Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Yes, We Have No Bananas
I'm sticking with my surmise of yesterday that the Bush Administration ends up with no worse than a push thanks to the happenstance of the Iraq handover occuring on the same day as the Supreme Court decisions on the Hamdi, Padilla, and Guantanamo cases. The decisive whacking of Bush's I-am-the-law approach to civil liberties isn't the banner headline it deserves to be today. In the political arena, where perception is reality, it doesn't have the weight of Brown v. Board of Education or the Dred Scott decision, although history is likely to show that it does.

And it was a decisive whacking. Even Antonin Scalia got some licks in, which I certainly didn't expect. Only poor Clarence Thomas voted to go down the line with Bush--which is quite something when you consider he votes with Scalia on everything, including what to order in for lunch.

What happens next, of course, is what matters most. The administration will likely attempt to get Congress to sign off on its unlimited detention policies, which would satisfy some of the legal objections that have been raised so far. It's a pretty good bet that there's nothing the Republican leadership in the House and Senate would like more than an up-or-down vote on something like that, which would permit them to accuse Democrats of coddling terrorists just in time for the fall campaign. So it'll be necessary to buck up our representatives' courage when the time comes. But for now, we've taken a step back from the banana-republic brink. With the times being what they are, that's good news.

Recommended Reading: Josh Marshall gets at something satisfying about Dick Cheney's recent outburst--that it reveals his character to a larger audience that may have not grasped it before. Anybody who's been paying attention for a while knows that Cheney is probably the true villain of the last 3 1/2 years, but not everybody pays attention. And it's not just that Cheney is a bad guy--as Marshall notes, Cheney knows what the administration is guilty of, and he can see the whole thing starting to unravel.

Family Business: Cheney said he felt better after telling Pat Leahy to go fuck himself. My brother Dan suggests that we all write letters to Cheney telling him to go fuck himself, because what's good for him is good for us. (The people at WhiteHouse.org have their own take on his remark, in poster size and on T-shirts.)

And finally, The Mrs. has lost, in recent years, her mother and a favorite cousin to heart disease. (And also our pal Dave, gone 20 years this spring.) So she devotes a lot of time and energy to our local American Heart Association Heart Walk, not just as a walker but as an organizational volunteer year-round. If you'd like to sponsor her efforts for the 2004 event, click here.

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