairly substantial increase in the last month, with no obvious cause.

Posted by: David Cohen at July 22, 2005 12:39 AM

What's the market at?

Posted by: oj at July 22, 2005 12:41 AM

You're right, Jim, a typo. I think I was thinking of Arnold's rating in Cali--though I think that's down to 34 now. Yes, the president is at 49 and falling, and is, I think, the only second termer below 50 at this point in his term.

But exurbanites are popping out babies, so never fear.

Posted by: Rick Perlstein at July 22, 2005 12:41 AM


Second term.

Posted by: oj at July 22, 2005 12:44 AM

Your most incoherent sentence yet, OJ. I can't read your mind, you know.

Posted by: Rick Perlstein at July 22, 2005 12:49 AM

A year ago at this time you were certain John Kerry was going to win because W was only at 49% in the polls...and falling. We tried steering you away from the edge of the cliff then, just trrying to catch you on your way down now.

Posted by: oj at July 22, 2005 12:55 AM

You mean "you" as in the dude sitting in his green chair in Chicago while his puppy Checkers licks his toes (that would be me), or "you" as in your fantasy projection of a lockstep "liberal media"?

Posted by: Rick Perlstein at July 22, 2005 12:57 AM

I mean you as in the Rick Perlstein who repeatedly said that W was going to lose to John Kerry.

Posted by: oj at July 22, 2005 1:03 AM

Gramsci called it "pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will."

Posted by: Rick Perlstein at July 22, 2005 1:04 AM

If you compare yourself to a Stalinist it defeats the purpose of my deleting the personal jibes others are making.

Posted by: oj at July 22, 2005 1:07 AM

hey oj --no fair! you don't delete the personal jibes others make about me...

part of the problem here, gentlemen, is that people confuse polling and poll results with something having to do with elections and democracy.

if you really want to keep your democracy, you'll turn your attention to making sure, absolutley, verifiably sure that every eligible voter gets to cast a ballot and that said ballot is counted, fairly, by independent auditors having no connection to any of the people running for office in the election.

that's not what you have now.

Posted by: lonbud at July 22, 2005 1:18 AM

Thank the Founders. The franchise has been expanded far beyond what's healthy for the Republic. Democracy would be a disaster.

Posted by: oj at July 22, 2005 1:43 AM

no, what we have now is a disaster.

Posted by: lonbud at July 22, 2005 1:49 AM

A few days ago I saw an AP poll that had the 43% figure. A blogger (sorry, I can't remember which) contacted AP for their polling data. The sample was 50% Democrat, 43% Republican and 7% Independant. From CNN's website, the data for the last election's voters breakdown 37% Dem, 37% Rep and 26% Ind. AP cooked the books. Also, there are a lot of hard right conservatives and libertarians that disapprove of the president right now, but if they had a revote, they would vote for him again. Dare to dream Rick and lonbud. Don't let reality get you down.

Posted by: Patrick H at July 22, 2005 3:35 AM

Fascinating, as the old Star Trek's Spock used to say. The cycle of dependency on courts rather than on the political branches recapitulates earlier major political realignments--that's what dying political parties do.

Posted by: Lou Gots at July 22, 2005 7:26 AM

Bush at 49% in polls formulated to produce the desired result of showing Bush down in opinion polls? Fascinating, indeed, and what's most fascinating is that despite the incessant drumbeat of negativity, spin and distortion and Bush bashing in the media even down to comic strips, 49% of the people approve of Bush!

It's hard to imagine what these numbers would look without media spin. 49% of people who "have a life" and aren't obsessed with stopping the Left's more and more frantic attempt turn us into automatons happily working for the greater glory of the all powerful state, are getting it.

I say it's nothing less than a miracle.

Posted by: erp at July 22, 2005 8:11 AM

The President is where he has been for 18 months. Any changes are within the margin of error and cannot be accurately measured.

The President has his base. It is unshakeable. It is more than enough to govern.

Posted by: Bob at July 22, 2005 9:46 AM


To whom will the GOP lose their electoral grip?

Nancy Pelosi? John Kerry? Lyndon LaRouche? Jacques Chirac?

The GOP will pick up 2-4 seats in the Senate in 2006, and the House will be a wash. They are going to pick up the VA governor's seat this November, and just might take NJ, although that is a stretch. They might get PA in 2006. Bloomberg will be re-elected in NYC. Arnold (if he chooses to run) will be re-elected.

You need to get out more.

Posted by: jim hamlen at July 22, 2005 10:23 AM

Jim: Don't you think that, deep down inside, most Republicans and Democrats instinctively feel that the Dems are the natural majority party? So, the Reps feel insecure and the Dems feel betrayed. When the Dems elect their version of Bob Michaels as minority leader, we'll know that everyone has accepted the new reality.

Posted by: David Cohen at July 22, 2005 10:28 AM

And don't forget that by 2007, there most likely will be 1 and possibly 2 black GOP governors (Blackwell and Swann), and perhaps 2 black GOP Senators (Butler and Steele). Plus, a new female Senator from WV. And Salazar and/or Landreiu might just switch parties.

The cliff is approaching. Don't be a lemming.

Posted by: jim hamlen at July 22, 2005 10:28 AM


Good point. I'm sure that was true from the 30s right up through about 2000. Now, as the left has become so grating (and so obviously wrong with history), it might just be changing.

I doubt if the Dems will select a Bob Michel soon. But they are perfectly capable of choosing plenty of Deans, Durbins, and Kerrys. Corzine leaving the Senate was a sign (of the acceptance).

Posted by: jim hamlen at July 22, 2005 10:35 AM

What's Harry Reid but Bob Michels?

Posted by: oj at July 22, 2005 10:38 AM

Well, Reid might be a slimier version, but Bob Michel was a gentlemen, something Harry Reid has not been.

Frist is more like Michel (which might be good, or might be worrying, depending on what websites one frequents). :>)

Posted by: jim hamlen at July 22, 2005 11:43 AM

lonbud -

Was "what we have now" a disaster when your guy won in 92 an 96?

The only opinion poll that matters is the one taken on election day.

Posted by: Shelton at July 22, 2005 11:49 AM

I see Rick couldn't even bothered to check the Gallup polls for the last few months. Bush is rising, and no, he wasn't at $3% last month either.

Wait'll social security reform passes, with personal accts. It'll blow Rick's mind.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at July 22, 2005 12:50 PM

What's the market at?
Posted by: oj at July 22, 2005 12:41 AM

more than 200 S&P points below where it was 5 years ago.

shelton: i voted for clinton in '92 because he was the only hope for stanching the disaster unfolding at the time. unfortunately, he capitulated to your side within his first 100 days in office. i did not vote for him in '96. he was never my guy.

Posted by: lonbud at July 22, 2005 5:37 PM


Exactly. get the Dow back over 11,000 and W's numbers will be the same as Bill Clinton's.

Posted by: oj at July 22, 2005 6:02 PM

well, not really oj. i think it was AOG who pointed out your lack of facility with numbers a while back.

if you get the dow back over 11000 (and more importantly the S&P over 1400, because it is more of a valid representation of the market than is the dow; the dow is so old school), dubya's numbers will be the same as the man from Hope's at the end of his term.

clinton, in his eight years in office presided over a 70% rise in the market. and i'm sure someone here will be quick to point out my hyperbole, but i daresay the most successful democratic president in my lifetime shepherded the country through the greatest period of economic growth (as measured by the stock market) in the history of the civilized world. ;-)

the connecticut cowboy, on the other hand, can take credit for having led the market nowhere.

Posted by: lonbud at July 22, 2005 6:32 PM


Absolutely, Bill Clinton's presidency was easily the best Democratic presidency since Grover Cleveland's and for many of the same reasons, though Clinton had the additional benefit of the Peace Dividend.

Posted by: oj at July 22, 2005 6:45 PM

don't forget to deduct the cost of the wot from clinton's numbers.

Posted by: cjm at July 22, 2005 7:01 PM

you guys are pathetic.

Posted by: lonbud at July 22, 2005 7:08 PM


You can't blame Clinton for returning us to our natural non-interventionist posture. If anything, he gets some credit for not pretty completely doing away with the military as we usually do between wars.

Posted by: oj at July 22, 2005 7:14 PM

lonbud -

Yet he was never your man. Make up your mind - do you or don't you like Clinton? Maybe he saw such economic success because he "capitulated to our side within his first 100 days in office".

Just out of curiosity - whom did you vote for in 96? Nader or Feinland? Or did you stay home?

Posted by: Shelton at July 22, 2005 7:15 PM


Sean Penn? Mike Farrell? Rosie O'Donnell? Ward Churchill? Is he progressive enough?

Posted by: jim hamlen at July 22, 2005 8:37 PM


I forgot to add - we might be pathetic at times, but we hope you keep coming back.

Posted by: jim hamlen at July 22, 2005 8:40 PM

jim: fret not. i'm a skunk pokin' cage ratt'ler from way back.

shelton: you know, clinton's a bit of a riddle, wrapped in an enigma. in the end, i think he's just another craven politician, but i came to that view the hard way.

bill clinton was the featured speaker at my graduation from a california law school in 1985. as a member of the graduation committee, i had a hand in bringing him there and believe me, i caught a lot of flak for presenting my class an unknown governor from arkansas of all places, and a man who was younger than many of the people getting their sheepskin that day.

despite the fact he put most of the audience to sleep at the graduation, years later i caught plenty of my classmates bragging on ol' bubba, and i even allowed myself the pride of optimism when he rose out of the crowded democrat field to challenge the original dark prince (GHWB) during the dying throes of the reagan-era nightmare.

as i said before, the rest is history.

maybe his economic success was tied to his capitulation, although, somehow he managed to hold the line on domestic spending (and even sneak in some increases on worthwhile stuff like education), let some air out of the parasitic pentagon budget, and bring the reagan-era deficit to heel.

one would think the fiscal conservatives would have forgiven him a little oval office fun 'n games in return for such miracle work.

my view is he did a fairly respectable job of ball control, but i rate him a failure because he had the smarts and the tools to score a touchdown.

then he handed the ball to gore, who, to his (and the nation's) eternal shame, punted.

at the risk of being placed permanently into juddworld's moonbat hall of fame, i will allow that the only person from the democratic party to get me truly excited about national electoral politics in my lifetime is dennis kucinich. i had a fine run with him from the spring of '03 into the summer of '04 but, appparently things have to get worse before they can get better.

and for all you tender-hearts complaining about the press' treatment of mrs. roberts and the kiddies, try living through being completely ignored like dennis the menace was.

Posted by: lonbud at July 22, 2005 11:18 PM


All that changed was that the % of GDP spent on national security fell from 6% to 3%.

Posted by: oj at July 22, 2005 11:22 PM

oj: what's your point?

Posted by: lonbud at July 23, 2005 12:47 AM

Neither Bill Clinton nor the GOP sweep in '94 had much to do with anything--it was just the peace dividend from Reagan ending the Cold War. That accounts for the entire swing from deficit to balance.

Posted by: oj at July 23, 2005 12:56 AM

if you get the dow back over 11000 (and more importantly the S&P over 1400, because it is more of a valid representation of the market than is the dow; the dow is so old school)

The Dow and the S&P 500 rarely diverge, so neither is a better representation of the market.
However, the Dow didn't put a bunch of no-profit dot.coms into their index, who subsequently crashed and burned, so that's to their credit.

the connecticut cowboy, on the other hand, can take credit for having led the market nowhere.

Are you speaking of G.H.W. Bush ?
'Cause G.W. Bush was raised in Texas, and spent most of his adult life there.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at July 23, 2005 3:29 AM

The worst thing conservatives can do (well, if not worst, then a bad thing) is to get caught up in the liberal game of who can centrally plan the economy better. Conservatism is premised on the proposition that government management can do little to help the economy, but can do much to hurt it. The markets follow business cycles of boom and bust that have little to do with government management. The market bust of '01 was a natural conclusion to the boom that preceded it. There is nothing that the president could have, or should have done to prevent it.

Posted by: Robert Duquette at July 23, 2005 12:22 PM