Free as a bird.

Notes from the political sidelines.
Nov. 22 2005 12:31 AM

Free As a Bird

Which turkeys will Bush pardon next?

80_thehasbeen
(Continued from Page 5)

Alito went on to brag about his modest but heartfelt campaign contributions to Republicans, New Jersey pols, and the National Conservative Political Action Committee, which helped Republicans take the Senate in 1980. He mentioned articles he had recently submitted to the National Review and American Spectator, which would be worth reviewing now.

Looking Backward: In perhaps his most pathetic prostration, Alito stressed his involvement with Concerned Alumni of Princeton, a reactionary group formed in 1972, the year he graduated, primarily to whine about how much the place had gone downhill since co-education. The group paid for a 1972 presidential preference poll of Princeton faculty, which showed McGovern running ahead of Nixon by a margin of 7-1. A spokesman for the group called those results a "heartening" improvement from 1968, when a Daily Princetonian poll had shown Humphrey leading by 9-1 over Nixon, who was tied with Dick Gregory.

As best I can tell, CAP became defunct in 1986, a year after Alito got the job with Meese. In the good old days, the Princeton band regularly lampooned the group as CRAP. At the Harvard game in 1974, the band used that same motif to prophetically suggest that concerned alumni in Cambridge had formed their own reactionary organization, "the Harvard Johns." Roberts was a junior at the time and must have thought they were serious.

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Like Roberts, Alito will try to maintain that youthful statements like "the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion" were taken out of context. He was just telling his conservative bosses everything they wanted to hear so they'd give him a promotion. Judge Alito hasn't done that in at least two weeks. ... 12:41 a.m. (link)

Update: Some enterprising reporter should wander over to the Library of Congress and check out the papers  of National Review publisher William Rusher. Boxes 142-46 of Rusher's papers contain the minutes, publications, and financial records of the Concerned Alumni of Princeton, as well as a "list of supporters." If Alito was telling Meese the truth about his steadfast support for the group, this could be a treasure trove of early Alitism.

Another CAP ringleader was Alito's classmate, Thomas Harding Jones '72, who interned in the Nixon White House and wrote his senior thesis on "The Decision Making of Richard M. Nixon." It's not clear whether Jones's grade on the subject was any better than Nixon's. Jones interned in the Nixon White House in 1971 and even shows up in transcripts of the Nixon tapes for an eight-minute meeting in the Oval Office with Nixon and future Watergate co-conspirator Jeb Stuart Magruder, who was then deputy director of the Commitee to Re-Elect the President. According to notes of the meeting, Jones and the others used their visit to praise Nixon's decision-making on the war in Southeast Asia.

Jones's thesis topic suggests what he wanted to be when he grew up: Richard Nixon. He's now a show business talent manager in Manhattan. ... 11:06 A.M.

The Princeton band nicknamed Jones the "Great Right Hope." They had the right class; they just got the wrong guy. ... 11:21 A.M.

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Monday, Nov. 14, 2005

Wedgies: After weeks of spinning their wheels on abortion, opponents of Judge Alito's nomination have a new strategy: the kitchen sink. "Raising all aspects of his record are important," Nan Aron of the Alliance for Justice tells the New York Times. The stop-Alito coalition plans to run ads highlighting Alito's views in favor of strip searches for 10-year-old girls and firing workers with AIDS and against the Family and Medical Leave Act. In the words of Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, they want America to "look at the whole man."

Alito supporters, meanwhile, fired back that the left doesn't know a whole man when they see him. One spokesman attacked the ads as "wildly inaccurate" and "character assassination" even though they haven't even been cut yet. Another spokesman welcomed the opportunity to attack the liberal groups over gay rights.

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