Patterico's Pontifications


Patterico on RCP Blogroll

Filed under: Blogging Matters — Patterico @ 10:08 pm

Thanks to The Real Clear Politics Blog for adding Patterico to their blogroll. Now if I could just talk the guys at Power Line into adding me . . .


Filed under: Blogging Matters — Patterico @ 9:00 pm

That whole “Playful Primate” thing has stuck for a while, but tonight I was surprised to see myself at #50 in the Ecosystem. Low-eeze, that seems high. I’m getting a nosebleed.

Won’t last.

A Response to Paul Mirengoff’s Latest Column

Filed under: Judiciary,Politics — Patterico @ 7:59 pm

Paul Mirengoff writes in the Daily Standard:

WHEN PRESIDENT BUSH nominated Harriet Miers, conservatives who balked at her lack of conservative credentials were assured by some that they should infer Miers’s conservatism from the president’s confidence in her. The skeptics generally responded with the maxim “trust but verify,” and suggested that Bush, a non-lawyer, might not be able to discern the absence of a strong conservative judicial philosophy.

Some (most notably the lawyer and blogger Patrick Frey) went so far as to question whether Bush himself holds a strong conservative philosophy when it comes to domestic issues. Much of the president’s domestic policy suggests that he is a pragmatist who, though possessing some conservative instincts, tends to put results ahead of conservative principles: Rarely are conservative principles absent from the president’s domestic policy, but often they take a back-seat to short-term problem-solving.

(I’ll admit that the reference to that “Patrick Frey” guy is part of what interested me in Paul’s article — since that is yours truly.)

Paul then goes on to describe — and to some extent justify — Bush’s approach to political problems as a conservative “third way,” emphasizing problem-solving over conservative principles. Examples include the massive spending increases inherent in the Gulf rebuilding, or the prescription drug benefit.

Paul gives as a third example the “10 percent solution” to questions of affirmative action: taking the top 10 percent of students from schools across a state, regardless of race. “Unfortunately, though, Bush’s solution ultimately failed to vindicate core principles of color-blindness and non-discrimination. Choosing a facially neutral selection system for the purpose of achieving a racial result is a classic form of illegal discrimination under the civil rights law. Thus, problem-solving trumped conservative principles.”

I have nothing but the greatest respect for Paul. But I have two objections to Paul’s thesis. The main objection is that Paul has set up a false dichotomy between problem-solving and adherence to conservative principles. Conservatives believe in solving social problems too — they just propose to go about it in a different way.

Perhaps Paul, by referring to “problem-solving,” means to refer to the instant gratification of big-government or racially activist solutions, as contrasted with the long, slow haul that conservative solutions often envision. But the fact that conservatives’ solutions take place in a different manner does not mean that conservatives are failing to offer solutions. Paul’s failure to make this point clearer is a headlong plunge into the typical liberal trap of portraying conservatives as uninterested in social justice.

My second objection is that the “problem” to be “solved” is too often purely a political problem. In the post of mine that Paul links, I link to a previous post of mine in which I rendered my original complaint about Bush’s lack of conservative principle in the context of the Miers nomination:

To the “trust Bush” crowd: Bush signed an unconstitutional campaign finance reform law.

What “problem” was Bush trying to solve by signing McCain/Feingold? The problem of Americans trying to speak?

And, for those who consider the corrupting influence of campaign contributions to be the “problem,” let me ask: do you think McCain/Feingold solved it? Were you paying any attention during the 2004 election??

The problem, Paul, is that Bush too often sacrifices conservative principle, not for any concrete policy gain, but because he considers it good politics. When a president does this one too many times, it start to look less like pragmatism and more like political expediency. This is an all-too-common “third way” that Bush should learn to avoid.

With the nomination of Sam Alito, he is making a good start.

That’s Not An Arsenal — This Is An Arsenal

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Judiciary — Patterico @ 7:18 pm

The L.A. Times has an article today titled Filibuster Option Is in the Democrats’ Arsenal.

Interesting headline.

The story notes:

Among Republicans in the Gang of 14, most generally expressed support for Alito. At least two — Mike DeWine of Ohio and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina — said they had seen no extraordinary circumstances in Alito’s record that would allow them to support a filibuster.

But the paper fails to explain the significance of this. With two votes from the Gang of 14, absent any Republican defections or other surprises, the Republicans have the votes to defeat a filibuster.

So, while the filibuster is in the Democrat arsenal, the antidote is in the Republicans’ arsenal. It’s like saying that the Democrats are armed with automatic weapons — but forgetting to mention that the Republicans have stolen all of their bullets.

Oh well. I say: let the editors have their little dream. We’re standing next to them with a bucket of ice water, watching the smile play across their faces as they dream of a successful filibuster. When they jolt awake, it will be to their worst nightmare: Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito, a judge who refuses to bend the law to their whims.

Dream away, L.A. Times editors. Dream away.

The Power of the Jump™: Arnold Targets Message to Supporters!!!

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,Politics — Patterico @ 6:59 pm

(Note: “The Power of the Jump”™ is a semi-regular feature of this site, documenting examples of the Los Angeles Times’s use of its back pages to hide information that its editors don’t want you to see.)

Shocking news: California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is trying to get voters out to the polls who might support his initiatives — and he doesn’t much care about other voters! And, apparently, his opponents have much more confidence in their positions, and are therefore happy to target their message to anyone who will listen. (Actually, that last bit is not true, but make sure to whisper it, while we shout the nasty stuff about Arnold.)

This startling revelation can be found in a story on the front page of today’s California section titled Gov. Aims to Get Out Vote Selectively. I don’t make the headlines up, folks — I just report ’em.

The “deck” headline reads: “With Schwarzenegger’s initiatives lagging in polls, he hopes the state’s Democratic majority and opponents in the GOP stay home.” The story opens this way:

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered next week’s special election to take his agenda to “the people,” but his campaign strategy relies on relatively few people showing up next Tuesday and large segments of voters staying home.

Shocking behavior, this. Sounds like he’s using campaign resources to suppress the vote! Wait ’till you find out the measures he’s taking to make sure opponents stay home! What will it be? Sending representatives to black churches to encourage them to vote in the special election on November “9th”? (The election is on November 8th.) Arnie riding through the streets of San Francisco with a bullhorn shouting: “Stay home, Kaleefornians! Stay hoooooooommee!”?

. . . Schwarzenegger’s campaign has put many of its resources into just motivating loyal Republicans.

So . . . he’s targeting supporters . . . but that sounds like standard practice for a politician, does it? Where’s the bit about suppressing the rest of the vote?

You can read the entire article, and you won’t find it. All he’s doing is targeting his resources towards loyal Republicans, who, he judges, are the most likely to support his initiatives:

In recent weeks, Schwarzenegger has campaigned heavily in conservative areas such as Fresno, San Diego, Redding, Orange County and Sacramento. Today he is scheduled to participate in conservative talk radio programs and campaign in Republican-dominated areas — San Luis Obispo, Bakersfield and Palm Springs.

His TV advertising also has been sectarian: Except on some cable stations, he has declined to run ads in the San Francisco Bay Area, which is heavily Democratic.

That nutty Arnold, targeting his supporters!

The question I asked myself, as I turned from Page B1 back to Page B7, was this: aren’t his opponents doing the same thing? I mean, I guess not . . . after all, the headline, deck headline, and lede all emphasize that Schwarzenegger is targeting voters selectively.

Imagine my surprise to see this, all the way down in paragraph 22:

Schwarzenegger is not the only one worried about who will turn out next Tuesday.

You don’t say!

The “no” message from Schwarzenegger’s opponents in unions and the Democratic Party could boomerang on them when they need as many of their constituents as possible to show up.

Their constituents? They need as many of “their constituents” as possible to show up? But what about the public at large? What about the greater good? Don’t the Democrats and unions care about them?

[Democrat and union consultant Phil] Giarrizzo says that the main anti-Schwarzenegger group, a labor coalition called Alliance for a Better California, has reached 1 million households with its message to encourage voters.

[Said in best Dr. Evil voice:] One milllllllllllion households!

[Low, impressed whistle]

And just how many voters is ol’ “selective Schwarzenegger” targeting?

[GOP consulting firm] TargetPoint research directed the Schwarzenegger campaign on where to send campaign mailings, which went to 5 million voters considered most likely to support his positions. The party also helped coordinate campaign material for 50,000 overseas voters, including the military, hoping that will help the governor.

So: the other side has targeted one million households, and vote-suppressing Arnie has targeted 5 million voters.

Oh, and he is broadening his message:

As the campaign enters its final days, the governor has attempted to broaden his message. He has launched a new statewide television ad in which he asks Californians to “give me the tools to do the job you elected me to do.” And he has scheduled several TV appearances in markets that allow him to reach a large segment of voters.

To sum up: Arnold has targeted more voters than his opponents, and in the critical final days of his campaign, he’s aiming to target an even larger segment of voters. So, naturally, the L.A. Times runs an article suggesting the exact opposite.

This is ridiculous. In any political campaign, political operatives will seek to get voters to the polls who are going to support their issues. Both sides in this campaign are doing the same thing. But if you ran a story titled “Both Sides Seek to Target Own Supporters” — well, that would just sound silly, wouldn’t it? So let’s run a Page B1 story making it sound like Arnold is the only guy trying to do that.

Because, who knows? Mebbe we can get more Democrats to the polls that way!

Not that the editors of the L.A. Times would want that to happen.

P.S. As in previous articles about the propositions, The Times today claims in the deck headline that polls show all of the measures headed for defeat:

With Schwarzenegger’s initiatives lagging in polls, he hopes the state’s Democratic majority and opponents in the GOP stay home.

But, based on posts by Daniel Weintraub, Dafydd ab Hugh has been reporting lately (most recently here) that the poll results are mixed. You never read that in The Times either.

Patterico on CNN?

Filed under: Blogging Matters — Patterico @ 1:05 pm

Not me . . . my blog. (Starting with this incident, every time I have ever been offered the chance to be on TV — okay, it’s only happened twice — has fallen through for scheduling reasons.)

This guy says my blog was spotlighted on CNN yesterday. Does anyone know anything more about this? Or have a link to a video? Where’s the Political Teen when you need him?

L.A. Times Subtly Alters Quote to Make Alito Look Bad

Filed under: Abortion,Dog Trainer,Judiciary — Patterico @ 7:27 am

The L.A. Times alters a quote in the Casey decision to make Judge Alito look bad today, implying that the law Judge Alito voted to uphold was really a consent provision rather than a notification provision.

The David Savage article states in its fifth paragraph:

But when the Pennsylvania case reached the Supreme Court, O’Connor and the court majority rejected Alito’s view and characterized the “spousal notification” law as an insult to married women.

“Women do not lose their constitutionally protected liberty when they marry,” the court said in an opinion written in part by O’Connor. It is “repugnant to our present understanding of marriage” to permit the state “to enable the husband to wield an effective veto over his wife’s decision,” the high court said.

This is not how the quote reads in the actual Supreme Court decision. The quote in the article has been altered. The second part of the quote does not appear precisely as quoted anywhere in the opinion. The closest the Court comes to that language is this passage:

For the great many women who are victims of abuse inflicted by their husbands, or whose children are the victims of such abuse, a spousal notice requirement enables the husband to wield an effective veto over his wife’s decision.

In the quote in the L.A. Times, note how the word “to” has been added before the word “enables,” and how an “s” has been removed from that word.

A minor detail? Not really. Altering the quote this way allows the reporter, David Savage, to more easily combine the “repugnant to our present understanding of marriage” phrase with the doctored “enables the husband to wield an effective veto over his wife’s decision” — language which appears two full paragraphs earlier in the decision.

The altered quote makes it sound like the law generally allows husbands an effective veto over an abortion. But in the actual opinion, the Court makes clear that the law is only “an effective veto” for most abused women.

By the time the law’s provisions are fully described further down in the story, readers have already been led to think of the law as a consent provision for all women, rather than for an unspecified percentage of abused women, as Judge Alito described it.

Of course, nowhere does the article mention the way that Justice O’Connor changed the “undue burden” standard in Casey, or the popularity of notification provisions like this (over 70% of the public favors them).

We don’t necessarily have a right to expect that level of fairness. But can’t we at least get the quotes accurate?

P.S I don’t want to overstate the complaint about the alteration. The key point here is that the quote is taken out of context. Quotes from two separate paragraphs are placed together as though they are part of the same thought, making the law’s effect sound more draconian than it really was. The minute changes in the wording of the quote (removing a letter from a word and adding a word in front of it) simply make it easier for the reporter to paper over the fact that the quotes are really entirely separate.

More Fun with Joe Wilson

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:13 am

Jeff Goldstein tells us about when Joe Wilson ordered a soup and sandwich lunch combo. He couldn’t get his story straight, even then.

And in serious news, Gateway Pundit brings us news of a previously unreported Joe Wilson speech. You know it’s Joe Wilson’s speech because it contains lies.

That Strip-Search Decision

Filed under: Judiciary — Patterico @ 12:02 am

John from Power Line has a detailed post about the Alito dissent arguing that police should not be liable for strip-searching a mother and her 10-year-old daughter during the service of a search warrant, though their names were not listed in a warrant.


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