Sunday, October 23, 2005

Conservatives behaving badly

George Will is really pissed:

Such is the perfect perversity of the nomination of Harriet Miers that it discredits, and even degrades, all who toil at justifying it.


Will's column is worth reading, just to get a look at the sheer level of fury the nomination of Miers has provoked in much of the right-wing. (And what does it say about Bush that here you have a nominee who is disliked by left, right AND middle, but Bush will go right to the wall with her because - well, because she thinks he's "cool.")

A couple of ruminations that ruminated while reading Will:

As Miers's confirmation hearings draw near, her advocates will make an argument that is always false but that they, especially, must make, considering the unusual nature of their nominee. The argument is that it is somehow inappropriate for senators to ask a nominee -- a nominee for a lifetime position making unappealable decisions of enormous social impact -- searching questions about specific Supreme Court decisions and the principles of constitutional law that these decisions have propelled into America's present and future.

To that argument, the obvious and sufficient refutation is: Why, then, have hearings? What, then, remains of the Senate's constitutional role in consenting to nominees?

He's absolutely right, of course. But where was this obvious point when confirming a candidate who was POPULAR with the right-wingers? Why did nobody say this when John Roberts was coyly refusing to answer questions? Why did the conservatives insist that it WAS "inappropriate for senators to ask a nominee...searching questions about specific Supreme Court decisions" THEN?

And how come it takes a conservative to make this point, and the Democrats are too damned chickenshit to say it?

You could argue for days over exactly what "advise and consent" means when it come to the Senatorial duty. But whatever it means, it sure as hell DOESN'T mean that the Senate is obligated to rubberstamp whoever the President picks.

But the conservatives said that the Senate WAS so obligated - until now, when suddenly they wake up to how totally ludicrous that is. About frigging time, guys.

Finally, any Republican senator who supinely acquiesces in President Bush's reckless abuse of presidential discretion -- or who does not recognize the Miers nomination as such -- can never be considered presidential material.

Mr. Will? Very well put, but "reckless abuse of presidential discretion" has been Bush's standard practice for 5 years now. What do you think hiring Michael Brown was? What do you think invading Iraq was? What do you think dispensing with the Geneva Convention is? What do you think the Patriot Act is? It took Harriet Miers to make you see it? Attempts to justify torture didn't do it? Stocking Federal departments with cronies didn't do it? Placing people in charge of agencies who were hostile to the missions of those agencies didn't set off any alarm bells? Harriet Miers, of all things, is what finally crossed your line?

Thoughtful conservatives' highest aim is not to achieve this or that particular outcome concerning this or that controversy. Rather, their aim for the Supreme Court is to replace semi-legislative reasoning with genuine constitutional reasoning about the Constitution's meaning as derived from close consideration of its text and structure.

And the damned Democrats have GOT to stop allowing the right-wingers to define things like this. Conservative are NOT in favor of "constitutional reasoning" over "legislative reasoning." They simply DEFINE whether something is or is not "legislative reasoning" on the basis of whether or not they like it. And I wish ONE DEMOCRAT in a position of authority would say so.

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