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Cindy Sheehan Threatens to Run Against Feinstein:

"Cindy Sheehan to Dianne Feinstein: Fillibuster [sic] Alito or I'll Challenge Your Senate Seat." That's the headline of a press release just issued by Ms. Sheehan. The text begins:

Caracas, Venezuela -- Gold star mother Cindy Sheehan has decided to run against California Senator Diane Feinstein if Feinstein does not filibuster the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Samuel Alito. While in Venezuela attending the World Social Forum, Sheehan learned that several Democratic Senators had announced their plans for a filibuster but that Senator Feinstein, who's up for re-election in November, had stated she would vote against the nomination but not filibuster it. "I'm appalled that Diane Feinstein wouldn't recognize how dangerous Alito's nomination is to upholding the values of our constitution and restricting the usurpation of presidential powers, for which I've already paid the ultimate price," Sheehan said.
In a September 11, 2005, essay, Ms. Sheehan said that Senator Feinstein "will also go on our Hall of Shame" because Senator Feinstein has rebuffed three requests by Ms. Sheehan for a personal meeting.

Last fall, Ms. Sheehan dismissed rumors that she might offer herself as a candidate against the re-election bid of Senator Hillary Clinton, whom Sheehan called "a political animal who believes she has to be a war hawk to keep up with the big boys" and "the leader of the pack" of "the pro-war Democrats."

UPDATE: Some commenters were wondering about Ms. Sheehan's reasons for opposing Alito, so here is the rest of the press release:
Sheehan is the grieving military mother whose vigil outside President Bush's ranch in Crawford last summer focused the nation's attention on the human cost of the Iraq war. Her son Casey was killed in Iraq in April 2004.

Judge Alito has an extensive paper trail documenting the right-wing political agenda that he has actively advanced, not only as a high-ranking official in the Reagan Administration, but also as a judge. He has publicly supported the "Unitary Executive" theory, a radical notion that the President holds exclusive and inherent authority to execute all federal law. He has supported efforts to curtail privacy rights, including not only privacy from government surveillance and arbitrary arrest, but also other constitutional rights based on privacy, such as reproductive liberty for women. Alito has outspokenly sought to restrict Congress' power, limiting the scope of the Commerce Clause of Article I of the Constitution. In addition, he has consistently applied his discretion as a judge in favor of certain interests and against others. He rarely votes against big business, police or prosecutors.

Sheehan is available for interviews from Venezuela through the contact people listed above. [DK: I have omitted the contact info from this posting.] She returns to the United States on Monday morning and will travel to Washington, DC on Tuesday to participate in an alternative State of the Union event.

Eric Muller (www):
Finally, a blog finds the courage to take on Cindy Sheehan!
1.27.2006 6:01pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
Laughable, but I'm interested in hearing Sen. Feinstein's response... she does depend on the "sheehan crowd" to get elected over there...
1.27.2006 6:07pm
WB:
I didn't realize that Sheehan had such a broad political platform, or that she had much to say about the Constitution.

I wonder what her feelings are about the "unitary executive theory," stare decisis, or the extent of the words "advise and consent."

Apparently the undesirability of having a personal meeting with Cindy Sheehan is now a matter of bipartisan consensus.
1.27.2006 6:12pm
just me (mail):
Cindy Sheehan paid the ultimate price because of presidential power grabs? Huh? Put aside that losing your own life might be more the "ultimate price" than losing a loved one. How was this caused by a "usurpation of presidential powers"?? (Also put aside that the later phrase seems to suggest that presidential powers are being usurped by someone else, not that the president is usurping powers of others.)

Her claim makes no sense, even if you grant (1) that the Iraqi war was all a big mistake, and (2) that all of the other presidential acts in dispute re war on terror or war anywhere -- surveillance, rendering, detaining Hamdi, prisoner treatment, whatever -- were indeed all unconsitutional presidential power-grabs. That's because the Iraqi War was the one thing that WAS approved by Congress, whatever the debate about surveillance or anything else. So how is that a presidential over-reach? Indeed, her other criticize Hillary Clinton and other Dems for going along with the war vote. So how, then, can the Iraqi War -- again, EVEN IF a bad policy choice -- be fairly described as presidential "usurpation." ??

I didn't pay much attention to this woman when she was in the headlines before, but this suggests that she is competing with Michael Moore for the title of Lefty Whack-job Who Makes It Harder For Truly Thoughtful Critics Of Bush To Be Taken Seriously.
1.27.2006 6:14pm
mike (mail):
"Laughable, but I'm interested in hearing Sen. Feinstein's response... she does depend on the "sheehan crowd" to get elected over there..."

I agree that Sheehan's statements are laughable but Feinstein does not rely on the leftist wing to get elected in CA. She has tons of independent/moderate republican support here. She has a reputation for being a moderate and bipartisan outreach. I would love to see Sheehan run against Feinstein. She'd get a few hippies here in SF to vote for her and that's about it. Then the idiot wing of the party will be silenced once and for all.
1.27.2006 6:26pm
Paddy O. (mail):
Feinstein's response (from her official website):

Washington, DC -- U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today announced that she will vote no on cloture regarding the nomination of Judge Samuel A. Alito, Jr. to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.

"Based on a very long and thoughtful analysis of the record and transcript, which I tried to indicate in my floor statement yesterday, I've decided that I will vote no on cloture."

I was one of those moderate Republicans who supported Senator Feinstein.

No more.
1.27.2006 6:48pm
Gordo:
I suspect that, if Diane Feinstein survives a Cindy Sheehan challenge in the primary, :) , she will coast to re-election.

If for no other reason than the Republicans in California always stand a decent chance of putting up the right-wing versions of Cindy Sheehan as their standard-bearers (e.g. Bill Simon).
1.27.2006 6:49pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
*shrug* I stand corrected then. Most of the news/commentary I hear about her tends to lump her with Maxine Waters, but I don't live there. Russ Feingold gets lots of moderate support in Wisconsin, too.
1.27.2006 6:56pm
Greedy Clerk (mail):
Paddy O. -- I am sure Feinstein is really upset to lose your vote; but good thing you hold it against her that she won't vote for a guy who wants to turn your uterus into state property.

Eric Muller -- I know, I am so happy that David Kopel has the guts to really take on Cindy Sheehan. Rather than engage in the issue of whether this President majorly messed up in Iraq, whether this President has violated federal law by spying on Americans without warrant or oversight, whether this President has violated the Constitution by imprisoning American citizens without charge or opportunity to be heard for four years, whether this President has turned us all into perpetual debtors as a result of his out-of-control spending, whether this President has ruined the good name of the United States by torturing people uselessly and for no reason, whether this President pursuant to his "Commander in Chief" power can basically do anything so long as he determines it's somehow part of the "war on terra" . .. etc.

But hey Cindy Sheehan is stupid, and Michael Moore is fat. Yeee haw! Those are the talking points.
1.27.2006 6:57pm
SomeJarhead (mail):
Cindy Sheehan is the ultimate political animal, and is personally responsible for more combat fatalities than President Bush.

There, I said it, and yes I have the uniform to back it up.

If you find anything admirable or justifiable in Cindy Sheehan's activities since the death of her son then you're a coward, an idiot, or an outright traitor.

"The American soldier [is] a paper tiger and after a few blows [tuns] in defeat." -Osama Bin Laden

My wife's message to Cindy: Stop giving them excuses to send my husband to the same place they sent your son.
1.27.2006 7:06pm
SteveMG (mail):
Finally, a blog finds the courage to take on Cindy Sheehan!

Odd. Kopel simply (and solely) quotes some comments from Ms. Sheehan, and this is characterized as "taking her on."

Because of the loss of her son in Iraq we're not only not allowed to criticize her views but now we're forbidden to even cite those opinions?

SMG
1.27.2006 7:06pm
Hattio (mail):
Okay,
I'm one of the many liberals who has little to no respect for Cindy Sheehan. And frankly, my respect for Michael Moore isn't great. But there is just no comparison between the two. Sheehan is a complete nut-job. Michael Moore is an intelligent person who far, far too often goes overboard in what he's saying.
1.27.2006 7:13pm
The General:
Bill Simon isn't some right-wing nutjob in the same way Cindy Sheehan is a completely insane hard-lefty. He actually accomplished something with is life and is a decent person who never went off the deep end a la Sheehan.

Simon wasn't a good candidate, however. Anyway, Feinstein is the most popular politician in California and won't lose to anyone in the primary or the general election. She'll be a California senator as long as she is alive.
1.27.2006 7:13pm
Chris D (mail):
Cindy Sheehan criticisms are just more beating of the dead horse at this point, but I can't help but wonder how she went from "We have no Constitution" to feeling a need for "upholding the values of our constitution". Feinstein, on the other hand, is notable only because she has caved into the political pressure of the far Left and joined ranks with some of her more excitable colleages. Regardless, there will not be a filibuster. In this instance, there's simply no justification for stopping the democratic process dead in its tracks.

But hey Cindy Sheehan is stupid, and Michael Moore is fat.

I see nothing objectionable about this statement. I did appreciate the irony, though, of Greedy Clerk accusing others of using "talking points", particularly in light of the preceeding paragraph.
1.27.2006 7:14pm
Greedy Clerk (mail):
Bill Simon isn't some right-wing nutjob in the same way Cindy Sheehan is a completely insane hard-lefty. He actually accomplished something with is life and is a decent person

I guess "decent person" means people who don't believe in the right of people to have birth control. Such is the right.

Chris P, please inform me where I used talking points, because I did not. Furthermore, I dare you to respond to any of what I said on the merits.

1.27.2006 7:17pm
Greedy Clerk (mail):
Chris D -- Feinstein is "caving in to the far left" by filibustering someone the views of whom (nationalization of women's reproductive organs) 70 percent of Americans would find objectionable. When Alito puts the chain and lock on your wife's vagina, I am Yes, yes, "far left." Sure. Just like saying that the Iraq War is failing is for a bunch "far left loonies" comprising 59 percent of the country.
1.27.2006 7:20pm
Chris D (mail):
Chris P, please inform me where I used talking points, because I did not.

The entire paragraph preceeding your accusation of someone else using "talking points" just oozes it.

Furthermore, I dare you to respond to any of what I said on the merits.

Oh no, we don't need to respond to arguments on their merits anymore. We can simply label them as "talking points", and they magically go away. We have you to thank for that.
1.27.2006 7:23pm
Paddy O. (mail):
Greedy Clerk, you don't have my vote for US Senator either now.

Though I agree with the thought that Bill Simon was far right. I really didn't like him. He would have been a Far Right version, on the Left Coast, of John Kerry. Both seem a little awkward being human.
1.27.2006 7:26pm
can u read (mail):

There, I said it, and yes I have the uniform to back it up.

Are you a UPS delivery person? A candy striper? A teenage girl at a Catholic school?

Do tell.
1.27.2006 7:30pm
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):
Furthermore, I dare you to respond to any of what I said on the merits.

What merits?
1.27.2006 7:40pm
Per Son:
Sheehan causes deaths? Please explain that one to us Some Jarhead. Also, how does supporting her = coward or traitor?

Those are heavy accusations, can you back it up, or are you yella?
1.27.2006 7:44pm
nk (mail):
This isn't a parody post, is it? Sad. Mrs. Sheehan was driven insane by the death of her child. It is not the first parent of an untimely dead child to whom it has happened. Shame on everyone, on the left mostly but also some on the right, who exploit her.
1.27.2006 7:44pm
T E (mail):
Regardless of your position on Iraq, it's shameful to use Sheehan as a punching bag - or a poster child for your position.

She's suffered a terrible loss.
1.27.2006 7:50pm
Fishbane (mail):
Ugh. I wish she'd shut up and stop being the straw-woman everyone's been looking for. As someone who has consistently opposed the Iraq II war since the run-up in (what I believe, at least) to be a principled manner, I urge all honest folks on the other side: when you think of Sheehan, mentally consider the mirror image and think "Pat Robertson".

We're not all the mirror image of this:

Cindy Sheehan [...] is personally responsible for more combat fatalities than President Bush.

Mr. Jarhead: Can you please offer more evidence for your assertion than your attire? I'd like to respond, but without some supporting evidence or at least narrative, it is very difficult.
1.27.2006 7:53pm
T E (mail):

to commit racial suicide by aborting their babies

Boy oh boy.
1.27.2006 8:04pm
Paddy O. (mail):
"...personally responsible..."
Jarhead is certainly better able to respond than I but I think the argument goes that the terrorists have stated their aims are to cause political upheaval, forcing the US troops out. They cannot win militarily, so they manipulate the press through public terror, and kill in order to foment political rebellion in the United States.

This has made the curious situation where, it can be argued, those most vehemently against the prolongation of our being in Iraq are the most responsible for our still needing to be there. Had there been unanimity against the terrorists in Iraq, they would have felt no hope or purpose in their attacks, and would have gone somewhere else.

The fierce, and widely publicized, opposition against US involvement gives the terrorists hope they still have a chance to win by political means here.

Indeed, if one pushed this point, they could say had there been no philosophy of American political frailty arising from the Vietnam era, once major combat operations had ended, there would have been no impetus for the terrorists to move in. With this in mind, then, combat deaths for the last couple of years can be attributed to the people who feel they are obligated to protest the war. Such people are within the stated strategy of the present terrorists.

This is an arguable point to be sure, but one which can be made.

Note, this isn't an argument against free speech, but just a comment on how the terrorist fully want to manipulate some of our greatest rights for their own unrighteous actions.
1.27.2006 8:05pm
oic (mail):

to commit racial suicide by aborting their babies

So then you support abortion rights to abort "babies" when, say, a black woman has been raped by a white man since she will be insuring that she doesn't have a mocha baby?
1.27.2006 8:06pm
T E (mail):

The fierce, and widely publicized, opposition against US involvement gives the terrorists hope they still have a chance to win by political means here.

Could you tell me what the score is so I will know whether we are winning against "the terrorists"?
1.27.2006 8:09pm
T E (mail):
Oh, and could you tell me who, exactly, these terrorists are? You don't mean the people we are fighting against in Iraq do you?

I mean Rumsfield confirmed that we have had a series of meetings with representative of the various factions opposing the US Iraq and since we all know that we don't negotiate with terrorists, I don't know who you are talking about.
1.27.2006 8:12pm
Per Son:
Terrorists wanting US Troops out has nothing to do with some Americans wanting troops home.

Under that logic, Paddy O, you can say that since many Klan members and neo-Nazis carry confederate flags at rallies, anyone who has a Confederate flag is a Klan member or Neo-Nazi.
1.27.2006 8:13pm
Vorn (mail):
This post does not strike me as being Volokh Conspiracy worthy. Who cares about Sheehan? She can't unseat Senator Feinstein or anyone else. What happened to her is a tragedy, but does anyone else think she has become an incorrigible political animal who talks more than she can deliver? Are her comments really worthy of being posted here?
1.27.2006 8:17pm
jahoulih:
If only we didn't have that pesky 17th amendment, then senators wouldn't have to be so responsive to their annoying constituents, and the advice and consent process would be ever so much more comfy and cozy.
1.27.2006 8:22pm
Paddy O. (mail):
Per,
The argument is that terrorists cannot win militarily so their strategy is to encourage political rebellion at home. This is a stated aim. The terrorists want US troops out, and the method they use is to continue until it is politically unfeasible.

This is not the aim of the Americans who want troops home, but an argument can be made that their passion for what they feel is right is feeding the hopes of the those who kill Americans.

It is a perverse argument of course. But that doesn't mean it's wrong.

As far as your analogy, some do make that argument as well. However, Klan members do not see carrying the Confederate flag as being equivalent to being a Klan member. The key is not our perception, but how the terrorists view the political discontent here.
1.27.2006 8:30pm
byb (mail):

The key is not our perception, but how the terrorists view the political discontent here.

From what I read in the newspaper, a number of these terrorists also believe that if they get popped while fighting us infidels that they will go straight to heaven where 17 virgins dripping in honey will be waiting for them.
So we are supposed to tailor our national policy according to how the "terrorists" view things?
1.27.2006 8:52pm
Paddy O. (mail):
"So we are supposed to tailor our national policy according to how the "terrorists" view things?"
You tailor a military victory by responding to how your enemy thinks. He responds to how you think.

The national policy is that we are in Iraq. The military situation urges us to do what is best to get us out of their the quickest, so we can have new policies put into place.

If we could get Muslim theologians to declare suicide evil, and the virgin thing silly, then that too would be a way to victory.

With this thought in mind, the most effective strategy for getting troops home isn't necessarily the most noisy. The best strategy would be to offer quiet support, end the terrorists hopes for political wins, and then vote everyone who you think started this war in the first place out of office at the first possible chance.

If you oppose a war, this doesn't at all mean you are pro-terrorist, though one should realize the terrorists use this opposition for their own aims. You can hate terrorists with an absolute passion and still do that which helps their cause. Bad generals have done such help for the enemy throughout the centuries.
1.27.2006 9:12pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
I weep for the state of this comment thread
1.27.2006 9:14pm
Chris D (mail):

Feinstein is "caving in to the far left" by filibustering someone the views of whom (nationalization of women's reproductive organs) 70 percent of Americans would find objectionable.


No, that's just blatantly partisan demagoguery; guess nothing's changed. Even if Alito was proven beyond any shadow of a doubt to be an opponent of Roe/Casey, it still wouldn't justify a complete cessation of the democratic process by a seemingly one-issue Democratic minority (I wonder how they would have recieved Byron White?). But since we are apparently obsessing over polls now, would you care to point out what Alito's numbers look like?
1.27.2006 9:19pm
John Jenkins (mail):
It seems to me the original post was something of a joke. This woman has no chance of unseating an incumbant senator under the current campaign finance regime, so the announcement is amusing, at least it is to me. But then, I don't take this woman seriously at all because I think *she* is a nut. That doesn't render her substantive criticisms automatically wrong, but there are smarter, more reasonable people making those criticisms much more persuasively.

However, when I read her description of the unitary executive, it seems she doesn't know what the hell she's talking about. That does render her criticisms unpersuasive and it's blindingly obvious that the death of her son does nothing to make her criticisms more persuasive. It is ironic that people who are perfectly ready to criticize those who criticize *her* on an ad hominem basis are equally as ready to hold up her son's death as some grantor of legitimacy or persuasiveness (a classic argument from authority, equally unpersuasive as the ad hominem).

I agree with one previous comment though: this is LGF or Kos fodder more than something substantive. If it were a comment, I'd call it trolling.
1.27.2006 9:22pm
Marcus1 (mail) (www):
I'm interested that people were offended by this post. I thought it was several steps up from previous ones here calling Sheehan an "admirer of terrorists." Now, that was a reason to be disgusted. This, not so much.
1.27.2006 9:23pm
Chris D (mail):
BTW, happy 51st birthday today to Chief Justice John Roberts.
1.27.2006 9:26pm
CrazyTrain (mail):
Kopel is deleting comments again.
1.27.2006 9:43pm
John Jenkins (mail):
And here I was thinking that my CrazyTrain/Greedy Clerk magic dust was finally working.
1.27.2006 10:20pm
AppSocREs (mail):
Sheehan v Feinstein. Glad I don't live in California. That's a really tough choice.
1.27.2006 11:10pm
Wintermute (www):
Gosh, if you protesters would just stop saying we need to get out of Vietnam, we wouldn't have to stay there as long.

Gimme a bruckin' fake. Ho hum. Been there. Done that.

If you find anything admirable or justifiable in Cindy Sheehan's activities since the death of her son then you're a coward, an idiot, or an outright traitor.

Hey, put me at the top of the list, cannon fodder!
1.27.2006 11:12pm
Skinney (mail):
Question: are we all assuming that Sheehan would try her hand in a Democratic primary vs. Feinstein? What if she chose to run as an independant? I'm not expecting 100% rational thought on her part, and that would seem the best way to 'punish' Feinstein, the politics of party suicide notwithstanding. Does Feinstein still win easy with the far-left vote diminished, or am I just dreaming?
1.28.2006 1:51am
John Jenkins (mail):
The Republican candidate would probably get more votes than Ms. Sheehan with Senator Feinstein winning handily. The "far-left" just isn't that many people. Extremists on both sides make up for their relative scarcity with volume and visibility. There are millions of people who oppose the war in Iraq who don't need to go on T.V. or talk to reporters and make pronouncements because they have bumper stickers to do their talking for them.
1.28.2006 1:59am
Moral Hazard (mail):
Personally after having spent weeks seeing this crazy anti-semite plastered all over the news as some kind of patron saint of grieving mothers last summer I am enjoying her destruction immensely.

It's just too bad it isn't getting the same kind of press coverage as her original protest.
1.28.2006 2:51am
Kazinski:
It is interesting that Sheehan issues her threat to Feinstein and within hours Feinstein says she will support a fillibuster.

Sheehan really has just derailed. I don't blame her, I've never lost a child so I can't imagine the stresses that come with that, but it is sad to watch:

And about Bill Clinton . . . . You know, I really think he should have been impeached, but not for a blow job. His policies are responsible for killing more Iraqis that George Bush. I don't understand why to rise to the level of being president of my country one has to be a monster. I used to say that George Bush was defiling the Oval Office, but it's been held by a long line of monsters.
1.28.2006 2:58am
Lincoln Madison (mail) (www):
You are ignoring the actual legal meaning of what Feinstein said, which is simply that she will not support cloture — she continues to have faith that there is something worthwhile to discuss. We should not leave the fate of the Constitution to a party-line vote, no matter what you say of the merits of any argument. If the majority are so confident that they're right, why are they so faint-hearted at the prospect of trying for a consensus choice for the Supreme Court? Never mind Sandra Day O'Connor, never mind Roe v. Wade, and for just a brief moment even never mind whether Bush has systematically disregarded the Constitution — Alito needs to make a serious effort to convince the entire Senate of his suitability, not just 50 Senators plus Cheney or even 55 Republicans and 5 Democrats. How about a candidate who has the confidence of a majority of the Republicans and a majority of the Democrats, not to mention a majority of the rest of us? Why on earth is that too much to ask?? Why is it too much to ask that the Senate debate the issue until either 50 agree to vote no or 60 agree to vote yes?? You have no faith in our Nation if you believe that continuing such a debate is useless. If Tom DeLay can hold a vote open for three hours while he twists a few arms, then certainly 40 Democrats can hold this vote open for at least a while.

George W. Bush put Charles Pickering on the appellate court as a recess appointment, and Pickering is a raving loon. He wasn't opposed by liberals because he was a Christian, he was opposed because he showed systematic disregard for the role of precedent and a thoroughgoing misunderstanding of the rule of law. As a district judge, Pickering was reversed fifteen times for ignoring well-settled points of law, and that was in the wild and wacky Ninth Circuit in Sanfrancalifrisco oh, no, wait a minute ... the Fifth Circuit, down in Nawlins. And yet it was only by filibuster that this man was kept from being approved onto the Appeals Court by an up-or-down vote supposedly on his qualifications. Heck, even Michael Brown got an up-or-down vote on his qualifications by the whole Senate! Can you imagine what trouble Bush would be in today if Brownie had been a recess appointment??

I'm a liberal, and I said publicly that I would support Eugene Volokh for Supreme Court long beforeHarriet Miers. I say the same in reference to the present nominee.

Oh, and about the whole "Concerned Alumni of Princeton" thing, I can tell you this with absolute certainty: the fact that Alito bragged about his membership in CAP on a job application in 1985 can only be interpreted in two possible ways: (1) Alito was aware of CAP's reputation (well-deserved, at least by some of its members) for hostility towards women, minorities, homosexuals, and worst of all, public-school students on academic scholarships, and chose knowingly to take the risk of being viewed as an idiotic bigot. (2) Alito was culpably negligent in listing something as a qualification on his employment application without doing due diligence as to the associations his association with that association might engender. It's not quite to the level of inappropriateness of "Oh, I only joined the KKK for the marshmallow roasts over an open crossfire," but it's far worse than "I went to 73 different Star Trek conventions because I thought the Klingons were really cool." I mean, really, I was the vice-president of the Dungeons & Dragons Club in high school, but I wouldn't brag about that on a job application at DOJ.

I'm a Democrat, and I endorsed John Roberts on the record in public and I also e-mailed both of my Senators. I'm not ready to endorse Sam Alito, and I don't appreciate being rushed.

I have lots more to say about lots of things, on my blog.

— Lincoln Madison,
San Francisco, U.S.A.
1.28.2006 5:21am
Cornellian (mail):
Feinstein is the most popular politician in California. She doesn't depend on the Sheehan crowd to get elected. Before this I just thought Sheehan was an idiot, but if she thinks she's a threat to Feinstein then she's clearly crossed the line into totally delusional.
1.28.2006 7:13am
Frank Drackmann (mail):
I believe Cindy Sheehan is misguided, a tool of the hate america movement, and quite possibly insane. Despite all
that she has a sexy voice..much better than that old witch
Diane Feinstein. I had a heinous highschool teacher who
could pass for Di-Fis evil twin. Everytime I hear that
voice I have terrible flashbacks to 1977. Given that
Californias senators are going to be socialists, I'll take
the one with the sensuous voice.
1.28.2006 8:34am
dk35 (mail):
Dianne Feinstein is the most popular politician in California. She'll most likely hold on to that title regardless of what she does this week.

The only difference, for her, will be whether she can look at herself in the mirror at the end of her life and be proud of herself that she did all that she could to prevent religious fundamentalists from using the state to tell American women what they can and can't do with their uterus (and, in the process, stay true to her previous comments saying she would do so). If Cindy Sheehan wants to point this out, I don't see the problem.
1.28.2006 9:50am
Bitter Lawyer (mail):
So Mrs. Sheehan opposes Sam Alito for the Supreme Court because he thinks that the head of the executive branch should be the one execute federal laws...
1.28.2006 10:46am
Dick King:
So people don't even pretend to have contact with the states from which they run for senator any more? Cindy Sheehan gets her choice?

-dk
1.28.2006 11:24am
WB:
Cindy Sheehan in the Senate would be hilarious.
1.28.2006 12:36pm
John Jenkins (mail):
WB has a point. We need to get something useful out of the Senate, and if it's not a repeal of any number of federal laws, then humor might work.
1.28.2006 12:43pm
Federal Dog:
GreedyClerk-


"When Alito puts the chain and lock on your wife's vagina, I am Yes, yes, "far left." "


Do you really think anyone is attempting such a thing?

Really?
1.28.2006 2:25pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
CIndy Sheehan wouldn't get as many votes as Mary Carey did for governor.

This woman is insane. She goes to Venezuela to praise CHavez who is everything (and more) that she accuses Bush of being.
1.28.2006 4:18pm
SomeJarhead (mail):
A jarhead is a US Marine. You figure it out.

Sheehan gives the enemy hope by demanding our surrender and retreat. President Bush puts the fear of me (basically) in them by telling them to "bring it on."

One of the two is encouraging more suicide attacks, and the other is encouraging the "insurgents" to try politics instead. You figure it out.

Like anyone's paying attention anymore.
1.28.2006 6:04pm
WB:
Lincoln Madison,

Some commenters suggest that Feinstein's vote against cloture means that she is joining a filibuster. You, on the other hand, insist that she believes that there is something more to discuss. Feinstein's press release claims that she has done a "thorough analysis," which at least hints that she's made up her mind, not that she has more questions.

It's not perfectly clear, but I think it's more likely than not that Feinstein's vote against cloture is a proxy for a no vote and an attempt to subject Alito to a supermajority requirement, not that she genuinely believes that there is more to discuss.
1.28.2006 6:59pm
Fishbane (mail):
How about a candidate who has the confidence of a majority of the Republicans and a majority of the Democrats, not to mention a majority of the rest of us? Why on earth is that too much to ask?

You're forgetting that the current administration has made a science out of narrowly splitting the vote and then pushing for maximal expansion of their role. I really do weep for the country; the Democrats almost have to resort to the same tactics - this is a political war of escalation. And at this rate, it will tear the country apart.

Mr. Jarhead:

A jarhead is a US Marine. You figure it out.

I got that part, thanks. Contrary to rumors, some of us with opposing viewpoints actually do have some familiarity with the military. For reference, I have a relative in Iraq (4th Brigade).

One of the two is encouraging more suicide attacks, and the other is encouraging the "insurgents" to try politics instead. You figure it out.

That's twice you've said that. And twice you've made a bald assertion with no supporting evidence. If this is argumentation, here is my rebuttal:

Continued occupation of Iraq is going to lead to a weakening of U.S. military power that will have a profound impact on our nation for at least the next generation, and can potentially lead to a permanent weaking of our role amongst the other nation states. In contrast, the Bush administration believes that a poorly managed beachhead in the middle east proves our geopolitical seriousness as well as serving both domestic and short-term political aims. It also seems to believe that the nation serves no purpose beyond the end of the electoral cycle.

You figure it out.


There. I've stated my position with no supporting evidence, too.

And, of course, I'm aware of the impedence mismatch. That's what fuels most of the friction between viewpoints. I simply do not accept the notion that, once committed to war, everyone who thinks the decision was a bad idea has to shut up for the greater good. It is funny how Burkean reasoning takes a back seat to Rousseau when "conservatives" are in power.

Like anyone's paying attention anymore.

On the contrary, I think many, many people are watching.
1.28.2006 7:00pm
t e (mail):

A jarhead is a US Marine. You figure it out.

No, I vote for candy striper or cubscout or something.

No marine I know would get all puffed up by taking cheap shots at a mom who'd lost a son in war. The marines I know have more class than that.
1.28.2006 10:09pm
Paddy O. (mail):
t e, what is interesting to me is that in attempting to defend the honor of the mother, you attack the son. A man who risks his own life in Iraq is worth at least as much respect as a mother whose son lost his life. Some might say such a man is has earned more respect. They are risking everything, not just a part.

Indeed, as Jarhead is quoting his wife's concerns in this instance, I dare say her moral authority in worrying about her husband is worth a great deal of consideration. Those who are risking even more than Cindy Sheehan did, have a right to criticize her actions, even if we disagree.
1.28.2006 10:54pm
Rich Rostrom (mail):
Sheehan is (no secret if you bother to look) now operating as a front for the Communist Party (CPUSA). Her threat to run against Feinstein are part of the extreme-left campaign plan: rule or ruin. Either the Democrats adopt their positions, or the far-lefties split the vote and let Republicans win, further energizing their own paranoid base. They win, either way.

I think it's unlikely that Sheehan will oppose Feinstein in the primary. All she'd do is guarantee Feinstein's re-election by letting her distance herself from the crazy left.
1.28.2006 11:26pm
t e (mail):
PaddyO

I don't believe for a second that the poser is bona fide.

Like I said, just not a class thing to do.
1.28.2006 11:27pm
Kazinski:
t e:
The jarhead has a point, Al Qaeda knows they can't defeat us militarily, there only hope is turning public opinion against the war in Iraq, and the war on terror in general. Cindy Sheehan and the attention she gets gives them hope to keep on fighting. If this were a more of a life or death national struggle, I'd be more concerned than about her movement than I am. If Jarhead is bonafide, and I see no reason (other than this being the internet) to doubt him, why shouldn't he take exception to remarks he sees as encouraging those who are shooting at him and his buddies? I don't blame Sheehan though, she is at least temporarily insane.

I do blame those like John Kerry, and John Edwards that voted for the war only because they thought it was politically advantagous, then started critisizing the war because it was how they really felt, and it was percieved as politically advantagous, then called for more troops, and then less all because they thought they could personally benefit. I don't have any animosity toward Ms. Clinton, or Joe Lieberman who have been much more consistent, or Feingold and Kennedy for that matter who have been consistent on the other side.
1.29.2006 2:43am
Lincoln Madison (mail) (www):
Al Qaeda knows one thing: they are defeating us militarily, and with the help of Saddam's loyalists who previously were at cross purposes to al Qaeda. The war was supposed to protect us against the possibility that Saddam and bin Laden would work together, and yet it has created that reality where it did not previously exist.

I've met Cindy Sheehan and spoken to her personally, and she is many things, but crazy isn't one of them. Saying that we should get our troops out of a free-fire zone is not giving aid and comfort to their enemies, it is simple common sense. The choice isn't between "cut and run" and "press on to victory"; it's between tactical retreat and being on the wrong end of target practice.

If Jarhead is a bonafide Semper Fi, then he should understand, just as the many jarheads who joined us under the tents at Camp Casey and on the Mall in Washington understood, that Cindy Sheehan stands opposed to squandering the sacrifice of the lives and limbs of our armed forces on a fool's errand. That is the ultimate support for the troops, not in any way a betrayal.

Furthermore, I won't pretend to speak for Cindy Sheehan on this point, but I see the war in Iraq as in direct conflict with the war on terror, not as its central front. Iraq was a problem, but it was a problem in a little box; the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan were a problem that we let get away from us, instead of hunting down and killing. Now we have two problems loose and running around. Are we safer?

I also blame the political opportunists who ignored their consciences and voted for the war in Iraq because it was popular, but even moreso I blame the administration for manipulating the situation to place them into that position.

Anyone who believes that George W. Bush is a better friend to the grunt on the ground in al Anbar than Cindy Sheehan, is just plain delusional.
1.29.2006 7:00am
Lincoln Madison (mail) (www):
WB wrote:

It's not perfectly clear, but I think it's more likely than not that Feinstein's vote against cloture is a proxy for a no vote and an attempt to subject Alito to a supermajority requirement, not that she genuinely believes that there is more to discuss.

First of all, an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court should be subject to a supermajority requirement, whether it's a Democratic or Republican Senate, and whether it's a D or R in the White House. That is why the filibuster has existed throughout the entire history of the Senate: controversial measures of lasting importance should not be forced through on a party-line vote.

What remains to be discussed is, why are you willing to force a nominee on such a substantial minority that is so vehemently opposed to him? If you support him so strongly, why don't you try to persuade us instead of trying to push to a vote the moment you have a majority?

Feinstein had already announced that she would vote against Alito; she had previously said that she would not support a filibuster, but she now says she will not support cloture. A filibuster only works if the 40+ have greater patience and greater commitment to their cause than the narrow majority. If the Republicans can't persuade more than a couple of the Democrats to support a nominee, they need to make a stronger case or else give it up and try again with a new nominee. And yes, I do believe that Clarence Thomas should have been kept off the Court, too.
1.29.2006 7:22am
Brutus:
an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court should be subject to a supermajority requirement, whether it's a Democratic or Republican Senate, and whether it's a D or R in the White House.

Hard luck for Brandeis...
1.29.2006 9:25am
Cornellian (mail):
I'd like to see Sheehan run against Feinstein so she can spout her views in the spotlight for all to see, end up with a microscopic fraction of the vote and demonstrate to Democrats once and for all that they don't need to pander to fringe wackos to win elections.
1.29.2006 11:19am
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
Al Qaeda knows one thing: they are defeating us militarily, and with the help of Saddam's loyalists who previously were at cross purposes to al Qaeda. The war was supposed to protect us against the possibility that Saddam and bin Laden would work together, and yet it has created that reality where it did not previously exist.
Well, that sure seems to be at odds with what a lot of us see happening in Iraq right now. Indeed, in the last month it sure seems like the amount of interfraternal fighting on our enemies' side is increasing, not decreasing. The Iraqi Sunni insurgents are starting to actively fight the foreign born terrorists, and actually seem interested in joining the political process.

But if you really believe that collaboration between the different enemy factions in Iraq is increasing, instead of decreasing (and turning ever more bloody, IMHO), I would be interested in your original sources for this.
1.29.2006 11:54am
WB:
Fine, but saying that Alito should be subject to a supermajority requirement, that he should not be confirmed if his opponents are vehement enough, and that the filibuster serves valuable purposes...

...that's completely different from saying that Feinstein opposes cloture out of a good faith belief that there's more to discuss.

As for the merits of the filibuster, I don't know what to think, other than that the Democrats would have much less need to worry about the composition of the federal judiciary or the debate rules in the Senate if they could win a few elections.

I'm sympathetic to the idea that a Supreme Court nominee should be able to get at least a few votes from the other side of the aisle before being confirmed, but I think that that's more of a complaint with the current situation than a worthwhile general principle. It only matters right now because the Senate majority is of the same party as the President. I can easily imagine a situation in which there are 53 Dems in the Senate, a Democrat in the White House, and every Democrat with a word processor complaining that the GOP's "lockstep party discipline" is obstructing the President's prerogative to staff the federal courts.

If the Dems are in the minority, presumptively that means that the people have spoken and aren't sufficiently interested in their platform. Changing the minds of the people is a much more legitimate tactic than quibbling about Senate procedural rules or filing "public interest" lawsuits in the courts.
1.29.2006 12:49pm
Milhouse (www):
I want to know something else. This is the second or third time that I've seen reference to something like this:
He has publicly supported the "Unitary Executive" theory, a radical notion that the President holds exclusive and inherent authority to execute all federal law.
I don't understand - is there another theory? Does anyone, right or left, think that the President doesn't hold exclusive executive authority? If not, with whom is he supposed to share it, and why?
1.29.2006 6:11pm
Lincoln Madison (mail) (www):
Collaboration between Baathists and al Qaeda before the invasion: zero. After the invasion: not zero. Therefore, a fortiori, the invasion increased collaboration between America's enemies.

As for the spectre of a Democratic Senate majority and a Democratic President trying to force through a Supreme Court nominee on similarly thin margins, just look at history. How many nominees in the last century have been elevated to the Court with less than 60% of the full Senate voting in favor? I believe that would be Clarence Thomas. Both of Clinton's nominees had single-digit no votes. The three Justices currently serving who were appointed by Ford or Reagan were all approved unanimously.

However, the central point is that a nomination that splits along strict party lines is intrinsically flawed, and that is something I think needs to be discussed.
1.30.2006 4:14am
Lincoln Madison (mail) (www):
Milhouse, the alternative theory to the Unitary Executive is Judicial Supremacy. The supreme law of the land is the Constitution as interpreted by the courts, not as interpreted by the President. Bush uses the phrase "unitary executive" as code for "the President is not bound by the law or the courts, but only by his own interpretation of the Constitution." Article I, Section 8, clearly gives the Congress the express authority to regulate the behavior of the executive branch in the performance of its duties, and Marbury v. Madison clearly established the courts' oversight authority. Bush is trying to undo both.
1.30.2006 4:25am
K:
Is it time to invoke the Nazis yet?
1.30.2006 2:20pm
WB:
The fact that Supreme Court confirmation votes are more divisive now than before could lead to a number of conclusions. The "look at history" argument doesn't show much of anything. Scalia was confirmed unanimously, but there are a bunch of current senators on record as saying that they'd filibuster or vote against him if he came up for a vote now.

For whatever reason, the climate in Washington surrounding judicial nominations has gotten ugly.

The Dems may say that it's because the nature of the candidates has changed and that the President is trying harder to push "extremists" through.

The Republicans may say that it's because the Dems are taking cues from the interest groups who only care about single issues and have no interest in what judges are supposed to do generally.

I think most of it has to do with the escalating fight over abortion and Roe v. Wade.

I think that if Clarence Thomas were nominated today, he'd get confirmed by less than 60 votes. The Bork and Thomas nominations were test cases for ugly confirmation battles. The fact that Alito may pass by a slimmer margin than Thomas doesn't show that he's more extreme, only that confirmation battles have gotten uglier or at least that the Senate is paying more attention.

Thomas also had the added benefit of having Ted Kennedy stay silent. When the strongest critic of Republican judicial nominees can't criticize Uday Hussein from a position of moral superiority, the party is in trouble.
1.30.2006 6:48pm