Friday, October 28, 2005

It's All About Decency, Folks

I love these words of Nazi death camp survivor Viktor Frankl:

From all this we may learn that there are two races of men in this world, but only these two-- the "race" of the decent man and the "race" of the indecent man. Both are found everywhere; they penetrate into all groups of society. No group consists entirely of decent or indecent people. In this sense, no group is of "pure race"-- and therefore one occasionally found a decent fellow among the camp guards. (Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning, at 108.)

What's this got to do with Harriet Miers? That she was not treated with decency by people who should know better and are, by all appearances, decent people.

In all battles of ideas, especially law and politics, there are decent and indecent ways to approach any dispute. Over the past three weeks we have seen a lot of both. During our huge family fight within Republican conservatism, some were very decent. Too many used tactics that were simply indecent, as Hugh Hewitt notes today:

A White House counsel with distinguished credentials was compared to Caligula's horse and Barney the dog on National Review's Web site. George Will denounced as "crude" those evangelicals who thought Ms. Miers's faith was a good indication of character in a nominee and a hopeful sign on issues involving the unborn. She was labeled a crony before lunch on the day of her nomination by scores of commentators. Attacks on her competence within the White House followed immediately. She never had a chance, really.

Hugh left out Peggy Noonan's reference to Miers as President Bush's "office wife."

Decency is, I daresay, a principle that any Reagan Republican should hold dear; the Gipper all but embodied decency. No matter how vigorously Laura Ingraham, George Will, and so many of the NRO Corner crowd protest their innocence, they have not lived up to that principle. Many conservatives love to talk about principles; it's supposed to be what sets them apart from others with less enlightened worldviews. But all that lofty political theory means nothing if you don't treat people the way Reagan treated them. And the so-called "movement conservatives" who directed the destruction of Harriet Miers have a lot to answer for in that regard.

By the way, neither Laura Ingraham nor Kathryn Lopez have yet responded to my e-mails to them about their side's behavior. I'm not holding my breath.

UPDATE: Kathryn Lopez did respond; her comments are posted in full here. Laura Ingraham also responded, in a characteristic manner, I'm afraid; that's posted here.

I will now get off my soapbox and hope that the president has yet another surprise up his sleeve. I'm still holding out for Chris Cox.

UPDATE: Two Minute Warning raises an aspect of this debacle that almost no one is talking about: The impact on our troops in Iraq.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kathryn is notoriously unreliable about replying to emails. Either she is drowning under paper at her desk or too busy posting her "synapse of the second" at the Corner.

I will say that we are indeed united behind President Bush, some of us more than others. However, I will no longer conflate National Review, President Bush, and "conservativism" into the same paradigm.  

Posted by Charles

Friday, October 28, 2005 11:23:00 AM  
Anonymous BlueBuffoon said...

In the midst of all the back-slapping among the "movement" types and the angst of the rest of us left to wonder what the consequences will be for whomever the President (or any future president for that matter) nominates, we must not allow the Democrats to be successful in their effort to paint themselves as some sort of round table full of white knights in the midst of all the slamming by "right-wind extremists."

Some--including true pond scum Durbin and Schumer, of all people--have immediately packed away their own denigrations of Ms. Miers and headed for the microphones to proclaim to the echo chamber that is the MSM that the Democrats had not been the source of any criticism of the nominee.

As far as decency goes, Senator Diane Feinstein took indecency to new lows on ABC's Nightline last evening by doing a post-withdrawal hack job on Ms. Miers, the President and her other supporters by suggesting the "everything we see" showed Miers taking a subservient role in the whole process, which the Senator offered was "almost a throwback" to the days of pre-feminist enlightenment. I couldn't bear to watch where it went from there. 

Posted by BlueBuffoon

Friday, October 28, 2005 11:46:00 AM  
Anonymous DL said...

Talk about sour grapes!

You are in danger of losing it altogether. Take three deep breaths-count backwards from 100 and talk to yourself slowly.

Your anger is showing!

You are almost as mad as the liberals that Miers was rejected. Something is wrong with this picture. 

Posted by DL

Friday, October 28, 2005 12:50:00 PM  
Anonymous saveliberty said...

DL, we are not mad. We are appalled that the anti Miers crowd think that they did an honorable thing. And we are sad that these people think that they represent conservatives as a whole.


Posted by saveliberty

Friday, October 28, 2005 3:03:00 PM  
Blogger The Hedgehog said...

Hey, DL, I am repulsed and disappointed, but the anger in this one was on the anti-Miers side. That was what motivated them for the entire three weeks.

And I promise not to be snide or snarky if you won't. 

Posted by The Hedgehog

Friday, October 28, 2005 3:05:00 PM  
Anonymous DL said...

You lost your argument and yet you continue to vilify those with whom you disagree. Your terms that you choose to apply to those people are clearly hyperbole. "vicious," indecent, or the liberal's favorite, unfair.

The lowest you have sunk in your sour grapes attacks is when you, not so cleverly, compare them to the Nazis. Why else would you write this vicious, indecent, unfair, hit piece, supposedly against your own kind? 

Posted by DL

Friday, October 28, 2005 9:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Rob said...

Mrs Feinstein an apparent non-lawyer JUDICIARY committee member needs to step aside and give up her slot to someone admitted, someone that might not embarass themselves when questioning someone like John Roberts, someone she ultimately voted against, after effectively claiming Roberts was secretly plotting against females by keeping them out of professions such as law

I was looking forward to Mrs Feinstein going against Ms Miers

Note Bill O'Reilly stated Ms Miers came off in her initial introduction as the nominee as, "the lady who brought the cookies."  

Posted by Rob

Friday, October 28, 2005 9:19:00 PM  
Anonymous saveliberty said...

DL, if you won and are right, why are you calling anyone names? If we are the problem, how is it that we aren't calling you names but you are?

If you persist in telling us that we failed to comply with your requirements, rather than attempting to make a genuine effort to bridge the gap, you only raise the question as to why we became conservatives in the first place.

Posted by saveliberty

Saturday, October 29, 2005 5:52:00 AM  
Blogger The Hedgehog said...

DL: The quote from Frankl about Nazi guards had nothing to do with this debate, it was just part of his quote. No reference was or is intended to the present discussion! 

Posted by The Hedgehog

Saturday, October 29, 2005 10:08:00 AM  

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