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A President Who Is Not for Turning: “He seems even more determined than ever.”

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France, Germany and not a few Democrats opposed the invasion of Iraq. John Kerry and many of his political allies opposed the June 28th, 2004 handover of power from Paul Bremer’s control to that of the Iraqi provisional government headed up by Prime Minister Allawi. Many voices were raised against holding the Iraqi elections last January. Throughout the spring and summer, many on the left demanded a timetable for withdrawal of American troops. Never once did George Bush waver in his resolve concerning Iraq.

On September 12, 2002, President Bush addressed the United Nations and announced his plan for turning Saddam’s Iraq into a democratic country:

Events can turn in one of two ways: If we fail to act in the face of danger, the people of Iraq will continue to live in brutal submission. The regime will have new power to bully and dominate and conquer its neighbors, condemning the Middle East to more years of bloodshed and fear. The regime will remain unstable — the region will remain unstable, with little hope of freedom, and isolated from the progress of our times. With every step the Iraqi regime takes toward gaining and deploying the most terrible weapons, our own options to confront that regime will narrow. And if an emboldened regime were to supply these weapons to terrorist allies, then the attacks of September the 11th would be a prelude to far greater horrors.

If we meet our responsibilities, if we overcome this danger, we can arrive at a very different future. The people of Iraq can shake off their captivity. They can one day join a democratic Afghanistan and a democratic Palestine, inspiring reforms throughout the Muslim world. These nations can show by their example that honest government, and respect for women, and the great Islamic tradition of learning can triumph in the Middle East and beyond. And we will show that the promise of the United Nations can be fulfilled in our time.

Neither of these outcomes is certain. Both have been set before us. We must choose between a world of fear and a world of progress. We cannot stand by and do nothing while dangers gather. We must stand up for our security, and for the permanent rights and the hopes of mankind. By heritage and by choice, the United States of America will make that stand. And, delegates to the United Nations, you have the power to make that stand, as well.

On Saturday, despite the same fear and danger they faced in January, Iraqis will again vote in a free and open election. It appears as though the new constitution will pass, and that new elections for the first government under that constitution will follow. There will still be terrorists, and there will still be enormous problems. But the road on which George Bush set out three years ago will have reached one of its most improtant goals –the establishment of a free and representative government in Iraq.

Given the president’s refusal to depart from his original plan for Iraq in the face of so many voices demanding so many different things from him, it is more amusing than anything else to read in John Fund’s piece this morning that:

Several large GOP donors in Texas have met to discuss spending large sums to run ads calling on Ms. Miers to withdraw.

I asked Justice Hecht about this yesterday:

HH: Any doubt in your mind that she will persevere through to those hearings, and then on to confirmation?

NH: None.

HH: I want to repeat that, because of course, a lot of people, including some friends of mine, have said she would do the president a favor by withdrawing. I disagree with that calculation, but I just want to get your practical sense. Any possibility of that happening?

NH: Absolutely not. And the president has given no indication that he wants her to. He seems even more determined than ever.

I think there is near zero chance of Harriet Miers withdrawing her nomination or of the president asking her to do so. I think there is near zero chance of her being defeated in the Committee or on the floor. But let’s imagine what would happen if she did:

Senator Patrick Leahy, on the Miers withdrawal:

“I think what we saw today was proof –proof beyond any reasonable doubt– that the White House is in the control of a powerful band of judicial ideolouges who will accept nothing less –nothing!– than a young Bork for the SCOTUS. And America doesn’t want that. They don’t want to turn back the clock. Look at who Harriet Miers is –five years an aide to this president! First woman ever to run the Texas Bar. Managing partner of her large law firm. Picked all these conservative judges.

But she wasn’t good enough. Not good enough for the far right wing that forced the president to surrender a conservative nominee with the backing of James Dobson! Can you imagine, not conservative enough!

We know what is coming now, and it is extraordinary circumstances. We know he isn’t going to send up another mainstream conservative. We know that. We know that he’s obliged, committed to sending us an ideolouge of fixed and permanent opinions, bought and sold, reliable in the way his far right wing handlers demand.

Well, we are going to fight. We are going to take this to the people in 2006. We are not turning the clock back on freedom in America, and the far right wing doesn’t run America. Can you imagine? Endorsed by James Dobson and Ken Starr and Lino Gralia, and not conservatve enough?

On the other hand, lets flash forward past the Miers confirmation, to the next East Room introduction of the next nominee:

President Bush: Good evening. It gives me great pleasure tonight to introduce Judge [Michael Luttig/Michael McConnell] as my nominee for the vacancy on the United States Supreme Court. As you know, I have done this twice before, and each time there were immediate critics of the choice, sometimes on the left, sometimes on the right. No doubt there will be critics of Judge ___. Let me say a few words about him.

[insert brief bio]

Now just as Harriet Miers was attacked for not being conservative enough and not having a paper trail, Judge ___ is certain to be attacked for being too conservative and having too much of a paper trail. I expect that the Senate hearings will unfold just as they unfolded with Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Miers –a fair America will judge fairly, and that confirmation will follow quickly. Americans don’t like cheap shots and anonymous sources, and they don’t like attacks on nominees before those nominees can address the Senate. Justices Roberts and Miers put up with a lot of heat before their hearings, and so will Judge ___. I am confident, though, that the American people will judge him, as they judged them, on the basis of who he is and what he says, not on the basis of what others say about him.

From the moment I announced my decision to seek this office, I have been asked about the Supreme Court. I have always said the same thing. I want qualified people who will interpet the law, not make it. I want justices who will study the facts of the case before them, study the Constution, and come to the decision the law requires. It’s about the rule of law, not a justice’s personal philosophy. And I believe Judge ____ believes this.

America’s a big place, lots of ideas and people out there, but just one Constitution. The mainstream is pretty big as well, and Judge ___ is squarely within it as his opinions over the years have shown. His public service is admirable. It will continue on the Supreme Court. Judge ___, would you like to say a few words?”


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