[Editor’s note: Since the publishing of Ann’s column, Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination to the Supreme Court.]
The Bush White House has turned into the Nixon White House — complete with Harriet Miers as its Rosemary Woods, with an 18-year gap in her credentials.
As president, Nixon imposed wage and price controls, created the Environmental Protection Agency, initiated race-based hiring schemes, signed SALT I with the Soviets and instituted rapprochement with the Red Chinese. All of this resulted in liberals … despising him even more!
After five years of Nixon’s ignoring conservatives — where else would they go? — when liberals came after him for Watergate, conservatives ignored Nixon. (As the details of Nixon’s “dirty tricks” came out, conservative columnist Stan Evans reportedly told Pat Buchanan: “I want to apologize for all my attacks upon your administration. I would never have done that if I had known you were into all that good stuff we’ve been hearing about lately.”)
For five years, Bush has initiated massive spending programs, obstinately refused to protect the borders and signed restrictions on political speech into law. His veto pen remains unopened and unused in its original shrink-wrapped case. Bush treats conservatives like the Democrats treat the blacks (which is to say, pretty badly).
Conservatives were unhappy, but we were confident Bush would never let us down on the two issues that mattered more than anything else: the war on terrorism and the Supreme Court.
And now, although Bush has been bold and strong against the terrorists, it is beyond question that he has betrayed conservative hopes for the Supreme Court.
The way Bush has been attacking his base lately, he better hope liberals start to love him. There aren’t going to be a lot of conservatives left to defend him if someone in the White House gets indicted or something. (But at least he can always count on Fox News analysts!)
When conservatives erupted in pain and rage that the president had thrown away a Supreme Court seat on his personal lawyer — because she’s a girl and Laura wanted a girl — administration flacks snippily informed right-wing activists that they didn’t get a vote. Only senators vote on judicial nominees (that is, whenever Democrats allow it).
Next, the Bush White House accused conservatives of elitism and sexism for opposing the former Texas Lottery commissioner for the Supreme Court.
Then we discovered the White House actually believes everything liberals say about conservative Christians — that we are “uneducated” and “easily led.” After administration officials snookered a few evangelical leaders into supporting Miers, they sat back and congratulated themselves on a job well done. But evangelicals are, at best, split down the middle on Miers. Apparently, Christians aren’t so easily led. (That’s what you get for believing The Washington Post!)
Now the White House is threatening Republican senators who are thinking of voting against the former lottery commissioner. To deliver this message, Bush chose Tom Rath, a Republican functionary in New Hampshire who brags on his Web page that he “actively assisted in the U.S. Senate process that confirmed David Souter as Supreme Court justice.”
At least Bush found a man with impeccable credentials to promote the Miers nomination. Note to the promotions department: You can stop printing up those “Trust Me!” T-shirts. I don’t think we’re going to need them!
Finally, to throw us totally off balance, Bush did something weird and scary this week: He nominated Ben Bernanke for Fed chairman — A MAN WHO’S TOTALLY QUALIFIED FOR THE JOB. The White House has yet to explain how this happened.
Politicians and Fox News analysts afraid of upsetting the White House keep saying we need to wait for the hearings to see if Miers is qualified. This is like saying we need to wait for the hearings to see if Miers is a polar bear. We already know the answer! She’s not a polar bear, and she’s not qualified. The Kabuki theater of nomination hearings will not tell us anything new.
It’s as if all Miers needs to do during the hearings is utter the magic words — say she opposes “judicial activism” — and conservatives will love her! I have news for you: Chuck Schumer claims he opposes “judicial activism,” too.
In fact, the only two people who will derive any benefit from the hearings are Joe Biden, who will finally look like a constitutional scholar, and Harriet Miers, who might learn something about the Constitution from him.
Democrats are so happy at the mess Bush stepped in with the Miers nomination that they don’t want to help him by opposing her. The NARAL ladies will have to take a back seat to Democrat dreams of an impotent George Bush. Yeah, maybe Miers will vote to overturn Roe, but that still won’t create a majority to overturn it.
But if Miers gets on the court, Democrats can have their way with Bush. He will have exposed himself as a scaredy-cat. Most important, his armies will be gone. This isn’t a game of kick the can, where Republicans fight for any idiot with an “R” on his shirt. Republicans support Bush because he’s a Republican, not whether or not he is a Republican. With the Miers nomination, Bush has screwed his base, screwed Republican senators, screwed legal conservatives. Good luck with those indictments! Maybe Tom Rath can help you.