Sunday, July 24, 2005

Goodbye blog/Hello bar exam

I won't be posting the rest of the week. Tomorrow, I leave for Columbus to take the Ohio bar exam. I appreciate the kind words of support and patience during this down time with the blog.

I promise I will be blogging much more frequently after this week. Of course, you can expect every other post until November to be "When will I learn I failed the bar exam?"

To any of my readers taking the bar exam: I wish you good luck!

Strickland avoids DLC like the plague; Coleman embraces

If anyone attends the DLC conference in Columbus, I'd love to post your observations. Personally, I think Strickland is making a shrewd play. First, in a contested primary, you never want to appear like your second billing to your opponent. If Strickland went to an event that essentially Coleman is hosting, it belittles Strickland's stature while inflating Coleman's. Second, I can't imagine Strickland has anything to gain there. Sounds like most of the participants are out-of-staters dedicated to getting a moderate, Democrat elected governor. And I imagine any centrists Democrat will do.

I would be shocked if Hillary Clinton or anyone else from that group is going to actually ENDORSE Coleman over Strickland during the conference. I imagine Coleman will get the usual praise for being a host of a fine conference, but I would expect most will avoid going much further than that.

Furthermore, I think Coleman will learn to regret aligning himself so closely with the DLC. Strickland doesn't need to align himself with the DLC to branish his moderate creditials. For Coleman, being in the DLC seems to be his sole basis to claim he's a moderate (on fiscal issues, I do believe Coleman is more of conservative. But he's fairly liberal on social issues such as gun control.)

Moderates don't know anything about the DLC, and I don't know of a single moderate voter who considers membership in the DLC as a criteria in supporting a candidate. For conservatives, all you have to say is that it's a group that Hillary Clinton belongs to and you can raise $10 million and paint the candidate as a hippie liberal. And for liberals? Well, the only thing I've seen most liberals hate more than the Bush Administration is the DLC. Therefore, neither candidate has much to gain, but does have much to lose by aligning itself to the DLC. Coleman may rue his membership come primary election day.

It will be interesting to see how the DLC responds to the Ohio Gubernatorial Democratic Primary next year. If it decides to make a power play and endorse its member, Coleman, it runs the risk of appearing irrelevant if Strickland wins handily. However, if it supports Strickland, then it must do so over someone who is a member.

My prediction: The DLC is irrelevant for the primary, but may be a source for support for the eventual nominee. If it's wise, the DLC will let the primary play out for itself. Coleman will actively look to distinguish himself from what the activists don't like about the DLC. But after this event, that will be difficult.

What do you think?

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

GOP quotes on Berger (Why not Rove, then?)

As a follow-up to my earlier post today, here's some GOP quotes on Sandy Berger that seem applicable to Rove. (Also, remember, that with the Berger situation, no classified information was ever made public.)

"I think it's gravely, gravely serious what he did, if he did it. It could be a national security crisis," DeLay said.

"What information could be so embarrassing that a man with decades of experience in handling classified documents would risk being caught pilfering our nation's most sensitive secrets?" House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., said. "Mr. Berger has a lot of explaining to do."

"It's always good to hear Democrats assure us that one of them isn't a traitor."- Ann Coulter

No, I don't want to study for the bar exam today, thank you for noticing...

Just how confusing are things in Iraq getting?

Read the story. As described on Fark.com, U.S. medic is shot by sniper, shoots sniper, then tracks sniper to render first-aid to sniper that just tried to kill him.

In other news, those armored vests are finally getting distributed...

BTW, most disturbing point is that it was all caught on video and sent to his mom.

Bush's (Not So) Shockin' New Legal Standard

Today, we learned from the WSJ (liberal rag) that the U.S. State Department memo warned that Valerie Plame's identity and anything regarding her role in getting her husband to do the Niger inspection was sensitive intelligence.

Since I've been busy with the bar (which begins next Tuesday, btw,) I have been surprised that more people aren't commenting on something the President said at his press conference. While the hypocritical shifting standards is amusing, nobody can really say he's surprised. 'Member the book "Bush's Brain?" As much as the President is dangerous with Karl Rove in the picture, sometime I wonder if a Bush sans Rove could actually be worse.

However, this is what I thought was really shocking. When the President was asked if he planned on talking to Rove about it, he said not while the criminal investigation was ongoing. Now I understand not wanted to get in the way of a criminal investigation, but doesn't this seem to be reckless delegation? Fitzgerald is looking to build a criminal case, he's not really charged with investigating if Karl Rove, et. al should continue to have security clearance.

Is the White House policy that an employee cannot, under any circumstances, have their security clearances revoked while employed until they have been convicted for revealing classified information? For anyone with any knowledge about the intersect of criminal law and intelligence, you know that sometimes prosecutions are not brought because the risk of a public trial revealing or drawing attention to classified information (and the means in which it was obtain) harms or impairs national security more than criminal offense itself. In those cases, do those employees continue to keep their jobs?

Having a standard where only a conviction for leaking intelligence leads to employment termination is not only a politically bad policy, it's just plain simple, dumb, unworkable policy. Bush's press conference shows that the team that was going to "restore integrity in the White House" has drawn a bold, new ethical employment standard: Incarcerated felons cannot telecommuting while working for the White House. Bravo, a new renaissance of morality and ethics has risen like a phoenix from the ashes, indeed!

Anyone remember last year what conservatives were saying about former Clinton NSA Director Sandy Berger when he was accused of taking classified files out of the office in his socks??

Anyone, NOT think those conservatives are having yet another unprincipled flourish of hypocrisy with Rove?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

On Rove and the Supreme Court

The bar exam is less than two weeks away, so I have been in a not-so-undisclosed location trying to get ready. Therefore, I've been in quite a bubble and not able to blog in awhile. You can expect this blog to go dark for the rest of this month sometime next week. But I will be back and blogging regularly in August.

Bar News: About two weeks ago, I took a sample BARBRI test for the multiple choice section of the bar exam. According to BARBRI, had it been the actual exam, I would be able to pass it now. Also, I'm significantly above the national median of other BARBRI students who took the same exam. My hubris know no bounds.... Now, I'm just now studying for the essay portion which is 2/3rds of my total score. Until now, I really haven't paid the essay section much attention. If I fail, that's why....

On Rove and the Supreme Court: Anyone who predicts what will happen with the Supreme Court is either psychic or simply crazy. I think it's simply too unpredictable for anyone (WH included) to know exactly what will happen. Supreme Court nominations are a breed unto themselves. Unlike Cabinet appointment (which are not lifetime or under the President's authority), Senators are not necessarily party loyalists to whomever the President nominates. Much like the filibuster, Senators take their traditional role in Supreme Court nominations very seriously. Lately, the President has gotten less deference from even Senators' of his own party because the Senators realizes the new justice will outlive the present administration.

Also, Supreme Court nominations can both costs and accumulate political capital for the President. The President has little choice but to nominate someone that will be popular with social conservatives. The question is if the Senate Republican moderates will put party loyalty over principal. My guess is any Senator running for tough re-election in 2006 will prove to be a critical tough sell depending on where their biggest threat is coming from. If moderates like DeWine and Chafee feel their biggest political threats are in the primary, then it's "ra, ra, Bush!"

This will be yet another test for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN.) The fact that the White House has apparently put former Tennessee Senator (and "Law & Order" DA) Fred Thompson in charge of shepherding the nominee through the Senate has been a slap-in-the-face few have commented on. If the moderates are perceived as running the nomination show, Frist may not survive long as Majority Leader, let alone as a presidential candidate.

The White House needs to use this opportunity to gain political capital with its base because it simply has none in its account after Iraq and Social Security. The developing Rove fiasco (for the record, I actually was one who thought the idea that Rove was responsible was too far-fetched and fortuitous to be true) only makes things worse. The President's polling is terrible, so he can no longer take the "my way or you're a terrorist" approach anymore.

The Rove fiasco also attacks one of the President's strongest positive attributes with the American people. Correctly or not, the President has been regarded as a honest, straight talker But the White House is not living up to that image in how it's handling the revelations about Rove. (Note: A recent poll has found the number of Americans who regard the President as honest and trustworthy is at an all-time low. What's startling is that this poll was before the Rove revelations.) When a White House is under an ethical/criminal cloud, it seeks to collect friends and attack the enemies. No doubt the White House views a protracted Supreme Court nominee fight as an opportunity to win back its base and paint the Democrats in a negative, obstructive light. Whether that is the actual perception the Senate moderates and the American people will see is another story.

On Bolton: Today, the President began an unusual defense of Rove when he said he refuses to judge someone solely based on media reports until the investigation is complete. Nevermind that the veracity of those reports are unquestioned and the source is the aide's personal attorney. However, the President's defense got me to think about the Bolton nomination: Why should the Democrats be required to offer their judgment on Bolton when the investigation on him is still ongoing and incomplete?

Bush's statements leave a huge amount of wiggle room. You could argue that a conviction is the only point an investigation is truly complete. But politically, I can't see how the President could keep Rove if he is ever indicted. The President's comments would seem to suggest that the White House is very comfortable in betting that such an indictment will never happen.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Coingate Watch

Sorry, I haven't posted in awhile. The bar exam is three weeks away, so you can expect fewer postings until August.

I did want you tell you to watch NBC Nightly News tonight. They're doing a Coingate story as part of its regular "Fleecing of America" stories. Be sure to catch it!