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.
I have plenty of bitches about Bush policies , but I don't think I, or any other Republican, should presume to know more than he does about this nominee until we have at least heard her at the hearings.
Well I am an honest Conservative. I think President Bush is a Conservative. He is not the most Conservative man in the party, but by-and-large he is Conservative.
When I compare him to my Senator Lott, he is very Conservative. Did you know that right before Katrina hit Lott came out in support of eco-terrorists in Mississippi, favoring a moratorium on offshore drilling for Natural Gas? I'll bet his arse waiting in line for 5 hours to buy gas after Katrina hit us, had a modifying effect on his PC crap!
I also believe that we will see movement on the borders soon. Frist announced today that it was on the docket. It should have been done long ago. Washington is so screwed up today, it is amazing that anything can get accomplished.
Too old, not a parent, questionable track record, trial lawyer, no prior interest in Constitutional issues. There are plenty of more qualified candidates.
Gotta cite for that vegan claim? It was my understanding that everything God made was for their use.
I don't have chapter and verse, but I know that one of their sons liked a good barbeque while the other was a sod-buster. Remember? Things got a little heated when God spurned Cain's offering and he got marked down and had to go to anger-management classes?
Given the choice, we had to vote for him.
It certainly helped that he promised to nominate constitutional originalists. Now what do we have?
"NOW YOU DO NOT KNOW THAT!" Haven't been reading very much of what's been posted about this, have ya? Go back, look at her campaign donations, then return and tell us we don't know that. I'll hold my breath...Honest.
Trust but verify. The problem here is that there is nothing there to verify.
Who said there were no better qualified candidates? That is beside the point. She is his nominee and only he has the right or power to make the nomination; not you, me George Will,Limbaugh, Coulter or anyone else. Let's wait for the hearings.
That's not true. "They" do think they're entitled to critize what they see as a poor decision. And they are!
How many of them are on the SCOTUS now? I count Scalia and Thomas. Wrong?
I'm willing to give the President the benefit of the doubt. However, I voted for a President, not a dictator, not a king.
My vote is not an oath of blind, unquestioning, obedience.
Keep your panties on, csmusaret! All I did was ask a question and try to make a point tha GWB needs to listen to the people.
Your attack was unfounded. Yes indeed, let's wait for the hearings. You may be eating a huge slice of humble pie.
She's probably a nice lady, BUT from what I've read from critics far smarter than you and I, I don't think she has the qualifications to be a Supreme Court Justice.
You are hereby estopped from complaining about any of President Hillary's judicial nominations.
Wrong. First, you obviously can't find any reference to him saying "he'd appoint Thomas and Scalia types" to the Court (it doesn't exist). So kindly stop repeating the lie. And second, there are currently three and soon to be four in the SCOTUS.
" GOV. BUSH: The most primary issue--the most primary issue is will they strictly interpret the Constitution of the United States?
MR. RUSSERT: Will your judges and judge appointments to the Supreme Court be similar to Scalia in their temperament and judicial outlook?
GOV. BUSH: Well, I don't think you're going to find many people to be actually similar to him. 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. I mean, it's kind of a harsh question to ask because it now pits me--some of whom are friends of mine. I mean, it's--and so, in all due respect, Judge Thomas.
Arguably, Bush didn't explicitly promise to appoint judges in the Scalia/Thomas mold, although I think that he certainly intended people like me (and Hugh and Paul, for that matter) to draw that inference. BUT: Contrary to what Hugh claims, there is no doubt in my mind that Bush expressly stated an intent to apply a litmus test - namely whether or not the nominee was committed to what Hugh calls a "committed to a particular theory"; namely, strict construction."
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