David Brooks and the Bob Dole Fallacy

A mostly political Weblog.
Aug. 16 2005 3:05 AM

Brooks and the Bob Dole Fallacy

Plus--kf's jejune swoon!

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Barbara Ehrenreich once famously remarked that the only institution left that reliably mixes the classes is the DMV. I spent most of today there, and while I did not see David Geffen or any famously rich locals it seemed to be fulfilling its leveling mission. I have since learned that I was a fool--smart Californians never go to the DMV! They can do all their DMV-related bureaucratic chores more efficiently at a local branch of the Auto Club. ... Can special concierge service for busy studio execs be far behind? ... P.S.: I don't think the decline of the DMV as a class-mixer is something for social egalitarians to lament. It hardly provides a boost to civic equality if the only egalitarian experiences average citizens have are tedious and time-wasting. ... Anyway, the real class-mixer in my neighborhood is the 7-11. ... 1:03 A.M.

At this point, if it were revealed that John Roberts was a member of the North American Man-Boy Love Association, liberal legal interest groups would probably still denounce him as an "ultraconservative"  while conservative legal interest groups would say the NAMBLA story was just a "red herring meant to divide the right."  These lobbies want to have a fight and they know the grounds they want to fight on. Don't distract them with quirks! ... P.S.: The truth, as Richard Cohen argues, is that of course conservatives should be troubled by Roberts' pro-bono work on behalf of a gay rights appeal from Colorado. Not because it means he's a closet liberal or a supporter of gay rights. But because it suggests he's susceptible to the respectable social pressures within law firms that prompt partners to spend time working on liberal causes--pressures perhaps not unlike those on the Supreme Court that have pushed conservative judges to the left. At the very least, it indicates that Roberts believes in the lawyer's ideal that everyone deserves counsel and a hearing--an ideal that, when pushed outward, has done a lot of work for liberal legalism in the past half century, much of it highly unfortunate (e.g. elaborate due process rights for fired federal workers that virtually guarantee the government will be inefficient). ...  P.P.S.: If, as the head of Roberts' old law firm's pro bono program declared, the Colorado case was about "equal protection" more than about gay rights--well, isn't that even worse from a conservative viewpoint? Equal protection principles can be broadened very quickly to areas beyond homosexuality. ... P.P.P.S.: Award for Most Unconvincingly Desperate Conservative Spin goes to Grover Norquist!

"The whole case that conservatives have been trying to make is that your personal feelings ought not to count" when you rule from the bench, Norquist said.

So Norquist is conceding that Roberts' "personal feelings" really were on the side of the Colorado gay rights advocates? That should reassure Dr. Dobson! ... Update: The S.F. Chronicle version of the LAT's article bizarrely contains a fuller version of Norquist's quote. He goes on to add:

"There may be people who will say, 'I want (him) to share my world view and try to impose it on his decisions,' " Norquist added. "Those people are not a useful part of the effort."

This leaves open the possibility that Norquist is saying Roberts doesn't believe in homosexual equality but won't let it affect his actions. That won't make Dobson any happier. (Have social conservative voters such as Dobson's followers really not been "useful" to Norquist?) 10:41 P.M.

PDB Day Observed Throughout Nation: TheNYT's Elisabeth Bumiller suggests that the White House has set a relatively full work schedule for President Bush out of a

desire to be in purposeful motion on another anniversary of the now-infamous C.I.A. briefing that Mr. Bush received at the ranch on Aug. 6, 2001. That briefing, which informed the new president that the terrorist network Al Qaeda had maintained an active presence in the United States for years and could be preparing for hijackings here, created a political uproar when its contents were eventually made public. [Emph. added]

Maybe I'm out of touch with the American people, but what I've seen on several recent trips to the 7-11 leads me to doubt that that the anniversary of the August 6, 2001 PDB is on everyone's lips, or anyone's lips, outside of a few diligent anti-Bush bloggers. And even they seem to be on vacation! Is this really a salient memory that that the Bush PR operation needed to counter (as opposed to the general perception that Bush spends an awful lot of time on vacation)? Or is Bumiller so in tune with the fine points of anti-Bush culture that she has mistaken it for reality? ... P.S.: The White House must loathe Bumiller. Obviously, the NYT doesn't want to pull a reporter from a beat just because her subject objects. But it's as painful to read Bumiller trying to pretend to be chummily respectful of the Bushies while sniping passive-aggressively as it is to listen to post-Tomlinson NPR anchors try to fake patriotic sincerity on July 4. ... [Even if the August 6, PDB isn't in the public consciousness, a hostile reporter could still use the anniversary to take a shot at Bush's vacationing--ed. And who might that be!] 12:41 P.M. link

'Just let it go': Josh Marshall noticed something  about the Novak stalk-off video that I'd missed: When Novak, just before he exits, says "Just let it go," he isn't talking to James Carville, with whom he's ostensibly had a blow up. He's addressing Ed Henry, the anchor who is obviously primed to ask Novak questions about the Plame case. This seems to me a highly persuasive bit of evidence pointing to the real reason Novak bolted. ( KfThursday. Rosen  Friday.) ... P.S.: Mary Ann Akers of Roll Call adds evidence  from Ed Henry confirming  Mystery Pollster's "Who's Who" theory, now rapidly approaching CW status: