More on the Gang of 14

Lastango over at Daily Pundit takes issue with my most recent Townhall column in which I report on the Gang of 14’s latest activity in the Senate. The tone of my column was clearly negative in reference to the Gang’s grandstanding. Here is a sample:

Also at issue is the application of the Geneva Conventions. The President argues that American professionals tasked with interrogating terrorists need clarification about the overly broad Geneva Conventions in order to extract information that could help avert attacks on the homeland. The tactics used to extract this information, argues the president, must be validated by Congress or else interrogators will not be able to move forward with interrogations that, according to a new ABC news report, have already helped avert as many as 12 terrorist attacks against the United States.

The Gang plus three says no. McCain, in a statement on his Website, made clear that he thinks the president’s approach “weakens” the Geneva Conventions while setting “an example to other countries, with less respect for basic human rights, that they could issue their own legislative ‘reinterpretations.’”

But McCain’s approach assumes our enemy has even some remote standard of moral decency and respect for the Geneva Conventions. Surely an enemy that routinely kills innocents while beheading kidnapped victims on camera cares nothing for such notions. That does not mean that America should also disregard the Geneva Conventions; the administration is not arguing for that.

And here is another one in which I recall the media reaction to the Gang’s first big media breakthrough on judicial nominations:

However, the Gang became media darlings. Countless editorials praised their “moderation,” “sensibility” and “reverence for tradition.” Clearly the liberal media saw the Gang’s actions as a blow to conservatives who want to confirm judges dedicated to interpreting the constitution (in the mold of Scalia and Thomas).

Despite the clear thrust of my column being negative towards the Gang, Lastango takes issue with one graf out of twelve…this one:

To date, the Gang’s stand has turned out better than expected for those conservatives, though. The high court is now presided over by Chief Justice John Roberts and he has a new associate, Samuel Alito, while the Senate has been able to approve a raft of President Bush’s lower level nominees.

Writes Lastango of the above graf, which he “won’t let pass” despite recognizing that the graf is an aside and not the point of the column:

Even an incident like the Gang hijacking national security and foreign relations issues isn’t enough to get people like Chapman to recognize the Gang as an unmitigated leadership failure by the Republican Party. If he’ll believe the Gang gave us Roberts and Alito, he’ll believe anything.

Ummmmm…did you read my column?

Nowhere in the piece did I praise the Gang. And contrary to the above assertion, nowhere in the piece did I credit the Gang for “giving us Roberts and Alito.”  My observation about the Gang’s activity on the judicial front is merely an observation that is based in fact. I was as upset with the Gang at that time as the next guy, but the point is this: those of us who were upset and feared that the Gang’s activity would result in the inability of the Senate to confirm judges were largely wrong in what we feared. Since that uproar, the Senate has confirmed a raft of lower level nominees, two Rock Star conservatives on the Supreme Court and we defeated a would-be disaster for conservatives on the Court.

That does not mean that in the future the Gang will not have a detrimental effect on the confirmation of conservatives but to date that has not come to pass.

Finally, Lastango is not finished with my writing. He cites this graf from a column in which I decried the hardball tactics being employed by some Republicans against Mike Pence on the immigration issue:

The idea that some so-called conservatives would abandon an up-and-coming Reaganite because they disagree with his good-faith attempt to find a workable immigration solution is a measure of the temperature at which this debate is being conducted.

Concludes Lastango:

What’s a little nation-wrecking between us conservatives, eh?

Nation-wrecking? So now a disagreement on the best approach to immigration reform is tantamount to nation-wrecking? Please…I appreciate that Lastango is paying attention to my writing. That is flattering. I just wish he would read it for what it is and leave his agenda out of it.

Leave a Reply