RUSH: I want to start out today with once again the audio from the new NARAL ad with nurse Emily Lyons.
LYONS: A bomb ripped through my clinic and I almost lost my life. I will never be the same.
PAID ANNOUNCER: Supreme Court nominee John Roberts filed court briefs supporting violent fringe groups and a convicted clinic bomber.
LYONS: I’m determined to stop this violence so I’m speaking out.
PAID ANNOUNCER: Call your senators. Tell them to oppose John Roberts. America can’t afford a justice whose ideology leads him to excuse violence against other Americans.
(Playing of NARAL ad spoof.)
RUSH: All right, so yesterday we played the NARAL ad, and I asked a question. I said, “Will any Democrat endorse the ad? Will any Democrats step forward and say, ‘Yep, it’s a great ad. Will they endorse what’s in it? In fact, will any member of the media go ask them?'” My friends, the power of this program… Right here in the New York Times today is this story: “An advertisement that a leading abortion rights organization began running on national TV on Wednesday opposing Judge Roberts quickly became the first flash point in the three-week-old confirmation process. Several prominent abortion rights supporters, as well as neutral media watchdog groups said the advertisement was misleading and unfair, and a conservative group quickly took to the airwaves with an opposing advertisement.” This was written by Linda Greenhouse of the New York Times, who is their official Supreme Court reporterette. Linda, the media watchdog group is the Annenberg Center.
By the way, guess who’s there? That’s where Brooks Jackson went! Brooks Jackson left CNN; he was their political commercial fact checker. He’s now at the Annenberg Center doing FactCheck.org. I wondered where Brooks Jackson was. CNN, by the way, is still running the ad. Even after their former employee has gone on TV and said, “Yep, it’s false,” and Lou Dobbs yesterday read a statement from CNN on why they’re still running the ad, which I’ve got that coming up here in just a second. But Linda, FactCheck.org, the Annenberg Center did not say the advertisement was “misleading and unfair.” They said it was “false.” They said it was flat-out wrong!
But what’s happened here is that a whole bunch of Democrats have come out and said that this thing is bad, that it should not be heard, that it should not be aired, and it’s misleading and it’s causing a problem. Some Democrats can’t even go on record it’s so bad. The reason they’re not going on record is because they don’t want to get nasty e-mails and phone calls from NARAL and People for the American Way. “Within the larger liberal coalition of which NARAL is a part, there was considerable uneasiness about the advertisement, although leaders of other groups generally refused to speak on the record. One who did, Frances Kissling, the longtime president of Catholics for a Free Choice, said she was ‘deeply upset and offended’ by the advertisement, which she called ‘far too intemperate and far too personal.’
“She added: ‘As a pro-choice person, I don’t like being placed on the defensive by my leaders. NARAL should pull it and move on.’ Walter Dellinger, a former acting solicitor general in the Clinton administration and longtime Naral supporter, sent a letter on Wednesday to the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and its ranking Democrat, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, respectively. Mr. Dellinger said he had disagreed with Mr. Roberts’s argument in the Bray case but considered it unfair to give ‘the impression that Roberts is somehow associated with clinic bombers.’ He added that ‘it would be regrettable if the only refutation of these assertions about Roberts came from groups opposed to abortion rights.'”
So you didn’t have too many Democrats going on record, but a lot silently and anonymously voiced their displeasure with the thing — and as I say, a lot of them are scared to go on record because these are the groups that fund their campaigns. These are the groups that fund their reelection efforts. I mean, one senator that did go on record was Senator Pat Leaky Leahy. The Senate judiciary committee’s top Democrat assailed all advocacy group commercials for and against John Roberts, suggesting they’re not going to sway senators weighing his confirmation. Leahy said, “Those outside lobbying groups, whether on the right or the left, they become for me, anyway, basically irrelevant. They’ll probably be offended by that and I’m not saying that they shouldn’t do what they do. I just wish they didn’t.”
Well, that’s really taking a firm stand! “They’ll probably be offended by that, and I’m not saying they shouldn’t do what they do, I just wish they didn’t.” Well, if you’re saying you wish they didn’t aren’t you kind of saying you don’t think they should? Now, Leahy doesn’t say so specifically here, but he’s embarrassed by this ad, too — and he couches it: “These ads don’t work anyway,” and when he says they will probably be offended by that, who will be offended? The feminists are going to be offended. So I’m wondering if Leahy is going to be the target now of some nasty e-mails from People for the American Way and NARAL. This is something that you just don’t do, folks.
The Democrats don’t disavow, so this must be backfiring big time just like I told yesterday it would. This is setting all women back 50 years. This ad is reprehensible and it has backfired big time, and the Democrats know it, and they’re running to distance themselves from this ad as quickly as they can. Now, Bob Novak has interesting column today about this ad and about the whole vicious attack on Roberts by the abortion lobby. Novak writes, “This is not really a desperate effort to defeat Roberts. Rather, it is part of an intricate game that not only determines the occupant of one seat on the Supreme Court but can set its ideological course for the next generation.”
In other words, what Novak is saying is that the effort here by the left is to make sure Bush doesn’t nominate anybody more conservative than Roberts next time out — and, folks, I want to tell you, this is another thing that I predicted to you when Roberts’ name was first mentioned. One of the things I said was, “If this guy sails through look for the Democrats to say, ‘Okay, we’ll give you this one, but nobody more conservative than this.'” So Novak’s theory is that a signal is being sent, and if they go any further than this guy, if Bush goes any further than this guy, why, all bets are off and they’ll go to filibusters and at all sorts of things.
RUSH: All right, Robert Novak’s column basically says that the left is using the Roberts confirmation to set a marker for future nomination fights. If they’re willing to slime Roberts this way, looking into adoptions and lying like NARAL is, imagine what they’ll do to a real conservative, like, say, Michael Luttig or one like Edith Jones or Priscilla Owen or someone else that might be nominated. In other words, they’re trying to send a signal to Bush that he can expect worse down the road in hopes that he will feel threatened by them. Novak says, “NARAL’s approach was not meant to sway the Senate but to pick off nervous Democrats and perhaps a Republican or two, keeping Roberts as close to 60 votes as possible. The president and his closest advisors then would have to ask themselves, if a nominee is squeaky clean as John Roberts cannot do better than this, can we risk nominating another conservative for the next vacancy?”
And of course the left kind of got screwed up because they were planning on Rehnquist being the first resignation, and they wouldn’t have fought at all if Rehnquist is replaced by Roberts because that would be a conservative for a conservative, it wouldn’t upset the balance of power, if you will, on the Supreme Court. But O’Connor, considered by the left to be one of their own votes, being replaced by Roberts, “Uh-oh, that’s not good. So we gotta stop that,” and so they’re desperate. This is Novak’s theory. They’re desperate to make sure this guy doesn’t get 70 or 80 votes in the whole Senate, because if he does, it paves the way for somebody just like him or even more conservative down the road. So Novak’s point is, this ad is designed to keep as many Democrats from voting for the guy as possible, keep it as close to 60 and not even get to 70 by picking off a couple of Republicans.
Now, there’s an argument about whether, you know, I think it’s going to take three nominees to actually effect a power shift to give the conservatives a clear majority. Two would be better than none, but you’re really going to have to have three to do it, and there probably will be a third nomination the president will get before his term expires. But whether Novak’s right or wrong, isn’t it amazing to watch. What we’ve learned here now, if he’s right, it’s not about whether Roberts wins or loses. It’s not an up-or-down vote on Roberts. It’s whether or not the Democrats can keep Roberts from getting 70 or more votes. Now, just think of this. If the Democrats put as much thought into national defense as they do into abortion defense, can you imagine the safer world that we would have? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the Democrats exhibited this kind of strategy and thinking when it came to national defense, as opposed to just abortion defense? By the way, I’m not sure that Novak is totally right about this. I don’t think when he wrote the column — I’m just guessing, but I don’t think when he wrote the column that he expected the Democrats to start running for the tall grass and turn away from this ad as quickly as they did.
Another thing: I would disagree with the idea that the left will allow a certain degree of conservatism and then set down a marker. My experience with them is they don’t allow any conservatism. They’ll go to the mat to stop any conservative no matter what. I don’t think this is any different than what they would have done if this were a nomination to replace Rehnquist. They would still be doing this. It doesn’t matter. I do distance myself from Novak a bit because I don’t think this is any different than what the left has always done and it certainly wasn’t a surprise. The NARAL ad didn’t surprise anybody.
We know this is how low they are. We know this is what they’re typical and capable of doing — and so they did it. I think some people try to outthink themselves and be too smart by half sometimes. The only difference here is they can’t get away with this as easily as they used to. This is not 20 years ago. This is not 20 years ago when an ad like this would work, and it’s certainly not 20 years ago when the Democrats would never, ever run from this ad. The fact that so many Democrats are running from this ad is something new, and it’s a great illustration of just how significantly things have changed. (interruption) That’s right. They tried this with Clarence Thomas. Anita Hill is synonymous with this ad. They tried, and they’re going to do this — and, by the way, just because this ad bombs don’t expect them not to throw a bunch of bombs at the hearings when they start.
I think there may be some realization that’s set in on the left that Roberts is going to get confirmed, and I think there may be some desire to keep Roberts as close to 60 votes as possible as opposed to say 70 or 80, but I don’t think that NARAL’s ad is any different than it would have been had they been trying to defeat Roberts, and I still think that’s what they’re trying to do. I mean, if the left had its way, this guy wouldn’t get confirmed. Bush wouldn’t get one nominee confirmed if they had their way, and I’m not suggesting they’ve given that up.
I’m just saying their same old strategy now is predictable and you can defend against it and they don’t get away with it. Now, in a related story, this is from the San Francisco Chronicle today, Senator Boxer said yesterday she’s going to vote against John Roberts unless he supports rights that she considers essential. Those rights would include abortion and privacy. She’s going to slow Senate business to a crawl if he doesn’t answer her questions. If he declines to answer her questions, she said, she will use “all the parliamentary tools I’ve been given as a US senator, including procedures that will make it difficult for other business to get done until we get the information that we need.” She did not threaten a filibuster.
However, reflecting Democrats’ hesitation to embark on an all-out political warfare against the nomination. So Barbara Boxer threatens to slow the Senate activity over the court pick unless — basically what she said here, unless he tells me that he is for Roe vs. Wade and is not going to overturn it, I’m slowing down the Senate. So that’s why I don’t think this is anything new from these people. It’s utterly predictable. The difference is that these far-out leftist extremist ads are no longer going to fly. They’re just not going to be able to get away with these things.