hard heads soft hearts

a scratch pad for half-formed thoughts by a liberal political junkie who's nobody special. ''Hard Heads, Soft Hearts'' is the title of a book by Princeton economist Alan Blinder, and tends to be a favorite motto of neoliberals, especially liberal economists.

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Friday, June 14, 2002
I heartily agree that Ashcroft deserves to be fought.
And I would go one step further, and think we must
make it clear that Dems will pay a price if they
support Ashcroft's nomination.

As far as I can see, the only reason Ashcroft opposed
Lee was that he was against affirmative action. Well,
Colin Powell supports affirmative action, so isn't it
but a step to say: "Do you think supporting
affirmative action is a reasonable position?" Either
way he's screwed. If he says yes, then he has to
answer why he blocked Lee's nomination.

If he says no, then he has to face the question "But
your own Secretary of State agrees with us. What does
it say about your extreme partisanship that you
blocked the nomination of someone for holding a
position that even Colin Powell agrees with! Would you
have voted against the nomination of Colin Powell as
well? Why should we trust you to enforce the laws
fairly, given this record of zealous extremism and
intolerance in the Senate?"

Also, I think the Southern Partisan is a dead-end,
insofar as I think people should be held responsible
only for what they themselves say. If, for example, a
liberal Democrat were to give an interview to the
Progressive, and the Progressive's next issue was an
expose "proving" the CIA was full of genocidal
maniacs, I would not want the Democrat held
responsible. Hold Ashcroft responsible for his own
nutty statements, but not those of others.

In general, I think we could make better headway by
attacking his intolerance, lack of intellectual
integrity, double standards, and flip-flops rather
than his conservative positions per se.

Here's my favorite sound-bite type line:

"There is a minimum threshold of intellectual
integrity and non-partisan judgement required for an
Attorney General of the United States. Many qualified
conservatives would meet and far exceed that
threshold: John Danforth, Robert Fiske, Fred Thompson
(there must be others! musn't there?) Former senator
Ashcroft does not. He is an unacceptably partisan
choice for Attorney General, and has given Democrats
and moderates many reasons not to trust him to render
impartial judgements."