Wednesday, October 12, 2005

How Harriet Miers is the right's Yoko Ono

Is the White House serious about Miers? I have my doubts. So does conservative blogger Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters: "It's either feast or famine at the White House with the Harriet Miers nomination. Given the chance to lay out a positive, substantial case for her nomination to the Supreme Court, the Bush administration has remained largely silent. However, given an opportunity to smear the base that elected them, the administration has seized practically every opportunity to do so... It's enough to start making me think that we need to send a clearer message to George Bush. The White House needs to rethink its relationship to reality and its so-far loyal supporters."

Well, ain't that a shame...

The Republican Party and the conservative movement that has sustained it are coming undone -- and we get to watch. With one stupid nomination to the Supreme Court, Bush has exposed the fault lines on the right. The plates, delicately held in place by conjoined aspirations and recent electoral success, are shifting once again. Here's what I wrote back on September 26, well before the Miers nomination was announced:

What will Bush do? He has any number of options, from a Gonzales across to, say, a Michael McConnell, but, whatever he does, whomever his nominee, he risks fracturing the Republican Party down its own San Andreas Fault. With his severely low approval ratings, with many high-profile Republicans already looking ahead to 2006 and 2008, and with so much else at stake in terms of the direction of the federal judiciary and the course of American life for decades to come, his choice could prove to be The Big One that finally tears it apart after years and years of unity and common purpose. Unless Bush achieves just the right balance -- that is, unless he nominates the perfect candidate -- this could turn out to be the Republican Party's Vietnam.

The Miers nomination is The Big One, the G.O.P.'s "Vietnam". Unless the nomination is withdrawn, and unless Bush tries again to achieve just the right balance (which may now be impossible in any regard), the disintegration of the Republican coalition will continue.

In the end, it wasn't Iraq or Katrina or the economy or terrorism or moral values that brought the coalition down, it was a sad excuse for a nomination to the Supreme Court. Yes, years from now historians will point to Harriet Miers as the right's Yoko Ono.

We liberals and moderates have known of Bush's incompetence for a long, long time. Now conservatives are getting their own taste of it -- and how bitter it is!

And how truly incredible that in this age of political polarization Bush's greatest accomplishment could well turn out to be the alienation of virtually the entire political spectrum.

I knew you had it in you, Mr. President.

Congratulations.

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