Wednesday, October 05, 2005

George Will: Bush an ot e trusted with the Constitution.

A sub-par Supreme Court nominee would not normally be expected to raise the level of vitriol among the the party of the President. A full-throated opposition is usually reserved for the opposition party. Yet in this second Bush term, the tables have flipped and the President is facing an uncomfortable reality; the base is pissed.

When even mild-mannered conservative George Will calls on the Senate to reject the President's nominee - a move he would soundly denounce if proposed by the Democratic leadership - especially with such finality, the Mylanta and scotch deliveries to the West Wing are bound to increase.

Will calls for her rejection because he sees White House Counsel Harriet Miers as unqualified for the position of Supreme Court justice.
Furthermore, there is no reason to believe that Miers's nomination resulted from the president's careful consultation with people capable of such judgments. If 100 such people had been asked to list 100 individuals who have given evidence of the reflectiveness and excellence requisite in a justice, Miers's name probably would not have appeared in any of the 10,000 places on those lists.
Not only that, Will rejects the President's qualifications to chose a Supreme Court nominee:
It is not important that she be confirmed because there is no evidence that she is among the leading lights of American jurisprudence, or that she possesses talents commensurate with the Supreme Court's tasks. The president's "argument" for her amounts to: Trust me. There is no reason to, for several reasons.

He has neither the inclination nor the ability to make sophisticated judgments about competing approaches to construing the Constitution. Few presidents acquire such abilities in the course of their pre-presidential careers, and this president particularly is not disposed to such reflections.


In addition, the president has forfeited his right to be trusted as a custodian of the Constitution. The forfeiture occurred March 27, 2002, when, in a private act betokening an uneasy conscience, he signed the McCain-Feingold law expanding government regulation of the timing, quantity and content of political speech. The day before the 2000 Iowa caucuses he was asked -- to ensure a considered response from him, he had been told in advance that he would be asked -- whether McCain-Feingold's core purposes are unconstitutional. He unhesitatingly said, "I agree." Asked if he thought presidents have a duty, pursuant to their oath to defend the Constitution, to make an independent judgment about the constitutionality of bills and to veto those he thinks unconstitutional, he briskly said, "I do."
These are all points that critics of the Bush administration has been making for years. Bush has most often chosen the path that is post politically profitable irrespective of its adherence to philosophy or concepts of good governance.

Despite Bush's elevation as the "CEO President", continued negative fallout from his management decisions - think Iraq, Katrina, corruption in the leadership of his party (the President is still the head of the party), the general economy - reveals the lies of the propaganda his protectors have thrown up to protect him. If Bush were to run his company in the way he manages the country, the stock would be in the tank and there would be several investigations going on. Come to think of it, that may not be far from the truth.

The President played to his base promising that he would deliver unto them a more conservative, more Christian nation. All he asked was a little patience. As has been pointed out elsewhere, the Supreme Court picks were supposed to be their payoff. They were promised the appointment of justices who would overturn Roe and would finally vanquish the false concept of a separation between Church and State.


Bush's base, the conservative christians, took some body blows when it came to small-government conservatism. The payoff would come, they told themselves. When Robert was appointed, the right was happy, not ecstatic, but he was generally "one of them". The next pick was supposed to be their pick. If Roberts was the consesus conservative, O'Connor's replacement was to be the christian conservative, the one they could shove in the face of liberals, modernists and Democrats. The pick that would help the U.S. shoulder its proper mantle of one nation under, of and for God.

Instead they got taken.

Bush is finished. Soon other conservative politicians will woo away the support of the base and try to consolidate it enough for a run in 2008. Yet after the decades of work bringing the christian right into the political system, might this send them back into the wilderness? They held Bush up as the embodiment of their values and he, time and again, took their support and went the other way. If they couldn't achieve their dreams with a two-term President that made Reagan look like a moderate, what is left for them?

Perhaps more importantly, now that Bush has revealed his true colors, can we get back to the business of responsible governance?

- Murphy

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