TONIGHT’S THE NIGHT

At midnight, this blog moves to Time.com. Don’t worry about finding us. Just type in the usual URL – http://www.andrewsullivan.com – and you should be automatically redirected to the new site. The same applies to bookmarks: no need to change them. Of course, I’m nervous. There will surely be early glitches so please bear with us if there are. I’m also headed to NYC, despite this horrible bronchial bug that seems to be going around. I’m scheduled on The Colbert Report Tuesday night. And happy MLK Day.

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MLK DAY

Aaron McGruder has, as usual, a less serious take here. I love Boondocks’ grand-dad. I wish there were more of him.

QUOTE FOR THE DAY

“We could also restore Dr. King’s role in the continuing story of freedom to its rightful prominence, emphasizing that the best way to safeguard democracy is to practice it. And we must recognize that the accepted tradeoff between freedom and security is misguided, because our values are the essence of our strength. If dungeons, brute force and arbitrary rule were the keys to real power, Saudi Arabia would be a model for the future instead of the past.” – Taylor Branch, peerless historian of the African-American civil rights movement, NYT, today.

MLK DAY: Aaron McGruder has, as usual, a less serious take here. I love Boondocks’ grand-dad. I wish there were more of him.

KING GEORGE?

It was partly Sam Alito’s idea back in 1986 to take the rarely and sporadically used device of presidential signing statements and use them as a battering ram to increase executive power. For a couple of centuries barely two dozen were appended to laws. During Reagan, they became more popular, and were continued under the first Bush and Clinton. But under W, their use has exploded. By some estimates, this president has used them five times as often as any predecessor and has vastly increased their scope. When it comes to passing laws that affect any executive branch, including the military, this president has all but declared himself an independent body. My own take on this can be found here. The NYT has a story here. Not much has been written on this but there’s an excellent summary by Philip J. Cooper and original documents to back up his analysis here (click on the link that says “Public Law, Policy, and Public Administration”). This can be esoteric stuff, but it matters. If it means this president will continue to break the law and authorize torture, it matters a lot.

ALITO AND CAP

A Princeton grad thinks I’m missing something:

I graduated from Princeton in the mid-1980s and remember CAP and Prospect well. While that particular article may have been satire (and ask yourself, what exactly were they satirizing? Who is laughing at whom here?) the viciousness of CAP’s language throughout its existence was apparent to everyone who saw it. That is why the organization had no support on campus, even from conservatives. CAP didn’t oppose affirmative action, it opposed the admission of women, people of color, gay men and (doubly) lesbians, to Princeton. As far as I can recall, CAP existed solely for the purposes of spreading this ugly rhetoric. They did nothing aside from publishing Prospect, nothing except for finding various ways to express their bigotry.

Why does this matter for Judge Alito? Of course there is no reason to think he is personally a bigot. But in order to get a job he was willing to say “yeah, I’m with those bigots over there.” Should someone like that have a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court? This is not guilt by association – Alito is the person who chose to do the associating. He volunteered a connection to an extremist organization and it is reasonable and appropriate to ask him about why he threw his lot in with these people. While Judge Alito may not have signed off on each and every word, he did sign off on the group as a whole at a time when very few Princeton alumni did. And it really is shameful.

Duly noted.

THE MISSING CENTER

An emailer concurs:

“I think for a lot of people in the center, what party loyalty they have is based on which extreme they fear or dislike more:

The religious right or the radical left. Personally, I often disagree with the religious right — I’m a social and cultural libertarian — but I’ve never considered them to be anathema. For me it’s the radical left personified by Dean, Kennedy, Cindy Sheehan, Moveon.org, etc. that I find so repellent to keep me supporting GOP candidates.

However, give me a viable center party that believes in defending the nation and practicing social tolerance and I’ll be there supporting it. Problem is, the key word is “viable.” Until then, I remain a reliable Republican voter, if only to keep the Deans and Ted Kennedys of the nation out of power.”

Yes, there’s nothing so valuable to George W. Bush and the religious right than Daily Kos, Moveon.org and Ted Kennedy. What would he do without them?

WHAT TO DO ABOUT IRAN

Hoder has a suggestion.