Friday, July 08, 2005

Gonzales Not a Moderate

A moderate above all else believes that the integrity of the means--the constitution, beneficial economic incentives, international law--must be preserved in the face of any given end.

Alberto Gonzales is not a moderate by this standard. Philocrites cites Gonzales' confirmation hearing testimony from earlier this year, in which he clearly state there are times when Congress may pass a law the President thinks is unconstitutional, and that the President has the right to act accordingly. Philocrites writes:

Karl Rove is quite the magician. Efforts by the White House to quiet down the fundamentalists who are clamoring for a culture warrior on the Supreme Court seem focused on two underlying goals. First, the G.O.P. has to preserve the rousability of the radical right -- a version of Xeno's Paradox in which the Christianists are always getting closer to and yet never quite achieving their goals, making them a perpetually indignant revenue stream. Giving them what they want would seriously undermine Bush's support among non-fundies, and Rove knows it.

More importantly, however, the White House is intent on convincing the media that Alberto Gonzales is a safe, moderate compromise. He's not. Forget the debate about abortion for a moment; the real issue is torture and the president's "authority" to ignore the law.

That's just it: the religious conservatives recognize that Gonzales is not one of them, old-line conservatives emphasizing federalism cannot support his interpretation of the constitution, and liberals deplore his views on torture. The Supreme Court, at its best, is a venue where representatives of different legal philosophies can work out compromise and solutions to the issues of the day; each justice represents a slice of the American political philosophical pie, and his/her authority derives from the ability to speak for that intellectual cohort. Gonzales is a nominee with no natural constituency who should not be confirmed.


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