Miers Confuses The Nation

Now this is just weird. Here’s what Harriet Miers said about abortion in 1993:

The ongoing debate continues surrounding the attempt to once again criminalize abortions or to once and for all guarantee the freedom of the individual women’s [sic] right to decide for herself whether she will have an abortion.

Forget how badly worded that sentence is; is it just me, or is that phrasing really biased toward reproductive rights? She continues:

Those seeking to resolve such disputes would do well to remember that “we gave up” a long time ago on “legislating religion or morality,” she said. And “when science cannot determine the facts and decisions vary based upon religious belief, then government should not act.”

What? What? This is the person who wanted to pass a constitutional amendment banning abortion, and to ban gay sex, just four years earlier. Now she’s speaking out against legislating morality, and of dealing with science instead of religion? Look, if this is what she thinks now, than I might be willing to reconsider my thoughts on her. But there are so many contradictions in her record that it’s impossible to know what she truly believes. When it comes to the Supreme Court, I’d rather know what I’m getting, even if I don’t like it, than have to deal with a mystery box.

Outrageous

Ever since Cass Sunstein found that every execution deters 17 murders, I’ve been a qualified supporter of the death penalty for the most heinous of crimes (war crimes, hate crimes, etc.) But this is simply disgusting:

The House bill that would reauthorize the USA Patriot Act anti-terrorism law includes several little-noticed provisions that would dramatically transform the federal death penalty system, allowing smaller juries to decide on executions and giving prosecutors the ability to try again if a jury deadlocks on sentencing.
The bill also triples the number of terrorism-related crimes eligible for the death penalty, adding, among others, the material support law that has been the core of the government’s legal strategy against terrorism.

Under the proposals, 41 crimes would be added to the 20 terrorism-related offenses now eligible for the federal death penalty. Prosecutors would also find it easier to impose a death sentence in cases in which the defendant did not have the intent to kill.
In one example cited by Human Rights Watch, “an individual could be sentenced to death for providing financial support to an organization whose members caused the death of another, even if this individual did not know or in any way intend that the members engage in acts of violence.”

If the purpose of the death penalty is deterrence, how does it make any sense to execute someone for giving money to a group that has murderers among its members, even if they did not know this? Think about it. Say a Girl Scout commits a murder. This would condemn to death anyone who had bough Girl Scout cookies (though probably not the girl). That’s just how absurd this is. I can only hope that the Senate version emerges victorious.

Rove, Libby to Be Indicted

That’s the word from Raw Story (via Taegan):

Special Prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has asked the grand jury investigating the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson to indict Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby and Bush’s Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice, lawyers close to the investigation tell RAW STORY.
Fitzgerald has also asked the jury to indict Libby on a second charge: knowingly outing a covert operative, the lawyers said. They said the prosecutor believes that Libby violated a 1982 law that made it illegal to unmask an undercover CIA agent.

At least Sen. Hutchinson will be happy, at least when it comes to Libby. I find it hard to believe that Rove and Libby will be on the White House staff for long after this; they’ll probably resign voluntarily rather than humiliate their bosses by refusing to leave. I’m not sure what Bush White House without Rove will look like, but I can’t wait for it.

Scowcroft, Wilkerson, Et Al.

Matt has the right idea: these are guys were too cowardly to speak out against the war when it mattered, and are only doing so now, with Bush weak, the conservative movement fractured, and their views becoming the conventional wisdom. Same argument I made in reference to Dick Gephardt. Now, Scowcroft did criticize the war last September, but in far too soft tones. So it’s still disappointing.

Perjury for Thee, But Not For Me

“I certainly hope that if there is going to be an indictment that says something happened, that it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality where they couldn’t indict on the crime and so they go to something just to show that their two years of investigation was not a waste of time and taxpayer dollars.”
– U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, on the Plame case.
“If only the President had followed the simple, high moral principle handed to us by our Nation’s first leader as a child and had said early in this episode `I cannot tell a lie,’ we would not be here today. We would not be sitting in judgment of a President. We would not be invoking those provisions of the Constitution that have only been applied once before in our Nation’s history.
But we should all be thankful that our Constitution is there, and we should take pride in our right and duty to enforce it. A hundred years from now, when history looks back to this moment, we can hope for a conclusion that our Constitution has been applied fairly and survives, that we have come to principled judgments about matters of national importance, and that the rule of law in American has been sustained.”
– U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, voting to impeach Bill Clinton for a “perjury technicality where they couldn’t indict on the crime.”

We Win on the Issues

I’m hardly surprised by these poll results, reported by the Carpetbagger:

* Universal health insurance — Support is overwhelming for universal insurance, with 75% supporting it and only 7% opposed.
* Medicare — 96% support it. When one compares “strongly support” vs. “strongly oppose,” it’s 80% to 1%. The numbers were nearly identical for Medicaid.
* Embryonic stem cell research — 70% support it, 19% oppose it.
* Sexual health — Americans strongly approve of the use of contraception (93% to 4%), sex education in high school (87% to 10%), funding of international HIV prevention and treatment programs (87% to 10%), funding of international birth control programs (70% to 21%), and even abortion centers (63% to 32%).

This tells me two things. One, for the next election cycle, it’s health care, stupid. Not only is single-payer health care the right thing to do (I’ve just recently come around to this point of view), but it has overwhelming popular support. And if we’re able to frame the Republicans as big-business types who want to deny you health care, which we didn’t do the last time around (1994), we’ll win overwhelmingly. But the more important conclusion to dray is that social issues aren’t exactly losing ones for us. Large majorities of Americans are pro-choice, pro-comprehensive-sex-ed, and pro-stem-cell. True, the majority of America is still bigoted on gay issues; but even that’s getting there. So, yeah. Pay better attention to social issues; they’re both winning and more interesting than other issues.