Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Political Etiquette 101 - Don't Send Dumb Emails

I don't normally wade into discussions of American politics because I think we have enough of a mess up here to talk about.

As you may have heard, George Bush nominated somebody completely unknown to the Supreme Court, taking many by surprise. Well, I guess the word coming out is that the Republican National Committee attempted to motivate Republicans to oppose Democrat opposition to her nomination in an email by claiming that Democrats were specifically planning to oppose her nomination before she was even named.

The part of the email of interest is as follows:
President Bush selected Ms. Miers after embarking on a thorough and deliberate thought process. This confirmation however promises to be much more contentious than the confirmation of Judge John Roberts. Before Ms. Miers was even announced many Democrat groups said they would oppose her. They have no interest in giving Ms. Miers a fair hearing or vote. They are promising to throw every punch, make every accusation and pressure every Senator to oppose this nominee no matter what her qualifications may be. We have to be prepared to counter their actions and that is why Harriet Miers needs your help.
Emphasis mine. The full email can be found here [FactCheck, Harriet Miers Needs Your Help [PDF])

The biggest opposition to the whole nomination is from, well, Republicans. As has been reported elsewhere.
... William Kristol, editor of the conservative Weekly Standard, said, "I'm disappointed, depressed and demoralized" at Bush's choice. "Harriet Miers has an impressive record as a corporate attorney and Bush administration official. She has no constitutionalist credentials that I know of."

And the conservative National Review's David Frum called the Miers nomination an "unforced error" by Bush, saying, "We are being asked by this president to take this appointment purely on trust, without any independent reason to support it. And that is not a request conservatives can safely grant."
Besides George Bush, it seems that one of Harriet Miers most optimistic supporters is US Senator Harry Reid ... a Democrat? And the Senate Democrat Leader too.
In my view, the Supreme Court would benefit from the addition of a justice who has real experience as a practicing lawyer. The current justices have all been chosen from the lower federal courts. A nominee with relevant non-judicial experience would bring a different and useful perspective to the Court. [Full release]
From my simple analysis, if your government is up to questions of credibility and increased scrutiny, why would you send out a fabrication like this, especially one so easily verifiable and one so easy to be proven to be false as time goes on? In the best case scenario, it just comes off as blindly partisan.

Was there going to be opposition from Bush opponents? Sure, but the opposition was specific to an issue and not to an individual. That said, there was going to be opposition regardless of who was nominated, simply on the fact that President Bush was going to make it. But this note clearly implied that the Democrats (or groups affiliated with the Democrats) had a plan to oppose the nomination and specifically to oppose Harriet Miers, which was completely false.

This is just not how you should rally the troops.

[Source: FactCheck]

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Anonymous said...

Bush appoints way to many cronies. THE FEMA head is another example. Even the US ambassador to Canada has no experience at all but is noted to be close to the Bush family. Sad.

Anonymous said...

Anon - all politicians appoint too many buddies and relatives (see our former ambassador to the USA).

But just because you know someone, does not mean that you're unqualified.

Slightly off-topic, you prodded me to have a look at the Canadian counterpart for FEMA - Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. I don't know about you but having Anne McLelland - law professor - on top of the heap, and a deputy minister who is a lifetime government of Canada lawyer, doesn't give me the warm and fuzzy feeling.