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.
The answer is easy...it was either Bush or Gore, or Bush or Kerry....
I have a wait and see attitude about Miers and yes I do trust Bush as much as I can trust any politician.....but the question is pretty lame.
Actually, I think the question is insulting.
Well, who the hell were we going to vote for? Our choice was what? Bush or Gore/Kerry----oh I forgot we had Nader in there and the Libertarians (who I have a soft spot for in amny things). The SCOTUS choice is far bigger than the concerns of social conservatives. It has a lot to do with more of an originalist approach and each branch of government operating as it is supposed to. Ok I am not minimizing the concerns of social conservatives but look at the bigger picture--and still I think Miers falls short.
Who ate all the strawberry ice cream?
The Republican Party isn't a religion where the leader gets the doctrine of infallibility applied to his decisions.
My other choice was John Kerry.
No that is not why. We did not blindly trust Bush. But we looked at Roberts record of working for Rehnquist, working for Reagan, working for Bush. We saw a long history of supporting Republicans and making rulings based on Constitutional principles. We have none of that with Harriet. Harriet has supported more Democrats in her life than Republicans. Maybe Harriet has changed, but we are not confortable hoping.
You must have missed a few, there have been some really lame ones.
What makes you think they voted for him or he was their first choice?
This place was banana's when he got the nomination. Almost as bad as it is now.
But the choice was between Bush and Kerry: arsenic or cyanide.
I mistakenly believed that after re-election, Bush could be convinced to control the borders. Now my support is for the WOT and not much else.
Because Bush promised to put good solid conservatives of the breed of Scalia and Thomas on the Court. He did not compromise on court appointments during his first term, preferring to endure the filibuster, so it looked like a good bet to vote for him again in 2004 on the basis of these promises. That was also the reason why people worked so hard to increase his majority in the Senate.
Now he has broken his promise. It's not the first time that a politician has done so, but I will say that Bush is usually a man of his word, which makes it all the more disappointing. Maybe he thought he was doing the right thing by nominating Miers, but now he needs to think again.
You are right, and I don't think any honest Republican could say that G.W.Bush is a Conservative. He is however President, and therefore has the right to nominate whomsoever he pleases. All the elitist Conservatives pissing and moaning about Meirs are just like Schumer; they think they, not the President, have the right to nominate the next Supreme Court Justice.
He's entitled to favor his cause, wrongheaded as it may be... as we are free to express our displeasure. I actually appreciate it, because it makes the low signal-to-noise quality apparent. So many articles, so little substance, so few answers.
Apparently "they" don't even have the right to express an opinion of what should be done with this abominomination.
Not really, at least not for me. Bush made a very specific campaign promise to nominate folks like Scalia and Thomas. He should expect us to see if his nominees actually measure up to that standard.
Assumes facts not in evidence.