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 Unless the nomination is withdrawn, and unless Bush tries again to achieve just the right balance (which may now be impossible in any regard), the disintegration of the Republican coalition will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.



See also (in chronological order):

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  • But Bush isn't running again, so what kind of a message are you sending him? Perhaps you send a message to the GOP not to mess with us, but if they nominate a true conservative and that person gets defeated--at least a conceivable possibility, where does that leave the base? The conservative base is beginning to assume the arrogance of the liberal base in the 70s in thinking that nothing can touch it and that they have the heart of the country. The Greeks had a name for this-hubris.

    By the way, on a digression, but just to point out how whacky some on the right are, I happened to tune in yesterday to Michael Savage, the CONSERVATIVE talk show host. His brand of intelligent political discourse included the statement that liberals are mentally ill and need to be hospitalized. Of course, it's not much better on the other side either.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:03 AM  

  • This is so strange. Dobson leaks the facts on the true Harriet Miers. So at this point, one would imagine that the democrats would put up at least as big a fight as they would have if Luttig or any of the other nuts on the short list were appointed in the first place. Now, several republicans have come on record saying she is not even remotely qualified and a crony to boot(which they probably would not have done had they known all along she would vote to overturn roe.) If bush wanted to avoid a messy confirmation fight, it seems he's accomplished just the opposite with this backroom - wink and nod deal. It will be interesting to see whether or not the conservatives such as Rush and George W., who completely crushed her prior to her views being known, will change their tune.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:50 PM  

  • Not only that, but now liberals, apparently operating on the premise that the enemy of my enemy is my friend, are starting to come to Miers' aid. At least some feminists, following that well-known feminist Laura Bush's lead, are coming out with comments suggesting that the opposition to Miers is based on sexism.

    I read one argument that the Washington conservatives that oppose Miers are not in tune with the heartland conservatives, who couldn't care less about her credentials (or lack thereof), but who trust Dubya to do the right thing. They may see the opposition to Miers as elitist (whether conservative or liberal). So, I wouldn't necessarily assume that just because these conservative academics don't like Miers that that means conservatives in general don't. Bush has always prospered by being seen as someone who speaks the common man's language (even when, or especially when, he mangles the language). Don't assume too quickly that the Bushies don't know what they are doing. Bush's support depends much more on people like Dobson and the heartland than it does on people like George Will.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:31 PM  

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