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October 13, 2005

Peggy Noonan Endorses Miers... For Federal Appellate Judge

Of course, she's an elitist and a sexist, so take her recommendation with a grain of salt.

It's all good, but I'll quote this:

The White House, after the Miers withdrawal/removal/disappearance, would be well advised to call in leaders of the fractious base--with heavy initial emphasis on the Washington conservative establishment--and have some long talks about the future. It's time for the administration to reach out to wise men and women, time for Roosevelt Room gatherings of the conservative clans. Much old affection remains, and respect lingers, but a lot of damage has been done. The president has three years yet to serve. That, I think, is the subtext of recent battles: Conservatives want to modify and, frankly, correct certain administration policies now, while there's time. The White House can think of this--and should think of it--as an unanticipated gift. A good fight can clear the air; a great battle can result in resolution and recommitment. No one wants George W. Bush turned into Jimmy Carter, or nobody should. The world is a dangerous place, and someone has to lead America.

An essential White House mistake--really a key and historic one--was in turning on its critics with such idiotic ferocity. "My way or the highway" is getting old. "Please listen to us and try to see it our way or we'll have to kill you," is getting old. Sending Laura Bush out to make her first mistake as first lady, agreeing with Matt Lauer that sexism is probably part of the reason for opposition to Ms. Miers, was embarrassingly inept and only served to dim some of the power of this extraordinary resource.

As for Ed Gillespie and his famous charge of sexism and elitism, I don't think serious conservatives believe Ed is up nights pondering whiffs and emanations of class tension and gender bias in modern America. It was the ignorant verbal lurch of a K Street behemoth who has perhaps forgotten that conservatives are not merely a bloc, a part of the base, a group that must be handled, but individuals who are and have been in it for serious reasons, for the long haul, and often at considerable sacrifice. They don't deserve to be patronized by people they've long strained to defend.

I don't mind the attack so much myself. If I'm going to be perfectly truthful, the White House surrogates have often denigrated its opponents in such terms, and I didn't cry foul then.

My criticism is about civility but tactics. It's okay, I think, for John Ashcroft to say that there are some who put airy questions of civil liberties above national security; that was a tough insult, but it was made against Bush's political enemies, and it had the virtue of being largely true. He might also have said that many Democrats knew full well that more aggressive policing would have to occur in the Age of Sacred Terror, but that they were posing and preening in order to appease their Bush-hatin' base.

But it makes little sense to insult, you know, the people who voted for you, who argue with friends and family on your behalf, who spend countless hours pecking away on a stupid moronblog to defend you. I won't go so far as to agree with the Left that when the Bush Administration is criticized, it resorts to namecalling, but I do think in this instance that's largely what they did.

We're only demanding that Bush -- he who "says what he means and means what he says" -- fulfill a key campaign promise to nominate justices for the Supreme Court in the "mold of Scalia and Thomas." Asking a President you voted for and have long defended and supported to merely honor a promise is not an act of disloyalty, ingratitude, elitism, or sexism.

I don't take it personally or even that seriously. They were surprised and caught flat-footed and had no idea how to react. They lashed out in pique; hey, it happens.

Still, let's have a little less of that bullshit now.

Bush would do well to remember what happened when his father broke a key promise of his own. The office of the Presidency confers some power, but that power is either diminished or enhanced by satisfying the voters. More specifically -- the voters who actually voted for you.

When all is said and done, Bush is a good guy, but we didn't support Bush because he was a good guy. We supported him to get certain things done, certain things he promised he would get done. We're a nation of laws, not men, and our politics is, thankfully, of policies and philosophies, not men. We are not yet, as Paul Krugman so often worries, a banana-republic where people just blindly support a Strong Man On A Big Horse. We support a man only as the horse is going in the right direction.



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posted by Ace at 05:46 PM

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