Conservative Ideals Triumph In Miers Nomination
By now, most have heard that Harriet Miers has withdrawn herself from consideration for the Supreme Court (go here or here for more). While conservatives are relieved and are patting themselves on the back, there are many Republican party loyalists who are accusing them of being “extreme” conservatives and of ultimately undermining the President.
Despite what some have charged, this was not about insider/outsider, elite/non-elite, or anything else. It was about ideological conservatives holding the President to a higher standard. Simply put, with the confirmation of John Roberts as Chief Justice fresh in their minds, conservatives had expected President Bush to nominate another intellectual conservative to the Supreme Court. They had thought the days of Republican Presidents nominating “stealth” candidates who can “get along” were over. The nomination of Harriet Miers was a shocking disappointment and one that conservatives simply refused to accept.
Finally, this episode has illustrated that there is a difference between ideological loyalty and party loyalty, after all. In practicing and promoting the latter, the President and his supporters alienated those who prioritize ideals over political expediency. (This could serve as a lesson here in Rhode Island). As NRO’s Jonah Goldberg wrote:
Party discipline matters because parties are supposed to stand for something. It’s not clear what, if anything, Miers stood for. If hard feelings are the problem, imagine how much harder they would have been had she stuck it out? Besides, Party discipline is a two way street. It is smart for conservatives to be loyal to the President when the President is loyal to conservatives.
Yes, there is a little bitterness towards conservatives being expressed by party loyalists, but that will pass. Now it’s up to the President to take his mulligan and drive the ball down the right side of the fairway. Then both groups, conservative ideologues and party loyalists, can unite behind him against the all-out assault that can be expected from the liberal establishment.