Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Pete Beinart goes off his damned rocker, Charles Murtaugh genuflects.

Beinart cites three incidents for Bush's alleged "abuse [of] government power or the public trust": The Texas redistricting mess, the decision by the Senate leadership to break the filibuster, and Bush pushing for war with Iraq.


* What the duly elected representatives of the State of Texas choose to do, once elected, is not within the Mighty Bush's Unquestioned Control. More importantly, since Beinart implies that all the brouhaha would be something conservatives would be pissy about if Clinton did it, I have two responses:

(1) Given that the current districting was done by a Federal judge in response to Democrat screw-ups, might we reasonably suppose that The New Republic would be in favor of the legislature redrawing the silly thing if popularly elected Democrats were doing it?

(2) Let's not get cute and pretend that "packing blacks and Hispanics into overwhelmingly minority districts" is something only Evil Republicans do. The term of art is "majority-minority" district. Republicans do this; Democrats do this. I personally think it's wrong and unconstitutional on its face, but the Supreme Court -- including TNR's favorite four judges -- disagree with me on this. So does the DoJ. Minority Democrats love it. A lot of Republicans love it. A lot of white Democrats love it. It's not new, kids. (This mess -- the redistricting mess -- is now thirteen years old. Here's the case that started it all.)

* If you think the Senate is rolling over at Bush's command, you've forgotten something very important: Every morning, 100 men and women from that chamber look in the mirror and see a President looking back. (Well, not Zell Miller, but the rest.) I find it unlikely that Bush has so completely usurped the Senate leadership, or implanted mind-control fillings, that he's telling them what to do; I'd suggest that they're pushing their own agenda, and it corresponds with his.

* Oh, God, the drone thing again. Look, if you really believe Hussein wasn't looking for ways to kill us en masse, I have a lovely bridge in Brooklyn for sale. (Quick question: If Clinton had said this, and removed Hussein, would Beinart be on his case?) Oh, and this is priceless:

On October 7, 2002, President Bush declared in a nationally televised speech that "Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] for missions targeting the United States." That was a functional lie. Iraq's drones, the Bush administration later admitted, had a maximum range of several hundred miles. They could reach the United States only if flown from a warship stationed off America's coast (a virtually impossible scenario given Iraq's almost nonexistent navy).

Three days later, the Senate authorized the president to use force against Iraq.
Petey: Five words: Post hoc, ergo propter hoc.

There are good questions about the Bush White House out there; Beinart's apparently not the one to make them.

(I'd usually forward this to Murtaugh, or anyone else with whom I disagree in pixels, but I've emailed him three times in the past to no response, so I don't bother.)

UPDATE: The danger of writing at 2 a.m. finally catches up to me: Post hoc, ergo propter hoc is five words, not four.

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