Tuesday, January 24, 2006


Strange Press Release

First, some personal notes - I have been worthless today. Yesterday, I became stricken with an ailment that has made talking quite difficult. In a way, it was a blessing that my afternoon hearing was pushed off for a month in Blount County Juvenile Court because I would have been a bit handicapped in oral argument, for sure. The condition became worse overnight, and I cancelled all appointments for today in the hope of recovering before tomorrow. I'm a bit better, but I am headed to the doctor this afternoon just to be safe.

Second, I received a strange press release from Progress for America (PFA) this afternoon shortly after Judge Alito's nomination received passage out of Senate Judiciary. PFA has been one of the chief organizations working publicity in favor of President Bush's judicial nominations. Some of their work has been excellent. Some of their work is head-scratching. This falls under the latter.

PFA proudly trumpeted an endorsement by Ed Rendell, Pennsylvania Governor and former Chair of the DNC, in favor of Judge Alito's confirmation. Politically, that's akin to receiving an endorsement from Ted Kennedy, Michael Moore, Hugo Chavez, or Lucipher. Ed Rendell is one of the worst governors in the United States. His record as an anti-Second Amendment, pro-gambling, pro-tax politician does not align him with the "good guys" of American politics.

Two questions come to mind:

1) Why is PFA so proud of this endorsement? I have no answer there. Poor judgment, if you ask me.

2) Why is Rendell endorsing Alito? Several possibilities exist here. For starters, Rendell is in trouble politically. Lynn Swann is about to clean his clock in Pennsylvania, and with Rendell's numbers in West Pennsylvania peaking at 30% approval, it wouldn't surprise me to see him drop out of the race if he can find a graceful way to do so. Rendell also has eyes for the Vice President's position in 2008 or 2012 (more likely the latter), so he needs to play to the middle if he wants to appear a viable option for Clinton/Obama/Richardson/Bredesen/Candidate X. Also, Rendell's wife serves on Alito's appellate court, the 3rd Circuit. The judges from the 3rd Circuit have supported Alito unlike any other appellate body faced with one of its members being elevated to the High Court ever has.

For Rendell, the endorsement makes sense. For PFA, it really doesn't.

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