here's what london doesn't mean:
it doesn't mean the war on terrorism is working, although i know some of you conservatives will be tempted to think so. the fact that the terrorists have struck more or less everywhere but the united states since 9/11 is encouraging, but you can't conclude from that basis alone that they're not able to strike us as well. it may be that they simply don't want to return to the united states until they can do so in grand enough a fashion to top 9/11, whereas yesterday was their introductory strike on the brits.
it also doesn't mean that the war on terrorism is not working. let's imagine for a moment that the war on terror has been prosecuted to absolute perfection, that every possible step had been taken, every known terrorist stronghold invaded, every leader captured or killed. do any of you seriously believe that that could have prevented a few determined individuals from planting a few bombs on a few trains?
what do the bombings yesterday mean? they mean that there are a lot of sick people in this world who place no value whatsoever on human life--including their own. that last bit shouldn't come as much of a surprise: if you esteem yourself nothing beyond a living smart bomb, why not blow up others? so we'd all better come to grips with the fact that terrorism is never going to be eliminated. you can blame poverty or religion or unjust foreign policy, but the truth is that it's intrinsic to our nature and it's always going to be with us. man's capacity for cruelty is limitless and the pages of history are written in the blood of those who underestimated this truth. the best that we can do is to keep fighting. "forever," i hear someone ask. yes, forever. that's just the way it is. it's the struggle between good and evil in each of our hearts played out on the world stage. you win the first battle, and we'll all win the second. until then, however...
an aside: i held my peace yesterday out of respect while liberals practically turned handsprings. the ghouls had apparently been waiting for something like this for quite some time. the giddy outbursts i witnessed in the immediate aftermath of the train bombings made their daily iraq casualty parades seem somber by comparison. i'm finding it difficult to register my disgust, so i'll simply say that if any of what i've said in this final paragraph is offending you personally, then you're exactly who i'm talking about.
why bush should appoint a hard-liner
1. bush is under no obligation to cooperate with congress
to hear the democratic minority tell it, the president has a constitutional duty to submit only those nominees they find ideologically palatable. nothing could be further from the truth. the constitution gives the president broad latitude to nominate those individuals he believes best suited to the job. the "advise and consent" role of congress is merely intended to assure that the president's nominees are qualified for their positions, it is not intended to serve as a bargaining chip whereby congressional minorities can dicker the president away from his ideal candidates. we saw a foreshadowing of this recently when harry reid proposed a handful of nominees he found acceptable, the implication being that it's now the president's turn to make a counter-proposal as though this were some sort of negotiation, or worse, to choose from a pool of congressionally approved candidates. for an example of how this is supposed to be handled, check out clinton's nomination of ginsburg (arguably the most liberal justice on the court), and the subsequent overwhelming confirmation afforded her by senate republicans. she was qualified, she was the president's choice, ergo, she was confirmed.
2. ideology should play no role in the confirmation process
if the recent federal appellate court battles are any indication, a staunch conservative appointee would likely be rejected by democrats on the grounds of "extremism." i recently heard one liberal activist argue that the president should nominate a supreme court justice that will represent the interests of all americans, not just his far-right special interests. it should be noted that the democrats are, of course, driven as much by far-left special interests in their opposition as bush would be in a potential conservative nomination, but that's beside the point. bush won a decisive if not overwhelming victory in the last presidential election. it does not matter if many americans did not vote for him. they lost. in our republic--in any republic--those who win elections are given the power to govern as they see fit. we do not now, nor have we ever, lived in a democracy where the will of the people is directly translated into political action--and even if we did, bush's views would still win out by virtue of a simple majority. that is our system of government. it has always been our system of government. it does not change because the democrats are out of power. further, whenever a democrat or liberal activist talks about "extremism" or "representing all the people," what they are really talking about is maintaining the status quo, which is precisely what they'll get as long as bush nominates anyone but a hard-line conservative. it is hypocritical to object to ideologically-driven nominations on grounds that are transparently ideological, and besides, the constitution places no restrictions on ideology as discussed above.
3. by caving to pressure to nominate a more moderate selection, bush establishes a dangerous precedent
if the president desires to nominate a staunch conservative but does not for fear of a messy confirmation battle, he has, through cowardice, tacitly approved the dangerous logic of democratic opponents, namely, that certain types of thinking are unacceptable for our justice system. terms like "ideological litmus test" tend to obscure the real problem: the left's decision to thought police nominees and only permit those whose thinking they deem correct to hold any influence. an individual who has accumulated a long and distinguished service record and garnered the highest marks from professional associations will still be readily denied by the left if they find their beliefs objectionable. this dangerous, un-american, and wrong. it smacks of the sort of naked hostility towards dissent seen in college campuses, major papers, and other bastions of liberalism. in the private world it's merely ugly, in government, it's totalitarian.
4. the people have a right to see their views reflected in the judiciary
the stridency of the left's opposition is easy to understand. america is a predominantly conservative country. a few bastions of liberalism aside (california, new england, rust belt states) the views of most americans tend towards conservatism. we see this in the republican dominance of washington, the prevalence of republicans at the state level, comparisons with europe or canada, etc. since they are unable to enact their agenda through constitutional means (i.e., by elected office) liberals have resorted to enacting it through the courts. it's all they have left, and, as we've often seen, it's all that really matters. as long as the liberals control the courts, our elections are irrelevant--or, at least, they matter only insofar as elected officials will be the ones to appoint the oligarchs. now that the republicans have an opportunity to apply the standard the left has created, they cry foul and do everything in their power to obstruct. the great irony here is that, in addition to being better in tune with the average citizen, conservative justices believe in interpreting the constitution as written.
5. only a hard-line conservative will do
once bush's justice is appointed, there's no accountability and no going back. souter is a fine example of this--souter, one of our most reliably liberal justices, had been decried by liberal groups as a right-wing extremist during his confirmation. in the recent kelo decision, which empowers cities to take private property from one land owner and transfer it to another for the purpose of private development via eminent domain, souter and another supposed conservative, kennedy, sided with hard-line liberals ginsburg, breyer, and stevens in perpetrating one of the biggest crimes against individual liberty in the history of our republic. bush's appointee must be a man or woman about whom there is no question. the media would portray such a pick as a brazen attempt by the president to pick a fight with congress. this is silly for two reasons. the first is obvious: bush is in for a battle regardless of who he picks. even if bush's selection delighted them, the democrats would have to offer at least token resistance to placate their rabidly anti-bush core, and to insulate themselves from future criticism should the nominee turn out to be a stealth conservative. the second reason is that bush doesn't want a big confirmation battle. it in no wise helps him and, indeed, harms him by burning political capital he could spend on social security reform or other initiatives.
why everything i just said doesn't matter
i don't think bush is going to give us another scalia. he's going to give us gonzales.
locdog sometimes wishes he didn't care