Thursday, October 06, 2005

Harriet Miers and the Conservative movement

Harriet Miers was the nomination that no one expected for a Supreme Court Justice. I certainly didn't expect it. Hell, I'll admit, I was probably looking forwards to a McConnel or Luttig as Bush's nominee. But that doesn't mean that Miers is a good or a bad nominee, just that I was expecting something else.

The problem I have so far with the Conservative movement is that they were ALL expecting something else, and unlike me, they're pissed off that they didn't get what they wanted. None of us really knows what Harriet Miers is like, yet. She could turn out to be a great Supreme Court Judge, and I'm not ready to dismiss her from the equation just yet. She is Bush's pick; I want to run on the assumption that she's pretty good at what she does. Yes, she's from his administration, and it does have a bit of cronyism involved in there. But when she's on the short list of candidates that the Democratic leadership said they'd consider as a Justice. Maybe this is because they never thought Bush would nominate her; maybe it's because they also see in her a candidate that they won't be hoodwinked like they were with John Roberts. And I don't mean that in terms of "we can fight her, and win" but in terms of " we won't be made to look like giant frickin asses on the national stage with her, like we were with Roberts".

Bush knows that the Dems don't want someone who's so iconoclastically to the right that they have no choice but to pander to their base, and reject that candidate. That doesn't mean that Bush doesn't want to stuff the Dems whenever possible. I'm sure he does (and he probably wishes he had a voodoo doll of Ted Kennedy. But then again, we all wish we did), but you have to pick and choose your battles. With Katrina/Rita still in the fallout stage, John Roberts the new SCOTUS Chief Justice (something the Conservatives forget!), Tom DeLay's legal problems (which are total bullshit, btw), Frist being Frist, and the continuing GWOT (and the upcoming Iraqi elections), Bush doesn't need a fight right now. Oh, and don't forget the 2006 mid-term elections, where the GOP could easily stand to win more seats in Congress.

Imagine this: Bush nominates Janice Brown. The Dems would characteristically freak out, and do whatever they can to block her nomination. The filibuster would come into play, and there would be a shutdown of the Senate, and thus, in effect, the American government. Remember the LAST time that happened, in the 1990s? It wasn't pretty then, and it'd be even uglier now. Especially in a critical moment in the GWOT- the Iraqi Elections. I have no doubt that the elections will go down, and be a landmark in Iraqi and modern history, but it's something that's going to take up ALOT of the gov'ts attention. If Bush has that shutdown of the government coinciding with the Iraqi elections, that only spells bad things.

Thus, this has all the earmarkings of a nominee that may well be the best choice outside of the better choices. I'm not saying that I support her nomination fully, or am against it. But what I am saying, is that I understand what the President's most likely rationalization for it is. He's worked with her for over 10 years, and knows who she is. She doesn't lack credentials nor have an over abunance of credentials (which is why everyone wants to know more about her). Most of the attacks from the right against her have sadly been of the ad hominen variety, comparing her to the candidates that they wanted. How quickly people forget that they did the same thing to John Roberts. They're entitled to want different candidates, but that's not what everyone's going to get, every time out. John Roberts turned out to be a brilliant choice. And all of a sudden, the world's falling in on everyone just because Harriet Miers isn't the candidate they wanted Bush to pick? Please, spare me the high minded indignity. I'm willing to see what she's made of- and if she makes mistakes in the nomination process before Congress, she should be thrown to the wind- but not before.

Bush is definitely looking ahead to 2006 and beyond. He most likely will have another chance at nominating another Supreme Court Justice in the coming years. He sees the GOP as needing to continue to move forwards towards 2006, and also to keep the GWOT going. A governmental shutdown, while it would energize the base, would also create the huge potential for alienating the center, and the moderate Dems. It's the type of thing that could totally backfire for 2006, and Bush knows it. And he also knows that the GOP will need him to help them campaign in 2006- like he did in 2002 and 2004.

So, in conclusion, my message to the Conservative movement is this: stop hyperventaliating. Now. Get over the fact that Bush didn't nominate the next coming of William F. Buckley. Take Miers seriously as a candidate until she makes a mistake. Until then, give Bush your support, since ditching Miers now won't get the Conservatives any closer to a Luttig or Brown- in fact, it'd push them further from it. And start looking at the grand picture. You've already got John Roberts in there- with a whimper, not a bang. The GWOT will continue to be fought.

The establishment needs to grow up. It's not in the best interests of the GOP to constantly hammer at the Democratic party and it's liberals. While it is certainly a part of the GOP functionality to hammer at the Dems, it's not viable every five goddamn seconds. Picking and choosing when to use that hammer is more important than just trying to go for a frontal assault every moment. This isn't a street corner where you and your gang can beat up on the smaller gang- the stakes here are much higher than pandering to the party base every five seconds. Think, damnit. Think.


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