Is Bush losing the Conservatives..?

Fascinating article on the state of George Bush’s relationship with one of his key constituencies – the hard core conservatives. Caroline Daniel reckons he rode out the storm that carried in the wake of Katrina, but his appointment of a ‘liberal’ (ie insufficiently conservative) to the Supreme Court will test his mettle as a political operator.

  • peteb

    From what I can gather, Mick, while some obviously wanted Bush to nominate a clear-cut conservative, in their own mould, the choice he has made as angered and disappointed many because Miers a) has no judicial experience; b) has too close a personal connection to Bush himself, leaving him open to charges of cronyism; and c) has never clearly stated what her actual politics are.

    As one, seemingly unattributed, quote has it in that article – “Most conservatives expected and deserved more. The nomination is either a decision born of weakness, or political calculation or it’s the true nature of the president’ view of the court.”

    But is that a sign of timidity?.. I’d suggest it’s more likely to generate opposition to the nominee that to persuade everyone to allow the nomination to go through unopposed.

    Perhaps [and I’m probably showing my ignorance of the US political scene here] it’s a stalking horse nomination.. to borrow a phrase.

  • ch in dallas

    Is President Bush losing conservatives? No, and No again. The article is a little hard to follow, due to unattributed quotes. Also the author uses only three sources; a conservative chairman of a company, a professor, and a member of party opposite. not quite a claim to losing conservatives.

    Quick lesson. There are 3 types of American conservatives; Social, fiscal, and libertarian.
    Social cons, usually Southern, are the no abortion, bring back school prayer types. Fiscals want less government spending and a balanced budget. Libertarians are the out-West, gimme a gun and leave me the hell alone ones.

    I’m a mix of social and fiscal. The President has always said he was a “compassionate” conservative. His big thing before 9/11 was education.

    When the author says “losing conservatives” my question is “losing them to who?” The answer is nobody. And to me, the implication of the question means that he’s losing us because he’s not conservtaive enough.

    Get that Ireland, Mr. Bush is losing his base support because he’s not conservative enough!!!

    I don’t fault the article for being one-sided however: it’s much more balanced than anything in the New York Times. It’s just not picking up some nuances, and didn’t really care to ask the rank and file.

  • Alan McDonald

    Hi, Pete.

    Who was it over on another thread who said that you guys should start telling us Americans what to do with our politics, since we’re always butting our noses into yours? [rhetorical question]

    As a liberal Democrat I am the last person to ask about Bush’s reasons for doing things. My own view is that Republicans in power are beholden to business interests first, social conservatives second. The other argument that I have read is that Republicans don’t want to solve the social issues because then thir base would go back to sleep, i. e., stop voting altogether.

  • peteb

    [/rhetorical]

    Weren’t me, Alan.

    As for the “Republicans don’t want to solve social issues” theory… that sounds too much like a Rovian conspiracy for anyone to really take it seriously. 😉

    Personally, I’m more interested in whether there’s a possibility that Miers won’t be confirmed.

  • ch in dallas

    peteb, Miers will be confirmed, IMHO. Harry Ried, the Democratic leader of the Senate likes the nomination. The Democrats on the Judicial Commitee will hammer her question wise to prove their bona fides with left wing groups, and so too with Republicans on the right, but I think it’s in the bag. And she’s from Dallas too. Hooahhhh.

  • peteb

    “but I think it’s in the bag. And she’s from Dallas too. Hooahhhh.”

    the question then is.. was she the best available candidate?

    [a bit of an open-ended, and subjective, question admittedly]

  • Alan McDonald

    Pete,

    The answer is, No, she wasn’t. I was, but they didn’t ask me.

  • Alan McDonald

    BTW, Pete, when you say:

    too much like a Rovian conspiracy

    you convince me that I must have been right after all.

    Great phrase by the way. Sounds like something from a 1950’s science fiction comic.

  • peteb

    Sounds like something from a 1950’s science fiction comic.

    Dammit.. I must stop revealing my literary inspiration as readily as that.

  • ch in dallas

    Peteb, Open ended, yes, subjective, certainly! There is the impression that this is cronyism, but I think not. She was in charge of a Dallas-Houston law firm with over 200 partners, head of the Tx Bar, counsel to Gov and then Pres. Bush. He must know her judical philosophy inside and out. It seems like the last few decades, only existing judges have been appointed, but hisorically I don’t think that’s the case. I’m more comfortable with someone who’se had to make a payroll at a law firm than an egg-head professor from some snooty Eastern university. And as the article pointed out, conservatives may have wanting a more “red-meat” candidate. The liberals may have wanted that too, because Miers is no poster girl for the National Rifle Assoc. See Alan, Mr. Bush “misunderestimated” again!

  • peteb

    “her judicial philosophy”, ch?

    As a lawyer she’d be trying to win the case.. not weighing the decision.

    The managerial post in the Supreme Court, which her role in charge of 200 partners and as head of the TX bar may have qualified her for, as I understand it, is the Chief Justice position which Roberts has already been confirmed in.

    Which just leaves her role as personal counsel to Gov. and then President Bush.

  • ch in dallas

    peteb, As I understand it, the role of a Supreme IS that of a consensus builder, with the 8 other justices. The question at hand in this country, of judicial philosophy, is are you a judge who goes by what the Constitution says (a conservative) or one who wants to interpit it as to what one WISHES it said (a liberal, IMHO). That’s why conservatives, such as moi, are tired of judicial tyranny, 5 persons, accountable to no one, overturning the will of the people through the legislatures. That’s fine if they do it with the U.S. Constitution. Abortion may be good or bad, but it’s not in the constitution, and should be left up to the will of the people in each state.

  • Vera

    Is she the best candidate? No, of course not. Is it cronyism? Yes. Does it matter? No. Bush could have done worse, I suppose.

    Righ-wing talk radio may be up in arms over the appointment, but, as ch points out, where else are they going to go? They’ll have a hissy fit, but it’s not like they’ll stop voting Republican.

    The important thing is whether Senate Republicans support her, and so far all 55 have said they will. Democrats will probably split. Baring unforseen bombshells, this should be a fairly easy confirmation.

  • peteb

    “The question at hand in this country, of judicial philosophy, is are you a judge who goes by what the Constitution says (a conservative) or one who wants to interpit it as to what one WISHES it said (a liberal, IMHO).”

    Well, ch, leaving aside your interpretation.. Miers still has no indentifiable judicial philosphy – the “are you a judge” section is partularly relevant to that issue.

  • Alan McDonald

    Pete,

    You lucky boy, getting all these erstwhile Americans to fill you in on judicial politics, Texas style! I’m going to stick with my analysis that it is Mier’s pro-business background (as well as her closeness to W) that gets those 55 yes votes from the Senate Republicans.

    The Supreme Court justices during the Roosevelt administration found most of his New Deal legislation unconstitutional. That would have made them guilty of judicial tyranny, 5 persons, accountable to no one, overturning the will of the people through the legislatures in CH’s book even though they were far from “liberal activists.”

    The important goal of the neo-cons is the undoing of the New Deal, so the more justices they can get who agree with unfettered capitalism the better for them. By CH’s figuring, this would be a win for the fiscal/libertarians and a loss for the social conservatives.

  • ch in dallas

    peteb, But that’s the beauty of all of this. I trust the President to pick someone with HIS judical philosophy, but she has no paper trail for the Dems to try to hang her with! The opposition will just wail and thrash about.

  • ch in dallas

    Alan, I’ll have to think abouth that New Neal court packing for a minute. That seems like Presidential tyranny!

  • ch in dallas

    Sorry, that’s New Deal. See, I can’t even say it!

  • peteb

    I trust the President to pick someone with HIS judical philosophy

    So you trust someone, without legal training, to pick someone, without judicial experience, to represent their apparent lack of judicial philosophy?

    *rolls eyes*

  • Shay Begorrah

    Miers looks to me like a sign of weakness on Shrub’s part.

    She is ten years older than Roberts (which is a good thing, the only real issue for liberals with Roberts is that he could be there for forty bloody years), she is not an active Federalist (the ultra-con club looking to roll back any progressive legislation or goverment programs on the basis that if the founding fathers did not know about social workers, we do not need them, right?), though she may well be anti-choice she has never made a big deal of it and though not a legal light weight she does not have a backround in constitutional law.

    Why pick her then?

    There would be tens of far out right wingers with the appropriate credentials, why not pick one of them (even crazy right wing Hispanic lady judges are not in short supply)? It would make his base happy and he could throw the US back 70 years in terms of judicial philosophy.

    He picked Miers not becuase Republicans will love her but becuase the remaining ones with any liberal principles will not be tempted to vote against her with the Dems (if even to distance themselves from the whole Delay/Libby/Abrahamoff legal avalalanche).

    With Iraq on fire and the failure of his attempts to auction social security off to the highest bidder he just can not afford a real fight over the SCOTUS.

  • ch in dallas

    Peteb, Roll’um back in. That’s the beauty of Americam federalism. We the people don’t put our power into the hands of a high and mighty anointed. We elect regular people to make the best decisions they can. If the Senate doesn’t like the pick, fine. That’s why the Founders split the federal govenment into 3 co-equal branches, with checks on each other. you’ve got a political system….how’s it workin’ for ya? :0

  • peteb

    Now, ch.

    That’s a perfectly acceptable fall-back position to take.. but it’s not exactly what you espoused earlier. 🙂

  • ch in dallas

    peteb, How true. A thousand pardons, I ask of ye!
    However, SB has given me the vapors.

  • Comrade Stalin

    We the people don’t put our power into the hands of a high and mighty anointed.

    You do, it’s called the Supreme Court, and it apparently has the power to stop votes being counted and select the winner of an election. I don’t want to digress into some kind of liberal/con slanging match, but the way elections are handled in the US is an utter mess. I don’t care which party happens to benefit from it (and I know Clinton benefitted in several ways from the same mess earlier in his own period in power).

    In the UK, no government or authority would dare, ever to step in to stop a recount. Ever. If they did, the marches on the streets would bring the country to a complete stop (see the Poll Tax riots for an example of how ordinary people in the UK still wield the power to force the hand of a bad government).

    On paper, the US system is great. In practice, it is not that much different from any other system. Corrupt politicians will try to work it to do as they will.

    We elect regular people to make the best decisions they can. If the Senate doesn’t like the pick, fine. That’s why the Founders split the federal govenment into 3 co-equal branches, with checks on each other. you’ve got a political system….how’s it workin’ for ya? :0

    The thing I like about the UK and Irish systems, to use local examples, is that the governments elected implement as much or as little reform as they like, in accordance with their mandate. In the US, elected parties or politicians are prevented from exercising their mandate by the “checks and balances” which in actual fact simply preserve the status quo. If you’re a Republican, the status quo includes a lot of things that you oppose. I think that those who voted for Bush should be entitled to see their wishes implemented in accordance with the mandate they gave him, and if that means the abolition of the welfare state and the abolishment of the Department of Education then so be it. Likewise when the vote swings the other way.

    I mean, a person who votes for Harry Reid is voting for a person who established consensus with an opposition party, helped them achieve their wishes with a few compromises, and picked up a few of the leftover scraps.

  • ch in dallas

    Hello Comrade! It’s true that the U.S.system is a very conservative one. Conserved since 1781.
    The Founders wanted checks and balances everywhere, even against the majority, a tyranny of the majority if you will. And the system they were modeling against was the parlimentary system. That’s why the president and congress can be of two different parties.

    Concerning the recount Bush Vs Gore, the Supreme court stopped partial recounts of Gore stronghold counties, not of the entire state. I personally wished it had been thrown to the House of Rep, as stipulated in the Constitution, which happened to be Republican at the time.

  • peteb

    Comrade

    The difference in systems between the US and UK, and even Ireland, and the most important feature of the US system – the bedrock by which decisions by any part of that system are based – is the Constitution… that’s the “status quo” in the US system. And no other status quo anywhere else comes close to it.

  • ch in dallas

    Sorry, that’s 1787.

  • ch in dallas

    Peteb/Comrade
    Yes, gentlemen, checks and balances. Don’t get me wrong. The system of G.B. and Ireland are great. Churchill said that when he was addressing Congress he was among kin. Our founders wanted something a little less rough and tumble. It’s up to you to decide whether they decided correctly or not, My Right Hon. Gent.

  • peteb

    ch

    I thought I’d already indicated my preference?..

  • bobmcgowan

    Sorry, Comrade, but I’m very much afraid that you really don’t know the position of the Court.

    In the first place, different rules were being used in different counties to process the recount. There was NO standard for judging whether a “chad” should or should not have been counted that applied in all counties of Florida. So, voters were not being treated equally and that is a Constituional NO-NO of long standing. FYI, this part of the overall decision was agreed to by a 7-2 majority of the Court, i.e. that the election recount was invalid as it stood.

    The close decision, 5-4, was whether or not to allow Florida to try again. But, if the job was to be done right, rules had to be written not only for the punch-card ballots, but also for the machine-read paper ballots and, if you want to push the point, for the one county that used voting machines. In view of the requirement that the Electoral College meet before Christmas — December 18 or 19, IIRC– the SCOTUS decision was that there was simply not enough time to do the job properly.

    There’s another problem in that every time the puch card ballots were examined or even handled, it’s almost certain that the vote total changed and additional chads were loosened or even fell off.

    And, what do you do about those folk who voted by machine and whose errors or second thoughts could not be corrected by an all-wise Board of Elections.

    Personally, I do not like any system which permits/allows/requires officials to “read the mind of the voter” and that’s what was being done in Florida in 2000 IMHO.

  • ch in dallas

    Peteb, I assume we each prefer our own systems. When push comes to shove, there’s not a farthings difference between the two. Most of the world aspires to eiither. And remember what Churchill said about “democracy being the worst form of government…..” 🙂

  • bobmcgowan

    Sorry, Comrade, but I’m very much afraid that you really don’t know the position of the Court.

    In the first place, different rules were being used in different counties to process the recount. There was NO standard for judging whether a “chad” should or should not have been counted that applied in all counties of Florida. So, voters were not being treated equally and that is a Constituional NO-NO of long standing. FYI, this part of the overall decision was agreed to by a 7-2 majority of the Court, i.e. that the election recount was invalid as it stood.

    The close decision, 5-4, was whether or not to allow Florida to try again. But, if the job was to be done right, rules had to be written not only for the punch-card ballots, but also for the machine-read paper ballots and, if you want to push the point, for the one county that used voting machines. In view of the requirement that the Electoral College meet before Christmas — December 18 or 19, IIRC– the SCOTUS decision was that there was simply not enough time to do the job properly.

    There’s another problem in that every time the puch card ballots were examined or even handled, it’s almost certain that the vote total changed and additional chads were loosened or even fell off.

    And, what do you do about those folk who voted by machine and whose errors or second thoughts could not be corrected by an all-wise Board of Elections.

    Personally, I do not like any system which permits/allows/requires officials to “read the mind of the voter” and that’s what was being done in Florida in 2000 IMHO.

  • peteb

    “I assume we each prefer our own systems”

    Sheesh.. well there’s your mistake right there, ch.

    Remember, I haven’t been asked a decision about the system here.. ever.. beyond the Treaty that was the Good Friday Agreement that is – which was already a Treaty between 2 separate, and already established, governments.

  • Shay Begorrah

    Bob, do you ever think that if the SCOTUS had not betrayed the principles of Democracy (every vote counts) that there would not now be a 1000+ dead American kids (and god knows how many Iraqis) in an illegal, pointless and counter prouctive vanity war in the middle east?

    Having a insatiable desire for power is bad, but dressing it up as a keen urge to get the Electoral colege results in on time is an act of moral dishonesty for which you would suffer if there was a god. Roll on the midterms.

  • Alan McDonald

    Today the US Supreme Court heard a case on assisted suicide. The voters of the state of Oregon voted for it twice, but Bush’s first attorney general, John Ashcroft, said it violated federal drug laws. Sounds like an unelected tyrant thwarting the will of the people to me.

    The new Chief Justice grilled the attorney for the state of Oregon, but Justice O’Connor asked the lawyer for the federal government some very tough questions. I wonder what questions Harriet Miers would have asked?

  • Comrade Stalin

    It’s true that the U.S.system is a very conservative one. Conserved since 1781.

    The British one has been rolling it’s way along for a thousand years and elements of it’s beginning are still present in the unwritten constitution, but I think calling it a “conservative” system for that reason would be misleading.

    I’m aware that the US founders deliberately worked to make it quite hard to make changes to the system. That’s what I have a problem with. I accept that there are two sides to the “allow the elected party to reform as it will” coin though, as the election in Germany in 1933 showed. I think a reasonable compromise can be found that allows the mandate provided by the people to be implemented.

    Concerning the recount Bush Vs Gore, the Supreme court stopped partial recounts of Gore stronghold counties, not of the entire state.

    I double-checked on Wikipedia, which confirms what I believed, which was that the Republicans went to the USSC to have them intervene after the Florida SC ordered a full state-wide manual recount (see their page oon GWB). That contradicts what you have said. Is Wikipedia wrong or have I misunderstood ?

    The argument in any case is not whether the USSC acted constitutionally, or whether the people running the court were sympathetic to someone or other. It is simply this : if there is a reasonable dispute about an election result – and 500 votes seems like reasonable grounds for dispute – then should somebody be able to step in to stop a recount from taking place ? I might expect that in Zimbabwe. I don’t expect it in any Western democracy.

    A lot of the system in the UK relies on people’s sense of fair play. In a lot of ways it amazes me that it still actually works.

    peteb, I know what you mean but I think the US Constitution is a piece of paper which is translated into fact by men. That is my understanding of why the USSC were able to use it to rule “separate but equal” constitutional, then subsequently overturn it.

  • ch in dallas

    Peteb, Darest I askest??

  • ch in dallas

    Comrade Stalin, I stand by the statements about the Florida recount. To wit, in wikipedia, Bush v Gore “in three separate opinions, seven justices found that a ballot recount then being conducted in certain counties in Florida was to be stopped due to lacking a consistent standard, while two disagreed. A 5-4 majority further declared, a per curiam opinion, that there was insufficient time to establish standards for a new recount that would meet Florida’s deadline for certifying electors.”

  • Comrade Stalin

    bob, the way I see it is this. Florida said, what the hell, we’ll recount the whole damn thing. The USSC Supreme Court stepped in and said, no, we won’t let you, the party’s over. It is nothing to do with chads.

    I do not care what the rationale is or who the outcome would have favoured. You cannot try to say that it is normal practice in a democracy for an authority to step in and block the counting of votes when there is a dispute.

    The chad issue is a complete farce but the way I see it, it is irrelevant given that the Florida SC ordered a by-hand recount of all the votes in the entire state. That means that everyone was on a level pitch.

    The problem is that the US electoral system is a total mess and disasterously run. Both Democrats (JFK being an obvious example I can think of) and Republicans benefit from it when it suits them.

    [The only way to count votes is to employ people to do it, manually and by hand. Why the need for this smoke and mirrors business with votes using machines, of any kind ? I’ve been to several counts here in Northern Ireland. We have many political disputes here, but one you’ll never hear about is fiddling of the vote. That’s because all the candidates are invited to the count, where they may sit opposite the polling officials and physically watch each and every vote as it is counted. The result – even after recounts – is known within 12 hours of the polls closing. Surely functioning democracy should expect no less ?]

    the SCOTUS decision was that there was simply not enough time to do the job properly.

    That’s what my friends back in the Politburo used to say – democracy is too expensive and too slow. After all a strong leader is much more effective anyway.

  • ch in dallas

    True Comrade, Lots of hanging in the USSR, but not chads!

  • Comrade Stalin

    ch, from Wikipedia’s page on GWB :

    “A series of contentious court cases ensued regarding the legality of county-specific and statewide recounts. After machine and manual recounts in four counties, and with Bush still prevailing, the Florida Supreme Court ordered a statewide manual recount of all counties. The Bush campaign appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which, in its mid-December decision in Bush v. Gore, overturned the decision and halted all recounts.”

    I think that the point about consistent standards is a fair one. The Florida Supreme Court evidently attempted to address that by having a full statewide recount. The USSC stopped that. Clearly, given that the USSC split down the middle, it was not a simple matter of upholding a long-held constitutional question about making assumptions about voter intentions.

    Clearly it is a complete mess where nobody agrees on what exactly constitutes a valid ballot – in other words, the ballots are all essentially invalid. How is that a democracy ?

    In the Westminster counts I have attended here, there are often a few hundred ballots which do not have a clear mark for a candidate – the mark is faint, or at the edge of a page, or has been spoiled. The electoral official goes through each ballot and announces which candidate she will count the vote for, or whether she will discard the ballot as spoiled.

  • Alan McDonald

    CH,

    Any comment on the Oregon assisted suicide case?

  • Comrade Stalin

    ch, in Soviet Russia, chad hangs YOU!

  • peteb

    “Peteb, Darest I askest??”

    Sorry, ch.. you’ll have to ask that again in a more regulated, and defined, form. 🙂

  • ch in dallas

    I’m starting to see how the President feels! A liberal on one side and a Communist on the other!

    alan, I think the Oregon cas was one of state and federaL law conflicing. Actually, I’m a pharmacist and know something of it. Dr are licensed under the DEA, which says that its controlled substance can’t be used to overtly end life. The people of Oregon can’t grant their dr’s greater mandate than federal law allows. Federal trumps state (we down here learned that 1861-65!). It’s an esoteric argument. I suppose that if you wanted to push people off buildings, the feds have no law against that. That’s black humor, I know. Seriously, I have many patients with cancer, and have worked with hospice many times, but we don’t want to turn into the Neatherlands that now has infantacide. It’s a tough problem, though

    Comrade, We here in the US are always looking for ways to improve the election system. And in the end, the election of 2000 was a success, in that no one took to the streets. Law prevailed. WhaT A GREAT COUNTRY, and I hope I would be saying the same thing had Gore won.

  • ch in dallas

    peteb, It’s hard for me to formulate a question about your system of government since I don’t know if you in NI or ROI. Since you meantioned what was GFA, I assume it’s NI. If it is NI, aren’t you directly governed from London, with MPs in Parl.???

    Al, are you going to become a states-righter!?

    Signing off y’all, the trouble n’strife needs the computer.

  • ch in dallas

    peteb, Unless you live in NI as, say a catholic, who doesn’t feel represented by the government???
    It’s tough on us yanks.

  • bobmcgowan

    Conrade Stalin;

    Here is the key paragraphs (I think) from the decision:

    “The right to vote is protected in more than the initial
    allocation of the franchise. Equal protection applies as
    well to the manner of its exercise. Having once granted
    the right to vote on equal terms, the State may not, by
    later arbitrary and disparate treatment, value one person’s
    vote over that of another. See, e.g., Harper v. Virginia
    Bd. of Elections, 383 U. S. 663, 665 (1966) (“[O]nce the
    franchise is granted to the electorate, lines may not be
    drawn which are inconsistent with the Equal Protection
    Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment”). It must be remembered
    that “the right of suffrage can be denied by a debasement
    or dilution of the weight of a citizen’s vote just as
    effectively as by wholly prohibiting the free exercise of the
    franchise.” Reynolds v. Sims, 377 U. S. 533, 555 (1964).
    There is no difference between the two sides of the
    present controversy on these basic propositions. Respondents
    say that the very purpose of vindicating the right to
    vote justifies the recount procedures now at issue. The
    question before us, however, is whether the recount procedures
    the Florida Supreme Court has adopted are consistent
    with its obligation to avoid arbitrary and disparate
    treatment of the members of its electorate.”

    Sorry, comrade, but all ballots are valid unless they cannot be read by the counting machine. So, no official is sitting there saying this ballot is good, this bad unless the machine spit it out as unreadable. Personally, I think the process should have stopped right there, but machines can misread input. Perhaps, the unread ballots should have been run through a second or even a third time, but that’s the end of the story. But, once you are going to examine the ballots by had, then, the same rules for “reading the voter’s mind” must be followed by all.

    The Florida Supreme Court ruled that s state-wide recount should be held but didn’t set forth the rules for accepting ballots that the machines could not read.

    Now, the vote of the Electoral College — by law — was to be transmitted to the capital on December 19, 2000 (first Monday after the second Wednesday of December). If all the counties using punch cards were to be recounted under the same rules for determining a valid ballot from those the machines could not readm doesn’t that also mean that the machine-readable paper ballots should also have been recounted? And, then there’s the one county with machines. There is no access to individual ballots in these, so only the machine-readabl.e votes were counted.

    So, SCOTUS ruled that the counting stop and the results after the recounts be certified in order to meet the voting dead established by law.

  • bobmcgowan

    Ooops! That type “dead” in the last line should read either date or deadline.

  • Harry Flashman

    First of all I love the idea that someone who names himself after one of the worst tyrants in history lectures an American about democracy, but I’m sure Comrade is merely being ironic in his choice of nomenklatura! However that issue aside it ill behoves the citizens of a country where 38% of the popular vote gives you a hundred seat majority in Parliament to criticise the electoral system of another nation.

    Anyway I am not going to get into the whole Florida recount thing, in recount after recount it has been proved that Bush won Florida. No amount of chad examining and barring votes from overseas military (a cute little stunt attempted bt the Democrats but now forgotten about) would have changed that result. Democrats should rather examine why Gore lost, after all a moronic chimpanzee (who just happened to have a superior educational record to Gore), who was pilloried in the media should have been a walkover for an incumbent vice president to one of the most popular presidents of all time.

    The fact that he lost and that the Democrats cannot get over it led them to lose again in 2004 and if the Democrats can’t moveon.org they’re going to get whupped again. The Democrats with their idolisation of leftwing kookjobs like Michael Moore cannot grasp that they are alienating their core vote and handing over their voters en masse to the Republicans. If you want an example think about how Michael Foot shoved millions of working class British voters into the arms of Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s.

    Now on ch’s point about where will the conservative vote go if not to Bush, do I really have to say the words “Ross Perot”. Bush 41 also assumed that his vote was guaranteed and when he failed his base by raising new taxes enough of them left him to give Clinton the White House for eight years. If some form of credible right of Bush alternative arrives on the scene then the presidency will be in the Democratic bag in 2008.

  • red kangaroo

    Dallas “That’s why conservatives, such as moi, are tired of judicial tyranny, 5 persons, accountable to no one, overturning the will of the people through the legislatures. That’s fine if they do it with the U.S. Constitution. Abortion may be good or bad, but it’s not in the constitution, and should be left up to the will of the people in each state.”

    Is that the same with gay marriage?

  • red kangaroo

    Bob
    “Personally, I do not like any system which permits/allows/requires officials to “read the mind of the voter” and that’s what was being done in Florida in 2000 IMHO.”

    No mate the court made it clear they didn’t give a dam about the minds of the voter. It didn’t matter how the people of florida voted, they were going in our “Bush” camp.

    Some democracy..

  • ch in dallas

    Red Kangaroo, Yes, that holds for gay marriage. It’s up to the people in each state to decide through the legislature. But there’s a small problem here. The Constitution states that one state must honor the acts of another state. So does that mean that Texas must honor a gay marriage from Mass? Sticky legal question.

    One gay commentator said that this gay marriage debate was prematurely foisted upon the people by gay activists using the courts as an end run around the legislatures. Public opinion has been softening here for years. The Supreme Ct of Mass. forced this upon their people by a one vote majority. So one person in Mass. decides a major social question for 300 million people in 50 states?. Even the one GAY judge on Mass. Supreme Ct voted nay.

  • Alan McDonald

    CH,

    I did not mean to run away from yesterday’s debate. To use your cockney terminology, my trouble n’strife also needed the computer last night, and she didn’t give it back until this afternoon.

    Anyway, our discussion of the intricacies of federalism is probably lost on the locals. Let’s agree on the idea that the will of the people, tempered by the Constitution, should be paramount in our democracy.

    I see some of the polarization of American society as similar to that in Northern Ireland. Those of us who come on here to debate are at least talking to one another rather than screaming or worse.

    The locals may also be unaware that Bush cannot run for re-election in 2008, so his personal political problems are, in a sense, over. Now we are about the “legacy” thing. As for 2008, I see Sam Brownback is already positioning himself by questioning Harriet Mier’s views on conservative “red meat” issues.

  • peteb

    “Anyway, our discussion of the intricacies of federalism is probably lost on the locals.”

    And

    “The locals may also be unaware that Bush cannot run for re-election in 2008”

    *ahem*

    Thanks for that, Alan.. but if you type reealllyy sloowwwlllllyyy.. we might be able to keep up 😉

  • Alan McDonald

    OK, Peeeeeeeete, how’s thiiiiiiiiis?

    Didn’t mean to offend, but I’m a Yank, you know.

    Anyway, here’s something I pulled off the Web:

    Operation Rescue to Miers: Give

    Us Reason to Trust You
    or Withdraw

    Harriet Miers, are you pro-life, or are you

    Us Reason to Trust You
    or Withdraw

    not?

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 6

    /Christian Wire Service/ — Operation
    Rescue is asking Harriet Miers to show reason

    why pro-life Americans should
    trust her to protect pre-born babies from

    abortion, or else withdraw her
    name from consideration to the Supreme Court

    of the United States.

    Operation Rescue continues

    to be disappointed in lack of
    information and track record for Harriet
    Miers, President Bush’s pick to succeed Sandra

    Day O’Connor on the Supreme
    Court.

    "At least nine of the

    last twelve Republican appointees
    to the Supreme Court have been pro-abortion.

    Five of the seven Justices who
    voted for Roe v. Wade were Republican

    appointees. Based on that track
    record, it is insulting, and frankly,

    irrational for President Bush to ask
    the pro-life community to simply trust him

    that Miers will be the kind of
    judge that will help end the national disgrace

    of abortion on demand," said
    Operation Rescue President Troy Newman.

    "There is too much at stake. We will
    not gamble the lives of innocent children on a

    ‘hope so’ nominee."

    "It is time for Ms.

    Miers to show good cause why she
    should receive the support of the pro-life

    community or withdraw her name
    from consideration to the Supreme Court of the

    United States," said Newman.
    "In fact, Ms. Miers may best serve her

    country by withdrawing so that
    President Bush may nominate someone with a

    proven history who all
    conservatives can support with a clear

    conscience, and thereby fulfill his
    campaign promise to the American people."

    Hey, Pete, do you know who Operation Rescue are?

  • peteb

    Google knows everything, Alan 🙂

    They must be out-to-lunch they even criticised Jerry Falwell

    I haven’t seen their funding details yet.. but is the Domino’s Pizza owner funding them too?

  • Comrade Stalin

    ch, I like the USA and visit there all the time, I’m not arguing about whether it is great or not. Just making the point that the electoral system is a disaster, and nothing has been done to rectify it. Voting with machines, with the votes being counted essentially in the bowels of a piece of equipment, is inherently anti-democratic no matter who wins. It is anti-democratic in Ireland (thankfully we were able to fight it off, though certainly they will try to foist it on us again) and it is anti-democratic in the US. I put this down to some fundamental conceptions about what constitutes a legal and trustworthy ballot.

    Bob:

    Sorry, comrade, but all ballots are valid unless they cannot be read by the counting machine.

    I’ve not covered the topic of the validity of the ballots. Instead I’ve covered the way the USSC blocked the count and decided the result. You can certainly argue that they were observing the law (although note that they split down the middle, so clearly some justices did not feel that way) but I don’t think the law is an excuse to avoid a duly democratic ballot. In a functioning democracy, the election would have been declared void, corrective action taken and the ballot re-run. Would you agree ?

    So, no official is sitting there saying this ballot is good, this bad unless the machine spit it out as unreadable.

    I say that the person(s) who built and calibrated the machine gets to decide what a valid ballot consists of. What do you think ?

    Personally, I think the process should have stopped right there, but machines can misread input.

    Excellent – perhaps we can agree that machines are not appropriate for counting election results in a democracy.

    The Florida Supreme Court ruled that s state-wide recount should be held but didn’t set forth the rules for accepting ballots that the machines could not read.

    This does not seem to be a compelling reason to have the USSC stop the counting and declare the result. Instead, something should have been done to establish the correct way to ensure that votes were counted. If that could not be agreed, then the election should have been declared void and re-run.

    So, SCOTUS ruled that the counting stop and the results after the recounts be certified in order to meet the voting dead established by law.

    In summary, the opinion appears to be “an inaccurate result is better than no result, and anyway I’ve got a schedule to keep”. This is anti-democratic.

    Flashman:

    However that issue aside it ill behoves the citizens of a country where 38% of the popular vote gives you a hundred seat majority in Parliament to criticise the electoral system of another nation.

    I haven’t come on this thread saying that the system here is perfect, or that the country is a brilliant place that does everything right – unlike some other contributors here. Instead I’ve highlighted some of the good points, the important one being the degree of oversight. The UK electoral system in many other respects is an obscenity and seldom reflects the wishes of the majority of the people – no dispute with your point there. Nonetheless, at least there are no disputes over balloting, no arguments about the conduct of the vote count (since it is duly witnessed), no nonsense such as the striking off of legitimate electors from the ballot “by mistake” and most of all, no intervention by party politically affiliated individuals in the conduct of the count.

    in recount after recount it has been proved that Bush won Florida.

    It clearly isn’t conclusive, since other counts have found that Gore won. Here is one such example. I won’t try to claim (as you have done) that it is correct or the only version of events. The essential point here is that nobody seems to know for sure who won the election, because the balloting system was in tatters, and the law together with the actions of the USSC prevented a proper count from taking place. Those are the facts of the matter which have not been disputed here. The election should have been declared void and rerun with a paper ballot counted by hand.

    No amount of chad examining and barring votes from overseas military (a cute little stunt attempted bt the Democrats but now forgotten about) would have changed that result.

    I find the way that any political party can intervene to either block votes from being counted, or require votes to be counted, to be utterly ridiculous and anti-democratic. In other words, the result of the election depends on how good your lawyers are and what judges you can talk around to doing what you want. That’s a complete joke. My criticisms are not party political. I don’t like the Republicans but I couldn’t reasonably argue if they had won in an undisputed vote.

    The fact that he lost and that the Democrats cannot get over it

    I can’t get over people who refuse to address serious holes in their democracy, any more than I’d expect a woman to “just get over” being raped or expect American citizens to just get over being attacked on 9/11. I’m sorry. It’s borne out of a reasonable concern that ordinary people have their democratic rights respected. Surely it is in the interest of Republicans that they are seen to have won the election fairly ?

    If you want an example think about how Michael Foot shoved millions of working class British voters into the arms of Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s.

    At least Mrs. T won her vote democratically; she surrendered herself three times to the mercy of the ballot box, rather than surrendering herself to the lawyers and judges who have the authority to decide the outcome of elections over legal technicalities such as the date when the count is required to be completed.

    By the way, as a general comment directed at several people here, many American contributors here (such as Bob above) disagree, but at least manage to express their views civilly and without being patronizing. I always appreciate being corrected on matters of fact, but the “we have this thing called a federal government and a constitution” type of approach leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Most of us understand quite well how the US system works. Sly mode : perhaps an important benefit some of us have is that we can tell the difference between how the US system is supposed to work, and how it works in reality.

  • ch in dallas

    My, Comrade, that’s a lot for me to read. My lips are tired! I thank you for your kind words about the U.S. and I actually agree with you about the voting system. Our problem here is is that voting is the purvue of the county. Texas alone has 254 counties, if memory serves. And so that does lend itself to political manipulation by both parties. Bringing in lawyers can’t be good for democracy. We were as a nation having a national debate about upgrading all counties in the country to one standard, then came 9/11. now with a war on 2 fronts and 2 hurricanes, no money for any upgrade, that’s for sure. But elections have always been held here under less than ideal circumstances even during the civil war, even on Flight 93 above Pennsylvania, the site of the first U.S. battle victory in the war on terror.

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    We could spend all day on Bush v Gore. It’s a messy decision with no clearly discernable rational. You could try the equal protection argument but it’s weak and doesn’t cover the issue properly. e.g. which how do you apply it to counties with different machines? If county A has machine X and County B has machine Y and they count ballots differently why is this not a breach of the 14th Amendment re voters in County A or B? Big big can of worms that one. I read a good piece by Laurence Tribe on this (Tribe, Laurence H., “The Unbearable Wrongness of Bush v. Gore”. Constitutional Commentary, Vol. 19, p. 571, 2003) he makes the argument better than I ever could. (I should probably take his Con Law Class I suppose!).

    But just on a few niggling pedantic points. The law about the 19th December was not the law at all. It is the so called ‘safe harbor’ provision that I think is being referred to. This is simply 3 U. S. C. §5 that provides:

    “If any State shall have provided, by laws enacted prior to the day fixed for the appointment of the electors, for its final determination of any controversy or contest concerning the appointment of all or any of the electors of such State, by judicial or other methods or procedures, and such determination shall have been made at least six days before the time fixed for the meeting of the electors, such determination made pursuant to such law so existing on said day, and made at least six days prior to said time of meeting of the electors, shall be conclusive, and shall govern in the counting of the electoral votes as provided in the Constitution, and as hereinafter regulated, so far as the ascertainment of the electors appointed by such State is concerned.”

    This provision protects the electors of a state in the Electoral College from being challenged at the time of the count in the Electoral College as long as they meet the deadline. It would not have prevented Florida from recounting and then sending its electors along it simply would have left them open to potential challenge.
    The standard of counting was that described in the Florida election law. This mandated hand recounting and used the ‘intent’ of the voter standard. This is a standard used in lots of states and in fact in Texas under a law signed into effect by Gov George W. Bush hand recounts are also the fall back provision. After the Florida Supreme Court mandated a recount SCOTUS issued an injunction preventing the count then took all weekend, then finally delivered its judgment around 2 hours before the deadline. Had the decision been made quicker a count could have been completed and had the Bush injunction request been refused then the count could have been done as well. SCOTUS ran out the clock and then said ‘yes it’s possible to have statewide recount as long as you have a common uniform standard for counting and that Florida is what you should do and oh yes you have 2 hours to do it all or you miss the safe harbor provision’. What a jip!

    The big questions that always bothered me are, the equal protection argument is balls for one but more importantly since when is the counting of votes in a state a federal issue anyway? Why isn’t the state supreme court the authority in determining the meaning of Florida election law? Surely States rights have an impact here. Secondly the constitution has a mechanism for determining the presidency by votes in the House in the event the Electoral College is unable to successfully elect a president. So why block that mechanism from taking effect?

  • peteb

    Duncan

    You seem to be still arguing the result of the 2000 election.. sheesh..

    Get over it?

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    There are people here still arguing the civil war so I am not so bad.

    Besides the legal niceties are of interest as an exercise in learning how to do it better next time. I know thats a strange concept in right wing America but hey Katrina did lead to better Rita preparation so its not completely alien. The question is why arent you or doesnt effective democracy have any valyue to you. Only outcome matters not good process its so American.

  • ch in dallas

    Duncan, I think peteb lives in NI. I’m the right winged American, and I agree with you!

  • peteb

    “There are people here still arguing the civil war so I am not so bad.”

    Interesting comparison 😉

    I was, admittedly, a little brusque.. my apologies, Duncan, it was late here in right wing america(?) when I posted that comment. It was just a clumsy attempt to nudge the thread back to some kind of recognition of the topic.

  • Katie

    Well, Discretionary govt. spending rose 35.5% under conservative rule, We are embarking on the most expensive “nation building” we ever have, median income is down in comparison to expenses. Incompetent oafs have been appointed to all manner of high level government positions simply for thier ability to noisily flatter the president.

    your’e the BESTESTgovernor EVER!!!! you are like, SOOOOO coo-ool!

    Thinking conservatives must have thought the dizzy populist shtick was just that, schtick. but his appointment of Harriet Miers clearly states that he really does hold those within the conservative party who think, in contempt. His Aww those intellectuals, comments actually meant consevative intellectuals too.

    Liberal, conservative or other, how can you run a country with people who do not think, or approve of thinkers at the helm?

    How is it possible to put someone with no prior related experience to head aquisitions, homeland security, Fema, FDA and labor? Why would ANYBODY do that?

    And why would we populate our security wing with a whole passel of cold war experts when the red menace has shrunk to a kind of pinkish irritant?

    Face it Bush has snowed all you consevatives, he is not a conservative at all. He is a petulant little rich kid playing at bein a good ol texan.

    I would like NOTHING more than to blame our current state on conservative policy, but this is not consevative policy that we have been watching for the past five years. It is just incompetence. the curtain is slowly being pulled and the pouting red faced country club infant under the cowboy hat is becoming visible, and Geese, it aint pretty.

    The conservatives are not dead yet, but believe me every day you do not distance yourself from this, the day comes closer. When conservative water carriers like ANN COULTER can no longer keep up the cheerleading you know there are serious problems.