It used to be a mystery to me, why Republicans and Conservatives found it so difficult to make the most of their opportunities, or to show the unity that Liberals manage so often. It seems obvious to me now, that the differing factions of Conservatism are unwilling to share credit and gains with anyone who has even a slightly different perspective; a moral victory with no substance seems preferred to a solid victory resulting from consensus or cooperation with other groups. All or nothing, which too often produces nothing.
Sorting through the comments, I see the sort of thing reprehensible in anyone claiming to be mature and constructive in their position. I do, despite so many claims to the contrary, respect the right to think the Miers pick is not the best one, or even not a good choice. But far too many of the commenters have demanded the President give in to them, claimed Miers is unqualified on no basis other than that they wanted someone else. Many comments have been bitter, many more spiteful, and far too many more made no attempt to defend their position, but only attacked the people who supported the decision.
Comments from just yesterday’s post included claims about “Bush’s dereliction of duty”, denunciations of Bush supporters as “cheerleaders” and “kool-aid drinkers” and ”lapdogs”, as “pandering”, whining that somehow “debate is off limits” simply because I point out the venality of their tone and the total lack of evidence to support their claims - please note, by the way, that not a single comment has been deleted from these posts, although one comment Thursday was edited to remove gratuitous sexually offensive comments. Commenters have claimed that Miers was only nominated because she is Bush’s “confidante”, or that anyone supporting the President is “goose-stepping”. These comments are coming from Republicans, folks. Is that how you want to treat your own party? Really?
A surprising number of Conservatives are starting out with the assumption that Miers is not qualified. This betrays a serious misundertanding of the process, and a woeful tendency to jump ship when it’s not the style you want. Looking at the reaction, I generally see three groups - those who have worked with Miers approve of her selection, some of those who do not know her say they would have preferred someone else, and a growing number are saying they will wait until the hearings to see how they will respond. There are, of course, a relatively large number of high-profile people who have said some very unreasonable and negative things, but to be frank they have done this before, pretending they are better-qualified as popular celebrities than people who have been elected to make just these sorts of decisions.
Like it or not, the process will go pretty much as Hugh Hewitt described it yesterday on his radio show;
1. George W. Bush will not retract Miers’ nomination. If you doubt this, look at his track record on nominations.
2. That leaves two choices for the ‘Hate Miers’ crowd. You can give her a chance at the hearings, or you can try to tear her down by demanding your Senators vote against her before you have heard anything from her.
3. Because of the structure of the Senate, there are only two ways in which Miers will not be confirmed. Either she wil prove herself a complete idiot at the hearings, in which case reasonable Senators will remove their support for valid reasons, or Miers will prove herself to be so completely Hard-Right, as to strip support from the RINOs and every Democrat in the Senate. There is no reason, from her resume or her character, to believe Miers will make either of those mistakes. That means, in all likelihood, that Harriet Miers will be confirmed as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. All the name-calling and spiteful feuding will do nothing to change that.
Far too many people on the right seem to have adopted the malicious caricatures the Left uses to think of Dubya. We are told that somehow Dubya “betrayed” the Right, as if he were an untrustworthy standard-bearer of the party. We are told that Dubya did not think this decision through, that he somehow must have forgotten about Luttig, Brown, or the more preferred choices. We are told that Bush prefers setting up his buddies, to doing what is best for the nation. When these sorts of inane comments come from Michael Moore or Al Gore, we chuckle and observe that they just don’t know the President. It’s now obvious that many Republicans don’t really know Bush, either, if they can trot out the very same lies and slander that the Donks have used for the last decade, so miserably and so falsely.
The Bush-haters, whether from Right or Left, continue to miss a few very important points. First, Bush is the President, and you are not. He was elected to make just these sorts of decisions. And before you get on your high horse to demand someone ‘better’, take a close look at the appointments made by Republicans over the years. Was Earl Warren, a “known” Conservative, such a great choice in retrospect? On the other hand, I recall Conservatives moaning about Clarence Thomas in very much the same way they are now about Miers. He wasn’t their first choice, so he must have been a poor choice. Funny how that opinion changed, when they saw Thomas do his job. I agree that there are other choices who appear to be more solidly Rightist, though that brings up another issue very few people seem to have considered - Judges can be just as guilty as anyone else, of putting Ambition ahead of better priorities, and of campaigning for the jobs they want. One thing about Miers, is that she does not appear to have sought out the SCOTUS job, which is something which puts her a notch above some of the other judges who have made sure their contacts and friends kept their name in the light of attention and discussion. After all, one thing we know about Activist judges, as that they tend to think more highly of their own minds than they do of the law they review; in that context a judge who campaigns to be selected to the SCOTUS is LESS qualified, from the Constructionist point of view, than one who has made no attempt to sell their name for the position. Miers is not only known to the President, which is true of very few other contenders, but she was sought by him for the post, rather than showing the ambition which could indicate a dangerous pride.
But to the main point, while honest Republicans and Conservatives may disagree on the Miers selection, there needs to be a better standard of behavior, or else all you do is damage the party, and the nation.