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  Harriet Miers Action Item | October 26, 2005


If you have been reading my October 15 and October 31 newsletters, the Howard Phillips Issues and Strategy Bulletin, and you share my political perspective, you will probably agree that President Bush’s nomination of Harriet Miers to be an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court is ill-founded.

Because of blind partisan loyalty, Miss Miers would probably be confirmed if her nomination remains under consideration.

That’s why I am urging you to join me in calling on President Bush to withdraw the nomination of Harriet Miers.

You can help by sending that message to the White House by e-mail ( or by calling the White House switchboard at 202-456-1414.

Thanks for your consideration.

  Question for Harriet Miers | October 25, 2005

Harriet Miers has made a statement as Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy that "…the President’s No Child Left Behind program is so important. This sweeping reform sets high standards and requires accountability for results, while providing flexibility to achieve those results". (full text)

Miss Miers, what Constitutional limits, if any, are there or ought there be on the Federal role in education?

  The Executive Order for Tyranny | October 24, 2005


In looking at some of the activities in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, it is useful to take a fresh look at an Executive Order promulgated by Ronald Reagan following the November 1988 Presidential election. Excerpts of that Executive Order (12656) here follow:

"Whereas the Congress has directed the development of such national security emergency preparedness plans and has provided funds for the accomplishment thereof: Now, Therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America, and pursuant to Reorganization Plan No. 1 of 1958 (72 Stat. 1799), the National Security Act of 1947, as amended, the Defense Production Act of 1950, as amended, and the Federal Civil Defense Act, as amended, it is hereby ordered that the responsibilities of the Federal departments and agencies in national security emergencies shall be as follows: ..."


"A national security emergency is any occurrence, including natural disaster, military attack, technological emergency, or other emergency, that seriously degrades or seriously threatens the national security of the United States. Policy for national security emergency preparedness shall be established by the President....Plans so developed may be executed only in the event that authority for such execution is authorized by law. ..."


"[T]he Secretary of Education shall: ... Develop plans to support the Secretary of Labor in providing education and training to overcome shortages of critical skills; ..."


"[T]he Attorney General of the United States shall: ... Coordinate Federal Government domestic law enforcement activities related to national security emergency preparedness, including Federal law enforcement liaison with, and assistance to, State and local governments; ...

"Coordinate contingency planning for national security emergency law enforcement activities that are beyond the capabilities of State and local agencies; ...

"Develop intergovernmental and interagency law enforcement plans and counter-terrorism programs to interdict and respond to terrorism incidents in the United States that may result in a national security emergency or that occur during such an emergency. ..."


"Develop intergovernmental and interagency law enforcement plans to respond to civil disturbances that may result in a national security emergency or that occur during such an emergency. ..."


"Support the Secretaries of State and the Treasury in plans for the protection of international organizations...."


"Support the Secretary of the Treasury in developing plans to control the movement of property entering and leaving the United States; ..."


"[T]he Secretary of Labor shall: ... Develop plans and issue guidance to ensure effective use of civilian workforce resources during national security emergencies. Such plans shall include, but not necessarily be limited to:

"(a) Priorities and allocations, recruitment, referral, training, employment stabilization including appeals procedures, use assessment, and determination of critical skill categories; and ..."


"In consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, develop plans and procedures for wage, salary, and benefit costs stabilization during national security emergencies; ..."


"Support planning by the Secretary of Defense and the private sector for the provision of human resources to critical defense industries during national security emergencies; ...

"Support planning by the Secretary of Defense and the Director of Selective Service for the institution of conscription in national security emergencies...."


"The Secretary of State shall: ... Assist the Attorney General of the United States in the formulation of national security emergency plans for the control of persons entering or leaving the United States. ... Coordinate with State and local highway agencies in the management of all Federal, State, city, local, and other highways, roads, streets, bridges, tunnels, and publicly owned highway maintenance equipment to assure efficient and safe use of road space during national security emergencies; ..."


"[T]he Secretary of the Treasury shall: ... Develop plans for encouraging capital inflow and discouraging the flight of capital from the United States.... Develop plans, in coordination with the Secretary of Commerce and the Attorney General of the United States, to control the movement of property entering or leaving the United States; ... Cooperate with the Attorney General of the United States on law enforcement activities, including the control of people entering and leaving the United States; ... Support the Secretary of Labor in developing plans and procedures for wage, salary, and benefit costs stabilization; ... Support the Secretary of State in plans for the protection of international organizations and foreign diplomatic, consular, and other official personnel and property or other assets in the United States. ..."


"Executive Order Nos. 10421 and 11490, as amended, are hereby revoked. This Order shall be effective immediately. Ronald Reagan, The White House, November 18, 1988"

  Congratulations | October 13, 2005


October 11 -- Congratulations to my Harvard professor, Thomas Schelling (who instructed me in "game theory") for his having received the Nobel Prize for his unique scholarship in this area. Professor Schelling gave us some insightful advice about how to drive and how to wage war. If your adversary thinks you to be unpredictable, you have a better chance of overcoming that adversary.

  What is the purpose of our education? | October 12, 2005

September 30 — Back in the 1970’s when The Conservative Caucus (TCC) was getting a full head of steam, Claudia and Tom Riner succeeded each other as TCC’s State Coordinator in Kentucky.

Claudia and Tom have a wonderful family, and Peggy and I were delighted to play host to them and their children on one very memorable occasion.

Tom who is the Pastor of the Christ Is King Baptist Church in Louisville is also a Democratic Party state legislator, with a rock solid Christian conservative stance.

Today, The Washington Times reported on the courageous stand taken by their son, Noah Riner, the student body President at Dartmouth College, who was a mere child when he visited our home near Vienna, Virginia.

"On Sept. 20, Noah Riner, student body president of Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., gave a speech welcoming incoming freshmen. He emphasized the importance of character, citing the example of Jesus Christ who ‘gave His life for our sin.’

"The next day, the Student Assembly’s vice president for student life resigned, calling Mr. Riner’s speech ‘reprehensible and an abuse of power.’ In the Dartmouth student newspaper, the president of a campus Jewish group wrote a column calling the speech ‘inappropriate,’ ‘disrespectful’ and ‘the complete antithesis of the values that Dartmouth espouses.’ The student newspaper’s editorial board, while noting that the Ivy League college was founded in 1769 as a Christian institution, criticized Mr. Riner for ‘preaching his faith from a commandeered pulpit.’

"The following are excerpts from Mr. Riner’s speech:

"You’ve been told that you are a special class. A quick look at the statistics confirms that claim: Quite simply, you are the smartest and most diverse group of freshmen to set foot on the Dartmouth campus. You have more potential than all of the other classes. You really are special.

"But it isn’t enough to be special. It isn’t enough to be talented, to be beautiful, to be smart. Generations of amazing students have come before you, and have sat in your seats. Some have been good, some have been bad. All have been special.

"In fact, there’s quite a long list of very special, very corrupt people who have graduated from Dartmouth. William Walter Remington, class of 1939, started out as a Boy Scot and a choirboy and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. He ended up as a Soviet spy, was convicted of perjury and beaten to death in prison.

"Daniel Mason [a 1993 Dartmouth graduate] was just about to graduate from Boston Medical School when he shot two men, killing one, after a parking dispute.

"Just a few weeks ago, I read…about P.J. Halas, class of 1998. His great-uncle George founded the Chicago Bears, and P.J. lived up to the family name, co-captaining the basketball team his senior year at Dartmouth and coaching at a high school team following graduation. He was also a history teacher and, this summer, he was arrested [on charges of] sexually assaulting a 15-year-old student.

"These stories demonstrate that it takes more than a Dartmouth degree to build character.

"As former Dartmouth President John Sloan Dickey said, at Dartmouth our business is learning. … But if all we get from this place is knowledge, we’ve missed something. There’s one subject that you won’t learn about in class, one topic that orientation didn’t cover, and that your [undergraduate adviser] won’t mention: character.

"What is the purpose of our education? Why are we at Dartmouth?

"Martin Luther King Jr. said: ‘But education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society. …We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character — that is the goal of true education.’

"We hear very little about character in our classrooms, yet, as Dr. King suggests, the real problem in the world is not a lack of education.

"For example, in the past few weeks we’ve been some pretty revealing things happening on the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. We’ve seen acts of selfless heroism, and millions around the country have united to help the refugees.

"On the other hand, we’ve been disgusted by the looting, violence and raping that took place even in the supposed refuge areas. In a time of crisis and death, people were paddling around in rafts, stealing TVs and VCRs. How could Americans go so low?

"My purpose in mentioning the horrible things done by certain people on the Gulf Coast isn’t to condemn just them; rather it’s to condemn all of us. Supposedly, character is what you do when no one is looking, but I’m afraid to say all the things I’ve done when no one was looking. Cheating, stealing, lusting, you name it — how different are we? It’s easy to say that we’ve never gone that far; never stolen that much; never lusted so much that we’d rape; and the people we’ve cheated, they were rich anyway.

"Let’s be honest: The differences are in degree. We have the same flaws as the individuals who pillaged New Orleans. Ours haven’t been given such free range, but they exist and are part of us all the same.

"The Times of London once asked readers for comments on what was wrong with the world. British author G.K. Chesterton responded simply: ‘Dear Sir, I am.’

"Not many of us have the same clarity that Chesterton had. Just days after Hurricane Katrina had ravaged the Gulf Coast, politicians and pundits were distributing more blame than aid. It’s so easy to see the faults of others, but so difficult to see our own. In the words of Cassius in Shakespeare’s ‘Julius Caesar,’ ‘the fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars but in ourselves.’

"Character has a lot to do with sacrifice, laying our personal interests down for something bigger. The best example of this is Jesus. In the Garden of Gethsemane, just hours before his crucifixion, Jesus prayed: ‘Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but then, be done.’ He knew the right thing to do. He knew the cost would be agonizing torture and death. He did it anyway. That’s character.

"Jesus is a good example of character, but He’s also much more than that. He is the solution to flawed people like corrupt Dartmouth alums, looters and me.

"It’s so easy to focus on the defects of others and ignore my own. But I need saving as much as they do.

"Jesus’ message of redemption is simple. People are imperfect, and there are consequences for our actions. He gave His life for our sin so that we wouldn’t have to bear the penalty of the law, so we could see love. The problem is me; the solution is God’s love; Jesus on the cross, for us.

"In the words of Bono: ‘[I]f only we could be a bit more like Him, the world would be transformed. … so I ask myself a question a lot of people have asked: Who is this man? And was He who He said He was, or was He just a religious nut? And there it is, and that’s the question.’

"You want the best undergraduate education in the world, and you’ve come to the right place to get that. But there’s more to college than achievement. With Martin Luther King, we must dream of a nation — and a college — where people are not judged by the superficial, ‘but by the content of their character.’

"Thus, as you begin your four years here, you’ve got to come to some conclusions about your own character, because you won’t get it by just going to class. What is the content of your character? Who are you? And how will you become what you need to be?"

  Partisan Loyalty | October 7, 2005


My friend, Dr. Chris Manion, who serves on The Conservative Caucus Foundation Board of Trustees, sent me this message today (October 3), following George Bush’s contemptible nomination of Harriet Miers to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court:

Dear Howard,

It was true in the 1950’s, when Dean Manion gave up on both parties; it was true in the 1970s, when you and Jim Lucier gave Jesse Helms "the speech" that called for a third party at the Manion Testimonial dinner on May 8, 1974, at the Mayflower Hotel; and it was true in the 1990’s, when you ran for president.

We need a new party that is true to America’s principles in deed as well as in word. Talk is cheap to these pols, but their lobbyist friends are very expensive, so money just rolls out of the door – along with our freedom.

I am outfitting the library from mom and dad’s, where you and I sat last May; I found this article from the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch of Thursday, May 12, 1966, page A-20:

" 'The constitutional form of government in this country has been destroyed by the whims, fixations, and ambitions of the justices of the United States supreme Court,’ Clarence Manion said today. Manion, who spoke at a meeting of the rotorya [sic] club of saint Louis, is former Dean of the Notre Dame university school of law.

" 'If the current decisions of the present Supreme Court are correct,’ Manion said, ‘then all of the hundreds of decisions made by the Supreme Court prior to 1950 are wrong. The test of validity for what the government does today is not what the constitution provides, but what five judges of the supreme court will think about what has been done by the government.

" 'Thus, there are no operable restrictions upon the power of the Federal government today except the unpredictable mix of sociological predilections and fixations that are entertained by the justices of the supreme court.

" 'This is not the legacy of government by constitutional law that was left to Americans by their forefathers. On the contrary, this is predictable government by peculiarly unqualified men who are completely beyond the reach of the electorate.’

"Manion recommended that Congress exercise the authority provided it in Article Three of the Constitution and deprive the Supreme Court of jurisdiction to hear appeals in cases involving constitutional questions."

  Harriet Miers | October 6, 2005


October 4 — Alan Keyes and I discussed our concerns about President Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers to be a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Among the matters we considered were her reported support for (1) the International Criminal Court (ICC), (2) homosexuals in the U.S. military, (3) homosexual adoption, (4) women in combat, (5) the "No Child Left Behind Act", and (6) other matters concerning which she faithfully served George W. Bush, whom she has characterized as the most brilliant man she ever met. 

President Bush has promised that she won't change. Frankly, that's what concerns me.

  Harriet Miers | October 5, 2005


The following quotes from, respectively, Elaine Donnelly and David Frum underscore the reasons why George Bush’s nomination of Harriet Miers to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court is so outrageously bad:

Elaine Donnelly

"I am very disappointed by the President’s choice for the Supreme Court, and regret that I have no choice but to explain the apparent implications of the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.

"Ms. Miers does not have a judicial "paper trail," but her record as White House Counsel is a legitimate cause for concern. Democrats and liberals who are willing to use the military for purposes of social experimentation have reason to be pleased.

"As White House Counsel, Ms. Miers either approved of the DoD’s illegal assignments of women in units required to be all-male, which is still continuing in violation of the law requiring notice to Congress in advance, or she was oblivious to the legal consequences of those assignments; i.e., a future court ruling requiring young women to register with Selective Service on the same basis as men because they are now being assigned to land combat.

"In either case, White House Counsel Harriet Miers has apparently allowed the Administration to flaunt the law. (I am assuming that the many messages I sent to the White House on this issue were forwarded to Ms. Miers, among others, as the public debate developed over the past 18 months.)

"In the same way, I can only conclude that Ms. Miers approved of the Bush Administration’s incomprehensible retention of Clinton’s "don’t ask, don’t tell" (DADT) regulations, which are different from the 1993 law that Congress actually passed. Again, either Miers is for Clinton’s indefensible, expendable policy, or she does not understand the implications of DADT. President Bush could have eliminated that administrative policy early in his Administration while upholding the law. Instead, the confusing illogical of DADT could result in the law being declared unconstitutional by a future Supreme Court decision, with our without reference to foreign court rulings.

"Judge Michael Luttig, as a member of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, wrote unequivocally about the difference between the law and DADT. Instead of naming Luttig or someone like him to the Supreme Court, Bush has named a less-than-stellar nominee because she is an old friend. That relationship would be enough to recommend Ms. Miers to any other administration job, but not to the Supreme Court. Too much is at stake.

"In August I took the precaution of making a special trip to Washington to ensure that everyone concerned with the Roberts nomination understood what the Lohrenz v. Donnelly & CMR case, which D.C. Court of Appeals Judge Roberts helped to dismiss, was all about. I also raised the judicial issues of deference to the military and opposition to foreign court opinions being used in Supreme Court decisions. Democrats did not raise the Lohrenz case, which was fine, and Roberts gave excellent answers on the judicial/military issues that CMR is concerned about.

"But on both of these judicial/military issues, we now have a nominee who is likely to confuse the issue of what the Administration’s position is on women in combat, registering women for Selective Service, and gays in the military. To which policy will the Supreme Court defer?

"As with women in combat, the President has said one thing and done another, and let us down. What’s worse, it appears that he has let the military down."

David Frum

"I believe I was the first to float the name of Harriet Miers, White House counsel, as a possible Supreme Court. Today her name is all over the news. I have to confess that at the time, I was mostly joking. Harriet Miers is a capable lawyer, a hard worker, and a kind and generous person. She would be an reasonable choice for a generalist attorney, which is indeed how George W. Bush first met her. She would make an excellent trial judge: She is a careful and fair-minded listener. But US Supreme Court?

"In the White House that hero worshipped the president, Miers was distinguished by the intensity of her zeal: She once told me that the president was the most brilliant man she had ever met. She served Bush well, but she is not the person to lead the court in new directions - or to stand up under the criticism that a conservative justice must expect.

"The harsh truth is, at this 5 year mark in the administration's life, that its domestic achievements are very few. The most important, the tax cut, will likely prove temporary, undermined by the administration's overspending. The education bill, the faith-based initiative, and the rest do not amount to much. Social Security reform will not happen; work on tax reform has not even begun; the immigration proposals are disasters that will never become law.

"The Miers nomination…is an unforced error. Unlike the Roberts's nomination, which confirmed the previous balance on the Court, the O'Connor resignation offered an opportunity to change the balance. This is the moment for which the conservative legal movement has been waiting for two decades--two decades in which a generation of conservative legal intellects of the highest ability have moved to the most distinguished heights in the legal profession. On the nation's appellate courts, in legal academia, in private practice, there are dozens and dozens of principled conservative jurists in their 40s and 50s unassailably qualified for the nation's highest court. Yes, Democrats might have complained. But if Democrats had gone to war against a Michael Luttig or a Sam Alito or a Michael McConnell, they would have had to fight without weapons. The personal and intellectual excellence of these candidates would have made it obvious that the Democrats' only real principle was a kind of legal Brezhnev doctrine: that the Court's balance must remain forever what it was in the days when Democrats had a majority of the votes in the U.S. Senate. In other words, what we have, we hold. Not a very attractive doctrine, and not very winnable either.

"The Senate would have confirmed Luttig, Alito, or McConnell. It certainly would have confirmed a Senator Mitch McConnell or a Senator Jon Kyl, had the president felt even a little nervous about the ultimate vote.

"There was no reason for him to choose anyone but one of these outstanding conservatives. As for the diversity argument, it just seems incredible to imagine that anybody would have criticized this president of all people for his lack of devotion to that doctrine. He has appointed minorities and women to the highest offices in the land, relied on women as his closest advisers, and staffed his administration through and through with Americans of every race, sex, faith, and national origin. He had nothing to apologize for on that score. So the question must be asked, as Admiral Rickover once demanded of Jimmy Carter: Why not the best?

"I worked with Harriet Miers. She's a lovely person: intelligent, honest, capable, loyal, discreet, dedicated ... I could pile on the praise all morning. But there is no reason at all to believe either that she is a legal conservative or--and more importantly--that she has the spine and steel necessary to resist the pressures that constantly bend the American legal system toward the left. This is a chance that may never occur again: a decisive vacancy on the court, a conservative president, a 55-seat Republican majority, a large bench of brilliant and superbly credentialed conservative jurists ... and what has been done with the opportunity? …

"There have just been too many instances of seeming conservatives being sent to the high Court, only to succumb to the prevailing vapors up there: O'Connor, Kennedy, Souter. Given that record, it is simply reckless for any conservative president to take a hazard on anything other than a known quantity of the highest intellectual and personal excellence.

"The pressures on a Supreme Court justice to shift leftward are intense. There is the negative pressure of the vicious, hostile press that legal conservatives must endure. And there are the sweet little inducements--the flattery, the invitations to conferences in Austria and Italy, the lectureships at Yale and Harvard--that come to judges who soften and crumble. Harriet Miers is a taut, nervous, anxious personality. It is hard for me to imagine that she can endure the anger and abuse--or resist the blandishments--that transformed, say, Anthony Kennedy into the judge he is today.

"Nor is it safe for the president's conservative supporters to defer to the president's judgment and say, ‘Well, he must know best.’ The record shows I fear that the president's judgment has always been at its worst on personnel matters."

  Tom DeLay | October 4, 2005

September 29 — Tom DeLay deserves to have his side of the story told and here it is for your consideration:

"This morning, in an act of blatant political partisanship, a rogue district attorney in Travis County, Texas, named Ronnie Earle charged me with one count of criminal conspiracy, a reckless charge wholly unsupported by the facts.

"This is one of the weakest, most baseless indictments in American history. It is a sham, and Mr. Earle knows it. It is a charge that cannot holdup even under the most glancing scrutiny.

"This act is the product of a coordinated, premeditated campaign of political retribution, the all-too-predictable result of a vengeful investigation led by a partisan fanatic.

"Mr. Earle is abusing the power of his office to exact personal revenge for the role I played in the Texas Republican legislative campaign in 2002 and my advocacy for a new, fair and constitutional Congressional map for our state in 2003.

"As it turned out, those efforts were successful. Texas Republicans did indeed win a legislative majority. A fair and representative congressional map was drawn and approved by the Legislature. And the Texas Congressional delegation now, after the 2004 elections, fairly represents the values and attitudes of the state.

"Over the course of this long and bitter political battle, it became clear that the retribution for our success would be ferocious. Today, that retribution is being exacted.

"Mr. Earle, an unabashed partisan zealot with a well-documented history of launching baseless investigations and indictments against his political enemies, has been targeting a political action committee on which advisory board I once served.

"During his investigation, he has gone out of his way to give several media interviews in his office — the only days he actually comes to the office, I’m told — in which he has singled me out for personal attacks, in direct violation of his public responsibility to conduct an impartial inquiry.

"Despite his longstanding animosity toward me — and the abusive investigation that animosity has unfortunately rendered — as recently as two weeks ago, Mr. Earle himself publicly admitted I had never been a focus or target of his inquiry. Soon thereafter, Mr. Earle’s hometown newspaper ran a biting editorial about his investigation, rhetorically asking what the point had been, after all, if I wasn’t to be indicted.

"It was this renewed political pressure in the waning days of his hollow investigation that led to this morning’s action. In accordance with the rules of the House Republican Conference, I will temporarily step aside as floor leader in order to win exoneration from these baseless charges.

"Let me be very, very clear. I have done nothing wrong. I have violated no law, no regulation, no rule of the House. I have done nothing unlawful, unethical or, I might add, unprecedented even in the political campaigns of Mr. Earle himself.

"My defense in this case will not be technical or legalistic: it will be categorical and absolute. I am innocent. Mr. Earle and his staff know it. And I will prove it.

"Here in Washington, there is work — hard, hard work — ahead of our conference. We have a war to win, a region to rebuild, a budget to balance, taxes to cut, a government to reform and a nation to lead. In coming weeks, the House is committed to major legislation reforming our border security and immigration laws, alleviating the rising costs of gasoline and heating fuel before the winter and saving tens of billions of dollars through reforming federal entitlement programs. My job right now is to serve my constituents and our nation in support of this ambitious and needed agenda.

"As for the charges, I have the facts, the law, and the truth on my side, just as I have against every false allegation my opponents have flung at me over the years. Once exposed to the light of objective scrutiny, every one of their frivolous accusations against me has been dismissed, and so will Mr. Earle’s."

  The Most Liberal President | October 3, 2005

September 22 — I was privileged to be among the speakers at the annual conference of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) held at the Key Bridge Marriott Hotel in Rosslyn, Virginia, along with Congressman Ron Paul, Leadership Institute President Morton Blackwell, and M. Stanton Evans, Founder of the National Journalism Center.

In my remarks, I indicated that, as measured by the size of the Federal budget in non-defense areas, George W. Bush is the most liberal President in American history.

My own five-year experience as a department head in the Federal government demonstrated to me that every additional dollar of Federal spending is one less dollar of liberty for American families and individuals, in the sense that judges, politicians, and bureaucrats to the extent they have these additional dollars co-opt decision making which, in a freer society, would be reserved to the people.

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