October 23, 2005
George Will, clearly exasperated after years of giving Bush the Younger the benefit of the doubt on a variety of major issues, escalated his campaign against Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers in today's Washington Post. To say that he was burning his bridges would be putting it mildly. His core argument calls into question the conservative credentials of the people who oversee policy formation in the White House:
In their unseemly eagerness to assure Miers's conservative detractors that she will reach the "right" results, her advocates betray complete incomprehension of this: 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. Such conservatives understand that how you get to a result is as important as the result. Indeed, in an important sense, the path that the Supreme Court takes to the result often is the result.
It seems to me that many who occupy the populist flank of the right wing have fallen into such a blind rage against all the mischief wrought by left-leaning judges since the 1960s that they have forgotten that the fundamental standard of justice is precisely that it be -- blind.
My feelings about the Miers nomination aren't as strong as Will's, but I am worried about whether the Republican elitists and (Bushophile) populists can avoid a major schism. The latter faction's credibility is on the line in the upcoming Virginia elections. It will be a test of the Rovian strategy of "deepening" GOP voter turnout by focusing on social conservatives who are often apolitical, rather than "broadening" the vote by appealing to moderates and/or independents. (I would have favored the latter course.)