Dobson Comments on Rove Talk:
On his radio show today, James Dobson disclosed the contents of his conversations with Karl Rove about Harriett Miers. Recall that Dobson justified his support for Miers shortly after her nomination was announced in part on information that he "probably shouldn't know." According to Dobson, part of the information was that some conservative candidates had taken themselves out of the running for the nomination. Here is the gist of the rest from the transcript:
  What did Karl Rove say to me that I knew on Monday that I couldn't reveal? Well, it's what we all know now, that Harriet Miers is an Evangelical Christian, that she is from a very conservative church, which is almost universally pro-life, that she had taken on the American Bar Association on the issue of abortion and fought for a policy that would not be supportive of abortion, that she had been a member of the Texas Right to Life.
  . . .
  We did not discuss Roe v. Wade in any context or any other pending issue that will be considered by the Court. I did not ask that question. You know, to be honest, I would have loved to have known how Harriet Miers views Roe v. Wade. But even if Karl had known the answer to that and I'm certain that he didn't, because the President himself said he didn't know, Karl would not have told me that. That's the most incendiary information that's out there and it was never part of our discussion.
  Any thoughts?
Richard Bellamy (mail):
What did Karl Rove say to me that I knew on Monday that I couldn't reveal? Well, it's what we all know now,

That says it all, I guess. In other words, "Either I was full of crap then in saying that I couldn't reveal it, or I'm full of crap now when I say that's I was only told what we all know." There is no interpretation in which he is not full of crap in at least one of these two times.
10.12.2005 12:51am
Jerry (mail):
Something he probably shouldn't "know" is not the same as something he probably should not "share." Something he shouldn't "know" is fairly public information about her history and the views of her church? The only plausible explination was the information on the justices that had taken themselves out of contention - but it still doesn't wash.

Karl Rove probably barked at him, already being in hot water for sharing a bit too much about a CIA agent.
10.12.2005 12:54am
Justin (mail):
I smell burning pants.
10.12.2005 12:57am
Please. These are not things he "probably shouldn't know." That Miers is an Evangelical Christian and a member of a pro-life conservative church was reported in the LA Times within 24 hours of her nomination. The ABA/abortion issue is a matter of public record. I don't know about the Texas Right to Life membership, but I don't imagine it's something Dobson shouldn't know, even if he did learn about it from Karl Rove. About Roe v. Wade, did he have his fingers crossed when he denied that he asked the question. Unbelievable. Let's see what he says if and when he is under oath before the Judiciary Committee.
10.12.2005 1:01am
John Armstrong (mail):
So Dobson is giving his personal assurance that Miers will, if confirmed, legislate from the bench and support efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade simply because that's the desired end regardless of whether or not it's Constitutionally correct?
10.12.2005 1:03am
Justin (mail):
Awww, RobertA, you believe oaths and God are really what matters to these people.
10.12.2005 1:24am
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
Aha, she *is* gay!
10.12.2005 1:27am
SimonD (www):
In other words - "trust the President" again. Dobson trusts the President, High Hewitt trusts the President, Beldar trusts the President; don't you trust the President?

I continue to await a good reason to support this nomination that doesn't boil down to "trust the President."
10.12.2005 1:34am
his burning pants are full of crap.
10.12.2005 1:56am
No, Justin. Not oaths and God, I just have faith in the well delivered threat of a perjury prosecution. Remember Arlen Spector's "cross-examination" of Anita Hill? He had no compunction about reminding her of the consequences of offering perjured testimony. I seem to recall that she revised her testimony after Spector's admonition? So, sometimes the power of an oath lies not with God, but with Caesar.
10.12.2005 2:04am
David M. Nieporent (www):
That says it all, I guess. In other words, "Either I was full of crap then in saying that I couldn't reveal it, or I'm full of crap now when I say that's I was only told what we all know." There is no interpretation in which he is not full of crap in at least one of these two times.

Interestingly, Richard, the first words that came to mind when I read Orin's quote of Dobson were "full of crap." There is no way on earth that the fact that she was evangelical was the deep mystery he couldn't talk about. Either there never was anything, and he was loyally lying for the administration, or he's lying now to get himself out of the spotlight once he realized that, yes, in fact, he could be subpoenaed.
10.12.2005 2:10am
Justin (mail):
Okay, RobertA, we bring Dobson in front of the Senate Judiciary, and he repeats what he says under oath...then what?

For a perjury prosecution to be remotely likely, we have to have some additional evidence of what was revealed to Dobson. Without that, the only enforceable arbitor of his testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary is God. And Dobson and God are already on buddy-buddy terms, no doubt the Host of Hosts will let this one slide.
10.12.2005 2:36am
Alan K. Henderson (mail) (www):
You know what this smells like? Sales job. Prez makes Supreme Court nomination, White House folks schmooze with leaders of major constituencies, attempting to assure that their pet issues aren't in danger. I'd expect this sort of thing to happen with every SCOTUS opening. Zero scandal factor.
10.12.2005 2:45am
Justin (mail):
Someone who blogs about how Muslims hate puppies, how the war on Iraq was just, and the Civil War unjust, uhhh....not sure that your understanding of what is scandalous matters much to me. Sorry, Alan.
10.12.2005 2:54am
ANM (mail):
Excellent editorial in today's Wall Street Journal, saying basically that when you nominate a candidate on one issue, instead of his judicial philosophy, you are more likely to reward the left, by using the story of Kennedy.
Are these conservatives like Dobson so narrowminded, that they believe you must be fervently against abortion to strike down Roe v. Wade? One can be for abortion and against Roe v. Wade by considering it a case of bad jurisprudence. Is abortion really more important than any other issue?
A conservative supreme court is long overdue, especially when you consider how many times conservative president's have screwed up entirely (Connor, Kennedy, Souter, Stevens).
I'm curious to see if the liberal justices will favor Oregon in the right to die case. I think Scalia will favor US and Thomas Oregon. Sometimes it takes a libertarian to be a conservative.
To the legal scholars out there: Does freedom of assembly imply freedom of contract, ie making antidiscrimination laws unconstitutional? It sounds long winded and would never be even be considered in the current climate due to the esteem with which both parties hold of antidiscrimination laws. But is that a legitimate case?
10.12.2005 3:09am
Justin, you're right in that at this time we don't know how a perjury charge would be proved. But the power of an oath is not in the certainty of a perjury prosecution or conviction, but in the mere possibility of one. Here, we don't know who spoke to whom after the meeting between Dobson and Rove. It's quite likely that Dobson accurately reported Rove's assurances to other people, perhaps in one-on-one conversations, or maybe even by email. Can Dobson be sure that none of these people would be willing, for whatever reason, to cooperate with prosecutors, or that the email would not turn up. Unless he is absolutely certain about that, and is willing to gamble that he is correct in his certainty, he would be a fool to risk perjuring himself before the committee. Other than that, you're right -- if he decides to roll the dice and lies, and no one comes forward, then the only arbiter of his veracity before the committee is indeed God.
10.12.2005 3:45am
Master Shake:
Barnyard epithet.
10.12.2005 3:48am
boonelsj (mail):
Seems like a pretty desperate attempt to convince the Senate not to subpoena him to me.
10.12.2005 8:31am
Dobson could simply have been puffing himself up with a false claim to inside knowledge and now want to avoid being embarassed by too close questioning. Not tasty, but not a scandal either.
10.12.2005 9:58am
Justin (mail):
I believe Dobson can reasonably have faith that everyone involved in this conference can keep their mouth shut. That's the wonderful thing about conspiracies, synchranized strategies.
10.12.2005 10:37am
Anderson (mail) (www):
The fact that Dobson apparently wants to avoid a subpoena, is all the more reason to issue one.
10.12.2005 11:25am
Just an Observer:
Quite apart from the question of whether Dobson knew anything the rest of us don't, he errs, I believe, on one point of fact regarding what the president said he knows:

I would have loved to have known how Harriet Miers views Roe v. Wade. But even if Karl had known the answer to that and I'm certain that he didn't, because the President himself said he didn't know . . .

AFIK, the president has never said this explicitly. Perhaps Dobson was referring to Bush's Oct. 4 press conference . When the president was asked directly if he knew Miers' views on abortion, he did not actually say he did not. Rather, he responded with what is known in the journalism game as a non-denial denial:

Q Thank you, Mr. President. You've taken time to express that you know her heart, her character, you've emphasized your friendship. So it seems reasonable that over the course of the years you've known her, perhaps you have discussed the issue of abortion. Have you ever discussed with Harriet Miers abortion? Or have you gleaned from her comments her views on that subject?

THE PRESIDENT: I have no litmus test. It's also something I've consistently said: There is not litmus test. What matters to me is her judicial philosophy; what does she believe the role -- the proper role of the judiciary is, relative to the legislative and the executive branch. And she'll be asked all kinds of questions up there, but the most important thing for me is what kind of judge will she be? And so there's no litmus tests.

Q Sir, you've already said there was no litmus test --

THE PRESIDENT: Correct. And I'll say it again: There is no litmus test.

Q But she is not someone you interviewed for the job that you didn't know. You've known her a long time. Have you never discussed abortion with her?

THE PRESIDENT: In my interviews with any judge, I never ask their personal opinion on the subject of abortion.

Q In your friendship with her, you've never discussed abortion?

THE PRESIDENT: Not to my recollection have I ever sat down with her -- what I have done is understand the type of person she is and the type of judge she will be.

Nothing in this non-responsive response rules out a conversation sometime during the long Bush-Miers relationship in which she might have communicated to him her opinion about either abortion or the Roe case. Hypothetically, she could have said to him during a walk around the ranch at some time, "Abortion is murder, and if I had my way I would reverse that abominable ruling." The president's statement at his press conference would still be true, because in this hypothetical Miers was not a judge and they weren't sitting down in an interview.

The president will not be called by the Judiciary Committee. But does anyone think Miers will not be questioned somewhat more aggressively there about any conversations she might have had with Bush on that subject?

If the president does know more than he is saying, which seems likely, what position does that put the nominee in?
10.12.2005 11:45am
I don't buy it. Everyone who personally knew Miers would have known her evangelical views, if she were the Dobson kind of evangelical. We all knew about her push to move the ABA from a pro-choice position.

I think Rove gave some sort of guarantee that Miers has promised to vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. Dobson would never admit such a thing, but lying has never bothered him in the past.
10.12.2005 11:48am
Wince and Nod (mail) (www):
James Dobson is a good, honest man. Many of those who condemn him should examine themselves for subconscious anti-Evangelical bigotry.

10.12.2005 2:48pm
NickM (mail) (www):
I think the speculation about Dobson having been told things about confirmability problems of other suggested names and that Miers was "the best woman they could get through readily" (or "best person they could get through readily", if you're charitable toward them), which has appeared on other blogs, is quite possibly correct. This could well fall into the category of things he "shouldn't know" - he may have been told some private information about a few shortlisted people, while in the end not giving him much in the way of specific information about the nominee that is much more than "trust us".

10.12.2005 3:48pm
Alan K. Henderson (mail) (www):
uhhh....not sure that your understanding of what is scandalous matters much to me. Sorry, Alan.

At least I can express my impressions without resorting to ad hominem.
10.13.2005 2:21am
Paul Deignan (mail) (www):
It turns out that if we take Bush at his word, he like is wife and thus Miers are supporters of Roe. This is the reason (most likely) that Gonzales was suggested.

Note that the women surrounding Bush are pro-Roe while at the same time saying that they are "personally against abortion". Well, there is a big difference between being pro-life and "personally pro-life" and it is all legal at this time.

The case here is sound and is show at my site to be consistent with Bush's public statements and policies. Remember, Bush has never said he was for overturning Roe and Miers shares his philosophy.
10.14.2005 4:31am
Paul Deignan (mail) (www):
BTW, either Dobson is lying or the WH is lying. The WH says that Miers was thier pick--that the fact that the other female candidates were striken from the list didn't change the fact that Miers was picked.

Dobson says that these women were passed over--that is the reason why it was brought up. Now, why do you think they did the bait and switch on Dobson?

Miers is pro-Roe, just as she always was. Bush knows it and that is why she was picked.
10.14.2005 4:34am
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10.25.2005 7:15am