The World According to Broder, Noonan, and Blankley
David Broder thinks recent events (notably the Miers fiasco) prove that GWB is "President Pushover," because he is so in thrall to his conservative base:
[T]he Alito nomination inevitably looks like a defensive move, a lunge for the lifeboat by an embattled president to secure what is left of his political base. Instead of a consistent and principled approach to major decision making, Bush's efforts look like off-balance grabs for whatever policy rationales he can find. The president's opponents are emboldened by this performance, and his fellow partisans must increasingly wonder if they can afford to march to his command.
Aside from giving the impression that Mr. Broder was in a bad mood when he wrote this, the column suggests that he needs to get out more. In a vacuum his argument might be plausible, but it sure seems to me that conservatives are happy and energized by the Alito nomination. I know I am. Just listen to Rush Limbaugh for 5 minutes any day this week. I don't see anyone wondering if they can march with this president, not right now. The Democrats' stunt in forcing the Senate into closed session was not the action of a party "emboldened" by Bush's problems; it was a desperate attempt to change the subject back to the war.
Meanwhile, Peggy Noonan and Tony Blankley are very, very pleased with themselves and their fellow conservative pundits. Ms. Noonan answers Mr. Broder:
Mr. Broder says Bush got "rolled" by his own supporters in the Miers fiasco. But he did not. He got defeated by them. He made a bad choice, and they resisted. The White House fought back; conservative thinkers fought back even harder;
Republican senators did not back the White House; the White House retreated,
rethought and renominated.
I suppose this is substantially correct. Instead of saying "conservatives" resisted and fought back, she says "conservative thinkers." I guess by that she means the elite conservative commentariat, because, as this Gallup poll documents, a majority of plain old conservatives were unhappy that Miers withdrew. In their triumph the commentariat doesn't want to acknowledge these very inconvenient polling data. I do wonder sometimes if writers like Noonan, Frum, Fund, Krauthammer, and the rest really believe that any conservative views besides theirs matter, but that's a topic for another time.
Tony Blankley is also very, very pleased with the conservative commentariat's recent work:
The successful opposition to Harriet Miers was not a triumph for just some faction of the conservative movement. If it used to be said that the Church of
England was the Tory Party at prayer, then it also could be said that the conservative opposition to Miss Miers was the entire conservative movement on the hunt, at full regimental strength.
The entire conservative movement? Really? Well, you've got to read the whole thing to understand fully just how pleased Mr. Blankley is. He clearly believes that he and his anti-Miers allies represented all conservatives. If only that silly Gallup poll were not out there, undercutting his entire column! Mr. Blankley needs to get out more too.
Anyway, all this is excellent dinner table conversation for my kids, who are learning that even though an opinion may be expressed eloquently, and by a highly-placed and widely-respected person, it still ain't necessarily so.