The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Thursday, October 20, 2005

TNR Stupidity Watch

The New Republic is still convinced that Democrats need to tack right politically. Which I still insist is odd, given the subterranean approval ratings of the GOP these days. After all, these guys won by talking like liberals, then legislating like fascists. Case in point: the Governator. (I didn't want him to win the election, but he even fooled me into thinking he'd be a moderate.) Anyway, here's the post in its entirety:

Okay, so she's pro-life. But the 1989 questionnaire Harriet Miers filled out for Texans United for Life doesn't warrant the histrionics coming from liberal opinion leaders. Women's rights groups are calling Miers's views "draconian." While on CNN last night, legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin portrayed Miers as an extremist:
[S]he stakes out a position that is to the right of President Bush, to the right of Robert Bork, to the right of people who want to overturn Roe v. Wade. They want to amend the Constitution so that nobody can get an abortion, not return the issue to the states. ... Now, obviously, she was running for Dallas City Council, not Supreme Court there. So, we don't know how that would affect her judicial philosophy. But, come on. You get a pretty good sense.

But do you? It's not like Miers was asked to outline her views on abortion rights in an essay. It's not like she was answering even-handed questions written by a non-partisan group. And it's not like there was any attempt to gauge the depth of her support. She was limited to answering "yes" or "no" to leading questions--using pro-life terminology, posed as if Congress or the Supreme Court had already voted yes--formulated by a pro-life PAC. It doesn't give you much of a sense of anything other than that she thought the PAC's endorsement would help her city council race. And you certainly can't say that she's to the right of the president, unless you somehow have evidence that Texas gubernatorial candidate George W. Bush once filled out a similar survey. Barring that, liberals should tone down their outrage and take care that their rhetoric doesn't go further than the questionnaire in shoring up conservative support for Miers.

"But do you?" (Cue scary music.) Here's an elementary school-level question for the author: when all we know about Miers' views on Roe v Wade is that she opposes it (and that she's the nominee of an avowedly anti-choice president who openly courts the religious right), isn't it reasonable to assume that.... she opposes it? Apparently this particular commentator chooses to believe that yes or no questions just don't provide us with the answers we need. Maybe I'm just being naive by taking the word of the president, James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, and the candidate herself. But on the other hand, the author is ignoring the word of the president, James Dobson and Jerry Falwell.