Skip to comments.If You Don't Trust Him to Choose, Why Did You Vote for Him?
Posted on 10/14/2005 6:47:23 PM PDT by quidnunc
I'm beginning to wonder why the political conservatives voted for Bush. I assumed at the time that it had something to do with believing that he would be able to pick better players for the Cabinet and the Court than his opponents (Al Gore and John Kerry, lest we forget.)
At least, that's what they claimed in the Novembers of 2000 and 2004. In this last election, as in no other, the Court was thought to be vitally important.
In religious right circles, at the grass roots level, there was high excitement that the nation might finally get some Justices in who would roll back the tides of misplaced internationalism, judicial invention, and Supreme legislation that have proven so vexing to those in the heartland trying to raise decent families in an unholy world. Because President Bush is a man of sincere faith, whereas John Kerry was clearly a man of pure opportunism and personal religious hypocrisy ("I believe life begins at conception" did not ring true from a pro-choice politician), prayerful people whose participation in politics is normally limited to election day came out in force to actually work for candidates. Phone banks were filled, neighborhoods were walked, parties were held, and registration drives were pursued by massive numbers of people otherwise uninterested in the process.
All this optimism was based not on who would be the likely nominees, but on who would be the one to pick such nominees a man whose heart they trusted, George W. Bush.
Now, don't get me wrong. Most Christian conservatives like most Americans don't know much about potential court nominees. They've heard the names of judges the Democrats filibustered, and that's about it. As was the case with John Roberts, most ordinary people on the religious right didn't know who she was, since who the White House Counsel is does not generally show up as a prayer concern to any but those immediately involved. What they knew about John Roberts was that the President admired him and he seemed to be a good man, a good father, a Constitutionalist instead of an activist, and the choice of the President for Chief Justice. The religious conservatives, with no particular knowledge of Roberts, immediately got on board. Why? Because they trusted the man who nominated him.
Although Roberts wasn't on the conservative intelligentsia's wish list, the usual gang of conservative pundits quickly found out enough to satisfy them that the non-selection of Edith Jones or Janice Rogers Brown or Michael Luttig hadn't shafted them. (Though Ann Coulter didn't like him, anyway.) Besides, the Democrats were acting like babies already. All the players were on the sides one expected; all was right with the world.
But Miers is a different situation altogether. Conservatives have occasionally wondered who this president really is. Spiritual conservatives wondered if he could be trusted to do the right thing in the face of long odds, or if he would prove to be merely a consummate politician playing the evangelical card to his political advantage. Economic conservatives have worried that he would some day risk conservative political gains for some deep and unknowable spiritual conviction.
Now we know.
Christian conservatives should no longer doubt this president's sincerity. He has made a selection based on a conviction that flies in the face of pragmatic politics, and he is not backing down. He is risking everything to bring in a nominee that he himself believes is the best available choice, despite the objections of politically-minded conservatives and the opposition of those he considers his allies.
The Miers nomination is the Category 5 hurricane that breaks open the levees of conservatism, exposing its deepest divide: that between those who are conservative primarily for intellectual reasons, and those whose conservatism is a habit of the heart. The president has declared his loyalty; he is, above and beyond his economic theories and his powerful defense of the free market, a True Believer.
These disagreements have arisen from time to time, in the divide between the social conservatives longing for more true believers in the Reagan White House and the political pragmatists urging them to be patient; in the rift between the George H.W. Bush New World Order acolytes and the cultural conservationists on Pat Robertson's team; in the tug of war between hard-line fiscal conservatives and open-handed compassionate conservatives willing to spend a little money to prod the resistant into participating in Bush's visionary "ownership society."
Between the two, there are differing definitions and applications of "trust." It might be said that both subscribe to Reagan's sage advice on the Soviet Union, "Trust, but verify," but one group considers the trust primary, and the other tends to suspend trust in the hunt for verification.
It is important to a purpose-driven Christian to seek a Biblical response to matters of culture, and to follow that response regardless of its pragmatic consequences. Despite the deaths of 45 million babies as a result of the Roe decision, they are called to forgive all those involved and to seek to change the situation through prayer and repentence, rather than anger and action. Where they have no knowledge, they seek advice from people they trust who do. Quite bluntly, they trust Dobson and Warren more than they do Limbaugh and Coulter. And because Dobson and Warren trust Bush on this, they are more inclined to do so.
The conservative intelligentsia sees the President's membership in the social conservative club overshadowing their power to control the dissemination of conservative information, and they are having none of it. They can't accept the notion that the President of the United States might have access to better information concerning Court nominees than they have. They can't handle the idea that when he said "I will nominate candidates to the Supreme Court," he really meant "I" and not "my friends in the conservative think tanks." They can't stand it that, after all this time in the wilderness, they might still be "out of the loop" when it comes to the important questions of the presidency especially when they find out that a doltish nobody like James Dobson actually had a seat in the "kitchen cabinet" this time around. It wasn't the judicial conservative elite invited to that conference call it was the evangelicals. And that smarts.
The conservatives who are crying the loudest and with a venom and a bitterness usually reserved for Ted Kennedy or illegal immigration do more than anyone else to convince those who trust Dobson and Falwell and Robertson and D. James Kennedy and Marvin Olasky and Dick Cheney and President Bush that the president, leading with his heart, is right on this. There seems to be more than a little "it's not FAIR" in their whining and braying. Though they were in no way owed a consultation, the fact that they did not get one appears to have driven conservative think-tank mavens into paroxyms of rage.
Tsk, tsk. That's no kind of witness for the world.
Rick Warren is fond of saying, "Remember: God is God, and you're not." The conservatives angry that the president actually had the nerve to exercise the authority they gave him to bring up a nominee that will do what they want her to do would do well to remember that President Bush is President, and they're not.
He named them as judges he respected. He also said "He's an unusual man. He's an intellect. The reason I like him so much is I got to know him here in Austin when he came down. He's witty, he's interesting, he's firm. There's a lot of reasons why I like Judge Scalia. And I like a lot of the other judges as well." So are we supposed to gather that his criteria for nominating judges as that they be "witty", "interesting" and "firm"? He says he likes a lot of other judges as well. But he is not listing the criteria he uses to appoint a judge, and he certainly doesn't say "I promise I will appoint judges in the mold of Thomas and Scalia."
With regard to Roberts, there is nothing in his record to indicate he isn't exactly what Bush says he looks for in a judge. In fact, if you read the whole transcript at your link, you can see that Roberts fits Bush's criteria to a tee. Yet somehow this indicates Bush has broken a promise?
"I, for one, am getting sick and tired of holding my nose in the voting booth." GET USED TO IT . I'VE HAD TO DO IT MOST OF MY LIFE ( OH W is an exception)
You conviently avoid a discussion of whether Miers is superior to Roberts, Scalia and Thomas or not.
"Note that Souter sounded great at his hearings." DID W APPOINT SOUTER? DID W know SOUTER?
You conviently avoid a discussion of whether Miers is superior to Roberts, Scalia and Thomas or not.
His Dad did.
Most of the ones I've read about support the nominee. That's enough in itself to raise a red flag. Call that strike 1. She also has the support of the gays. That's strike 2. She is about 10 years too old to be counted on for a long tenure on the court. That's strike 3.
The only counter argument is that she is a personal friend of the president, but some of us have been concerned about his stands for a long time.
We were also told early on that we could trust her on the issues because she was a member of the conservative Valley View Christian Church. Turns out that that wasn't true when it was said. She is a member of a smaller group that hasn't established a track record yet, and she regularly attendes Washington area churches affiliated with the pro-gay rights ECUSA.
CICERO _ I knew Cicero , and you're no Cicero!
By that logic, I should trust the President's choice, NO MATTEER what it is....If he chooses my cable guy or my high-school gym teacher, I should support him.
Actually he probably did as Bush II was hanging around the WH during the time of Bush I and doing some of the behind the scenes political work.
Somebody needs an internet time-out
"Now he comes along with a nominee who is not quite in the mold (Roberts) and a second one even less so. What are we supposed to think in comparing his actions to his implied intentions? What about the third and fourth appointments?" SEEMS YOU HAVE THE CRYSTAL BALL. WHY DON'T YOU TELL US?
Toss in the non-veto of CFR just for good measure.
I have not forgotten that I was "supposed" to provide a source. That was not my promise, only your charge. I looked around and foud that Bush DID at least intend to create that impression, whether he actually said those words or not. Politics is not Science nor the Law. It's, among other things, being able to speak with ambiguity to attract the most supporters and repel the minimum of potential voters. Lot's of people apparently "heard" the "message". As with Souter, the expectation of more SCJs in the mold of Scalia and Thomas has been "underachieved".
It seems clear to me that Miers is not made of the same cloth as Roberts, Scalia or Thomas.
"You conviently avoid a discussion of whether Miers is superior to Roberts, Scalia and Thomas or not. NOW DON'T GET
SEXIST.LAURA WILL HEAR ABOUT IT..
I'm thinking you need to go back to VT and get your share of bong time.
AH - THE old personal insult answer. IF ALL FREEPERS WERE AS fued as you I'd have to...
Nice try. No, the point of discussion is whether or not Bush ever promised to "appoint judges in the mold of Scalia and Thomas." I contend that he did not. I take it you cede the point since you are trying to shift the topic.
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