Monday, October 24, 2005

Back Into the Fray

Hewitt is back from Italy and contributes a very long post. Hugh's tone starts out concilliatory but quickly wanders into something approaching defamatory. For instance, he decries what he perceives as an "implicitly anti-evangelical tone" to much of the Miers criticism. To improve on Jonah Goldberg, that is piffle cubed. No one is attacking Miers's religion. At least no one that I'm reading. Not content with casting that aspersion, Hugh goes on to question Miers's critics' pro-life chops, suggesting that many critics might, in the quiet of their hearts, be "reconciled to abortion on demand but unwilling to announce as much for fear of the political consequences." What?

Of course, the Miers question isn't whether Roe is morally tenable -- and, lest there be any confusion, in almost all circumstances it is not (and it is doubtful more than a handful of critics think otherwise) -- rather, it is whether Roe is constitutionally tenable. And, if not, the question devolves into how does the Court reverse it in a manner coherent enough not to risk yet another brute force reversal some years down the road? For me, this debate isn't about morality. Not at all. Indeed, it is possible -- and constitutionally coherent -- to be strongly pro-choice and strongly anti-Roe at the same time. As I see it, the debate over Roe has nothing to do with abortion qua abortion and everything to do with proper constitutional interpretation and application. The moral debate comes later. That's what legislatures are for.

In the end, Hewitt resorts to trotting out the parade of horribles, i.e., all the bad things that will happen if we don't allow the President the luxury of his mistake:

The continued assault on Miers brings the prospect of Democratic resurgence closer, and the anti-Miers people who deny this put their wishes ahead of facts and hard experience.

Three SCOTUS nomination processes have resulted in withdrawal/rejections in the modern era: Fortas, Haynesworth/Carswell, and Bork/Ginsburg. Each president involved either abandoned the effort or was obliged to compromise on essential issues, and all three were deeply damaged politically, as would be Bush by a Miers’ withdrawal/defeat. Conservative critics of Miers will not have the luxury of rejecting the responsibility for GOP setbacks, even enormous ones, if they succeed in their campaign against her.

But the results of their success will not be limited to the damage done to Bush. They have to consider the damage done to the GWOT by the loss of GOP majorities in either house of Congress, or of the presidency in 2008. It is simply not credible to reject as unlikely the reality of the consequences of weakening Bush at this moment. There is this pie-in-the-sky idea that, Miers defeated or withdrawn, the prident will nominate a Luttig or a McConnell, and a great battle will be waged and successfully so, and the GOP will go from victory to victory. Perhaps. I mean, it is possible. Really.

But it is much, much more likely that a defeat of the president, combined with the defeat on social security and the DeLay woes and the MSM’s incessant anti-Bush campaign will in fact birth a 2006 like 1986. It wasn’t pretty then. It isn’t inevitable now.

Unpersuasive. I don't care about 2006. I will gladly give up a congressional majority for a Supreme Court that recognizes that the constitution doesn't provide answers to many, if not most, difficult societal issues. The only point that resonates with me is 2008. If I were convinced that the Democrats would win the White House in 2008 if Miers is not confirmed, I'd give in. In the under-stated words of another Bush, allowing the Democrats to control the national security apparatus would not be prudent at this juncture. I'm not convinced, though. And I doubt I can be. A defeat on Miers may hurt the President down the road. A victory on Miers will hurt the country right now. For me, it's that simple.