Ideology Versus Pragmatism
I don’t think there are many (though there are some) who are jumping up and down about the choice of Harriet Miers as the newest SCOTUS pick. A post-Roberts letdown would have been almost inevitable. Ironically, the choices that would have fired up the base would have probably turned off vast parts of the public. We cannot force the mainstream to embrace our cause anymore than the Left can; we must work constantly to sell it. Ramming through a hardcore, known conservative because we have the votes and alienating the electorate is just not smart politics for the future.
Rather, we must painstakingly move the center to the right, until conservative judicial principles ARE the mainstream. This is not a pipe dream; if you took a snapshot of America prior to Barry Goldwater, and then compared it to post-Ronald Reagan America, you would be either delighted or disgusted, depending on your ideology, but you would certainly be surprised to see how far the country has moved to the right. The last Democratic presidential nominee to unabashedly wallow in his liberalism was Walter Mondale (well, he did win Minnesota!).
There are those who think the nomination of Miers is a defeat, that it shows the folly behind the deal made by the Gang of 14. I respectfully disagree. On the eve of that deal, if you had predicted that George W. Bush would nominate two Supreme Court justices who would sail through confirmation without even a serious filibuster THREAT, much less the real deal, you would have been laughed out of the room (unless you were part of the prescient group known as the Coalition of the Chillin’, that is).
Those who say that we lost, remind me again what we lost? Consider it from the Democratic view: Congress confirmed 5 very controversial appellate judges almost immediately after the deal was struck, nominees who had languished through many months of inactivity; Bush put forth, from all indications, a positively masterful Supreme Court nominee, who was confirmed easily, and, barring some unforeseen skeleton in the closet, his second pick, by all accounts a quite conservative, capable woman, is going to be confirmed easily, as well. And nary a filibuster in sight.
Does this mean pragmatism always beats principle? No…but the march of our nation is measured in decades, not months. When people cry betrayal at every minor ‘defeat’ (never mind that often the defeats are victories), and swear that NEVER AGAIN, BY GOD, will we trust the man who dethroned the Taliban, who put Saddam behind bars, who stood up to the diplomatic inertia of the world’s leaders and actually took action against our enemies, I must seriously question whether these people are taking the long view.
Now, off my soapbox: here’s a few more thoughts along these lines from AJ, Beth (in her own inimitable, and quite profane, style – you’ve been warned!), and the American Thinker (hat tip to Academic Elephant)…