Thursday, October 27, 2005

This and That

Of course I'm thinking about the Miers Fiasco and what it means for both Democrats and Republicans. Bush tried to paint it as a decision meant to protect the Constitutional separation of powers: No reading those private Presidential papers to get at the real Harriet Miers. Nah.

The Miers
nomination was about broadening the powers of the Executive Branch by inserting a Bush conservative lackey in SCOTUS. Then Senators wanted to use those "private" papers to examine Miers' interest in promoting and protecting the President at all costs and whether or not that interest would affect her ability to be an independent jurist. The Bush administration realized this whole nomination wasn't going to fly, having not properly licked the boots of the Extreme Right, and used the papers as an excuse to get out of it all.

Not sure what's going to happen next. Clearly Bush is out of political capital, not having had enough to push this candidate through. With nothing to spend, he's got two choices. He goes hard-core Extreme Right to win back that wing of the Republican Party, setting himself up for a pitched battle in the Senate. Or he chooses a mainstream Conservative that most of America can live with, assuring a win at the cost of a continued erosion of his Extreme Right base. has a piece exploring those options in depth. But I can't imagine that Bush allies are all that much help right now in exploring his options. Seems like they've all got their minds on other matters. Can you say "
indictment"? The morning news should be interesting, to say the least.

Speaking of the morning news, have to say mine was interrupted by the blechy (that would be the psycho-emotional technical term) news of record Exxon profits. And what does House Speaker Denny Hastert have to say about it?

"Oil and gas companies are enjoying record profits. That is fine. This is America. Our oil companies need to do more to inform the American people about what they are doing to bring down the cost of oil and natural gas. When are new refineries going to be built?"

I don't need more information, Denny. I need to know that the excess I'm paying at the pump isn't going to gougers salivating over this opportunity to line their pockets at my expense. And I want you to do something about it, since I don't have a lot of leverage in this area. In fact, I think that may be why people from Illinois sent you to the House, Denny. Use that leverage for something other than pork.

Interesting discussion of oil company gouging over at The Oil Drum (scroll down to the comments). The suggestion is made that those of us worried about the long term oil situation should not worry about massive oil company profits. Rather, we should focus on ways to reduce the amount of oil used by consumers. Americans made poorer by higher oil prices is actually useful in the long term as it makes us more open to true solutions to the oil crisis.

OK. I'm all for that. However, I think that we should be able to address both long and short term issues, even with the ridiculous American attention span. Fine, if you want to slap a tax on gas to make gasoline consumption hurt us enough to push toward alternatives. Fine, that is, if you use the tax to fund research toward those alternatives. But let's not make the rich richer in the process.

Back to SCOTUS just for a minute. The Extreme Right seems to have shot itself in the foot, having focused on the short-term issue of "Is Harriet Extreme Enough?" SCOTUS will consider three abortion cases this year. And our swing vote will be Sandra Day O'Connor, a known moderate (gasp), rather than Harriet Miers, a Bush lackey. That'll teach 'em to ignore Dubya's counsel and advice.

My counsel and advice to you this evening? Open your front door, yell "Go Sox", and lift a brewski in celebration for the Southsiders.

Until tomorrow,
Liz (wait 'til next year--then it's the Cubs' turn!)


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