Monday, October 31, 2005

Two Seats, Four Announcements

President Bush has made four attempts at filling two Supreme Court vacancies. He nominated John Roberts twice, the second time as Chief Justice. He tried to put his personal lawyer in the O’Conner seat. Today he nominated New Jersey Judge Samuel Alito, Jr. after the Miers nomination fizzled.

He has this thing about making 8AM speeches; three of his judicial introductions were held at that hour. Maybe he thinks reporters will be more lethargic at that hour. The speeches begin to sound alike: lots of references to character, experience, distinction, respect, accomplishment. Some more than others, of course; Bush was attacked for the Miers selection because she has no judicial experience. He viewed that as an attribute with her; in distinct contrast, he highlighted Alito’s long judicial experience.

We have also witnessed Bush’s strange speaking style in the past few days. On Friday, we had the spectacle of an American president extolling the virtues of someone named Scooter – who either picked up that moniker as a boy, or, more likely, earned it while carrying wood and water as a political lackey. Bush insisted on using that nickname while talking about Libby; he could have accorded the man more dignity by simply referring to him as Mr. Libby. It didn’t help that most pictures that day were of Libby on crutches, trying to scoot away from reporters.

Today Bush decided to mention a similarity between himself and Judge Alito. While introducing Judge Alito this morning, Bush quipped, “Sam and I both know you can't go wrong marrying a librarian.” Nationwide, librarians shuddered, wondering how they had become so lucky, as they burn their copy of the Patriot Act.

Sacandaga Road on a Fall Night

Telephone poles lean universally
in one direction at night,
slightly askew but in a perfect line,
showing my way down the street.
The lights from an oncoming car
reflect off the wires hung in fours,
a musical line without meter or key,
shining in the dark cold rain,
just waiting for the blowing leaves
to attach themselves as notes, humming
a song in green, red and yellow.

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