A conservatory of Ldotter blogs.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

After the conservative press. . .

. . .finishes its end zone dance, they might want to pause for a moment and reflect upon how much they've accomplished over the past few weeks. It really is amazing when you sit back and take a look at it, and I'm not sure they're even cognizant of just how much they've managed to achieve. But, those of us who've been following conservative opinion makers over the years are all too aware of their capabilities, and the destruction of the Miers nomination is a sterling example.

Some are quick to blame the pundits themselves for the division that has developed among conservatives during the course of this nomination and withdrawal, but I'm a little slow to do that. I think what the conservative press has done is not so much create the division as expose it. Truth be known, this schism is nothing new. It's a fault line that's existed, though dormant, for many years and is just now making its presence known.

There have been clues to the existence of this fault line over the years, the most recent being the scare that John McCain put into the Republican Party establishment in the 2000 elections. Things got particularly nasty between the McCain and Bush camps, and the threat of insurrection seemed plausible, if not likely, throughout the primary. Both sides eventually managed to set aside their differences and coalesce around a single leader, but there was still a good measure of acrimony and distrust underlying the unity.

The McCain people believed with every fiber of their being that the Bush campaign was the source of scurrilous rumor mongering in places where McCain posed a serious threat, and no doubt they still do. But, the past few weeks ought to dispel that notion -- because, suddenly, that bastardized form of political discourse has been turned against the Bush administration and the president's nominee to the Supreme Court. Those of us who supported Bush throughout the primaries and the general election in 2000 took great offense at the suggestion that the Bush campaign was behind the personal attacks against McCain in South Carolina. There was even some suggestion that the McCain campaign orchestrated the attacks in the hopes of generating enough backlash against Bush to carry the state.

But, it ought to be crystal clear now that what happened to John McCain was the handiwork of a relatively small group of freelancers seeking to impose its political will upon the Republican Party and the conservative movement at large. The fingerprints started appearing in the very first few days following the announcement of Miers's nomination, in the form of suggestions that she might be a lesbian due the fact that she is unmarried at 60 years of age. Some may deny that this ever happened, but the fact of the matter is that it did. There were no direct quotes to attribute, obviously, but then whisper campaigns are cowardly in that regard. It's in their very nature. They're a very cheap, efficient and effective means of achieving the desired end. One example of this stands out in my memory -- the not-so-subtle use of "Harry" as an adulteration of Miers's first name. I'm going strictly on recall, because I don't remember where I read it and can't find a link to provide as proof. So, the reader can feel free to disregard it if he or she pleases. But, I will swear to what I read with a completely clear conscience and sleep the sleep of the just regardless of whether or not anyone chooses to believe me.

With the nomination safely and surely crushed, now those who orchestrated the destruction have something else to deal with, and it's the same thing that always bedevils victories born of ham-fisted treachery: the law of unintended consequences. By leveling such vitriolic slander at Miers and those who would have preferred that she be given her day in court, the winners in this battle may very well have given a much-needed infusion of blood to the monster that has lurked underground since George W. Bush accepted the nomination of the Republican Party for the 2000 election. That monster is known as the disaffected conservative -- the McCainiac.

I don't know the origins of the elephant as the logo/mascot of the GOP, but I do know it's a particularly apt selection, given its reputation as an animal with a very long and exacting memory. Republicans and other conservatives will long remember the trashing they received at the hands of those who attacked them so mercilessly and relentlessly. They'll also remember with a bit of shame the attacks on John McCain and how eerily similar they were to those against Miers and supporters of her right to be heard, and the president's right to nominate her for an up-or-down vote. They'll also remember how long they fought for all the president's other nominees to be given the same dignity, only to have their erstwhile allies publicly flay another in full public view, and behind the scenes, to ensure that she never have that opportunity.

Some of those disaffected conservatives will look back on all of this and say to themselves, "Maybe McCain has a point. It'll be interesting to hear what he has to say over the next couple of years." And, when John McCain starts riffing on the special interests' domination of America's politics, and the filthy way in which they often do business in order to achieve their goals, he's going to have a lot more welcoming ears as memories of the Miers nomination begin to emerge. Those who supported the idea of letting Miers's nomination get a fair hearing have been told in no uncertain terms that their wishes are of little consequence to those who had someone else in mind. And, any misapprehension that they are respected by those whom they've worked alongside over the past six years has been stripped away and turned to mulch like tree bark in a sawmill.

To those who believe, or want to believe, that this is nothing more than a temporary spat within a loving family, I can only say I'm sorry. I think the bloodletting has only just begun.

free website counters