I have learned, through experience, to look below the surface when considering the reasons and planning behind President Bush’s actions. Despite the mindless braying of insults about Dubya’s intellect, the fact is that he is a very shrewd politician and planner. Liberals constantly, as we have all heard before, ‘misunderestimate’ him. Recent events show that an embarrassingly large number of Conservatives buy into the same error.
Yesterday I noted that George W. Bush is the most Conservative President this nation has seen, even as a candidate, since Ronald Reagan. I noted that Bush has a long string of victories for the Right Side of Things, and has earned more than a little discretion in his judgment. I also noted that the anti-Miers crowd have not presented any opinions or writings from Miers to demonstrate cause for concern; it basically boils down to not trusting the President, even as they hotly deny the charge.
It still strikes me as strange, that so many people do not seem to have seriously addressed the fact that President Bush has considered all if the various candidates suggested before now, and there is a reason Dubya settled on Miers instead of Luttig. If Dubya were somebody with a record of bad appointments or poor judgment, one might reasonably challenge a pick which does not suit the conventional wisdom, but considering the number of times Bush has been right and his detractors wrong, the automatic rejection of Miers is, at best, poor consideration and an overly emotional focus on the part of the naysayers. George W. Bush was twice elected Governor of Texas, and now twice elected President of the United States; it is completely unreasonable to think he does not know what he is doing. Ultimately, like it or not you have to either stand with him or stand against him, and this has everything to do with the future of the GOP and Conservatism in the coming years.
There are six roads to power and influence in Washington, D.C., and far too often these roads are hidden from close inspection. They are quite real, however, and knowing which road a certain leader uses will tell you their motives, loyalty, and focus.
The first road is the House of Representatives. Do you want to know why, even as the media makes great noise about his indictments, that Tom DeLay is relaxed, even cheerful? OK, it’s partly the fact that Ronnie Earle is a corrupt git with a bitter grudge and nothing close to evidence, so that DeLay is in no serious danger of conviction. But it’s also because Tom DeLay does not really need to worry about what the media thinks of him, nor even the whole state of Texas. So long as his District supports him, he’s just fine, and he knows that fact quite well. There are over three hundred other Congressmen in exactly the same situation; they do not answer to the nation or their party, whatever their speeches say, but only to their district. For better or worse, there are always going to be members of Congress who don’t give a fig for anyone who doesn’t live within a walk of their zip code, because they don’t have to care.
The second road is the U.S. Senate. All the talk we saw this summer about the “dignity” and “stature” of the Senate should have warned folks that the U.S. Senate is more about privilege than ideals, more about personal influence than personal responsibility. Even the strongest Conservative in the Senate is going to be tempted by some of the perks and benefits set aside for the elitist section of the Congress. The fourteen Senators who took it upon themselves to decide what the whole Senate would or would not do, without any input from even the Senate Majority Leader, demonstrates the arrogance of such people. And it should be considered that these are the men and women who vote Bush’s nominees in or out, often according to their own measure of advantage or self-interest. Few people indeed, have considered whether the nature of the Senate head count is relevant to the sort of nominees to be submitted.
The third road is the Executive branch. Most visible in that line is the President of course, but also the people he appoints and who provide him with the information and support he needs for his decisions. A President is normally seen as a strong center of power and authority, but as we have seen in the past, the President really has firm limits of his power, and depends on the Courts and Congress to grant him what he requests, form the budget to his appointments to his executive orders. As for the people working under the President, they serve at his pleasure, which in real-world terms means they have no sure security at all.
The fourth road is Lobbying, that mercenary trade of influence and information, somewhat less honorable or direct than Prostitution, but a favorite career for former officials all the same. While these individuals are not elected, and so do not consider themselves answerable, they have increasingly found it expedient to be able to provide information for Congressmen and high-profile officials, in order to receive consideration at a later time.
The fifth road is, it seems, proof that God felt sorry for the Lobbyists, and created a class of creature even lower in ideals and standards. I write, of course, about the Media, which necessarily includes my own humble efforts. The Media can be callously reckless, like the CBS attempt to smear President Bush in the ‘Rathergate’ episode, or stupidly biased, as we see every time a network sees a chance to put emotion ahead of upright reporting; ‘sweeps week’ has become ‘sweeps life’, all about the ratings, or what the suits think will impress the viewers. Sad to say, we see the same thing even among the New Media, where increased stature and attention has led some sites and stations to think they personally matter more than the issues they cover. This week has shown that Conservatives are in no way immune to such thinking.
The sixth road is the courts. While some judges run for office, at the Federal Appeals level and up, we see nominations to be confirmed by Congress, which is where the real circus begins. As a reader wrote me last night, “the absolute first rule of politicians is to get re-elected”, which means that a nominee is not confirmed by his or her qualifications, but by what Senator Hairpiece thinks his voters want. As my reader went on to say, “there are too many Republicans who cannot afford (at least in their own minds) to risk being labeled a "right wing extremist", which is the appellation that surely would follow from any nomination of a committed, vocal Conservative to the Supreme Court “. These are my own thoughts on the matter. The simple fact is, that the nomination of a judge or justice in no way guarantees their confirmation, especially after all we have seen during Dubya’s first term. Just this summer, we saw seven Republicans stick a knife in the back of Frist, rather than do their jobs properly. It is not the President’s fault that so many RINOs roam the halls of the Senate, or that so many politicians have sold their spines for TV time, but far too many analysts have forgotten the fact of that quavering character, demanding the President put everything on the table now, for a gamble they themselves can call reckless if it doesn’t pay off, even as they scream for it. The decision was made to present a qualified candidate, one who will advance the Conservative movement, but not give ammunition to hurt the work coming along in the next three years. Dubya knows Miers, and he has been looking for the best candidate for a long time. Frankly, the more I think about it, the more I wonder how much we really know about the “sure thing” picks we heard so much before. Not too many people seem to have considered that judges solicit support for the jobs they want, just like anyone else. Funny, that people would put the word of a newspaper columnist or talk show host, ahead of a man they say they trust with the welfare of the nation and the party. Huh, go figure.
And what about Miers? I have read comments from supposed Conservatives denouncing her as “unqualified”, or some who grudgingly admit she is qualified, but claim there are “dozens, even hundreds” of better choices. Seriously, does anybody who makes such insulting and ill-considered comments expect them to be taken seriously? Does anyone who throws out such emotional tripe think this advances the discussion? What exactly are you expecting? Do you think you can call up the White House and force the President to pull his choice in favor of yours? That, people, is not going to happen. If Miers is shot down, Bush will send out another nomination, but it’s still going to be someone he chooses, and you should certainly know by now, Dubya is not a man who settles for being bullied. You choose not to trust him, that’s your loss. You chose to screw around with his work, that just hurts the country.