Monday, October 17, 2005

A Question for Conservative Miers Opponents

As discussed just below, John Fund's piece in today's Wall Street Journal reports, based on anonymous sources, that Christian conservatives receive assurances that Miers would oppose Roe v. Wade. (I'll bet Laura Ingraham read gleefully Fund's piece on her show today.) Power Line comments about the story's impact:

In political terms, Fund's information increases the likelihood of solid
Democratic opposition to Miers and maybe a filibuster. I've always thought that, in the end, Democrats might well come down hard against Miers. First, quite apart from any assurances Dobson and others may have received, many liberals distrust nominees with deeply held traditional religious beliefs. Second, Miers was never going to testify in way that would give the Dems (and the influential interest groups that support them) comfort about Roe. Third, Miers is vulnerable in ways that Roberts was not, making it less risky to oppose her. Now, the likelihood of unified, forceful Democratic opposition is somewhat greater.

This may put conservative Republican Senators in a position to sink the nomination should they so chose. Indeed, if the Dems filibuster, conservative Senators could sink Miers without taking a strong anti-Miers position, simply by declining to get behind the nuclear option. But it's not clear yet whether the Dems in the gang of 14, who can effectively prevent a purely Democratic filibuster, would support the filibuster of a nominee who is less demonstrably conservative than the next one President Bush is likely (one hopes) to send up.

Now, my fellow conservatives, those who oppose the Miers nomination: Assuming the nomination goes forward to hearings and comes to a floor vote, and the Democrats filibuster because they think she is going to vote to overturn Roe, what do you want to happen?

  • Do you want conservative Republicans to "lie back" in sufficient numbers to ensure the failure of her nomination?

  • If that happens and Miers is not confirmed, do you think President Bush will be politically strong enough to push through any of the other goals you think are important for the country?

  • How do you think other conservative Republicans who are unhappy that their president was stymied will feel about working with your side in the future?

  • Do you care whether the president retains such strength?

I'd really like to know.


Anonymous DL said...

President Bush doesn't vote. No one knows who the party standard bearer will be, except it won't be the crowd that's in there now. Cheney and Condi aren't in the mix.
It is the conservative voters and dissident pundits that the Senators need fear. If and when, Bush puts up a candidate worth fighting for, they will remember this conservative backlash, if he doesn't, they have a free pass to vote against her as not being the best and not having the support of the base..
Also, in the next election, a win for many Senators in any close state, becomes near impossible without the dissident conservatives. Bush can't help them, as he has lost too much support already among
dissident conservatives for Miers, supporting Specter, Chafee etc.

Bush's prime power now is the power to name candidates.

It appears that he will do what he will do anyway, political repercussions be damned. 

Posted by DL

Monday, October 17, 2005 2:07:00 PM  
Blogger The Hedgehog said...

DL, you didn't answer any of the questions. But you do seem to be suggesting that hard-right conservative opponents of the Miers nomination would rather lose GOP control of the Senate and weaken Bush than give in on this issue-- and you haven't even heard her testimony yet. 

Posted by The Hedgehog

Monday, October 17, 2005 2:18:00 PM  
Anonymous CC said...

I'm on your side, Hedgehog. I think you've stopped the mouths of anti-Meiers readers, but I'm also afraid that Fund and Co. may have doomed the nomination for the exact dynamic you have perceived. The Dems can't afford not to defeat an apparently anti-Roe nominee; they will likely be joined by several moderate Republicans. And standing against them will be . . . nothing. The movement conservatives want the nomination dead anyway. They will let it be defeated, then tell everyone, "We told you so." I think they are so deluded they imagine this will be a political victory, until they either find themselves with Alberto Gonzales (who the Dems will, with token protest, embrace), or with a short-list conservative nominee who will be filibustered for months and probably defeated while O'Connor continues to shred the Constitution. I hope William Kristol is happy with himself.  

Posted by CC

Monday, October 17, 2005 4:53:00 PM  
Anonymous DL said...

Do I care if Bush retains strength? That was his choice!

I think I answered the first two indirectly. Bush 's political strength is not as important as the dissenting conservatives to pressure congress. The Republicans can go aginst Bush because he has chosen to split the party. they do have to deal with an angry conservative base. They can go against Bush on this appointmnet without political damage.

Frankly, this (Supreme Court) is the single most important issue, so the other issues will stand or fall on their own. He hasn't done well on Social Security or controlling outragous spending by our guys anyway.He fails to pressure the GOP lawmakers.
He vetoes nothing. He checks with Harry Reid for his feelings. He lets Ted Kennedy write the Education bill. He calls our border volunteers, vigilantes.
He throws $260? billion at New Orleans, because of a race baiting stampede. Is this the stuff those other conservative Republicans want, or they wont work with us?

No I'm suggesting they take control of the Senate not lose control! That's what majorities are for!


Posted by DL

Monday, October 17, 2005 6:29:00 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Interesting questions. My attempt to answer them:

1) Hmm. An easier question is would I mind if a sufficient number of Democrats and Republicans defeated the nomination on a straight vote? No, I wouldn't mind.

Now, what if a filibuster achieved the same result? I probably could accept that. I would rather leave the filibuster in place, and not invoke the Constitutional/nuclear option on the Miers nomination. No need to have that fight over this nomination.

2) And this is the crux of it all, isn't it. If Bush then appointed a candidate skeptics like me would get excited about (be it Luttig, McConnell, whoever), and went to the mat for that candidate, I think the base would absolutely rally behind Bush, and with a strong base, Bush would regain that political power. His opponents would know he speaks with the support of the base that gave him the largest popular vote in history.

3) Another important question. What if Bush put up a second candidate that utterly energized those on my side of the issue? I think the question cuts both ways. Would those on your side withdraw your support, even if Bush put up a rock solid conservative? Would such a withdrawal then take away the political power you are concerned with?

4) I absolutely care that he retains that power. As I indicated above, I think he would, if he would put up a candidate that would turn his base loose. Skeptics like me view the Court as a key battleground, and I was hoping to help provide the kind of support that would give Bush real political power. I feel like I walked out onto to the battlefield only to hear the general sound retreat. 

Posted by Jeff

Monday, October 17, 2005 6:51:00 PM  
Blogger The Hedgehog said...

Jeff: Thanks for your candor. I find it depressing that people actually feel that way, but your honesty is refreshing. You still did not answer the questions directly. I wonder if anyone will?

Posted by The Hedgehog

Monday, October 17, 2005 7:05:00 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

I thought I did answer them directly. They boil down to:

1) Yes
2) Yes
3) If the second nomination is one we all agree on, then we all agree and we'll all work together to support that nomination. (Unless the pro-Miers are now angry and choose not to support that pick)
4) Yes 

Posted by Jeff

Monday, October 17, 2005 7:27:00 PM  
Blogger The Hedgehog said...

Jeff, when you say "[i]f the second nomination is one we  all agree on, then we all agree and we'll all work together to support that nomination," who is "we?"  

Posted by The Hedgehog

Monday, October 17, 2005 7:31:00 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

"We" is Bush's conservative base in toto, including both sides of the Miers pick, both pro and skeptical.

(I can't resist adding, I just saw Pujols utterly crush one to bring the Cards back from the brink of oblivion. Houston was one strike away, and now it's going back to St. Louis. Wow.) 

Posted by Jeff

Monday, October 17, 2005 9:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Elisin said...

I'll throw in my answers as well.

1) I want her nomination withdrawn. Outside that, I think the Senators should vote as they see fit. I won't hold any vote against any Senator; I believe she is qualified, though it is close enough to understand a no vote.

2) With the base as split as it is, I don't believe it willbe possible for Pres. Bush to be politically strong enough to push through his agenda if Miers is approved. If her nomination fails and a stronger, more unifying candidate is approved, he might be, though I find that unlikely.

3) I think it will be very difficult to unify the conservative Republicans after this, no matter the result. I think the only possible way to do so is if a Justice that all conservatives support is confirmed.

4) I very much want the President to retain hat strength, which is why I want her nomination withdrawn. 

Posted by Elisin

Tuesday, October 18, 2005 12:48:00 PM  
Blogger The Hedgehog said...

All I can say is, this has been a very draining debate. I understand Rush Limbaugh thinks it's great for conservatism. I am not so sure. I'm disappointed in just about everyone involved. 

Posted by The Hedgehog

Tuesday, October 18, 2005 2:53:00 PM  

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