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Bush Blames Polls on 'Battle Fatigue'
That transfer was widely seen as an attempt by the Bush administration to thwart a Supreme Court appeal that might have limited the president's power to hold enemy combatants.
In his blistering December opinion , Luttig wrote that the administration's actions "have left not only the impression that Padilla may have been held for these years, even if justifiably, by mistake. . . . They have left the impression that the government may even have come to the belief that the principle in reliance upon which it has detained Padilla for this time, that the President possesses the authority to detain enemy combatants who enter into this country for the purpose of attacking America and its citizens from within, can, in the end, yield to expediency with little or no cost to its conduct of the war against terror. . . . And these impressions have been left, we fear, at what may ultimately prove to be substantial cost to the government's credibility before the courts."
Jess Bravin and J. Lynn Lunsford write in the Wall Street Journal (subscription required): "The clash, which underscores the increasing skepticism among even some conservative jurists toward the Bush administration's sweeping theories of executive power, culminated yesterday in Judge Luttig's resignation. . . .
"People familiar with Judge Luttig's thinking say he knew his condemnation of the administration would bring a personal cost but he believes that judges must apply the law regardless of its political implications. These people say he has been disillusioned by the encroachment of politics on the judiciary -- and the view that judges are on 'our team' or 'their team.' "
Time for Some Changes?
So is it time for someone on Bush's team to walk into the Oval Office and tell him it may be time to do some rethinking? That person would have to be very courageous indeed.
Recently, there have been quite a few high-profile cases of Bush being publicly confronted with people who actually disagreed with him. But I still don't see any sign that he is remotely interested in what they have to say.
Consider Bush's extraordinary interview with the German tabloid Bild on Friday. Before the reporter could even ask a question, Bush went off:
"The interesting thing about Washington is that they want me to change -- they being the -- and I'm not changing, you know. You can't make decisions if you don't know who you are, and you flip around with the politics. You've got to stay strong in what you believe and optimistic about that you'll get good results.
"And so --the other thing I want you to know about me is that no matter how pressurized it may seem, I'm not changing what I believe. . . . I'm not changing. I don't care whether they like me at the cocktail parties, or not. I want to be able to leave this office with my integrity intact."
More on Rove's Plan
Howard Fineman writes in his Newsweek column: "This fall's election season is going to make the past three look like episodes of 'Barney.' . . .
"The way I read the recent moves of Karl Rove & Co., they are preparing to wage war the only way open to them: not by touting George Bush, Lord knows, but by waging a national campaign to paint a nightmarish picture of what a Democratic Congress would look like, and to portray that possibility, in turn, as prelude to the even more nightmarish scenario: the return of a Democrat (Hillary) to the White House.
"Rather than defend Bush, Rove will seek to rally the Republicans' conservative grass roots by painting Democrats as the party of tax increases, gay marriage, secularism and military weakness. . . .