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View Diary: On Reacting to Roberts: It's Not Just Fairness, It's Smart Politics (225 comments)

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  •  Mostly agree (none)
    I certainly agree on the point you made about simplicity of framing.  

    Just don't sell short the potential to do that with some of the regulatory issues, especially on the environment -- not only for their own sake in terms of the starkness of some of the issues (especially health ones), but also because they have some potential to show Roberts as the flack for corporations that make their profits by poisoning our children and our air, water, and land that he is.

    •  That's tin foil hat talk. (none)
      Roberts represents corporations.  So do at least two of the front page posters on this site.  So do I.  So do a lot of very prominent liberal attorneys.  An example, John Keker, the prosecutor in the Oliver North trial, a former law clerk of Earl Warren, former staff counsel to the NRDC, spends most of his time representing corporations and corporate defendants.  I could make similar statements about a LOT of liberal attorneys.  Even Elliot Spitzer represented corporations when with Paul Weiss and Skadden Arps.

      Fact is, most Americans work for, invest in, and consume the products of corporations.  An "anti-corporate" rhetoric is going to get us nowhere.

      And focusing on esoteric cases about regulatory power that are EASILY explained away by reference to the narrow legal issues presented is a losing strategy.

      The focus must be on what Americans care about.  We are a fundamentally libertarian country and a focus that shows the Republicans want to curtail our rights, not expand them, is what will win us support.

      •  A little defensive? (none)
        This is really a pretty minor point you're arguing about here.  Having worked on environmental legislation in Congress in the past, there are ways to portray the importance of some of these issues for people's daily lives that are effective.  I wasn't trying to write the script for that here, just suggesting it those issues can work to some extent because I've seen them work.

        Your quick resort to name-calling is way out of proportion, and doesn't say much about the substance.  This is a really tangential conversation.

        •  My apologies. (none)
          I'm not suggesting you are crazy.  I am suggesting that the anti-corporate rhetoric that I see from MoveOn is a real mistake.

          Roberts has issued numerous decisions upholding the regulatory power of administrative agencies.  He has also issued decision that held that Congress did not have the power to engage in certain types of regulations, including an Endangered Species Act case.  The issues presented by those competing decisions was NOT the wisdom or lack thereof of environmental regulation, but esoteric questions of the regulatory power of Congress under the interstate commerce clause.  And frankly, Roberts can hold his own in that debate and the public won't care anyway.

          We need to really focus the issues or we lose.

          •  Appreciate that (none)
            I agree that environmental/regulatory issues are  tricky to work with, easy to get away into arid intellectual discussions that a smart guy like Roberts could handle with his eyes closed, and shouldn't be the central focus.  But one thing I learned during Bork (I was on Senate Judiciary staff then) was that there were a lot of different issues that reached different Senators, and that it's very hard to predict the issues to which some of them may react.  

            On a Supreme Court nomination you have a lot of opportunity to explore different issues by splitting them among different Senators' questions.  If you hit pay dirt on even a small aspect of one series of questions, you can explode that point by forcing a Senator on the other side to give the nominee make-up questions, which perpetuates and amplifies the issue in a way that can give reporters hooks.  

            The good side of talking about specific past cases is that it personalizes otherwise-abstract issues in a way that the media loves.  Nothing like a TV interview with a past appealling victim to make things real.  It also helps to keep the discussion reality-based, which is often hard to Republicans to deal with (facts on a record!  Heaven forbid!).

            •  But this isn't Bork. (none)
              Roberts will be confirmed, he wasn't the perp in the Saturday Night Massacre.

              No.  This isn't about convincing some fence sitting Senator to ding Roberts because it's never going to get that close.  This instead is going to serve no real purpose other than to give the Dems the opportunity to take advantage of the platform illustrate the differences between us and the Repubs issues of individual freedom.  

              In short, this is our chance to show that the Repubs aren't the party that wants the government off our backs, they are the party that wants the government in our bedrooms.

              Discussing regulatory issues (e.g. expansive Federal regulatory power versus leaving that power with the States) will serve only to detract from what could be a powerful message.

      •  What is pro-corporate? (none)
        Most often (in practise) it means protecting stongest special interests, often at expense of remaining (just as) corporate interests.

        We are on a slippery slope if everyone avoids questioning corporate influence. Democrats should learn better how to control this intelligently.

        I agree that we must focus on how Republicans want to curtail people's rights. But allowing corporations all the power they ask does hurt freedoms of many people. At least Dems may remind this.

        In my diary I proposed to ask Roberts about the implicit principle "corporation rights are human rights". I may say that I do support some "human rights" for corporations (like due process, etc). But I would prefer them clearly stated in enacted laws, rather than implied by the dreadful equivalence. So I do wish that Roberts would be asked this question in Senate hearings, especially since the comparable (but only formally implicit) privacy principle will certainly show up.

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