The Philadelphia Jewish Voice
The Delaware Valley's Progressive Alternative
Volume 1 - Number 2 - August 2005
The apocalyptic language Jonathan Tobin (Editorial, 7/7) uses, to describe the ideological battles over the Supreme Court, almost sound more Christian than Jewish. Like so many of his Republican brethren,
Tobin fails to acknowledge that Republicans have abolished the anonymous hold and the blue slip for judicial nominations. This has forced Democrats to the very public and drastic tactic of filibuster, in order to gain any leverage over the process at all. When Democrats predictably filibustered judges who publicly said that the New Deal was unconstitutional, or that affirmative action was an unjustifiable intrusion in the marketplace, Republicans were "shocked, shocked" (like
Claude Rains in Casablanca) that filibusters were going on here.
Tobin's greatest exaggeration, however, is that the Democratic battle cry is "stopping Bush from adding a conservative to the court." Nobody has any doubt whatsoever that Bush will appoint a conservative to the Court. The question is whether he will nominate a conservative in the mode of Arlen Specter, or in the mode of Janice Rogers Brown. A secondary question is whether he will pick a deliberately filibuster-provoking nominee, like Robert Bork or Kenneth Starr.
I also take personally Tobin's accusation that conservatives and liberals do not listen to each other. I have lunch every day with a South Carolina religious and political conservative. I have long friendships with conservative Catholics. I have Jewish family and friends who are more conservative than myself. We get along because we refuse to call one another names, or to project motivations and philosophies globally onto those with whose end-positions we disagree.
We talk about our differences with respect, and listen carefully to what we have to say to one another. This is not a feature of Tobin's political arguments. Tobin's weak attempt to achieve Spock-like sagacity by calling Justice Breyer "illogical" is probably his most recent and most ridiculous example. I do not shy away from replying in kind.
Live long and prosper,
"There you go again," president Reagan would have said to his successor¹s continued efforts to conflate the war in Iraq with the attack on America. In his speech at Fort Bragg president Bush once again attempted to confuse us by starting with September 11, "the war reached our shores..." and ending with Iraq, "...the latest battlefield in this war."
There is only one reason for Iraq to be a battlefield: we attacked it. Before our attack, Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden were bitter enemies. Today, the formerly secular Iraq is becoming an Islamist state where women's freedoms are restricted and the mullahs rule.
Given our military muscle we will not "lose" as long as we remain, but like a foreign body lodged beneath the skin, American presence will continue to recruit anti-American bodies willing to kill themselves in order to kill us.The only way to stop the terrorism is to leave and allow the healing to begin. We maybe unhappy with the scar that is left on the Middle East by our unwarranted presence, but by remaining we will only make it worse.
Kenneth J. Gorelick, MD, FCCP
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