I guess I should say something. I’ve long been a believer in deference to presidential court appointees (check TNR archives and way back in the 80s, I wrote one of the first pieces outraged by the Borking of Bork). I have a marginally less expansive view of executive power in wartime than Alito, and probably despise Roe vs Wade more than he does, but these are quibbles. He seems perfectly fine to me: the kind of uber-nerd you want on SCOTUS. He reminds me of Milhous on the Simpsons, all growed up. He spent one vacation learning how to juggle. The hearings are a great opportunity to explore the meaning and role of constitutional executive power. But the blather yesterday – and the fact that I don’t think either Roberts or Alito are going to satisfy the fire-breathers – reminds me why I’m not glued to the TV screen. That, and a book deadline.

RIGHT-BLOGGERS AND MEHLMAN: Hugh Hewitt has an interesting account of conservative bloggers grilling Ken Mehlman. At times, it’s an impressive display of journalistic independence and skepticism on the rightwing blogosphere about the administration. More, please.

FOLGER ON ROBERTSON: Here’s a fascinating exchange from Fox News. It concerns Pat Robertson’s orthodox fundamentalist view that Ariel Sharon may have been targeted by God for death because of his decision to divide the land of Israel as forbidden by the Bible:

John Kasich: Now, Janet, what I need to know from you is, when Pat does things like this or says things like this — and I think you would agree, it wasn’t the appropriate time. Agree with that? It was just not the right time to be talking about this.

Janet Folger: Look, the time you make statements like that is when you can do something about it — don’t divide the land.

John Kasich: So, inappropriate time. The question is, does Pat sort of undermine the movement when he makes a statement like this — that he might — which he says was taken out of context or whatever — does it undermine the movement, the Christian movement? People say, I’m not gonna listen to that.

Janet Folger: You know — again, I’m not gonna be another voice to bully up or beat up on PR. He’s free to defend himself and he’s very capable of it —

John Kasich: Yeah, but I want to know what you think.

Janet Folger: — but I don’t think we should blame him for reading from the bible. And I’ll be honest with you — the way I read the Bible, it talks about — nations that bless Israel are gonna be blessed, nations that curse Israel are gonna be cursed — and I’ll be honest with you, where I worry about the judgment being cast is that I think we need to look in the mirror — because we’re one of the groups, the nations that actually strong-armed the prime minister into giving up land, making Israel less secure. And —

Good for Folger for sticking to her beliefs. Just like Falwell after 9/11, she also fears that it’s America that will actually experience the wrath of Jesus if we don’t get our Israel policy right. Kasich’s main worry, of course, is not that what Robertson said is obscene or lunatic, but that it might cause trouble for what he calls the “Christian movement.” Kasich apparently believes it’s important that most Americans are kept in the dark about the actual tenets of the core activists who now control the Republican party. More about Folger here.

– posted by Andrew.


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