Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Where The Buck Stops

John Hawkins, again:

[I have no real quarrel with the pro-Miers camp, but], that being said, there is one person whom I am unhappy with. That's the man responsible for this entire mess: George W. Bush.

He took a surefire winner, a Supreme Court pick that should have inspired and motivated his base, that should have improved his approval rating, that should have helped the GOP in 2006, that should have been the fulfillment of a campaign promise, and instead, because of pure political incompetence, this may turn out to be one of the biggest political debacles of the past decade for the GOP.

Now here's the kicker: when George Bush nominated Miers, he may not have realized how bad it would get, but he did undoubtedly know this would be a deflating, demoralizing moment for conservatives. He knew conservatives would complain about the nauseating cronyism, Miers' unimpressive credentials for the job, and her questionable track record as a conservative. Yet, he chose to select her anyway.

Now, we're in a situation where we have a nominee who's so underwhelming that it has set off a fight that's getting progressively uglier between people like James Dobson, Hugh Hewitt, Newt Gingrich, Thomas Sowell on one side and George Will, Charles Krauthammer, David Frum, Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin, and Rush Limbaugh on the other. All of this is over a nominee who, accomplished though she may be in many respects, ranks as a bottom of the barrel selection for the Supreme Court.

Any other President, Bush 41, Clinton, Reagan, would just accept that this nomination is a political bomb and withdraw Miers. But, so far, Bush is holding off. Why? Pride? Mule-headed stubbornness? Because Laura likes her? Because Harriet Miers wrote Bush embarrassingly sycophantic notes on a birthday card and he'd feel guilty if he didn't stand behind her? Whatever the reason may be, Miers is an albatross hanging around the neck of the whole GOP at the moment. Bush made a horrible mistake by nominating Miers and he's making it worse by continuing to stick with her when he could stop the intra-party warfare by withdrawing her. Beyond that, much of the damage done so far could even be repaired by picking an exceptional candidate in her place.

Some of you are probably thinking: "Even if that's true, you should shut up about it because criticizing Bush isn't helping the Party." I'd answer that by saying that politics isn't like sports. You don't support a political party because you want to see, "your team win," but because you believe that supporting your party is the best way to get an agenda enacted that's good for the country. Sometimes, in order to move that agenda forward, you've got to be willing to make certain sacrifices and compromises for the greater good.

That being said, the Supreme Court is as important as it gets in domestic politics and, quite frankly, with a Republican President and 55 Republican Senators, conservatives should not be willing to settle for a 4th rate crony as a nominee. If we're willing to look at a nightmare candidate like Miers for the SCOTUS and then roll over and say, "This is the best we can do," well then quite frankly, it's hard to blame people who say: "Gee, what's the point of working so hard to help Republicans build a majority if this is what we get in return?"

That's why it's worth a grueling, pitched battle with the President and those who continue to support him on this. Even if we lose and Miers is confirmed, at least we can say we drew a line in the sand based on conservative principles and then fought for every inch of ground. That's nothing to be ashamed of.

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