J.M. e-mails to disagree with the IWF’s statement of support for President Bush’s nomination of White House Counsel Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court (see also The Other Charlotte’s Miers roundup, Oct. 3):
“As a conservative female, I generally agree with most of your assessments and always like to hear your stance on issues. With the nomination of Harriet Miers, however, I have to disagree, and I also have to wonder if you’re doing what everyone else in politics does, which is give knee-jerk approval to whatever decision their political party makes.
“Unless you know something about Harriet Miers that the rest of us don’t know, how can you support Bush’s nomination? She was hand-picked by none other than Harry Reid, for heaven sakes, and appears to be no less a crony pick than Michael Brown was for FEMA. This nomination makes me deeply unhappy. Why not go with Janice Rogers Brown and show us why we bother to have a Republican majority?”
Yes, I myself would have preferred Bush to have made a bolder choice in Brown (a fave of mine) or Priscilla Owen. But I’m also inclined to listen to Pepperdine University Law Professor Douglas Kmiec, one of the most astute constitutional analysts in the land, who writes in today’s Washington Post:
“But, it is claimed, she is so unlike John Roberts. In fact, though, Miers is exactly like Roberts in one crucial aspect: They are both steadfast adherents to a judicial ethic of no personally imposed points of view. The cognoscenti snicker when the president reaffirms his criterion of judges who will shun legislating from the bench, since to legal realists, it is inconceivable and to political ideologues it is a missed opportunity. They all do, they all will, goes the refrain. To which Roberts repeatedly answered: No, not this umpire. The same answer can be expected from Miers as she makes her bid to join the officiating crew….
“Miers is not Roberts’s equal in court doctrine, but few mortals are. No one who examines her skill and acumen in the practice of law, though, can doubt her capability to master it. This is a woman who went from being the first female to break through the Texas old-boy network to being managing partner of a firm of 400-plus lawyers. She was elected state bar president and defended the ABA’s nominee screening role, even when the political wisdom in the Bush administration itself was to the contrary. Miers’s résumé is one of hard work and service to corporate clients such as Microsoft and to those too poor to afford a lawyer. Her pro bono commitments in Texas to legal aid in immigration and civil cases are well known.
“Senators of both parties encouraged the president to look outside the so-called judicial monastery. If they were serious — and they should have been — Miers has precisely the right background.”
So let’s give Miers a shot. The one thing I don’t think is that she’s another David Souter. I think she’s much too tough-minded to “grow” in office in order to please the liberal elite.
Fellow blogstress Bookworm comments on TOC’s take on a New York Times weeper on the cruelty of sentencing a cold-blooded murderer to life in prison–and that doesn’t mean the NYT supports the death penalty, either (see “A New York Times Sob Story That Just May Leave You Dry-Eyed,” Oct. 2 ):
“‘In the winter woods near Gaines, Pa., on the day before New Year’s Eve in 1969, four 15-year-olds were hunting rabbits when Charlotte Goodwin told Jackie Lee Thompson a lie. They had been having sex for about a month, and she said she was pregnant.’
“Is it my paranoid mind, or does the NY Times formulation make it seem as if poor dead Charlotte, by telling a lie, got what was coming to her?
“It seems to me that the Times is saying that his crime was not as extreme as it otherwise would have been because poor Jackie was the victim of a deliberate falsehood. I didn’t have to wait until the second or third blasts to be disgusted. I was appalled by the first, despite the NY Times’s delicate formulation.”
Good point, Bookworm. The New York Times is very anti-pregnancy, except when it comes to getting pregnant and going on welfare.
Serene comments on TOC’s musings about “President” Hillary Clinton (see “TV’s Feminist President,” Sept. 30):
“I have a real problem with the thought of Sen. Hillary Clinton running for president….I really don’t like her being a ‘role model’ for today’s girls and young women. What kind of message would we be sending them if we elected her as president of the U.S.A.? It’s OK to continue a marriage to a man who doesn’t see oral sex as cheating? That a husband that lies is good enough to keep around until you’ve made it on your own?…
“I would never vote for somebody solely based on their sex, religion, marital status, etc…For someone to run, I do believe their private lives should be private. But being that we already know of Hillary’s private life, maybe she should sit back and let someone who would be a great role model, not just to our daughters, but to our sons as well, run for office!”
Good point, Serene.
And here’s Bookworm again, e-mailing about my take on U.K. Guardian columnist Mary Kenny’s argument that a great big, bankruptcy-provoking wedding may be vulgar, but it’s better than no wedding at all (see “Two Cheers for Bridezilla Weddings,” Sept. 29):
“My husband wanted to elope to Vegas, but compromised with a small, but real wedding, complete with the beautiful dress, the delicious cake and, oh yes, almost forgot, the rabbi.
“Aside from the princess-for-a-day perks that I wanted so much (what girl doesn’t dream of the pretty dress?), I also thought it was extremely important to stand up in front of my community and announce who we were as we set off on our life together: We’re Jewish people who love each other and who are making a commitment before God and man to abide by certain practical and moral principles in our life together. There’s nothing hole-in-the-corner about us or what we’re doing. And if you have a big community that requires a big wedding, so be it. Marriage is one of the most life affirming things people do, and weddings are a wonderful way for a community to celebrate that.”
Yes, I think that’s the point that Kenny was making, and it’s a darned good point.
Now for a bundle of letters on the New York Times article that discovered with horror that many highly educated women college grads are choosing to become stay-at-home mothers (see TOC’s “Are Feminists Against Educating the Next Generation of Mothers?” and “Someone Else’s Problem,” both Sept. 28):
“As the stepparent of a former 17-year-old, I caution any college admissions officer against basing any admissions decision on the declared career versus marriage intention of any such child, male or female. Since all such declared statements of future intention are likely to be revised several times by the time the child turns 19, the only reliable way to exclude non-wage earners is to exclude women as a class, which is flatly illegal, or to do as Judge Posner recommends, which is to impose a post-college penalty on non-wage earners.
“Imagine how that would fly with the recruitment department. Get into Yale and get two decades of servitude at an investment bank. The tuition is high enough already.
“The stories suggest that just as being with a parent as an at home caregiver raises early childhood skills — an effect which is not convincingly well-documented statistically, but certainly well-documented anecdotally — the same effect may be occurring with late adolescents. Do 17-year-olds with a full-time parent do better in the college game, and at college, than nanny raised parents? The NYT article strongly suggests that this subject is fair game for research. The daughter’s desire to emulate the mother may explain why she is there and why she wants to do as she did.”
“I have a far different attitude towards that NY Times piece on coeds who wanna be SAHMs: I hope they all get married before graduation, get pregnant immediately and stay home forever.
“I work in TV and am sick of Name-Brand College honor grads who are too gifted and special to actually do their lowly entry-level jobs. Give me a kid who worked his/her way through Plain-Wrap College and knows how to take directions, follow up and not ask me 10,000 times day when the creative part starts. Let the pampered darlings NOT work–or at least not with me.”
My husband, whose job also exposes him to Plain-Wrap College grads who are just as smart as and work much harder than their snooty Name-Brand confreres, would agree with you 100 percent, K.C.
“You know what–you guys are ridiculous. I actually don’t know anymore if I disagree with your point that moms should/could stay at home and blah blah blah. I thank God every day my mom is much smarter than you’ll ever be, and I actually do hope you stay at home and stay out of the work force–you are the last people I would ever want to run into. I’m graduating from college soon and plan to work, but please, PLEASE, tell your daughters to STAY HOME.”
OK, Anna, we get the heavy-handed irony.
And here’s B.H. on our college-page article about the “hooking up” culture that’s replaced real dating on college campuses:
“I am very impressed (and saddened) by your efforts to expose the social disadvantages under which women college students must operate today. I have forwarded “Hanging Out, Hooking Up” to numerous fellow parents of college students.
“I write today concerning the sad case of Taylor Behl, the missing Virginia Commonwealth University freshman. The known facts of this case include the item that Ms. Behl returned to her VCU dormitory room at approximately 10:00 p.m. on Labor Day, Sept. 5. According to numerous news media accounts, she then discovered that her roommate was entertaining a boyfriend and left the dorm. Again according to press reports, she left in order to provide her rommate and boyfriend with privacy.
“I believe that Ms. Behl and every other female resident of a campus residence has the right to expect full access to her own room at any time — but particularly during late evening hours on a ‘school night’ before a scheduled class day. To date I have not seen any commentary or criticism of Virginia Commonwealth University’s residence-hall policies or their enforcement. If Ms. Behl had remained in her dorm room on Sept. 5, she would hopefully be alive and well today. Thank you.”
I couldn’t agree with you more, H.B. The practice of “sexile” (Tom Wolfe’s word for the college dormitory custom, acquiesced in by school authorities, of allowing students to be barred from rooms they and their parents have paid for so that their roommates can have sex) is not only unfair and morally appalling but can have tragic consequences, as it apparently did in the case of Taylor Behl. College authorities ought to crack down mercilessly on a practice that, among other things, exposes young women to potentially deadly danger.
And finally, J.D.:
“Love your site and your work. But, I must say I was disappointed in the links section of the website where you listed the ladies we are at odds with as ‘Women We Hate.’ That’s a little too close to the average angry radical feminist rhetoric. I think a group of your quality can come up with something more substantial and less angry!”
Hmm, maybe we should come up with something a bit more refined. How about: “Women We Positively Loathe”?