John Dean Whine
If you've ever wondered what it is about John Dean
Whine that you didn't like, maybe his latest article will help clear things up for you,
just as it did for me.
John Dean is a raging "liberal".
It's usually not worth correcting someone's grammar,
but in this case, his logical errors and erroneous assumptions seem to have a close
relationship to his grammatical errors. Thus, his grammatical errors, logical
errors, as well as erroneous assumptions, are corrected below in red.
You don't need to be a Bush supporter, nor even like
Bush, to take exception with the mad rantings of such "liberals".
Dangerous Times Ahead After
By John W. Dean
Despite the Nation's Deep Divisions and Bush v. Gore, The President Plans On
Filling The Courts With Right Wing Judges
Election 2002 does not give the Bush-Cheney administration a mandate to load
the federal judiciary with right wing judges. The voters, after all, had the economy and
the war on their minds - not the federal courts. But if you doubt it's about to happen,
just sit tight and wait.
By denying that the
Republicans now have a mandate to appoint the judges they want, Dean invalidates his own
criticism. They now do have such a mandate, and whining that they don't is like
crying over spilt milk. He also fails to specify
exactly what it is about "hard right core" judges he objects to. Is Dean
worried that they will follow the will of three quarters of Americans by:
- Upholding sodomy
- Upholding adultery
spoken Christian prayer in public schools?
- Outlawing abortions?
- Increasing the
clearance rate for murder from 60% to 95%?
The headlines and accompanying stories two days after the election tell the
tale: The Los Angeles Times led with "Bush Gets Credit, Clout for Leading GOP
Sweep." Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal proclaimed "GOP Sweep Gives A Boost
to Bush - and Business." And The New York Times reported that "Victorious
Republicans Preparing A Drive For Bush Agenda And Judgeship Nominees".
Each of these leading news journals reports that the Bush Administration will
soon make an effort to pack the federal courts with socially,
economically and politically conservative judges. Worse, these judges will be the type who
view positions on the judiciary as a prize opportunity to make their philosophy the law of
The Bush-Cheney White House believes it has been reborn. In truth, Election
2002 has only given the GOP technical control. But that is all this White House believes
they need. So does much of the Republican news media.
If they have
only "technical control", then what kind of control did the "liberals"
have when they were an even smaller minority, particularly when Clinton became president
with less than a quarter of American voters voting for him? You have to wonder if
Dean even thinks about what he writes. He seems to be speaking for someone else,
rather than expressing his own thoughts.
The Administration Tried to Push Judges Without A Mandate Earlier, Too
It has been known ever since the early months of the Bush-Cheney administration
that the fact they do not even have a majority of public support is, in their view,
irrelevant. They have the power, and that's all that counts.
Kinda like Clinton?
Recall that the Republicans lack a majority of popular support (Gore-Lieberman
had a half-million vote plurality over Bush-Cheney), and were forced to gain control of
the Senate by using Vice President Cheney's tie-breaking vote. Nevertheless, following the
2000 presidential election the Bush-Cheney presidency proceeded as if they had won office
Dean is a putative
"lawyer". He supposedly knows how the law works. Even lawyers are
aware of how the electoral college is SUPPOSED to work, so what's the
criticism about it now? And exactly how was Bush supposed to proceed?
This type of
criticism seems like a back-handed way to garner support for Bush, because the effect is
to cause "conservatives" who don't even like Bush to defend him
Defending the system
must not be confused with defending the despicable actions of the Bush Administration,
The Bush-Cheney White House soon told the American Bar Association committee
that has been assisting in the selection of federal judges since the Eisenhower
administration to get lost. Without ABA assistance, the White House quickly rolled out its
initial gaggle of conservative judicial nominees.
possible objection could "liberals" like Dean have to taking control of our own
government back from known communists with the worst track record in appointing judges in
But before the Bush-Cheney team really got going, Vermont Republican Senator
Jim Jeffords decided he had seen enough to make his decision. In late May 2001, he bolted
from the GOP, declaring himself an Independent who was prepared to vote with the Democrats
to give them control of the Senate.
With Democrats suddenly back in control of the Senate, the Bush-Cheney White
House was forced to retreat, and to work with Congress to develop a legislative program.
Yet they continued to send hard right judicial nominees to the Senate, simply stacking
them on the Senate's doorstep for hoped-for confirmations.
September 11, 2001, of course, recast the Bush-Cheney presidency. Bush, the
former prep-school cheerleader, climbed atop the rubble of the World Trade Center with a
megaphone and found his voice. Meanwhile, Cheney, the closed-door politician and military
aficionado, headed underground, clutching briefing books. There he perfected using his
"hidden hand" to run the Bush-Cheney government.
For the Bush Administration, War Is A Political Strategy As Well
September 11th sent Bush's approval ratings into the stratosphere, with some
polls giving him a ninety percent approval. Bush's Dick Morris, Karl Rove, had found
political gold: George W. Bush - war president. Rove advised the president (and everyone
else) to start talking war. They did, and it buried every other issue.
War presidents automatically win public approval. When Rove ran out of Taliban,
he substituted Saddam Hussein. Bush's approval has remained at about sixty percent.
Americans will be at war as long as Bush is in office - whether the war is against Iraq,
or is the indefinite "war on terrorism."
Without war talk, the White House might have been stymied by a Senate
controlled by Democrats, and Democrats threatening to take control of the House as well.
Try to imagine a Bush Administration without September 11, and it will become clear how
thoroughly war has taken over the agenda.
The November 2002 Election Was Not A Bush-Cheney Referendum
Rove also got his boss to take another low risk, high reward effort to get
control of the Congress: Take the bully pulpit, and presidential road show, on the
campaign trail. Try to transfer your own solid popularity to Republican candidates.
It worked. Bush raised a staggering $140 million for the midterm elections, and
by barnstorming key races in the weeks before the election, he made a difference.
But what difference was it, exactly? The difference was that the Republicans
now have technical control of Congres. It was not that the
Bush-Cheney presidency won a new mandate to replace the one the Administration lacked in
the 2000 election. The public won't weigh in on the Presidency again until 2004 - and it
did not view this intermediate election as a referendum on the Presidency.
obscures the far more important point, which is that the public overwhelmingly REJECTED
precisely the "liberal" notions that Dean put forth in this critique, as well as
are offended by his condescending manner.
Notwithstanding the spin to the contrary, the nation has not just held a
plebiscite on the Bush-Cheney presidency. Polls show exactly the opposite.
The Polls Belie Any Claim of A Mandate for the Bush Administration
On November 4 of this year, the day before the election, the Gallup
organization asked voters if their vote for a local candidate would (a) "be made in
order to send a message you SUPPORT George W. Bush," (b) "be made in order to
send a message that your OPPOSE George W. Bush," or (c) "will you NOT be sending
a message about George W. Bush with your vote?"
Thirty-five percent were sending a message of support, and eighteen percent
were sending a message of opposition. However, the bulk of the voters, forty-five percent,
said they were not sending any message to Bush whatsoever.
With only a third of the voters sending a message of support, the 2002 midterm
is hardily a national referendum on Bush. Interesting, even
many of those voters who contribute to Bush's high popularity rating plainly had no
intention of weighing in on him in this election; if they had, Gallup's number of voters
sending a positive message on Bush would have been much higher.
"liberals" and supporting Bush ARE two different phenomena that cannot meet the
connection you want to make.
This was intended to give you "liberals" the message that you're finished
and that your "ideas" have come to a screeching halt, not to endorse baby Bush.
A Nation Still Divided - But Judicial Nominees of A Single Philosophy
The margin of the 2002 midterm vote was so thin it says exactly the same thing
to the nation that voters said in 2000. As Los Angeles Times political analyst Ron
Brownstein notes: "However the final races sort out, it appears that the Republican
advance Tuesday wasn't large enough to suggest that they have decisively broken out of the
50-50 divide that has defined American politics for the last half-decade."
We are a divided nation. [Yes, when 4% of the population who are "liberals" are
permitted to rule the 93% who are Christians for more than half a century, this division
isn't as it should, and will, be]. And when all of the minority parties are added into the equation, the Republicans
- particularly the right-wing of the party - remain in the minority. Nevertheless, Bush's
hard right core constituency wants more than anything else to pack the federal courts with
those who share their thinking, and are willing to impose it through the court system.
Could a "liberal" REALLY believe this would be worse
than what "liberals" imposed through the court system?
These judges are the most inappropriate conceivable in these times: They are
uniform in perspective and activist in imprinting that perspective on the law.
To keep his hard right constituency happy, Bush is scouring the legal community
for conservative judicial appointees. I promise, you've seen nothing so far: Nominees to
come will be, if anything, far more objectionable than those already considered.
It would please me
greatly if just ONE "liberal" would describe exactly what it is that they find
"objectionable" to upholding the US Constitution and the principles of the Holy
Bible, but they are all so emotional about the issues that they can never seem to grasp
Unfortunately for everyone, this is a very dangerous, short-sighted political
The Dangers Of Majority Control, as Seen By Tocqueville and Madison
Alexis de Tocqueville, considered by many both on the right and the left to be
a perceptive and wise a commentator on American democracy, long ago warned of the problems
facing any majority. To make the point, he called it the tyranny of the majority.
Dean. Your kind lost, and lost big time, and hopefully lost forever.
Of course people
like Dean prefer their own tyranny of the minority--the minority called
"My greatest complaint against democratic government as organized in the
United States," de Tocqueville writes in Democracy In America, ". . . is not the
extreme freedom reigning there but the shortage of guarantees against tyranny."
(Quotation from Mayer transl.)
The French political observer and thinker noted that when legislative,
executive, and judicial branches think differently, tyranny is checked. Yet conservative
Republicans currently seek to impose their philosophy by, in fact, controlling all
branches: Not content to dominate the executive and legislative branches, they will make
their bid for the judiciary, as well.
But when a majority can control all branches, de Tocqueville explained, there
is a danger: "If ever freedom is lost in America, that will be due to the omnipotence
of the majority driving the minority to desperation and forcing them to appeal to physical
Clinton was merely IMPEACHED for crimes that would have gotten a "normal"
citizen imprisoned for 40 years?
This concern was not new to de Tocqueville; rather he drew from the thoughts of
founder James Madison. Madison explained in Federalist No. 51 why a majority must be
checked by the minority: "In a society under the forms of which the stronger faction
can readily unite and oppress the weaker, anarchy may as truly said to reign as in a state
For this reason, the system was designed with checks and balances. Today, their
remains but one possible check on Bush's effort to pack the
judiciary (or force other unacceptable programs through Congress). This last check is the
Democrats' final chance to keep control of at least one branch.
Will Democrats Employ The Only Check On The Bush-Cheney Administration?
Before Senator Jeffords bolted and gave the Democrats control of the Senate,
the Democrats showed great reluctance to use this last remaining check: the filibuster.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich surmised, reflecting on the return of Republican
control, that Democrats simply can't keep saying "no." But now Democrats may
have to learn to do just that.
Packing the judiciary is going to become a truly high-stakes game when one or
more of the aging conservative Supreme Court justices step down. Never has that been more
likely to happen than during the next year. It will occur long before the presidential
race, so the argument can't be used that filling the high court must be left to the next
Meanwhile, there are presently sixteen conservative Bush judicial nominees
awaiting confirmation. It is possible none of these nominees would ever have been
approved. Yet now they are all, at least, going to be processed, and doubtless some, if
not all, will be confirmed.
Bush aides have said that given the changed situation, the White House will
resubmit the rejected nominations of Charles Pickering of Mississippi and Priscilla Owen
of Texas. Both Pickering and Owen were earlier rejected for seats on the United States
Court of Appeals by the then-Democratically-controlled Senate.
The GOP is still far short of a 60-vote, filibuster-proof majority in favor of
its nominations. Will Democrats use the filibuster to prevent Bush from packing the
judiciary (and for other conservative initiatives)?
I don't know. I do know if they don't, we will have a tyranny of a technical
majority, which is - in truth - a minority that has the reins of government in its hands.
"liberals" so studiously ignore that Clinton's "mandate" was
established by less than a quarter of American voters, while criticizing a man who got
49.9% of the vote from those who voted?
Which simply ignores
the fact that Clinton was supported by an even smaller minority of Americans, having been
elected by only 43.3% of the
voters at a time when voting turn-out was only 55.2% of the voting age population.
Even if you hate
Bush and his despicable policies, which all thinking Americans must do, the gall of the
John Dean Whine is appalling. How do we know if he's disingenuous, or just plain
STUPID? Or if he's parroting someone else's "ideology" without realizing
that it can't possibly fit reality?
Or are lawyers really this STUPID?
John Dean, a FindLaw columnist, is a former Counsel to the President of the
(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is
distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the
included information for research and educational purposes.)
Print This Story E-mail This Story
||ï¿½ : t r u t h o u t 2002