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Thursday, September 08, 2005

In Lockstep On John Roberts

Well, it appears that the Democrats have decided the direction to take regarding John Roberts' nomination for Chief Justice of the United States. Ann Althouse covers the moves.

First we get a Boston Globe salvo:
Senate Democrats said yesterday that they will invoke the vast disparities in income and living conditions laid bare by the Hurricane Katrina disaster to sharpen their questioning of Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. at his confirmation hearings next week.

The scenes of devastation featuring primarily poor African-American residents in New Orleans have highlighted the widening gap between rich and poor, said Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts.
So we have a fat rich white guy who inherited his wealth blaming "the growing disparity between rich and poor" on a middle-class Catholic white guy who isn't that wealthy and didn't inherit wealth or marry it? Ohhhhh, smart move, Dems. Teddy Kennedy is man who went to court to try to stop wind power towers from being erected near his home. I guess you wouldn't want to ask about the environment and global warming!

Second, Moveon.org is climbing on the same bandwagon. Ann links to the USA Today article covering the planned Moveon.org ad:
MoveOn.org Political Action plans to unveil a TV ad on Monday that questions whether Roberts is sensitive enough to civil rights concerns to lead the Supreme Court. The ad suggests that the plight of the mostly African-American evacuees in New Orleans showed that poverty remains a serious problem among minorities, said Ben Brandzel, the group's advocacy director. In a mix of judicial and racial politics, the ad then suggests that minorities could suffer if the Senate confirms Roberts.
Even Ann gags at this, calling it rank hypocrisy. It is that. It is also a very public suicide for the Democratic Party. It is time to admit that the majority of the Democratic national leadership has an awesome death wish that we cannot defeat. We are going to have to reconstitute the party on the local level.

Two words: Janice Brown. Yes, Janice Brown. The black daughter of an Alabama sharecropper whose nomination was blocked by Democrats. That Janice Brown. Let's try another two words. Condoleeza Rice. Most of us have heard of her. Let's try another two words. Priscilla Owen. The white woman who was instrumental in greatly improving legal representation for the poor in Texas.

Does anyone think that the vast majority of Americans aren't repelled and angry at the attempt to introduce racial politics into the Katrina aftermath? They are. Does anyone think that Catholics, who are the largest religious denomination in the US, aren't a bit appalled at the attack upon Roberts' religion? They are. Does anyone think that the average poor American isn't capable of telling the difference between a Kerry or a Kennedy and a person like Condoleeza Rice or Colin Powell? They are.

Let's just snap out of it. A Kerry or a Kennedy doesn't know jack about the problems of poor people. The red states are voting as they are because they know that. When Pelosi supports the Kelo decision, poorer and older people all over the United States cringe. They know the score. They know whose property will be taken and used to support the profits of rich property developers. They are seeing it happen in their own communities.

Chief No Nag (dark-skinned Hispanic immigrant) believes that the national Democrats are insane and racist. Seriously. Plus, he thinks they don't care a flip about people who are trying to make good in this country. He believes that all they care about is power and making alliances with wealthy corporate donors. He explained quite patiently to me earlier this week that Democrats hate Catholicism and the Constitution because both require treating other people with justice and fairness, and that is very antithetical to what the Democratic party has become. That's the message the Democrats are getting across!

Chief No Nag believes passionately in the value of education, hard work and the extension of opportunity to everyone. Chief No Nag hates racial discrimination and abuse of the poor. That's what he saw in Central America, and that is why he is here. Chief No Nag believes in God's goodness and the Catholic church's commitment to service to the poor and the ill. Chief No Nag believes intensely (he is a scientist) in the importance of objective truth. Chief No Nag can't imagine how the Supreme Court (an institution in which he once had a well-nigh religious faith) could possibly write an opinion justifying the seizure of the property of poor people simply because they are poor and therefore not producing as much tax money as the rich.

To really understand Chief No Nag's political philosophy you have to understand that Chief No Nag's conception of the Constitution is that it is a kind of earthly institution of the law of God. Chief No Nag believes the Constitution exists to ensure that everyone in the United States is treated equally under the law. This, he believes, allows him to fulfill his obligation to God. Chief No Nag believes that God will help him as long as he does no harm to other people and helps other people who are in trouble. So within the legal framework of the Constitution, he believes people can live decent lives if they choose to, whereas in Central America it was very hard to escape either being part of a ruling class or an oppressed class.

Chief No Nag now believes that the Democratic party is the enemy of objective truth and the principle of equal treatment under law. To understand how he feels about this, you have to know that in Central America a local priest was preaching against a band of guerillas and bandits and they shot him for it. According to Chief No Nag, any group of people that cannot stand to hear the truth is essentially criminal. Chief No Nag is a classic liberal who has to come to believe that the Democratic party is the enemy of his principles and anyone else who believes in his principles. He believes that they will attempt to suppress the voice of anyone who is really committed to social justice or tells the truth. I don't totally agree with him, but I do understand his opinions.

Anyone who is really interested in the future of the Democratic party needs to sit down and think hard about what is going on politically right now. Katrina was a natural disaster, but the Democratic leadership is brewing up a perfect storm of their own creation. There is an incredible effort going on in this country to cope with the problem of Katrina. People all over the country are busting open the piggy-banks and opening their homes to try to help the displaced people. In the face of this reality, rhetoric such as Moveon.org's and Teddy Kennedy's is exposed for the meretricious, nonsensical garbage it is. A bunch of rich white people simply cannot succeed in convincing the country that they are the party of social justice.

Update: I loved this post by Sigmund, Carl and Alfred. Please also see this comment by Square1 on a prior post:
Part of leadership is saving the people you can, and maximizing the survival potential of those you can't. Little was done to do either and that is why there is all of the finger pointing. Someone must pay the piper somewhere.

However I think that many efforts at sorting this out at the moment are wasted while people are still dying. There will be time enough to sort all of this out later. Right now there are still people trapped and living in sqallor. There are people who have absolutely nothing. It is action these people require now, not politics. It's the future residents of New Orleans that will need the politics.
One thing I can never figure out is how the real views of people like the Tommys and Square1s get so little publicity in the press. I guess there is no drama in common sense, a sense of fairness and commitment to others. No drama, just the American spirit.

Further Update: Moveon repents of their sins. Let's see if Kennedy does. And speaking of repentance, Sean Gleeson has a bombshell. Courtesy Conservative Cat.

MoveOn.Org's now claiming they aren't producing such an ad. Truth sure is slippery.
Think someone with a little brains broke the news to them that it was going to be about as effective as the English writing the residents of Clark County, OH?
Here's to hoping that the story of the American Spirit overcoming the odds and rising above the rubble becomes the kind of classic drama that sweeps away the competing superficial grab for attention.

...and Chief No Nag sounds like a real stand up guy. The country is full of such unsung heroes.
A lot of the Democratic posturing and condemnations in the wake of the hurricane are really repugnant. I don't know how they're going to manage the contortions necessary to turn this into an attack on Roberts, but I don't doubt that they'll try.

If you really think about some of the things that happened in New Orleans, you see the abject failure of Democratic policies and promises for the past four decades as an underlying cause.

I'm a Democrat, and I'd like to keep being one. They're really making it hard.
Tom, I agree. I think the real Dems have to rebel against the national leadership. Once the Democratic party really stood for something. It can again.

If that can't be done we have to start a third party. I can't take much more of this sniping at the really good people in our country. Right now I am totally afraid to vote for Democrats on the national level because I am afraid that their leadership will betray our military.

I want a strong opposition to the Republican party, but not a lunatic one.

Ilona, Chief No Nag is an incredible man, as long as you do not nag him.

But the point is that even Chief No Nag, who walked 50 miles when he was sixteen to find corn for his family in a famine, and who walked back carrying a 50 pound bag of corn, knows one essential thing. A human being needs a worthwhile society to be able to live a worthwhile life. None of us do it alone.
well, as long as the Dems keep this "if you were smart like me, you'd see that what I'm telling you is in your own best interest" they are going to have problems. People usually think they know what they want and like, and usually they are right.
I would like to see a poll of what people think of Moveon.org.
Tommy, are you talking about that whole freedom thing? Yes, I agree.

Gindy, I don't think most people are all that fond of Michael Moore. I hope this is wrong, but I saw on Du that Moore was thinking of doing a "documentary" about New Orleans.
If, and it's the big "if," the Democrats were really a party and not a collection of tribal interests fighting over money and power, this Hurricane response would open the door for them to regain power. Bush giving a speech about Iraq in California instead of leading the disaster relief, the appointment of a clearly unqualified political hack to head FEMA (and if reports are correct, the next top four are also political hacks), a very poor communicator as head of Homeland Security, and failure to heed Jeb Bush's dire warning about Katrina is fuel for any election. What we see instead is race mongering hate and accusational politics at its worst. Sorry, no cigar Democrats.

BTW Jeb Bush knows how to handle Hurricane Disaster. He leads. He is up front and visible the entire time. I was there during one last year and it was very clear who was in charge in a state where racial hostility toward him is high. He led anyway.
Howard, I totally agree. Both parties aren't exactly shining, which makes it more incredible that the Dems appear to be determined to blow their own heads off.

We need less rhetoric and more meaningful action. Those who are all talk for their own advantage are exposing themselves. I don't think the public will react kindly to such individuals or agendas.

I ran into a thread on a "conservative" forum that just made me sick. They were complaining about debit cards being given to people in refugee shelters. These are people who often have lost everything but the clothes on their backs. It is not the label you wear or the theories you espouse that matter. It is what you do when the chips are down.

I can't believe that hundreds of square miles of land have been blasted nearly flat and that people can be so oblivious to the ramifications.
Cool Blog, I never really thought about it that way.

I have a Hurricane Katrina blog. It pretty much covers hurricane related stuff.

Thank you - and keep up the thoughts!
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