Peace through victory - the American way.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Isn't The Left Supposed To Be Hysterical Not The Right?

Ever since the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina the right wing supporters of George Bush seem to have gone off the deep end. First, they decide that it's finally time for them to really speak out against the spending frenzy the federal government has been on under Republican control of the Presidency and both houses of Congress. And what prompted that? It was the President's statement that the federal government would spend whatever it takes to rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. But Bush's answers on the cost of rebuilding New Orleans have been in response to persistent requests that he tell reporters right now how much the rebuilding will cost. Understandably, Bush couldn't give a definitive answer. He gave the correct answer that it'll cost however much it costs. But apparently, that's not the right answer. Instead the President is supposed to tell the people of southern Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama that, hey, we'd love to help rebuild your states but we have to be fiscally responsible so don't expect us to pay for it. Yeah, that's a brilliant political strategy and really smart policy to boot.

Now, the right wing punditry has just gone loony over the President's selection of Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court. You'd think Bush had just appointed Lawrence Tribe to the Court.

The complaints about Miers are so shrill because the right wing pundits don't seem to know much about her. Right wing fears about judges are that their candidates will go astray on the court like Earl Warren did, and Anthony Kennedy and David Souter continue to do. With Miers being such an unknown quantity fear rushes in to fill the void. One thing the right ought to consider is that Miers is a known quantity to Bush. Unlike Souter, for example, who was not very well known to Bush, H.W.

It would have been great political theater if G.W. Bush had picked a more conservative candidate and forced a toe-to-toe confirmation fight in the Senate. But it's not clear why that would have been a smart strategic move what with the Democratic threat of a filibuster and the likelihood that Republicans would have to exercise the so-called nuclear option. Right wing pundits and activists may have been itching for just such a partisan judicial confirmation fight but it's pretty doubtful that the majority of American voters would have welcomed it. Republican credibility to run the government would have suffered from such a fight.

The right needs to get a grip.

The President's opponents are emboldened by his falling popularity due to the continuing conflict in Iraq, the weak response to Hurricane Katrina, and the hype over Tom DeLay and the other so-called scandals. If the right wants to kill Republican government they should attack the President on his decision to spend what it takes to rebuild New Orleans. That'll show the country how compassionate conservatives are. And they should undermine the President's judicial picks by jumping all over Bush's selection of Miers on the very day that she is chosen.

But if they want to maintain Republican control of the federal government it's time for them to grow up and start thinking ahead a few steps.

Justice Stevens is 80 something and Bush has three more years in his term. It's likely that Bush will have at least one more opportunity to pick a Supreme Court justice. Moreover, he'll have three more years to continue appointing judges to the federal circuit courts. By avoiding a highly partisan fight over a Supreme Court justice that might have energized the base but that would have alienated all those swing voters who don't like partisan fights, Bush has retained credibility for his ability to choose justices and preserved the credibility of the Republicans in the Senate. This will serve Republicans and conservatives better in the next few years as Bush continues to send judicial candidates for all levels of the federal courts to the Republican-controlled Senate.




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