July 28, 2005
Disgraced ex-aide to Hatch and Frist defends the Federalist Society, makes nice with former boss
Today's "Opinion Journal," the Wall Street Journal's on-line collection of far-right opinion pieces, contains a hilarious piece by Manuel Miranda. It's about the Federalist Society, which as you may recall is the conservative legal group of which Supreme Court nominee John Roberts may or may not be a member, he can't seem to recall. Miranda says that the White House should have defended the Federalist Society instead of trying to distance themselves from it, that the Society isn't really so bad, blah blah blah nobody cares.
Why is this so hilarious? It's all about the context. Let's recall who this Miranda guy is. A couple of years ago, it became known that due to a "glitch" in Capitol Hill's computer systems, the Senate Democrats' strategy memos were readily available to Senate Republicans. An aide to then-Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) of the Senate Judiciary Committee leaked some of those memos to the press as part of a strategy to counter the Senate Democrats' tactics with respect to some of Bush's judicial nominees. The aide, who later joined Majority Leader Bill Frist's staff, was Manuel Miranda. After the Senate's Sergeant-at-Arms investigated, Miranda was exposed and finally was forced to resign - by none other than his former boss Orrin Hatch. Miranda was mightily pissed that he was forced out over this business, and published this piece in which he actually "challenge[d] Senator Hatch to debate me publicly on this issue." Oh, right Manuel - like a sitting Senator is going to "debate" a former staffer over the screw-up that cost the staffer his job. What a prick.
Anyway, fast-forward to today, when Miranda feels the need to defend his beloved Federalist Society in the WSJ's opinion pages. No surprise there. What's funny, though, is that Miranda goes out of his way to paint Senator Hatch (who, let's note, Miranda actually called a "hypocrite" when it comes to "ethics" in the piece linked above) as a profile in courage for standing up for the Federalist Society in a three-year-old speech. The WSJ piece begins:
Three years ago Sen. Orrin Hatch (R.-Utah) stood on the floor of the Senate and said: "Mr. President, I take the opportunity today to right a wrong.... [blah blah blah]."
* * *
[H]ere is a user-friendly defense of the Federalist Society: Again, the words are Orrin Hatch's. The Federalist Society stands for three propositions, he said: "[blah blah blah]."
As Orrin Hatch concluded in his speech three years ago: The Federalist Society is "not quite the vast right-wing conspiracy hobgoblin some [Democrats] would have the American people believe." And it's nothing that a Republican White House should appear to repudiate.
Oooooh, kiss kiss kiss! Please, Senator, don't be mad at me any more! I'm sorry I screwed up with the memos and made you fire me and called you bad names, and you were right all along! I was a bad, naughty, unethical Republican, but I'm making up for it now, huh? Huh?
Like I said, hilarious. For what it's worth, I actually think Miranda is right to say that it is the White House that has really screwed up this Federalist Society business - like I said before, no one would have been surprised to learn that Roberts was a member; the surprise was that he supposedly wasn't, and that the White House was so intent on demonstrating that that they called a bunch of reporters about it before they had all the facts, some of which have now bitten them firmly on the ass. But only those who are much more in-the-know than I about who's mad at whom in Washington GOP circles would be able to say whether Miranda's piece is really about the Federalist Society, or whether it's more about trying to make up with his former boss.
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