October 26, 2005

Waiting for Anita

Hatched by Dafydd

Wo will step forward to be the conservative "Anita Hill?"

Fourteen years ago, a specter was haunting Liberal-land... the specter of Clarence Thomas. A conservative black man was nominated to the Supreme Court, and this was anathema to the plantation politics of the Left.

Worse, they could not bork him the way they had borked Bork: he made manifestly absurd claims -- for example, that he had never thought about Roe v. Wade or discussed it with anyone -- but nobody forthcame to credibly dispute him. The liberals, led by Howard Metzenbaum (D-OH), had thrown every negative thing they could find at Thomas, "cherry"-picking the worst statements they could wrench out of context and hit him over the head with, but he had survived, albeit with a split 7-7 vote out of the Judiciary Committee. It was clear that notwithstanding the Democratic majority, the full Senate was going to confirm him. The Democrats were faced with a crisis: something had to be done, and fast.

As David Brock ably demonstrated in the Real Anita Hill -- before he went mad -- frantic liberals recruited a young lawyer who had worked for Thomas, Anita Hill, to make a false charge of sexual harassment. Realizing the flimsiness and absurdity of the charge, they first tried to get Thomas to withdraw; failing that, they tried to float the charge anonymously, hoping to derail Thomas's approval without ever having to reveal the weakness of their hand.

When he refused to withdraw, his nomination was wrenched back to the J-Com for hearings, chaired by Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE). Senators, including some Democrats, refused to reject him on secret "evidence" without giving him a chance to rebut. At that point, having no alternative, the "shadow Senate" -- a gaggle of left-liberal luminaries and interest groups, including Nan Aron (Alliance for Justice), Kate Michelman (NARAL), Ralph Neas (Leadership Conference on Civil Rights), Judith Lichtman (Women's Legal Defense Fund), Molly Yard and Eleanor Smeal (NOW), Art Kropp and Melanne Verveer (People for the American Way), Benjamin Hooks (NAACP), and Nina Totenberg (NPR) -- and Hill's friend "Judge" Susan Hoerchner prevailed upon Hill to go public.

Hill seemed frightened when called to testify... as well she might be. She was followed by a parade of witnesses that refuted virtually every particular of her claims except those for which there were no witnesses but Hill and Thomas. In the end, the vicious slander melted away in the harsh light of cross examination (mostly by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-UT). The enemies of Thomas could not keep him off the Court, but the could damage him: the final Senate vote was a bare 52 to 48, the closest judicial confirmation vote of the twentieth century.

Flash forward to today. Today we have another nominee to the Supreme Court, Harriet Miers -- and a different "shadow Senate" equally desperate to stop her... but this time made up of "judicially conservative" pundits, writers, and bloggers, dubbed the Rebel Alliance in Captain Ed's nomenclature. As in the case above, they have thrown everything they could find at her, seizing upon every carefully elided innuendo and artfully worded smear, whether from the Washington Post, the New York Times, or even Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), opiners that on any other issue, these conservative Rebels would utterly scorn. And as with the Thomas case, despite misgivings, no Republican senator has publicly said he will vote against Miers or even that he is leaning that way.

Curiously, and unlike the previous case, the Rebels seem very concerned that Miers be forced out before she even has her confirmation hearings. David Frum just argued on Hugh Hewitt's show that he believes that if she goes to hearings, it will become "obvious" that she is unfit to serve on the Court... in which case, one wonders, why not wait for just that to eventuate? It's hard not to conclude that they're less worried about her doing badly than about her doing much better than expected. Hence they want to force her out beforehand, without giving her a forum to respond. This, then, is precisely analogous to the first moves to force Thomas out without allowing him to confront his accuser.

This is likely to fail; the president is not going to withdraw Miers prior to her hearings. So the next question is whether Republican senators will turn on her. They may; I expect the top Rebels will be funneling bork-worthy smears to senators they hope will be predisposed to reject her. But President Bush may well prevail, and we may be facing a looming J-Com vote where it is clear that Miers has the votes to be recommended, as well as the votes on the floor to confirm.

Now....

That is the moment I await: I want to know... who will be the conservative "Anita Hill" to step forward with some explosive, un-disprovable charge? What form will the charge take? Will the accuser attempt to make the charge anonymously? And will the majority Republicans prove as just as a handful of the majority Democrats did in 1991, voting for Thomas when they could have simply borked him?

I worry about the Rebel Alliance. They have worked themselves into such a frenzy, that it would not be beyond belief were they to decide that stopping Harriet Miers was so important, it justified any means necessary to do so. A new "Anita Hill" is not beyond my imagination.

I hope it doesn't happen; I hope the Rebels rebel against the inevitable suggestion, refusing to sink to the level of the "shadow Senate" of 1991. I like these people; I'm friends with several of them, and I hate having to worry just how far they're willing to go.

But I'm just not sure; and that is what saddens me most.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, October 26, 2005, at the time of 5:03 PM

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Comments

The following hissed in response by: Jimmie

No way. Not a chance.

Conservatves just don't do that. They'll petition. They'll snipe. They'll yell and holler. They'll give you cogent argument after cogent argument.

Conservatives will not smear. Even when confronted with a SCOTUS nominee who knowss less about Constitutional law than I do, they won't smear. They'll fight like hell, but they'll play fair.

It saddens me that you'd think the majority of us who oppose Miers' nomination would stoop to that level.

The above hissed in response by: Jimmie [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 26, 2005 5:27 PM

The following hissed in response by: Xrlq

I don't know that the majority of the anti-Miers jihadists would stoop to that level, but I don't put anything past David Frum. He showed his true colors when he proudly scooped Miers as a potential nominee three months before it happened, only to wait until it was essentially a done deal before even hinting that he thought this was a bad idea. If he really thought Miers's nomination was that bad of an idea, the time to say so was when he first recognized it as a realistic possibility. But if his real motive was simply to embarass his former boss, then the time to object to Miers's nomination is exactly when he did object. I report, you decide.

The above hissed in response by: Xrlq [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 26, 2005 6:19 PM

The following hissed in response by: beebop

I cannot get over the through-the-looking-glass aspect of this debate, especially here at Big Lizards. We in the "Rebel Alliance" have the audacity to think GWB should be held to the core promise of his two campaigns for President, and for this we are called smear artists and character assassins. If you want to read a character assassination look at your own post yesterday on George Will. If you want to talk about pretzel logic read Hugh Hewitt's rants about how opposition to Miers will cause the fall of Western Civilization . Miers is unqualified, period. We don't have to assassinate her character, from everything I've seen she's a very nice woman, and very competent in her chosen profession. What those of us who want a Justice in the mold of Thomas of Scalia argue is that there is a difference between a competent music critic and a Mozart. Talent in one field, even if closely related, does not translate to talent in the other. We have candidates of the first rank on the bench, Bush has betrayed his promise and put forward his crony because - and only because - she is a woman.
I have said before I would learn to live with her on the Court, as I learned to live with Dan Quayle. But I still think this country would have been in big trouble if Dapper Dan had had to face a crisis as President, and went before the American People with the same peepants persona he campaigned with. If Miers is bulled through (a prospect I would wager against right now) and makes a fool of herself as Justice it will be on the heads of those, like you Daffyd, who confused sycophancy with loyalty to an erring leader.

The above hissed in response by: beebop [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 26, 2005 6:23 PM

The following hissed in response by: LargeBill

Beebop,

You seem to have fallen for the media characterization of Dan Quayle. Quayle was not the idiot he was portrayed to be. The same people who called Reagan and Bush stupid also called Quayle the same names.
I'm not a big Miers supporter. But I agree with the basic premise that some may be going overboard because they have invested too much of their own credibility in bringing her down. She has been a loyal public servant and deserves better than some of the commentary by those opposed to her nomination. Folks can declare their preference for a different nominee or say why they believe she is not a great choice. However, personal attacks should not be our tactic. Leave that to the moonbats.

The above hissed in response by: LargeBill [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 26, 2005 7:27 PM

The following hissed in response by: Mike

Man... Two bulleye posts on Miers... This and The Old Maid in the Popcorn Bag.

Remember the previous rallying cry "Give the nominee an up or down vote"

That cry was repeated endlessly by the same Rebel Alliance that would deny Ms. Miers a hearing...

So I say "GIVE THE NOMINEE A FAIR HEARING"

And of course I add:

I SUPPORT THE MIERS NOMINATION!

The above hissed in response by: Mike [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 26, 2005 8:03 PM

The following hissed in response by: VRWconspiracy

There are several reasons we anti Miers conservatives have for rejecting her nomination. The David Brooks piece in the Slimes merely printed her writings that were available. She is a bulb so dim that regardless of her beliefs or judicial philosophy, she has no place on the Supreme Court. There are other reasons, but this one alone is disqualifying. Derbyshire at the National Review Corner nails it:

http://corner.nationalreview.com/05_10_23_corner-archive.asp#080834

The above hissed in response by: VRWconspiracy [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 26, 2005 8:06 PM

The following hissed in response by: beebop

LargeBill,

Perhaps my analogy to Dan Quayle was not fleshed out enough - Miers might vote in lockstep with Scalia and I still would see her appointment as a wasted opportunity because she cannot express herself well on paper. Quayle may have had good instincts (Bill Kristol loved the guy), but a man who looks like a deer in the headlights does not inspire confidence. Add to that the growing concerns (the Powerline Blog just revoked their support for her nomination tonight) with every piece of information that comes out on her and I think we really need to ask her to withdraw.

The above hissed in response by: beebop [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 26, 2005 8:23 PM

The following hissed in response by: beebop

LargeBill,

Perhaps my analogy to Dan Quayle was not fleshed out enough - Miers might vote in lockstep with Scalia and I still would see her appointment as a wasted opportunity because she cannot express herself well on paper. Quayle may have had good instincts (Bill Kristol loved the guy), but a man who looks like a deer in the headlights does not inspire confidence. Add to that the growing concerns (the Powerline Blog just revoked their support for her nomination tonight) with every piece of information that comes out on her and I think we really need to ask her to withdraw.

The above hissed in response by: beebop [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 26, 2005 8:24 PM

The following hissed in response by: beebop

LargeBill,

Perhaps my analogy to Dan Quayle was not fleshed out enough - Miers might vote in lockstep with Scalia and I still would see her appointment as a wasted opportunity because she cannot express herself well on paper. Quayle may have had good instincts (Bill Kristol loved the guy), but a man who looks like a deer in the headlights does not inspire confidence. Add to that the growing concerns (the Powerline Blog just revoked their support for her nomination tonight) with every piece of information that comes out on her and I think we really need to ask her to withdraw.

The above hissed in response by: beebop [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 26, 2005 8:24 PM

The following hissed in response by: Xrlq

Patterico can't post right now and asked me to pass this along:

To the post I say: whatever. To Xrlq, I'd say that I previously found your argument convincing, but Frum explained it pretty well on Hewitt today. To each of you, I ask what you thought of the Miers speech, now that you have presumably had a chance to read it all. And what do you make of Paul Mirengoff's decision to call for Miers's withdrawal after reading that speech?

That is, if you don't mind getting the argument back to Miers's merits . .

The above hissed in response by: Xrlq [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 26, 2005 8:49 PM

The following hissed in response by: Xrlq

Another from Patterico (my own comments will follow after I've finished reading the speech everyone is so hot and bothered about):

Xrlq says the Miers nomination was essentially a done deal when Frum wrote strongly against it on Sept. 29. All I can say is, I was personally shocked when it was announced 4 days later, on October 3.

The above hissed in response by: Xrlq [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 26, 2005 9:05 PM

The following hissed in response by: Xrlq

Many were, I'm sure, but Frum wasn't, which was my point.

The above hissed in response by: Xrlq [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 26, 2005 9:09 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

Patterico:

And what do you make of Paul Mirengoff's decision to call for Miers's withdrawal after reading that speech?

Actually, it's painfully obvious.

Pat, you read the complete speech, and you agreed that she was not saying that abortion protesters were terrorists.

But that's precisely how Paul misread the speech. He is under the impression that she was saying they were terrorists -- instead of saying they were considered terrorists, in the sense that anti-terrorism laws were being used against them.

Why did he so badly misread that speech? Because he was primed to misread it... for the same reason you fly off against Miers with every slam she takes from the WaPo or the NYT: because Paul has always been leaning against her and (I think) looking for a reason to oppose.

He didn't read the speech cold; he read it after reading the Post's mischaracterization of it as calling abortion protesters terrorists. I think he read it looking for evidence of that... and sure enough, he found it.

Virtually all of the anti-Miers arguments have been like that: extraordinarily convincing -- to other anti-Miers activists and to fence-sitters who are leaning against her, but totally unconvincing to people like me who are genuinely neutral.

I have read every document of hers that has been brought to my attention (four or five of them) all the way through... and not a one of them really says what the Rebels claim it says. I don't believe any of you is lying; I believe you are now so biased that you literally cannot actually read anything from Miers... you're reading the inside of your own skulls; you're reading into the documents what you were already thinking before you so much as glanced at them.

And that's why Paul jumped that way... and that's why so far, not a single Republican senator has followed suit. Not one. Because the senators are simply not part of the anti-Miers pundit-blogger echo chamber; so they approach the evidence fresh, see what she's actually saying (rather than what they're so certain she would say, the dirty liberal) -- and while they're not yet impressed by her qualifications (and may or may not be, depending how she does in the hearings), they're also not engaging in your furious and relentless assault on Miss Miers.

After the hearings (which I won't see until later, since I'll be out of town), I may well join you; or I may become a solid supporter. More likely, I'll remain where I am: unhappy with the nomination but still thinking it's better to confirm her and push for Luttig when Stevens retires than to defeat her and get Alberto Gonzales and a more Democratic Senate.

Dafydd

The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 26, 2005 9:25 PM

The following hissed in response by: Xrlq

OK, I finished the speech. Time to respond to Patterico's questions and comments.

Regarding Frum, what was his "pretty good" explanation? The explanation he offered in the 9/24 entry (that the 7/1 entry was a joke) doesn't pass the sneer test. Has he since come up with something better? [Note, I'm not arguing that Miers should be confirmed just because Frum is scum. The jury's still out as to why he is scum; depending on what Frum knew and when he knew it, it's possible that he is scum for needlessly opposing Miers now, but it's also possible he is scum for not opposing her earlier, when he had a realistic chance of stopping her nomination before it started.]

As to the speech, I've now read every word of it and frankly am at a loss as to why anyone cares. It makes a couple of points I don't agree with (that minorities sometimes receive a different level of justice, women still face "glass ceilings," if indeed they ever did), and other points I do (that elected officials have a nasty habit of punting unpopular issues to the courts rather than having the stones to deal with them properly, and that court involvement in such affairs tends to harden people's feelings and slow progress), but nothing terribly radical in either direction.

That this speech would be a deciding factor for Mirengoff, or anyone else, I find simply baffling. Maybe something else about Miers had really annoyed him already, and at this point he was almost itching to find something that would let him say "enough, I'm done." Nothing else makes sense. I'd say maybe it was the last straw, but that's unfair to straw; it's more like the final wafer that fat guy ate at the end of The Meaning of Life before exploding.

The above hissed in response by: Xrlq [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 26, 2005 9:30 PM

The following hissed in response by: RBMN

Who in the "rebel alliance" will ever be able to criticize Ralph Neas and Nan Aron again, for trying to manipulate the judicial confirmation process? On what grounds, after this whole spectacle?

The above hissed in response by: RBMN [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 26, 2005 10:17 PM

The following hissed in response by: Alamo Nation

If David Frum starts wearing a dress, that'll be the tell-tale sign that we're about to get an Anita Hill impersonation.

The above hissed in response by: Alamo Nation [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 26, 2005 10:32 PM

The following hissed in response by: RiverRat

Lots and lots of words about the speech but...Here's what I get from it.

If the people won't fix it via their elected representatives then appointed oligarchs must.

This inplication is anathema to me and if Miers supporters want a philosopher queen with an establishmentarian philosophy, so be it.

I want a Justice who opines on the peoples' law and not on the peoples' policy choices. This speech tells me she's a a populist Cleopatra and not Lady Justicia.

The above hissed in response by: RiverRat [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 26, 2005 11:00 PM

The following hissed in response by: cdquarles

RiverRat,

That's not how I read it. When the elected representatives don't do their job; sometimes the judges will, even though they are not supposed to. In many places local judges (city, county/parish, state) are elected. Federal judges aren't. Wasn't this speech directed at her state?

The above hissed in response by: cdquarles [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 27, 2005 1:36 AM

The following hissed in response by: RattlerGator

How bizarre is it that the so-called Rebel Alliance doesn't seem to recognize that they've already slimed this woman?

Yes, beebop, they might as well call her a chimp. And they might have.

Frankly, IMHO folks are being far, far too deferential to them and declining to call out their tactics for what they are: moonbattery of the worst sort, made even worse by hiding behind so-called "conservative" principles. Yes, I know some folks have genuine concerns -- but how can so many be so blind as to not see the bigotry of our would-be President David Frum?

Pure B.S.

The above hissed in response by: RattlerGator [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 27, 2005 5:18 AM

The following hissed in response by: beebop

I hope you bookmark these posts/comments and come back to them in six months and realize how\ you are decsending into fanaticism for an unworthy cause. Now the argument is that Paul Mirengoff is a babe in the woods and doesn't know how to understand what he reads? Come on, man, look what you are doing to yourself. You and Hugh know in your heart you have an indefensible position in this debate, so your mantra has become lets just wait for the hearings. Once the hearings are over your argument will be how can we sacrifice our investment in this woman and let the Dem's be allowed to justify their power politics in the future. We should not - that's why the executive priviledge figleaf/kerfuffle should be grabbed by all who want this President to succeed in the next three years.

BTW, I always thought that judges who would share an originalist philosophy would argue that if the legislature is not "doing their job" the court's should send the laws back vaugeness, or defer to the public's electoral decisions -- not try to re-engineer society or co-opt the legislature's functions. I guess Miringoff and I are just too dense to truly understand what's going on.

P.P.S. Why doesn't Frum's sincere warning a week before the Miers nomination announcement pass a "sneer test?"

The above hissed in response by: beebop [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 27, 2005 5:32 AM

The following hissed in response by: beebop

RatlerGator,

I have not slimed this woman - in almost every posting I have said she seems to be a sincere, very nice person and an excellent contributor to the President's efforts in her current role - I have also said that if she is on the Court there is an 80% likelyhood of things working out. What I have objected to is a President that promises one thing in two campaigns (and not a peripheral promise, either, but the most important domestic issue he adressed) and who then asks us to play Russian Roulette unnecessarily.

Read My Lips, I don't appreciate it.

The above hissed in response by: beebop [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 27, 2005 5:42 AM

The following hissed in response by: beebop

I'd like to amend the above, when this dispute first started I thought there would be an 80% likelyhood of her being an adequate Justice (i.e., someone who would give her proxy to Roberts or Scalia), but every dribble of new evidence that leaks out about this woman points to a stealth Souter rather than an O'Conner. I'd say the odds are now down to 50/50 at best.

The above hissed in response by: beebop [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 27, 2005 5:48 AM

The following hissed in response by: Jim Webb

'kay, the Rebel Alliance got what they wanted. Where now? What a freakin' mess- the woman never even got to speak up for herself. For all my doubts, I STILL think she should have gotten to say her piece...

The above hissed in response by: Jim Webb [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 27, 2005 7:20 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

Jim Webb

I suspect that the Rebels will present Bush with a list of four or five names: if Bush nominates anyone not on that list, no matter how judicially conservative and no matter how good the paper trail, David Frum will start the whole thing all over again.

He wants to pick the next Supreme Court member; I doubt he'll be satisfied with a mere scalp.

Dafydd

The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 27, 2005 7:36 AM

The following hissed in response by: Aitch748

I agree, Jim, absolutely. The woman got borked -- by the RIGHT!!! -- a full week-and-a-half before she got to the Senate. I must say that her bowing out to spare the White House and the country further turmoil shows her to be of better character than the cherrypickers screaming for her to be withdrawn.

I must also say that I don't think I'll fully trust the NRO or Ann Coulter or Laura Ingraham or George Will for a while. These freaks painted her as rock-stupid and her nomination as a disaster of cataclysmic proportions, AND MIERS HAD NO OPPORTUNITY TO DEFEND HERSELF. It's almost enough to make me not want to follow politics for a while, because if I do, I'll be coming across the writings of these baboons from time to time.

The above hissed in response by: Aitch748 [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 27, 2005 7:44 AM

The following hissed in response by: Jimmie

No, Aitch, they didn't.

And Miers had more than ample opportunity to defend her self. That's what all these speeches and various bits of writing were the White House has been releasing - defenses of Miers and a chance for her to speak for herself.

Know what? She did a terrible job. The best the White House could offer us was some pretty bad writing for someone we were told was a formidable thinker and a solid lawyer.

You know, it's possible that she might have been the greatest conservative judge in the history of the Republic. I'll grant that possibility. My folks taught me never, ever, ever to buy a pig in a poke, even if it's from a friend. More to the point, they taught me that the words "trust me" have limits.

That is, regardless of your opinion on the matter, what the President was asking us to do. When folks like me said that wasn't good enough, he started giving us peeks inside the poke and we didn't see anything like what he promised us would be there. For this I, and those who think like me, am a baboon (speaking of...who's doing the Borking here?) and a cherrypicker?

Shame on you.

The above hissed in response by: Jimmie [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 27, 2005 8:05 AM

The following hissed in response by: Patterico

This is moot now, so I'm not going to respond at length, but . . . Dafydd: when you say: "Pat, you read the complete speech, and you agreed that she was not saying that abortion protesters were terrorists."

You're just completely making that up or badly misremembering. I never said any such thing. I made no comment about her "terrorists" comment whatsoever.

The above hissed in response by: Patterico [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 27, 2005 2:33 PM

The following hissed in response by: Patterico

By the way, I should say something more than "whatever" -- this post is one of the most shamefully slanderous things you've written. It really doesn't merit any more comment than that.

The above hissed in response by: Patterico [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 27, 2005 6:34 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

Patterico:

Dafydd: when you say: "Pat, you read the complete speech, and you agreed that she was not saying that abortion protesters were terrorists."

You're just completely making that up or badly misremembering. I never said any such thing. I made no comment about her "terrorists" comment whatsoever.

I absolutely stand by what I wrote. Pat, I have let you get away with this sort of objection before, but I draw the line now.

We are not in a courtroom. This is not testimony. It is perfectly reasonable to draw inferences from what you did not say, the dog that did not bark.

The very fact that you "made no comment about her 'terrorists' comment whatsoever" is itself a comment -- a comment in absentia -- that speaks as loudly as do your written ones.

I know you pretty well by now, and you are not reticent about speaking your mind. Here is what Miers said:

What else do we hear a lot today about the Courts. The law and religion. A preacher in Dallas is challenged by suits charging that he is ripping off the helpless and defrauding them with prayer cloths, etc. Abortion clinic protesters have become synonymous with terrorists and the courts have been the refuge for the besieged. The Branch Davidian compound became a sight for speculation about legal responsibilities and legal rights.

But suppose she had said something different. Suppose the speech had included these words, which of course it did not:

...Anti-abortion terrorists have besieged family-planning clinics....

Would you have taken note of this? Yes. Would you have posted about this and become enraged that she would call abortion protesters "terrorists?" Yes! Would this have been the core of your objection to this speech -- rather than that she "framed the issue" "the way an abortion-rights supporter" would? YES!

The fact that you did none of this is just as clear an indicator that you agree with me (and disagree with Paul) that she did not call abortion protesters "terrorists" but rather noted that that is how they are being treated as if you had stood on a Linux box and yelled it in MacArthur Park.

Here is what Paul wrote on Power Line:

The behavior of liberal Senate Democrats over recent years relieves conservative Republican Senators of any obligation to vote for the confirmation of nominees who take positions like the ones Miers sets forth in this speech (e.g., "abortion clinic protesters have become synonymous with terrorists" or, in the context of the abortion debate, "where science cannot determine the facts and decisions vary based upon religious belief, then government should not act").

By plucking it out of context like that, I thought he was falling into the error of thinking she was calling them terrorists. So I wrote Paul, saying:

I think it quite clear that Miers was not saying that abortion protesters WERE like terrorists; she was saying that they are being TREATED AS terrorists -- that is, that attorneys in court are arguing that anti-terrorism laws be applied to them, which is exactly what was happening in the early 1990s under Clinton.

He replied that my "apologist" take on this was "unsustainable." There is no possible doubt now that Paul believes she was calling them terrorists; and your own non-comment on the same sentence makes it completely clear that you agree with me that she was not. You disliked her speech for other reasons (where we disagree), but on this point, had you really thought like Paul -- then like Paul, that would have been the focus of your ire, not that she referred to "the individual women’s right to decide".

You may not realize that you agreed... but agree you did, by standing silent even as you quoted that very sentence.

Dafydd

The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 27, 2005 7:33 PM

The following hissed in response by: Patterico

I'm at least happy to see that you agree with my position that your post is "this post is one of the most shamefully slanderous things you've written."

You may not realize that you agreed... but agree you did, by standing silent even as you purported to refute one of my other points.

By the way, that purported refutation is nonsense. I read that comment about terrorists and found it ambiguous. Perhaps she was calling abortion protestors terrorists, and perhaps she was saying that others were calling abortion protestors terrorists. I couldn't tell which. I showed it to my wife and asked her opinion, and she couldn't tell either. So I didn't comment on it. Based on that silence you stated: "Pat, you read the complete speech, and you agreed that she was not saying that abortion protesters were terrorists."

That is a simple logical fallacy from someone who claims to be a logic expert.

It is especially galling because it is part of a pattern of your mischaracterizing my positions. You need to learn to stop mischaracterizing my positions. It is simply impossible to have a civil argument with someone who mischaracterizes your positions.

I recently read a great rule that someone said was applied in her family: one was not allowed to argue until he had first stated the other person's position to that person's satisfaction. I think that, for the time being, you and I should follow that rule.

The above hissed in response by: Patterico [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 27, 2005 8:28 PM

The following hissed in response by: Patterico

Let's start this way: I read your argument as this: "Anti-Miers people, including some people who are my friends, might well be willing to deliberately foist known lies on the American people to defeat this nomination." Have I stated your argument to your satisfaction? Or am I misreading your argument? (I am hoping you'll say the latter.)

If the former, then in what sense do you believe anti-Miers people would prevail upon an obvious liar to bring forth an obvious lie? And do you include me among these "friends"??

If the latter, then what exactly do you mean? What did you suspect we would do??

The above hissed in response by: Patterico [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 27, 2005 8:36 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

Patterico:

I will answer in e-mail, because I don't think anyone else is interested in this argument.

Dafydd

The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 28, 2005 12:28 AM

The following hissed in response by: Patterico

Answer any way you please, but it goes right to the substance of your post. If someone has clicked on comments to this post, I'd guess they'd be interested in knowing just what the heck you mean by the post. And frankly, I'm kinda hoping to get a public acknowledgement that I'm not one of the "friends" that you seem to think would have supported dishonest tactics.

The above hissed in response by: Patterico [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 28, 2005 12:48 AM

The following hissed in response by: Patterico

Your e-mailed explanation of the post makes sense. Your e-mailed explanation as to why you have not mischaracterized my position is, candidly, utter nonsense.

Feel free to post my reply.

The above hissed in response by: Patterico [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 28, 2005 1:22 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh

Patterico:

Your e-mailed explanation as to why you have not mischaracterized my position is, candidly, utter nonsense.

Well, I'll just have to live with that divergence of opinion hanging over me...!

Dafydd

The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 28, 2005 1:29 AM

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