Sunday, October 09, 2005

Harriet Miers and Dred Scott

Here's an article written by a Bush supporter that I'm linking to because it gives some insight into how Bush communicates with his base. It's explaining how Harriet Miers is a "safe" Supreme Court nominee for the Religious Right to support. The article is by Kathleen Parker and is entitled, "President winkin', blinkin' 'n' noddin'". Here's how it concludes:

Bush, in fact, has a record of communicating in code to his base, often leaving the rest of the world flummoxed. During the Oct. 8, 2004, debate in the run-up to his re-election, when asked about whether he would apply a litmus test for Supreme Court nominees, Bush demurred with what seemed at the time like a head-swiveling non sequitur by invoking Dred Scott. No litmus test, he said, but he would not nominate anyone who would condone Dred Scott.

"Huh?" everyone said.

Subsequent deconstructions of Bush's comments revealed that "Dred Scott" is code for "Roe vs. Wade" among pro-lifers. Scott, of course, was the slave who in 1857 sought freedom after his master's death. The courts ruled against him, saying that even freed slaves couldn't be citizens and reinforcing the subhuman status of blacks in the U.S.

Pro-life advocates often refer to Dred Scott as a way of arguing against the inhumanity of Roe vs. Wade and the sins of judicial activism. If constitutional amendments (13 and 14) nullified the Dred Scott ruling, why not a constitutional amendment to protect the unborn? So the thinking goes. A strict constructionist, in the law's reformed view, would not condone the Dred Scott decision. In Bush's view, a strict constructionist also would not condone Roe vs. Wade. When Bush asserts that Miers will be a strict constructionist, you can be almost certain he's delivering a Dred Scott wink.

Likewise, when Bush says he knows Miers' heart, he means her born-again heart, the one that mirrors his own. They are cut from the same evangelical cloth. "Trust me," in other words, means: "Relax, I've kept my word." To know Miers' heart may be to know her mind as well. Then again, with Bush, who knows?

Sometimes a wink is just a wink.

I really think we're going to lose Roe v. Wade and that's tragic. Now let me be very clear. I think abortion is also tragic and usually it is a great evil. But I think it should be safe, legal and rare. Criminalizing it will simply drive abortion underground and thereby jeopardize women's health. There will be lethal back alley abortions and women will once again resort to aborting themselves with coat hangers. Poor women, that is. The rich will always be able to get their abortions. They'll just fly to Europe.

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