This Time, An E-Mail To David Frum
Here's the text of an e-mail I sent this evening to David Frum. I ended up spending so much time on it that I decided to post it here. If Mr. Frum responds, I'll post whatever he says:
I just now read your David Frum's Diary post from today, and although I think the wounds to which you refer will heal, I also think it will take a while. You, fortunately, are in a position to help with that process, maybe more than anyone else because of your highly visible lead role in opposing Harriet Miers.
Many will remember those wounds for a long time. I, for example, am not sure I will ever be able to feel the same way about Laura Ingraham again. I'm also an NRO subscriber and I'm going to be seeing you folks a different way as well-- for quite some time, I suspect.
After what has happened, when I sit back and watch what you all have done, and especially the manner in which you have done it, I am not sure I am one of you. I'm a graduate of a state university and state law school, a son of "Main Street" Republicans who prized decency in human relations-- the kind of people who are true Reagan Republicans. I don't breathe the rarified air you all seem to enjoy, and I don't run in the crowds you do. I have found that I am not alone-- far from it. I run a small blog and have been interested at the number of commenters and e-mailers to me who are expressing the same feelings.
One subject I wish you'd devote some attention to is the seemingly total absence of self-examination among the fervent anti-Miers group. Clearly a lot of serious people - conservatives all - think something was terribly wrong with the way the anti-Miers conservatives approached the matter. As John Hinderaker noted on Power Line yesterday:
A lot of conservative pundits are feeling triumphant today, but there are millions of rank and file Republicans who supported the Miers nomination, many of whom--including many dyed in the wool conservatives--believed, rightly or wrongly, that the criticism of Miers from the right was arrogant and elitist. Miers was a poor choice for a number of reasons, not least because her nomination needlessly divided the party.Despite such realities, all we seem to hear from your side of the argument is self-congratulation.
I thought this Fox News poll was revealing:
By 40 percent to 33 percent, voters think Senators were giving Miers fair consideration. When asked about the press, those numbers reversed: 40 percent said the media were treating her unfairly and 34 percent fairly.And yet I heard Laura Ingraham interviewing George Will this morning, each reassuring the other that they had been just as fair as fair could be to Ms. Miers and President Bush. Could it be that the Left is not the only place on the political spectrum that lives in an echo chamber? And now I read your statement that "the wounds of the Miers battle are already close to healed." Wow. It's a little early for that, don't you think?
You can do something to help "put the band back together," as I heard Hugh Hewitt say yesterday. Why don't you write a column examining the unfortunate excesses of the NRO Corner and other pundits. Acknowledge that it was wrong to liken Miers to Caligula's horse and Barney the Dog, and to refer to her as the president"s "office wife," and repeatedly to call her "Harriet" instead of "Ms. Miers" or simply "Miers." (Was Chief Justice Roberts ever called "John" during his pre-confirmation days? When Alberto Gonzalez was White House Counsel, did you all call him simply "Alberto?") And please don't brush all that off by saying it was simply humor. It was not. It was indecent.
In other words, you could say, in effect, "Hey, everyone, we were right and we got the right result, but we went over the top too far and too often. Let's recognize that, foreswear such behavior in the future, and reach out to our conservative brethren. We need to march forward together now." Or, in simpler words, "We're sorry we got a little carried away. Our hearts were in the right place."
It certainly wouldn't hurt. In fact, after the next nominee is known I think it would help a lot. Perhaps an awful lot.
Give it some thought.