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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 3, 2005 / 1 Mar-Cheshvan, 5766

Why Bush didn't pick Alito sooner

By Clarence Page


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Conservatives' reaction to President Bush's nomination of Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. to the Supreme Court has been so gleeful, unlike their thumbs-down to that of the since-withdrawn Harriet Miers, that friends and foes alike wonder why Bush did not choose him in the first place.

After all, here's a man who, like the easily-confirmed Chief Justice John G. Roberts, has scholarly credentials, long judicial experience and an agreeable manner.

He also has a judicial philosophy so conservative that some lawyers call him "Scalito" for his similarities to right-wing Justice Antonin Scalia, but, hey, nobody's perfect.

Some of the more paranoid voices I have heard wonder whether Miers may simply have been an innocent pawn in an evil, mean-spirited plot. She may have been set up to fail, poor darling, just so the President could shrug, smile and say, "Well, we tried," before nominating the conservative white guy he wanted all along. Leave it to paranoids to make simple answers more complicated than they need to be.

No, I think the real answer is quite obvious, simple and straightforward. I think Bush actually believed his warm-and-fuzzy campaign promises to be "a uniter, not a divider." He told himself so, no matter how much his supporters, surrogates and subordinates trashed the reputations of anyone who disagreed with him.

With that in mind, I think he picked Miers first because Alito and similarly seasoned conservative deep thinkers with their long paper trails offered too much of what Bush did not want, including:

A likely confirmation fight with Senate Democrats.

No past ties to Bush, who likes to promote from within.

His gender.

With his approval ratings sagging, particularly with moderates and minorities, Bush hoped to appoint a female to fill the departing Sandra Day O'Connor's seat and help him expand his appeal to moderate swing voters. Ironically, appointing Miers did the opposite, violating the first commandment of politics: Thou shalt not divide thy base.

Although Christian conservative leaders like James Dobson, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson defended Miers, conservative elites as varied as Pat Buchanan, Bill Kristol and Ann Coulter roared disapproval, while Bush's approval ratings sunk to new lows.

Miers' conservative critics didn't want a charming moderate. They wanted an intellectually powerful and persuasive conservative in the model of Justices Scalia and Clarence Thomas, as Bush had promised as a candidate in 2000. One wonders whether Bush knew much about the voting records of Scalia and Thomas when he made that promise. Or was he just feeding the obligatory red meat to his base the way other folks might feed a parking meter?

After all, despite Bush's conservative leanings, he was remarkably tone deaf to the passions of conservative leaders and opinion writers for whom a conservative Supreme Court has been a political Holy Grail since the Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortions nationwide in 1973.

If he did not spend much time thinking about the Supreme Court, it could be that he was distracted by other concerns (like whether his top political advisor, Karl Rove, might be indicted), or maybe the very topic of judicial appointments fails to ring his chimes. Policy debates send this president to Snoozeland, according to those who've worked with him over the years. He'd probably rather clear brush on the ranch.

Bush espouses a desire for justices who "won't legislate from the bench," which is political code for opposition to Roe v. Wade, and that seems to be about all the judicial philosophy he wants to know.

But, in his desire to avoid a confirmation fight and possible filibuster, he underestimated how much his fellow partisans were itching for a fight.

Conservatives don't meet in a room somewhere in a true right-wing conspiracy any more than left-liberals and progressives do. But in their anti-Miers backlash, they proved themselves to be a strong movement, like-minded enough to unleash columns, commentaries and blogs within days that cooled Miers' support in the Senate like rain on a prairie fire.

After Miers, all seems to be forgiven on the right, at least in public. Movement conservatives rhapsodize about Bush's ability to come back stronger than ever. "This was not a conservative crack-up," Rush Limbaugh bellowed. "It was a crackdown."

And the televised sight of Alito fending off Sen. Edward Kennedy and other Senate Democrats should reunite the conservative base even more, while doing much the same to liberals. The fight Bush wanted to avoid now appears to be inevitable. He consulted with his party's right wing, but he didn't talk to the right right-wingers.

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