Sunday, October 16, 2005

What If Bush Picked Ken Starr?

President Bush, for his own political benefit, should have nominated Ken Starr, instead of Harriet Miers, for the Supreme Court.

Such a cunning choice would have havoc'd and divided Democrats.

Bush would have vexed and confounded liberals, had he nominated Starr.

Bush would have, once again, invaded Democrats decison making cycles by doing what they thought was unthinkable.

You thought Dean screamed before? Howie would have been drowned out by shocked howls.

In turn, those howls would have rallied Bush's base by reminding them of who they all dislike.

Nominating Starr would have been like pulling the pin on a political hand grenade and deviously rolling it right into the tent, where the liberal mind sleeps, and blowing it to Kingdom come!

Yet, that did not come to pass. 'Twas not to be.

Bush missed a chance to upset all the 'best people.'

The 'best' lack all conviction, while the 'worst' have enough passionate intensity to make Republican fundraisers blush.

We're glad Bush did not pick Starr, because we oppose the President politically!

Starr, somewhat ironically, was once passed over by Reagan and Bush Sr., in part, because many 'movement conservatives' considered Starr to be ideologically unreliable.

Starr was thought to be , back then, a 'squish' on the social issues. Further, Starr was viewed warily as too much a part of the Washington establishment. Rightist feared he would "grow" into a liberal, once on the bench.

Yet, Republicans ended up with choices like Souter and O'Conner instead. Woops.

Many pundits, on both sides, forget Starr's soi-disant 'moderate' reputation. This is largely due to the limited success Clinton partisans had wrongly attacking Starr as a religious fanatic.

Many Clinton opponents considered such an attack to be a badge of honor, even though it was inaccurate, thus unearned.

The right started to like Starr, because they assumed the Clintonians, normally thought to be dishonest, were actually being honest, if only that one time. Clintonians calling Starr a religious fanatic? What's not to like 'bout that?

Clinton drove the right nuts that way.

Starr actually prevailed in the numerous legal challanges, motions, appeals, and attacks launched against him by the Clinton defense team, and their many allies.

If Bush picked Starr, Clintonian howls would inevitably have become plaintive wails.

Starr would have prevailed, with nary a scratch.

Starr would have had all the GOP votes and that's all he'd need.

Starr's a big time legal heavyweight, just like Roberts. There is no question that he is qualified.

In fact, rather than just being a predictable vote, which is what Miers supporters hope for, Starr would likely have changed some minds on the court. Also, he would have written influential dissents.

Many people don't realize that Starr, quite diligent and organized, even managed to continue teaching at NYU law school , without missing class, during that whole Clinton episode. Starr consistantly impressed his liberal leaning students.

Another political bonus for Bush would be the return of Clinton, insulted by the implied rebuke.

Every time Clinton returns to the scene, all the other Democrats are cast off stage, like so many dirty dresses and the Republican reaction machine rakes in millions.

Inevitably, when Clinton slinks back off-stage, he manages to rob, Dracula-like, fellow Democrats of any blood memory of what they were supposed to be debating in the first place.

As to Starr's suspected moderate views on court-related social isssues, Bush could have just pretended to be shocked if they emerge, just like he was shocked not to find WMD in Iraq.

We don't think Bush Jr. cares any more about conservative social issues than his father did. We have many reasons to suspect this and we'll elaborate why some other time.

Regardless, since Dubya is so trusted by the arms akimbo rustic right, he would be able to get away with nominating just about anyone to the right of Hillary.

All Dubya would have to do is vouch for their Putinly-pure souls, their Harriet-esqe hearts, and then phone in some winks to Rev. Dobson. If that was not enough, maybe Billy Graham could issue a wink or two.

Of course, there probably are some good reasons for Democrats to oppose Starr, but Democrats inevitably would have gotten caught up reguritating all the delusional reasons they inhaled during the Clinton days.

Hardly anyone, as Thomas Jefferson noted, makes good decisons when they are angry. If you can anger your adversary and make them irrational, you can go a long way toward victory. Democrats would have self-destructed, if Bush picked Starr.

Democrats would have felt insulted once they saw the smug Ken Starr, with his trademark sock-eating grin, standing next to Bush at a news conference.

Yet, Starr would have won. Starr would have been confirmed, even though the sound and fury, signifying not too much, would have been heavy and hard.

That shock of that sound and that fury, may have, jumper-cable like, started up and re-vitalized Bush's sputtering Presidency.

It's just amazing that Bush, with this historically unique opportunity to stage a decisive showdown, on his own terms, and win, passed on the opportunity. Admiral Nelson , Bush is not.

The GOP is in a parlous state.

The GOP is trembling as a highly respected, highly unsmearable, GOP appointed prosecutor with an impeccable reputation takes a good hard look at some very dirty deeds indeed.

Indictments, if they come, will divide and demoralize conservatives just when they need to keep their game faces on. Add Frist, Delay, Abramoff, Franklin, and yada, yada, yada.

A good bruising Supreme Court fight, with liberals howling in vain, would have been the golden tonic. Starr's nomination would have been like a cortisone shot for the muscle-injured GOP.

The Republicans will not have both the Senate and the Presidency forever.

This was the unique moment, that conservatives and GOP partisans have been gearing up for years. Democrats divided, their strategic planning would have been crippled for some time. Looks like Bush blew it.

Thankfully, Bush doesn't take our advice.


At 5:51 PM, Blogger Gothamimage said...

Sorry, but just do not understand why.

At 11:48 AM, Blogger G said...

Would have made for an interesting choice, to say the least. But George wanted to try to win some of the female vote, and replace one lady with another. Which isn't a bad idea ... but Miers may not be the right idea. Goes to show that if you tell Bush he's cool, he'll have a job waiting for you.

At 1:13 PM, Blogger Irina Tsukerman said...

Isn't it David Brooks who's supposed to have a sock-eating smile?!

At 2:00 PM, Blogger Alicia said...

I think with his coterie in disarray, he can't find his own ass with both hands and a flashlight.

As to Haloscan, it offers trackbacks - plus, I like being able to customize its look.

At 7:24 PM, Blogger Emphyrio said...

Clever idea. Thankful you are on the side of the angels.

Re your comment at Hullaballoo:

When you offer your hypothesis on why Judy Miller wrote in her notes "Valerie Flame," would you alert me in the comments at Emphyrio ?

I'm quite curious.

At 1:19 PM, Blogger John said...

Good call, Gotham. Starr would have been a superb choice, a master stroke both politically and in terms of securing constitutional ballast on the Court.

Re-submitting Bork's name would've similarly served the same ends.

At 1:51 PM, Blogger Gothamimage said...

Thanks John,

Bork would have been interesting, to say the least. Not sure if he would restore ballast - boxing maybe. Bork has been quite scathing in his critque of Miers - more so than anyone, and it's unlikely that the President would be able to put that aside.

It's also possible that the President does not like Starr, as a he may see Starr as someone who went after the Presidency, rather than just a President.

Political psychologies of both parties are in flux- it stands to reason that Dems would like the more moderate Starr over the ideologue Bork. But life is not like that, is it? That's why I thought Starr would have been a more devious choice, because it would tap into unreason and irrational dislikes that would be hard to articulate, whereas a Bork appointment would create more of reasonable basis for opposition for Dems, since he has such a long and well defined record and ideology.

Since we are all human, any decision we make, any argument we advance, will be part reason, and part unreason - Bush and his team have been very good, until recently, at forcing Dems to make reflexiv, unclever arguments, by tapping into unreason. - Think about the brilliant way Bush co-opted "No Child Left Behind." Dems know, in their hearts, they are supposed to oppposed him, but they cannot figure out why because Bush stole all their rhetoric. Clinton did the same thing, with his endless crime bills and his constant extolling of GOP themes.
GOPers knew he was playing a game, but it was so hard to explain that to ordinary voters, who tend to see all politicians as basically the same. On this point, ordinary voters (not political or news junkies) are probably more right than wrong.

At 3:04 PM, Blogger Gothamimage said...

Bork, if he was picked, would be X
Dems would argue against X.
Starr , if he was picked, would be Y.
Dems would find themselves attacking X, even though Starr was Y -even though they would learn in their minds that Starr was actually Y, in their hearts they would still think he was X. That would be the crux of their anxiety. Everyone is in danger of believing their own propagana, when they are in the heat of argument -Not that Dems would not have real disagreements with Starr-indeed they would. It's just that most of their mind power will be consumed with the fictions that were imbibed during the 1990s.
It works for the GOP too. By most measures, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is not the most liberal member on the court, but try telling that to any elected Republican -they are emotionally invested in thing so. Just as Dems deluded themselves over Starr, many in the GOP does the same with the formidible Justice Ginsburg.
We're all human - it's easy to spot these things when you're on the sidelines and not betting or rooting. If we were more engaged in this, we have no doubt we too would get caught up in the semi-mass delusions.


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