Thursday, October 27, 2005

"It was a good fight, ma, but he won!": the GOP after Miers

Many of us have vivid recollections of 1976...

Ronald Reagan fought sitting president Gerald Ford for the GOP nomination, and came within an ace of beating him. At the convention, Reagan was forced to face a narrow defeat. He came out for a major press conference, flash bulbs bursting all around, cocked his head and threw out a trademark Reagan grin and said: "Well, it was a good fight, ma, but he won!" The press and the room broke in laughs and applause. Reagan not only had principles, he had class.

First off, congratulations to the anti-Miers team. They fought with energy and gusto, and they fought for conservative principles. They fought to convince the president to change course, and succeeded--the number of times in which that has happened can be counted on one hand.

Second, kudos to Hugh Hewitt. Hugh was badly outnumbered on this, but he fought with courage, tenacity, intelligence and determination--if you're in a fight, this is the man you want in your corner.

Finally, kudos to Harriet Miers who has conducted herself with grace and class throughout the whole process. She is an intelligent and capable woman who has served both the White House and the country well.

So where do we go from here?

I fought for Miers ever since she was nominated, but I don't think this fight has necessarily harmed either the party or the president or the country. On the contrary, conservatives have now shown that presidents MUST nominate for the Supreme Court ONLY candidates with UNDOUBTED conservative credentials. If they don't, they risk a major fight. This battle has the potential to reinvigorate conservatives and to put new steel into the determination to re-make the Supreme Court. This fight can prove to be the anti-Bork, an opportunity for the GOP to show a renewed dedication to Constitutional principle.

It is noteworthy too that the Miers nomination collapsed shortly after publication of a speech of hers that SEEMED to indicate that she supported Roe. There can be no mistakes like this again: GOP presidents need to nominate judges whose anti-Roe credentials are beyond question. They cannot afford to shy away from this principle in the face of opposition from pro-choice Republicans. Republicans have operated on a big tent theory and rightly so, but here there must be limits: even those Republicans who support choice have a moral responsibility to recognize that Roe is contrary to the Constitution. Pro-choice Republicans are duty-bound to the Constitution, and even if they think the states should legalize abortion, they have an obligation to recognize that Roe was a constitutional travesty. Pro-choice Republicans have a responsibility to support anti-Roe nominees for the Supreme Court, and not confuse their own personal views about abortion with their duty to the Constitution.

Fortunately, the GOP has quality talent that has recognized the wounds that Roe and other decisions have inflicted on the Constitution.

High on the short list should be: Emilio Garza, Michael McConnell, and Edith Jones.

Any one of these would unite the party and unite America behind an outstanding nominee for the Supreme Court.

POSTSCRIPT: Dahlia Lithwick has an excellent post on why GOP presidents can no longer speak in code on Roe: they must nominate candidates who are on-record against Roe v Wade.


At Thursday, 27 October, 2005, Anonymous saveliberty said...

Thank you. That is a constructive post after Miers' withdrawal. It's hard work to bring different conservative views together.

At Thursday, 27 October, 2005, Anonymous Gunwingu Jatjara said...

Dear well read Aristotle ya made good points. The conservatives in opposition are at best guilty of a rush to judgement since she hadn't had any hearings yet, (but the whole thing smelled funny) they seem to have the vague attitude of people who didn't get what they wanted for Christmas. I have felt that they were "waiting for something like this to happen" as a final confirmation of their disappointment with George W. who has been, well, pretty disappointing. You know along the lines of seeing that kid who was bad finally get caught by a adult back in the day of our Childhood, only to discover the adult had not taken the offense as seriously as we or seen it in it's context, that being our own as the child's peer. So Bush gets in office with Republicans on every side and refuses to take up the bat and start clubbing the bastards, as if to say they hadn't done anything all that bad, lets all get together and be statesmanlike; oh and Ted, would you write a bill for us? You Seniors out there ya want some free meds?!

God will have his way with this regardless and as individual citizens dealing with a Lame Duck president (AKA one not facing election) there is little or nothing we can do. His dad gave us a real turn coat, but hey his dad used to be pro-abortion and neither his mom nor his wife bring out the warm fuzzies in me--they both vibe out as closet feminists. Hey, it is Washington, everyone wants to be hip and liberal sheik and we can't find enough people who don't give a rats ass about being the toast of hell town to go and work in it.

So here's praying for the next one on the list, in the wake of Bork what did we get again... I forget.

At Thursday, 27 October, 2005, Anonymous Linda from Whittier, California said...

I totally disagree with you President Aristotle, this has done some major damage in unforeseeable ways. The anti Meirs group MAY have been fighting FOR conservative principles, but they were not fighting WITH conservative principles. The ad hominid (sp)attacks and "anonymous" sources are not the way conservatives do things. As far as National Review goes, I Will NOT ever read anything from them, unless I have the time to check their every statement, track down every source (read it myself) and compare what was actually said against what NR says they said. I find David From and his anonymous group so contemptible, that he is not worth the trouble to spit on. I know I am just one person, but a lot of people in my little world listen to me when I tell them whom they can trust.
NR is off my list forever. They fought low down, dirty and viscously hard. Just like liberals it seems they just thought:

"I don't care what I have to say or do, what principles I have to violate, what damage is done, I WANT MY WAY!! We'll go back to being principled peoples later"

Well, guess what, (In my world) it doesn't work that way

At Thursday, 27 October, 2005, Blogger GrenfellHunt said...

Dear Gunwingu and Linda: thanks for taking the time to write, and thank you for your extensive and thoughtful comments.

However sharp the disagreements, I think that everyone on both sides wanted in the end the same thing: solid judges, committed to the Constitution and willing to overturn bad decisions such as Roe v. Wade. I am hopeful that we can move past the divisions of the last few weeks, and reunify the party and the conservative movement.

I fear that part of what made the last few weeks divisive is that some people on both sides took the type of rhetoric that they were used to addressing towards Democrats, and starting addressing it towards their fellow Republicans and conservatives.

I think there are two lessons we might draw from this: 1) However much we might disagree with the 48% of the American people who voted for John Kerry, they remain our fellow Americans, our friends and family members. We need as much as possible to criticize principles rather than persons, to attack wrong ideas rather than people. If we fail to do this, we begin to lose the habit of courtesy and civility; and the day may soon come when we turn that same incivility against each other--as we have lately over Miss Miers. 2) We would do well to post on our mental doorposts Ronald Reagan's 11th commandment: thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican.

Thanks again for your posts,



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