I’ve been giving more thought to the continued controversy over the Miers pick, and have come up with a couple more ways of looking at it.
This debate has been framed as being between conservative “true believers” and moderate “squishes” — but maybe that’s the wrong paradigm. Maybe this debate is really between the quixotic and the savvy. Maybe the way you come down on this debate depends less on how conservative you are, and more on how pragmatic you are.
Most conservative bloggers and pundits have never been in the unfortunate position of actually having to win a political contest. Most of them come from the world of journalism, not from campaign politics. This does not disqualify them from commenting on Miers qualifications any more than the fact that I’ve never had an abortion would disqualify me from commenting on that issue.
But it occurs to me that the people most vehemently opposed to this nomination all seem to come from a pundit/talking-head/blogger/journalist background.
Now, let’s look at the other side.
Let’s suppose conservatives are overreacting. Is that so bad? In the vain of, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease,” part of the job of the conservative movement is to hoot-and-holler, occasionally.
In baseball, the players who sometimes argue with the umpire’s tend to get better calls in the future.
In short, we aren’t just making noise about this pick (that ship has most likely sailed) — we are really sending a message about future picks (don’t rule out another pick before ’08).
To over-extend the baseball metaphor (hey, it is playoff time), the conservative movement has to sometimes “brush back” the President in order to “keep him honest.” It is a natural tendency for a politician to want to go to the middle. It is the job of the conservative movement to let him know when he’s getting to close to the center.