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Hardcover Battle for Justice: How the Bork Nomination Shook America Book

ISBN: 0393026906

ISBN13: 9780393026900

Battle for Justice: How the Bork Nomination Shook America

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Format: Hardcover

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Book Overview

Based an scores of interviews with key figures and a shrewd analysis of the issues, Ethan Bronner Chronicles a titanic struggle for political power. President Ronald Reagan's 1987 Supreme Court... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

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On Character Assassination

Character assassination is a pervasive and undoubtedly lamentable phenomenon in our political culture. But only a selective reading of history would identify the Robert Bork hearings as the genesis of that phenomenon. One need only look to the pioneering work of Lee Atwater for precedent. The career of Atwater -- whose shameless brand of attack politics won him the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee and inspired such hatchet men as Karl Rove -- demonstrates what character assassination really looks like. The Bork confirmation hearings were not an instance of character assassination. They were an examination of Bork's truly radical legal and political philosophies. As we begin the confirmation hearings for John Roberts, there is a distinction to be drawn. Inquiries regarding legal and political philosophies are entirely appropriate. Unfounded and highly personal smear campaigns are not. The Bronner book is a fascinating look at the evolving relationship between the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government. In the future, let us not substitute revisionist historical commentary for genuine literary criticism.

A Shame And The Beginning of the Decline...

I'm not so naive as to think that character assassination had never happened before 1987. But the current degradation of our political culture began on July 1, 1987 when Ted Kennedy hammered Bork as a foe of abortion rights, Darwinian evolution, and the Fourth Amendment. Too bad Bork on his worst day has never killed anyone with his car - but it wasn't enough to save his nomination. This book was written in the insider style that made Capitol Games a riveting read. This one is almost as interesting though its a little harder to navigate because the issues are more cloudy. Bork was beaten by a 'vast left-wing conspiracy' that torpedoed his nomination. Bronner rightly observed in his conclusion that Bork's opponents shaded away words and meanings so that what was left of Bork's views was neither lie nor truth but half-truth. Beginning with this dark period in our country's history, we were then treated to the 1988 Presidential election that Bronner mentions in passing. Mud was thrown from both Bush and Dukakis as to who was a wimp and a racist. When Bush won, the same Senate that shot down Bork sent Bush a message of retaliation by voting down former Senator John Tower as Defense Secretary. That was a move that unwittingly put Dick Cheney in line to become VP in 2000 with his SECDEF experience. From there the snowball roared on. A then unknown minority whip named Newt Gingrich demolished two top Democrats, House Speaker Jim Wright and Majority Leader Tony Coehlo with ethics charges. The Democrats retaliated by nearly destroying Clarence Thomas' nomination and permanently destroying his public image. The GOP got even by blasting Lani Guinier, Zoe Baird, and later (after they attained power in Congress) Henry Foster as the Surgeon General. (Thrown in the mix was the botched nomination of Defense Secretary Bobby Ray Inman). On and on and on it goes. Mike Espy disappeared though was later acquitted. Ron Brown was being investigated when he died. The Dems retaliated again by censuring and ultimately destroying Gingrich and Livingston. But then came the all-time topper: one party managed to destroy a President's effectiveness while unable to actually remove him from office. And it all began with Robert Bork's public crucifixion (metaphorically speaking). The book is a good read but a little hard on the eyes in the small paperback version. You learn a lot about the inner workings of Congress - and how most of them really don't know a thing. Get it at an old bookstore or library - and enjoy.
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