Politics: July 2005 Archives

I was going to here announce my candidacy for public office, for the Charter Review Commission of Snohomish County. Every ten years, three residents from each of the five Council districts are elected for an unpaid one-year term to propose changes to county charter. The local GOP had only two names to put on the ballot for my district (the seats are nonpartisan, but the parties are still involved), and so I was recommended for the position by various people. On Monday I agreed, and on Tuesday I filled out the paperwork, and on Wednesday I prepared to file it.

But before I did, I was reviewing some documents, and discovered that elected county officials must be three-year residents of the county. I've lived here since June 2003. I wish someone had thought about that before I filled out the paperwork, but it was an educational experience, and at least I didn't actually file anything or announce my candidacy. Or opened a bank account, or ordered any campaign materials. That would've sucked. slashdot.org

No, I Am Exactly Correct

| | Comments (0)
Red Warrior is angry with the political parties in Washington. He says, "The government (meaning the taxpayers) should not have to pay for the internal functions of political parties."

While this is true -- and in fact, no one ever said that they HAVE to, including the political parties -- what he apparenrly means is that they SHOULD NOT pay for those internal functions (in this case, a nominating primary). I stated the obvious:

The nominating primary was *always* a "private political party function", even when it was a blanket primary.

He responded, incorrectly:

Simply put, you lie. It was NOT a "private political party function". That was specifically why it was overturned in the courts a few years back, leading to I-872. Honest, look up the court case and the arguements made.

He is, simply put, wrong. The reason it was overturned was precisely because it was a private political party function, which the government was exercising undue control over. Because it was a private political party function, the party gets to say how it is done, and the state therefore lost the case.

Every public nominating primary, that exists in (IIRC) 49 states, is *by definition* a private political party function, that the public pays for. That's what it is. They are all, every one of them, by definition, private political party functions that the public pays for, that the state and the parties compromise on in order for both to get some sort of public participation in the nominating process.

And it is therefore unreasonable to say you don't like one type of public nominating primary because the public pays for it, but that other kinds of public nominating primaries are OK. slashdot.org

Top Two Defeated

| | Comments (0)
The "Top Two" primary was defeated in a preliminary injunction last week. HA!

The decision says that, "In all constitutionally relevant respects, Initiative 872 is identical to the blanket primary invalidated in Reed."

I previously argued that it was not severable, because this is an initiative where the parts are all essential to the whole: without being able to restrict the party affiliations on the ballot, you can't presume the rest makes any sense to the voters. That is also what the court found.

Oh, happy day. No Top Two primary this year.

The next step may be for attempts to make all elections nonpartisan. I don't know the law on that, but it's a bad idea. The question remains: what is your real goal, and do you accept cutting off your nose to spite your face?

If your goal is simply to have primaries open to everyone, then you lost. You can't have it, and you should stop trying. The people who put a candidate on the ballot get to choose who that candidate is, period. The previous blanket primary forced parties to abide by the will of the people, illegally. So they instead tried to take the parties out by allowing their names to be illegally appropriated.

So next, they will try to remove parties altogether. So who puts up the resources to get candidates on the ballot, then? To campaign for them? To get out the information, to get out the vote? And get rid of all that just so you can have a say in who those candidates are, when you *already* have that right? It's ludicrous. slashdot.org

Nice Job There Woodstein

| | Comments (0)
A NY Times story claims Bush has backtracked: that he previously said he would dismiss anyone involved with the Plame leak, and now he is saying he would only dismiss someone who broke the law.

Oddly -- perhaps tellingly? and at the least, incompetently -- the article does not actually quote Bush saying this previous statement.

Does anyone have a quote to provide, to fill out this story? I cannot recall any time where Bush said he would fire someone involved with the Plame leak. Maybe it happened, but I just can't recall it. I've asked a few people, all of whom say they recall such quotes, but not specifically, and have not provided me with any citations or links. slashdot.org

Signed, Podesta's Mother

| | Comments (0)
John Podesta didn't do his homework very well last week. The former Clinton Chief of Staff and current head of Center for American Progress said last Wednesday on NewsHour:

And the underlying facts, could you talk a lot about Mr. Wilson, but Mr. Wilson was right. When he went to Niger, he found there was no yellow cake uranium going to Iraq as the president said in the State of the Union. CIA directors admitted that was wrong; Condi Rice admitted that was wrong and it turns out Joe Wilson was right.

OK, so Podesta says that Wilson found no yellowcake was going to Iraq, and that Bush said it was, and that Rice and Tenet said that was incorrect. Fast forward to a few days later on Meet the Press:

And Mr. Wilson never said [Tenet's memo was conclusive on whether Niger was trying to sell uranium to Iraq]. Mr. Wilson said that he was asked to go to Niger by CIA officials, that he went to Niger. He found that the allegations that Niger supplying Iraq with yellow cake uranium was not credible. In fact, George Tenet apologized for having that phrase put into the president's State of the Union address. Condoleezza Rice apologized. Ari Fleischer, on behalf of the White House, apologized.

So now Podesta says that Wilson did not find there was no yellowcake going to Iraq, only that he could not conclude there was. And no longer are Bush's words wrong, but they merely should not have been included in the speech.

At least Podesta did his homework before Sunday, but it was several days late. And he still incorrectly implies a connection between the Wilson trip (which were about the flawed U.S. intelligence) and the 16 words (which were based on separate British intelligence). I give him a D+. slashdot.org

Rove Is A Bad Bad Man

| | Comments (0)
Many people are ready to string up Karl Rove and send him to prison. For what, exactly?

Let's take a quick look at the facts as we know them:

It is a crime to knowingly reveal the identity of a covert agent.

Karl Rove essentially identified Valerie Plame to Matt Cooper, according to email dated July 11. He did not identify her as covert, and we do not know he knew she was covert, if indeed she was covert (we will assume for the sake of argument that she was).

Matt Cooper wrote his story on July 13. Bob Novak published his infamous story on July 14.

Rove said in public he did not say identify Plame until after Novak published his story.

I am not omitting or misrepresenting any salient fact to the question of criminal wrongdoing, that I am aware of.

Neither of the two parts of the crime are satisfied thus far. We don't know he knew she was covert. But more importantly at this stage, we don't know if he even revealed her identity. Yes, Novak published three days later, but maybe Novak contacted the WH for confirmation, and got to Rove, and at that point Rove reasonably considered her to be already revealed. You can't reveal what is already revealed.

And quite possible, the only reason Rove even knew about Plame *at all* is because Novak told him. You can't convict someone for releasing information he got from a reporter, that he has no reason to suspect is secret.

The important facts here would be to find out when Novak knew, and whether he contacted the White House for confirmation, and who caught wind of it there, and when.

[Update: Apparently Cooper wrote his story the day before Novak's was published, but Cooper's story mentions Novak's story specifically. Did Cooper know Novak knew before Novak's story was published, or was that added to the story later? If he did know, how did he know?]

That Rove said he didn't say her name until after Novak's publication is mostly irrelevant, even if he was lying and not merely mistaken: he wasn't under oath, and the legal distinction between before and after is slight, if it exists at all, as long as Novak already had, and disclosed to the White House, the information.

That said, if events did play out like this, Rove will likely have to resign anyway, despite not violating any laws, even if he had no idea she was covert, because it just looks bad to people who either just hate Rove and assume (or pretend to assume) the worst, or who don't understand the important nuances of the actual facts.

It could very well be that Rove was entirely in the wrong here and did violate the law. I suspect we will find out soon enough. I'm just saying there are several plausible explanations, some that completely exonerate him and some that completely condemn him, and I have little respect for those opinions offered from the Island of Conclusions. slashdot.org

Chuck Schumer and The Supremes

| | Comments (0)
Chuck Schumer once again, on Meet the Press yesterday, revived the lie that Bush has some obligation, either in law or in tradition, to consult with the minority opposition Senators before selecting a Supreme Court nominee.

Now, Bush is doing so, but he has no obligation to. He's doing it as a courtesy, one I think he shouldn't do, just because the Democrats are lying and bullying him into it.

First, the Constitution does not require it. It's never been held that "with the Advice and Consent of the Senate" puts a prior requirement on the Senate. You can choose to read it that way, but it's always been taken to mean that the Senate acts on the nominee, not before the nominee.

Second, even if it did require it, it says "the Senate," not "the minority opposition members of the Senate." The Senate is, to the Constitution, a single unit, not lots of little factions, and it is represented by whoever controls the majority of the Senate. Seeking the advice of a majority party of the Senate would certainly, indisputably, meet any Constitutional requirement of advice, if one existed.

Schumer dishonestly noted that Clinton spoke to the Republicans when he was putting up his nominees, but that's because the Republicans were the majority party in the Senate.

Schumer told other lies, as he usually does. My favorite is that when criticized for demanding answers to how he would rule on specific cases, he says, "it's our obligation to understand their judicial philosophy." But he goes far beyond merely understanding their judicial philosophy, and demands answers to specific examples of caselaw.

Then he called Scalia extreme, and said extremists should not be on the court, or if they are, there should only be one extremist on "each" side, liberal and conservative. An extremist, he says, is someone who makes up law, instead of interprets it.

Funny, to me, that's the definition of a liberal.

I saw Justice Stevens on CSPAN this weekend, and he basically said he feels it is his responsibility to make up new laws. Oh sure, he didn't put it in those words. But he brought up various cases, such as the Ten Commandments issue, where the law didn't actually say something because it didn't occur to the legislators to consider it, but the principle involved obviously, to Stevens, should be extended to cover the present case. But that is the job of legislators, not courts.

Liberals disagree with that, of course, but there's no getting around that this is what liberals do: they make up new law when they feel it is appropriate to do so. If we took Schumer at his word, he would exclude pretty much every liberal justice you could name. slashdot.org

Federalist No. 11

| | Comments (0)
I know commerce is a dirty word among some people, but it was all-important to the Framers. Without commerce, the new nation could not survive, and this meant not only securing commercial oppportunity for the nation, but also controlling those opportunities as much as possible, and protecting them from other nations who rightfully saw those emerging commercial interests as a threat to their own.

Hamilton writes: "the importance of the Union, in a commercial light, is one of those points about which there is least room to entertain a difference of opinion, and which has, in fact, commanded the most general assent of men who have any acquaintance with the subject."

A modern translation familiar to Slashdot readers would be thus: "there's no room for disagreement on the importance of the Union in commerce. Anyone who knows what they are talking about agrees with what I am saying."

The next time you see someone use this poorly regarded rhetorical style, note to yourself that they are, at least, in favorable company.

Regardless, Hamilton was correct, pretty much everyone agreed on the point. Union provides the opportunity to pool their resources for the sake of more effective commerce, such that they all would be more likely to be able to flourish on their own, without the aid of the Europeans.

The most clear benefit would be a mutual trade agreement with the British. Commerce means power. The British want our money and goods, so they have a relationship with us, which gives us standing.

Another tool for so influencing European conduct toward America is having a navy. A navy would give us standing in conflicts arising between other nations along shipping routes, turning the tide to one side or the other, and such leverage gives us more commercial opportunity. Hamilton wisely notes, "a price would be set not only upon our friendship, but out neutrality." And without such adequate power as a navy would provide, "a nation, despicable by its weakeness, forfetis even the privilege of being neutral."

Hamilton closes with a screed against European egotism, noting "the superiority she has long maintained has tempted her to plume herself as the Mistress of the World, and to consider the rest of mankind as created for her benefit. ... It belongs to us to vindicate the honor of the human race, and to teach that assuming brother, moderation. Union will enable us to do it. Disunion will will add another victim to his triumphs. Let Americans disdain to be the instruments of European greatness!"

Another modern translation for the Slashdot reader: "The Nazis wanted disunion, too."

Come back again for another installment of The Federalist . slashdot.org
<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Politics category from July 2005.

Politics: June 2005 is the previous archive.

Politics: August 2005 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.