DISTINGUISHING

I have to believe Frank Rich knows better than this:

Even leaving aside the Giuliani record in New York (where his judicial appointees were mostly Democrats), the more Democratic Senate likely to emerge after 2008 is a poor bet to confirm a Scalia or Alito even should a Republican president nominate one. No matter how you slice it, the Giuliani positions on abortion, gay rights and gun control remain indistinguishable from Hillary Clinton’s.

Look, I like to gloat as much as the next guy, but let’s not do it at the expense of reality. And Rudy Giuliani has indeed gotten more traction than many (myself included) thought he ever could, despite James Dobson et al’s significant discomfort with him. But he’s not a pro-choice candidate (he’s not a pro-gay rights or pro-gun control candidate either). He believes abortion is immoral, and he’s made it clear to anyone who’s paying attention that he’ll appoint judges who will make abortion illegal. The intermediate question of whether he has nice things to say about laws banning abortion is a detail (he’s also reversing himself on laws that make it more difficult for women to access the right to choose). While the Senate on a good day can hold back particularly crazy nominees, the only people who come their way for confirmation are the ones the president sends over. And in case you haven’t noticed, drafting strategies on how to overturn Roe isn’t enough to deny you confirmation votes from Democrats.

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JAMES DOBSON: NOT A STAND-UP GUY

I know, I know: tell you something you don’t know. That said, though, check out a little research I did over at TPMCafe about his relationship to another one of your favorite Religious Right figures.

Sometimes a headline says it all:

In Kerik, Bush Saw Values Crucial to Post-9/11 World

If this doesn’t problematize a narrow conception of what values mean (opposing abortion, gay marriage, and adultery) in politics, I don’t know what will. Apparently, in Bernard Kerik’s case, two affairs (not that I think that should disqualify anybody, but a fair number of Republicans seem to think those are important), tax fraud, use of police for personal gratification (as in sending homocide cops to interrogate journalists about your girlfriend’s cellphone), a screw-up in Iraq (too bad he got passed over for the Medal of Freedom), and ties to the mob are all forgivable if you fit one Republican’s description of the archetypal cop:

They’re not pretentious, they do a hard job, they don’t get paid a lot of money, they’re real people and they live in a world that is fairly black and white, with good guys and bad guys. And that’s the way President Bush looks at the world.

Never mind how many of those descriptions actually apply to either Kerik or Bush. We know at least that the last one – seeing the world with the moral complexity of a Saturday morning cartoon show – is a value which, in this White House, trumps all others. Wonder what James Dobson has to say about that.

Meanwhile, some are wondering whether there was ever an undocumented nanny at all…