Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Ramesh on Miers and Conservatives

Ramesh Ponnuru, the leading light of National Review and one of the smartest Catholic political writers out there, has a good piece in the New York Times editorial section on why conservatives are getting restive with Bush in general, and the Miers nomination in particular.

...But five years into Mr. Bush's presidency, conservatives have cause to re-evaluate their compromises. While most conservatives supported the invasion of Iraq, many have grave doubts about the conduct of the war. Medicare has been expanded more than it has been reformed. Social Security reform appears to be dead for now. Tax cuts may have inhibited spending - perhaps Medicare would have been expanded even more without them - but they have hardly imposed anything that could fairly be called "restraint."

The president appears not just to oppose immigration restrictions, but to be committed to liberalization. Hurricane Katrina shook conservatives, too. They rightly rejected overheated criticisms of Mr. Bush, especially those that portrayed him as indifferent to the suffering of blacks. But they want the federal government to perform its core functions competently....

In the past, conservatives had overlooked disappointments and disagreements for the sake of getting solid appointments to the Supreme Court. The president's judicial appointments will be among his most lasting legacies. But then Mr. Bush nominated Ms. Miers. Conservatives are not sure she's a legal conservative at all, and they are still less sure that she will be a forceful advocate for originalism. Not even her strongest defenders outside the administration say she would have been their top choice.

Those defenders say that we should nevertheless trust Mr. Bush's judgment. At the very moment that conservatives have begun to conclude that their bets on Mr. Bush are no longer paying off, Mr. Bush has asked them to double down. That request has even pro-Miers conservatives feeling disillusioned, and other conservatives feeling betrayed. That's what's dividing conservatives - and it's why they're thinking more and more about life after President Bush.


Fr Martin Fox said...

Not to blow my own horn -- oh, what the heck, I will! -- but some of us not only have been saying such things all along, but foresaw trouble before Bush was even nominated.

Consider the premise widely assumed: that for conservatives, Bush is "one of us." Once you stop assuming the premise, and examine the matter in its absence, things take on a very different light: Bush is a Republican who has said, and done, some conservative things...

Given the political significance of conservatives, especially in the GOP, why should one leap to the conclusion he does this fundamentally out of conviction?

Keep in mind that in this sort of thing, its very natural to see what one wants to see. People who trusted Bush want to see that he has proven worthy of that trust; hence the long-suppressed doubts cited by Ponnuru.

Darwin said...

You can indeed say, "I told you so." I think anyone paying attention and honest would have to admit that Bush is only about half a conservative.

At this juncture, I'm honestly not sure if it's that he's even less conservative than hoped, or if inside the White House world it looks to him like Miers really is the sort of SCOTUS pick he'd promised. Either way the disappointment is the same.