Monday, October 31, 2005


Randy Sanders resigning?

Reports are rampant in Knoxville that Randy Sanders has resigned from his duties as Offensive Coordinator of The University of Tennessee. Coach Fulmer will address the staff changes in a press conference at 4:15 p.m. Dave Hooker of the Knoxville News-Sentinel has also reported that Coach Cutcliffe, former OC at UT and Head Coach at Ole Miss, may be replacing Sanders, who may stay at UT for the rest of the season as the Quarterbacks Coach.

More to come as this unfolds...


Whopper of a Democratic Rumor

Blake Wylie has an interesting scenario involving multiple candidates and seats, as well as MSNBC. (Hat tip: Adam Groves.)

I'm with Adam in that I find this hard to believe. You can't involve this many people with this many gigantic egos and ambitions and have it all work out smoothly. However, if even some of this is true...

Very interesting. Harold Ford, Jr. as a TV host? Strange times...


BREAKING NEWS: Alito is Bush's pick

I heard strong rumors out of the Beltway late last week that Bush was leaning towards either Samuel Alito (known as "Scalito" for his originalist judicial philosophy and penchant for biting dissenting opinions) or Michael Luttig as his next Supreme Court nominee. Reports this morning confirm that it is Alito who will be the next nominee, with an all-out war to come over his confirmation.

Thank you, Mr. President, for (eventually) doing the right thing. To quote Doc Holliday from Tombstone, "Now we can be friends again."

MORE REACTIONS: Orin Kerr is happy, Bob Krumm is in a fighting mood, Thoughts of an Average Woman is panicking about Alito's dissent in Casey, MY Vast Right Wing Conspiracy is ecstatic, Captain's Quarters is trumpeting Alito's principled approach, Temple of the Screaming Penguin appears to like Miers better, CommonSenseAmerica is looking forward to the fireworks, North American Patriot is looking forward to the bloodbath (but in a good way), and Blanton over at RedState tells the liberals to "bring it on."

Scrappleface, meanwhile, has a great fictitious press release:

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said, "The president acknowledges that his nominee is probably too brilliant for this Court."

I can't explain how satisfying this nomination is to me. President Bush has nominated a principled judge with a proven track record who was on every conservative commentator's short list, not an intellectual lightweight or an ideological activist. (On the last point, yes, I want to win, but, no, I don't want to win by using the same unprincipled tactics of the Left. Judicial activism is wrong, no matter if it comes from the Left or the Right.)

Happy, happy day!

MORE: The following press release was generated by Progress for America, a group that has been working for Bush's nominees (I wouldn't call them conservative, because they backed Miers, too):

Senators Should Reject Pressure from Liberal Extremists

WASHINGTON - Progress for America Inc. (PFA) president Brian McCabe today applauded the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito as Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court and officially launched the website

“Judge Alito is uniquely qualified to be an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court,” said Brian McCabe, PFA's president. “Like Chief Justice Roberts, Judge Alito will bring a wealth of experience to the U.S. Supreme Court.”

“Judge Alito has dedicated his entire life to public service: he served as a well-respected Judge on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, Deputy Assistant to the U.S. Attorney General, Assistant to the U.S. Solicitor General and as a law clerk to Judge Leonard Garth,” McCabe noted.

“As a crime fighting U.S. Attorney, Judge Alito convicted numerous terrorists and corporate criminals,” McCabe continued.“Although some liberal extremists will inevitably urge Senate Democrats to obstruct Judge Alito’s nomination, they should set bitter partisanship aside. No one can argue that Judge Alito is anything but extremely well qualified for the Court and his unanimous confirmation to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals will undermine any attempt by liberals to argue that he is a ideologue,” McCabe added.

“Senator Lautenberg put it best during Judge Alito’s earlier confirmation when he said, ‘I believe Mr. Alito has the experience and the skills to be the kind of judge the public deserves – one who is impartial, thoughtful, and fair. I urge the Senate to confirm his nomination.’ We could not have put it better ourselves,” McCabe concluded.


I especially like the "crime fighting U.S. Attorney" comment. Heh. I guess it will be up to Senate Judiciary to find out what was in his superhero utility belt when he was doing this alleged crime fighting.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Miers nomination in trouble

Several conservative commentators have been dedicated to fighting Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. George Will and John Fund have been in opposition since the beginning, and their latest efforts are of their usual high quality.

If I haven't stated it clearly before - I oppose the Miers nomination.

To see where other blogs are lining up on this dreadful nomination, see here. (Hat tip: Bob Krumm.)

MORE: The rumor mill over the past week has centered over a possible withdrawal by Miers within the next two weeks. Bill Kristol of the The Weekly Standard went on the record during last night's "The Daily Show" with his prediction (which, judging by his grin, may be based on actual knowledge) of such. As the cries for a Miers withdrawal have turned into predictions, we may be spared from the ordeal of a meaningless hearing before the Senate Judiciary.

EVEN MORE: Glen Dean has found a new conservative website launched for the sole purpose of convincing Miers to withdraw.

Monday, October 24, 2005


Old gun news

My apologies for not posting this earlier, but this is great win for the NRA and the gun manufacturers. Perhaps I subconsciously didn't want to give Rick Boucher any positive press. From NRA-ILA this past Thursday:

Historic Victory For NRA
U.S. House Of Representatives Passes The "Protection Of Lawful Commerce In Arms Act"(Fairfax, VA) - Today the United States House of Representatives passed the "Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act" (S. 397) by a bipartisan vote of 283-144. The legislation now moves to President Bush's desk for his expected signature.

Commenting on the passage of this landmark legislation, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said, "This is an historic victory for the NRA. Freedom, truth and justice prevailed, and today S. 397 is one step closer to becoming the law of the land. No other industry is forced to defend themselves when a violent criminal they do not know, have never met and cannot control, misuses a legal non-defective product. American firearms manufacturers will now receive the same fair treatment."

The "Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act" seeks to end predatory and baseless lawsuits initiated nationwide by the gun control lobby. These lawsuits sought to bankrupt a lawful, highly regulated industry by holding the manufacturers and retailers responsible for the unforeseeable acts of criminals. S. 397 passed the Senate in late July with a bipartisan vote of 65-31.

Joining LaPierre in commenting on this victory, NRA Chief Lobbyist Chris W. Cox added, "Our judicial system has been exploited for politics and Congress put a stop to that. Passage of the 'Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act' would not have been possible without the support of the 257 House co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle. We appreciate the tireless efforts of Rep. Cliff Stearns and Rep. Rick Boucher and the Republican members of House leadership who worked to move the bill in this chamber.

"We are a safer country today because Congress passed this critical legislation and acted to save American icons like Remington, Ruger, Winchester and Smith & Wesson from politically motivated lawsuits. Our men and women in uniform abroad and at home now will not have to rely on France, China or Germany to supply their firearms," Cox added.

During Senate debate earlier this year, the Pentagon stated its concern over the consequences if the American firearms industry was litigated into extinction. The Department of Defense stated that it "strongly supports" S. 397 citing, "that passage of S. 397 would help safeguard our national security by limiting unnecessary lawsuits against an industry that plays a critical role in meeting the procurement needs of our men and women in uniform."

"I would like to thank our members who played a pivotal role in making this bill a reality. Together, we have saved the American firearms industry and protected the sanctity of the Second Amendment," concluded LaPierre.

Provided courtesy of the National Rifle Association of America Institute for Legislative Action

Saturday, October 22, 2005


Another loss for the Big Orange

And in the only game that really matters.

One thing is for certain...

One of these men won't be at the season opener next year against Cal:

Randy Sanders
UT Offensive Coordinator since 1998
Calls plays for the offense ranked 96th in the country in scoring
Paid $162,813 per year to stifle a great collection of offensive talent

Rob Huddleston Posted by Picasa
UT Football Fan since 1982
.912 Winning % on NFL2K3 and 7-time Defending Fantasy Football Champion
Paying lots of $$$ to watch excellent talent wasted

Yes, lots of folks played a key role in UT's humiliating 3-point loss to an equally impotent Alabama team, but Sanders has been the common thread in the recent string of disappointment and - I'm sorry to say - must be let go. If Phillip can't see that through his loyalty to Sanders, then - I'm sorry to say - he must also be released from his contractual duties. I never thought I'd say it, but Fulmer is playing not to lose (which is the same thing as saying that he is playing not to win). Yes, he is a fantastic recruiter, but the players do not develop during their four years on The Hill and are consistently not placed in situations where they can succeed. Two examples - 1) Corey Anderson's head was not in the game, having whiffed on a block on the previous play, but who was the focus of a screen pass on the biggest play of the game? 2) On third down and a country mile on what proved to be the game-winning drive, Antonio Gaines - the 5'9" Sophomore who played RB in high school and is still learning the CB position - was locked up in one-on-one coverage with D.J. Hall, who was the only Alabama WR that caught anything all night. Both plays proved to be disastrous for UT, and both were the direct result of personnel blunders by the coaching staff.

This has to end. UT has managed to parlay one of the most talented teams in the country and a #3 preseason ranking into a three-way tie with South Carolina and Vanderbilt for third in the SEC East. While no one should overlook USC or Vandy (Memphis and Kentucky are horrible and can be overlooked, while Notre Dame may pound UT to a pulp and can be chocked up as a loss), UT is probably looking at a 7-4 record and - dare I say it - a birth in the Music City Bowl or the Independence Bowl. Honestly, Fulmer and Sanders should pull "a Bobby Knight" and refund their salaries to the university. After all, Mike Hamilton was counting on a BCS birth this year to help fund the Neyland Stadium renovations. That's history, and the bowls we are currently looking at will actually result in a net loss after expenses such as hotel rooms, travel, etc., are accounted for against the slight bowl payout. A refund by Fulmer and Sanders would certainly help.

Am I just blowing off steam? Not really. I am mad, but my anger with this coaching staff has been building this year. I have always believed the UT football is bigger than any one man, whether it be Doug Dickey, General Neyland, Johnnie Majors, Peyton Manning, or Phillip Fulmer. I'm not writing off my allegiance to UT by any means. On the Monday after the Georgia loss a few weeks back, a fast food worker commented that I picked a bad day to wear my UT polo. I responded that this was the perfect day to wear it, because now was the time when fans don't turn on their team. I'm not turning on them now, either. However, for the good of the team, I am posing the question as to if new leadership is needed. Now that I live within walking distance of the greatest athletics facility in all of sports, I feel especially attached to the fortunes of UT football. That is why there is no question as to where I will be next Saturday night when the Gamecocks come into town.

See you at the stadium. Your team needs you. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 20, 2005


Conservative Ideology at a Crossroads

David Frum has some excellent thoughts on the pro-Miers "conservatives" in his running diary column on National Review Online. He opens with the following analysis:

"It seems that the pro-Miers forces really are bent on burning down the village in order to save it."

Frum makes several strong arguments regarding support for Miers, including charges of outright hypocrisy by many who have supported standing on ideology with previous appointees but now have switched to a results-driven approach for the Miers nomination. Also of note is the link at the bottom of the column to NRO's petition for the withdrawal of the Miers nomination, which I signed after some deliberation as to whether it was better for Miers to withdraw or to be defeated before the full Senate.

Lyle Denniston of SCOTUSblog has the following on Miers and her unfamiliarity with the Supreme Court:

"Supreme Court nominee Harriet E. Miers told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that she had been involved as a private attorney in three cases that were appealed to the Supreme Court -- none of which was granted review. Only one of the three appeared to involve any significant constitutional issue, and that one involved the political career of President Bush. Miers also made a broad claim to having handled constitutional questions as White House Counsel to President Bush. But, she gave no details, even though the Committee had asked her to "describe in detail the constitutional issue you dealt with, the context in which you dealt with it, and the substance of any positions you took related to that issue." She also failed to provide detailed support for a claim that, as a private lawyer, she handled "many cases involving issues of personal jurisdiction under the United States Constitution" and gave no details on her handling of "many First Amendment issues" while representing 'a media client for many years.'"

Senator Chuck Schumer showed particular angst at Miers' lack of responses to the bipartisan Senate Judiciary questionnaire today. After reading some of the vagaries that Miers dared use as answers, I - for one of the first times in my life - have to agree with Senator Schumer. (You have no idea how tough that was to write...)

Meanwhile, Trent Lott, Republican Senator from Mississippi, seems to have suddenly - and without explanation - changed his tune on Miers, going from stating that she was "unsatisfactory" to now saying that he will probably end up backing her. Gee, I wonder what could have changed his mind? In any case, I am pleased to see that Senator George Allen is proceeding with caution. He needs to do so if he is to continue his appeal to the Right as 2008 approaches. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, whose campaign was already derailed by his lack of leadership during this disastrous 2005, support for government funding for stem cell research, and the current investigation into his stock dealings, was one of the first Senators to throw his weight behind the enigma that is Harriet Miers. I urge Senator Allen to stay the course on this issue, because it could pay big dividends in the future.


Half a year of VOLuntarilyConservative

Yesterday, October 19th, was the half-year anniversary for this site. I have to admit that the first six months have been more successful than I could have ever hoped, with several wonderful opportunities brought about through VOLuntarilyConservative, including the liveblogging of Justice Sunday II, coffee with Grover Norquist, and the blogger premier of a major motion picture (Serenity). As I posted very early in this blog's history, I was given some advice by other bloggers not to become hooked on numbers of readers, as no good could come of checking each day to see what people read and what they did not. I have taken that advice to heart, although I am certainly appreciative of the more than 20,000 of you readers that have graced these pages for my opinions. If greater events and thoughts are produced through this blog in every subsequent half-year, then VOLuntarilyConservative will be a resounding success.


Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Bork: Bush indifferent to conservative values

Bork's scathing criticism of President Bush and the Harriet Miers nomination in today's Wall Street Journal is mandatory reading for all conservatives.

I heard some of the same arguments that Bork makes in his article while listening to Rush Limbaugh last Friday on my way back from Chattanooga.

If conservatives wake-up to Bush being "indifferent, if not actively hostile, to conservative values," will anyone (besides Karl Rove and James Dobson) be standing with this President?

Friday, October 14, 2005


Chattanooga Choo-Choo

Sorry, ladies and gentlemen, but blogging will be light today, as I have hearings in Chattanooga. With any luck, I will be back in Knox by COB this evening with a post congratulating my young colleagues who are notified of their bar results. At least, that is the plan as of this moment.

For those of you who MUST read something heading into the weekend, I recommend the following:

Peggy Noonan's piece on how the White House can fix its Miers mess;
Fred Barnes' editorial on what conservatives owe President Bush;
Joseph Farah's explanation of why Miers will never arrive at Senate Judiciary;
The Commercial Appeal's editorial as to why Miers should not be confirmed.

Sorry for the brief obsession with one issue on this blog, but I feel the importance of a Supreme Court nomination deserves full coverage. Besides, no other issue may impact conservatives more in 2005 - and beyond - than the shaping of a new Supreme Court. In sports terms, this is a must-win game. It is that important.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


Ann Coulter - My Schoolboy Crush

Thanks to Sharon Cobb for posting the transcript of Ann Coulter's remarks on this week's "Real Time with Bill Maher." I realize that I often reference the show here, but that many of my readers don't subscribe to HBO. (A question to those without HBO: what do you watch on TV? Seriously. HBO's "Rome," "The Sopranos," "Carnivale," "Deadwood" - plus "Inside the NFL," "Real Sports," and HBO Boxing - comprises the vast majority of my television schedule throughout the year. Yes, these shows are certainly "adult" in nature, but they also stimulate your brain with - gasp! - actual plot twists and superb writing. With the notable exception of FOX's "24", there simply isn't much else worth watching these days that isn't on HBO. In any case, that's my opinion.)

That brings me to another confession.

I love Ann Coulter. Yes, there, I said it. I'm sure that I'm not tall enough (only 5'9"), young enough (she seems to have something for Ben Shapiro, 21, whom Ann humorously supported for a Supreme Court nomination), or in possession of the academic pedigree (the University of Tennessee College of Law (#52) isn't ranked quite as high as Ann's Michigan (#8) or Ben's Harvard (#2), and is actually tied with Harriet Miers' SMU) to have ever interested Ann, but a crush can be a healthy thing, right? (The VOLConWife probably doesn't see it the same way, but let's keep this post progressing, shall we?) Besides, it's her wit, intellect, and unabashed conservatism - exhibited for everyone to see - that makes me admire Ann. Just read her latest column on the Miers debacle. I couldn't have said it better myself, except that Ann wasn't the "only conservative complaining about (the Roberts nomination." Even if she didn't recognize it, I was right next to Ann, complaining all the way.


The Oregon Assisted-Suicide Case

This case is a tough collision of issues for conservatives. It's states' rights and personal liberty (of the "patient")on one side and the sanctity of life and personal autonomy (of the medical doctor) on the other. Honestly, the personal autonomy of the doctor - the freedom to perform his job and uphold the Hippocratic Oath - is a much bigger factor for me than the personal liberty of the patient argument for me, but that could be the stint in medical school talking. I was somewhat angered as a medical student at the thought of a court with a legally-trained judge telling a medically-trained doctor how the doctor should go about treating the doctor's patient. That doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

John Brown (formerly of Knoxville, not chillin' in Boone, NC) has many thoughts on the case. Definitely worth the read.


Drudge: "Secret Testimony" from Miers Slams Federalist Society

Read Drudge's information. If this turns out to be true (and, given Drudge's increasing credibility and the details he provides, I suspect that it is), it appears that not only did Bush nominate the wrong person for the job, but he may have nominated a politically-correct liberal who - with all due respect - has been blessed with merely average intelligence at best. (Anyone who thinks the NAACP is not a "politically charged" organization is either kidding themselves or simply not the sharpest tool in the shed.)

My confidence in the leadership our "conservative" President provides is shrinking by the day.

Probably more on this come...

MORE: More people each day are supporting the theory that this is a political maneuver by the White House based on the tidbits that come out each day about Miers and the Bush Administration's ghastly reactions to these telling snippets. Michael J.W. Stickings is one of those conspiracy theorists, labeling Miers as the GOP's Yoko Ono. (Hat tip: Michael Silence.) Captain's Quarters is in disbelief of the White House reactions, as well. Meanwhile, Donkey Stomp is asking for conservatives to wait until after the Senate Judiciary hearings to throw down on Miers. That only tells me that Donkey Stomp isn't familiar with how little Miers is going to divulge in the hearings. Besides, the confirmation hearings aren't supposed to be a job interview. The Executive branch - if it was doing its job - was supposed to separate the wheat from the shaft. For Republicans like Donkey Stomp who have done nothing but complain about the overbearing role of the Senate Judiciary and the Senate minority in obstructing nominees (quoting the "advise and consent" language) in the hopes of minimizing the Senate's confirmation function to now prop up the hearings as both the beginning and the end of the road to the United States Supreme Court is hypocritical.

EVEN MORE: Hugh Hewitt cites Karl Rove as proof that Miers is no sacrificial lamb. However, as I wrote after the announcement of Justice Roberts, I think that Hugh may be getting a little too close to the Administration to be relied upon as an objective opinion.

CAN YOU STAND MORE: John Fund (in the Wall Street Journal) backs Hewitt in saying that there is no conspiracy surrounding the Miers nomination. Unlike Hewitt, Fund has a convincing argument that this has been one gigantic blunder by the White House.

I actually prefer the conspiracy theory as opposed to gross incompetence, as I could sleep at night with the former.


Death Penalty and the Virginia Race for Governor

Jerry Kilgore

For my attorney friends and others who don't think that it matters what side you take in a court case, I urge you to ask Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tim Kaine if his stand on the death penalty is causing any trouble. SouthNow has this post with the background and this post with some follow-up on Kaine's response.

It will be interesting to see if this swings the race to Kilgore, given how incredibly tight this race has become over the past six months.

Tim Kaine

MORE: Mark Rose has more on Kilgore's conservative ideas, as well as reports of conservative stances in other states.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


No more Boogiedown in the Bronx in 2005

Very little could keep me up until the wee hours of the morning when I have to be in Chattanooga for hearings early the next day. However, there are some visions that are worth the sacrifice.

This is one of them - watching a less celebrated, less compensated team celebrate eliminating the Evil Empire from the MLB playoffs.

The 2004 Yankees' payroll of $184.2 million bought them one of the all-time greatest choke jobs in sports history. Steinbrenner opened up the wallet a little more this year, upping the Yankee payroll to over $205.9 million. More money, but even less of a return as the Bronx Bombers barely made the playoffs and were eliminated tonight by the Angels in the first round of the playoffs.

Even better - the Yankees have spent nearly $1 billion this decade on player salaries. In that time, they have exactly ZERO World Series titles to show for their reckless spending.

If there was ever more definitive proof of intelligent design in the universe...

Monday, October 10, 2005


No more Hobbs?

Looks like Bill Hobbs is joining the list of Tennessee political bloggers that have either scaled back, gone on sabbatical, or discontinued their blogging efforts.

It is nice to hear Bill writing about teaching some skills to bloggers. Lord knows that some of the pre-pubescents assisting Congressman Ford could use the help.

Saturday, October 08, 2005


Delay in posting

Thanks to my wonderful wife and her generous partners at Butler, Vines & Babb, the post regarding Fred Thompson's address (and all other posts) will be delayed so that we can attend the UT game against the lowly University of Georgia. I hope to post later on, but that will depend on how much celebrating I feel is appropriate.

Go Vols!!

Friday, October 07, 2005


The things I do for my readers...

I dragged my butt out of bed at an inhuman hour so that I could finish some work early. Why? So that I could attend the address of my former boss, Fred Thompson, at the UT campus. I'll post more about this later on today, as he had several wonderful things to say. Check back later so that my sacrifices for all of y'all who couldn't make it.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


Conservatives rallying against Bush, Miers

Updating today's earlier rant, the Washington Post, Pat Buchanan, Washington Times, Peggy Noonan, and L.A. Times all reinforce what has been feared - President Bush's failure at the Supreme Court nomination process is hastening the fracture of the Republican Party. The "big tent" was already starting to show signs of fissure. I fear that we are approaching a crossroads where new leadership is needed to save the conservative plank of our Party, lest we sink back to minority status.

This battle isn't over by any means. However, we need a new vision disconnected from the forces in the White House to maintain our advantage and assure victory.


The Mistaken Nomination of Harriet Miers and Trouble for the GOP

Like most conservatives, I was deeply disheartened by our President's nomination of Harriet Miers to SCOTUS. Like most conservatives, we were led to believe that this second Bush Administration would be different from the first one (Bush-41's reign from 1989-1992). In all reality, it has been marked by bigger blunders and a greater betrayal of conservative values than the first Bush Administration ever cooked up. Without a serious correction of course, this Bush Administration will have another item in common with the previous version - it will end with a Clinton in the White House.

I felt that the words penned by Bill Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard and regular contributor to the Fox News Channel, only a few minutes after the Miers announcement were quite on point:

"I'm disappointed, depressed and demoralized.

I'm disappointed because I expected President Bush to nominate someone with a visible and distinguished constitutionalist track record--someone like Maura Corrigan, Alice Batchelder, Edith Jones, Priscilla Owen, or Janice Rogers Brown--to say nothing of Michael Luttig, Michael McConnell, or Samuel Alito. Harriet Miers has an impressive record as a corporate attorney and Bush administration official. She has no constitutionalist credentials that I know of.

I'm depressed. Roberts for O'Connor was an unambiguous improvement. Roberts for Rehnquist was an appropriate replacement. But moving Roberts over to the Rehnquist seat meant everything rode on this nomination--and that the president had to be ready to fight on constitutional grounds for a strong nominee. Apparently, he wasn't. It is very hard to avoid the conclusion that President Bush flinched from a fight on constitutional philosophy. Miers is undoubtedly a decent and competent person. But her selection will unavoidably be judged as reflecting a combination of cronyism and capitulation on the part of the president.

I'm demoralized. What does this say about the next three years of the Bush administration--leaving aside for a moment the future of the Court? Surely this is a pick from weakness. Is the administration more broadly so weak? What are the prospects for a strong Bush second term? What are the prospects for holding solid GOP majorities in Congress in 2006 if conservatives are demoralized? And what elected officials will step forward to begin to lay the groundwork for conservative leadership after Bush?"

Kristol, as per usual, is right on the money. This is really disappointing, depressing, and demoralizing. The outcome is disappointing because conservatives must once again watch as our elected political leader once again plays Russian roulette with our country's future for the sake of cronyism, compromise, and pride. This is depressing because it is unknown when we will ever get a chance to effect change on the Court again. Finally, this is demoralizing because conservatives who already feel betrayed as election year tools by the Republican Party (see my comments from May) may stop voting or start leaving the GOP altogether. I admit this to you - I am at that crossroads. The GOP has done nothing in 2005 but ignore those conservatives who brought the Party into power over the past decade. Several of the wounds have been unavoidable (Kelo, for instance) as it relates to the Party, but the most unkind (the Supreme Court nominations, unsound immigration policy, inept energy policy by a President with too many friends making record profits, federal indictments) have been self-inflicted. I look at the Constitutional Party and the Libertarian Party and see myself having more in common with those folks than the new direction of the GOP. It's too bad that the organization and ability to win national races doesn't rest in those two "minor" parties.

I want to be clear. I - nor anyone else, for that matter - knows enough about Miss Miers to say whether or not she would be an adequate Justice. And that's the point. Many of my Christian friends are incorrectly defending her because she goes to church or for other clues as to her character. They (mostly lawyers) are missing the point. I shouldn't have to rely on a President who has lied to conservatives repeatedly just because he says, "Trust me." That - the word of this President absent any record as a judge, writings as an academic, or significant legal body of work - is not enough. Thus, I will be speaking to the Tennessee Republican delegation as soon as possible in an effort to apply pressure to the Senate Republicans that will result in the defeat of this nominee. Traditionally, SCOTUS nominees have either been a) noted legal theorists, b) respected jurist, and/or c) renowned lawyers with an impressive history of Supreme Court argument. As many conservative pundits have pointed out, Miers' greatest position of influence may have been her appointment as the head of the Texas Lottery Commission (which, according to recent reports, wasn't her finest hour). Again, no offense, Miss Miers, but someone who has a record equal to mine in terms of deserving a seat on the "Highest Court in the Land" should not be confirmed.

My main focus now, though, is on how this will impact the elections of 2006 and 2008. No matter how you spin it, Bush's awful 2005 places an immense amount of pressure on the Democratic Party. Yes, that's what I wrote - pressure on the Democratic Party. The reason for this is that the Democrats are rudderless and impotent. If they cannot take advantage of this excellent opportunity over the course of the next two major elections, they have no future as a major political party. Barring a major recovery by the GOP, I could easily see the Democrats regaining one of the Houses of Congress in 2006. (Chuck Todd shows several Senate races trending Democrat. Hat tip: Michael Silence.) What does that mean for Tennessee? Probably nothing. The only concern that Ed Bryant should have in the Senate race is that a national wave of discontent with the GOP washes into Tennessee and floods his campaign. That truly is the only way that he could lose a race to Harold Ford, Jr., who is providing the GOP with ammunition for the general election on a near-daily basis (not to mention his past indiscretions prior to the start of this campaign). After all, the latest Zogby poll has Bryant leading Ford by 11 points. Unless someone like Steve Gill decides to take another run at a weakened Bart Gordon in the 6th District, I would expect the Tennessee Congressional line-up to remain unchanged, despite the national problems with both parties. In other states, though, where competitive races already exist, that might not be the case.

For other views similar to mine, check out George Will's objections ("Miers is the Wrong Pick"), my girl Ann Coulter's stinging comments, and Professor Randy Barnett's excellent argument.

MORE: And the hits just keep on comin'... Cole Stinson is feeling my pain, ResurrectionSong is singing a sad tune, and Pensieri is down about more qualified women being ignored. (I would add Edith Jones to the Conservatore Dall'est's post, as she was certainly my hope once it became clear that gender mattered to the President.)

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