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October 05, 2005

Debate is Good

The nomination of Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court has really caused a back and forth in the Republican Party (and here at SCO). The site has good views from both sides of this. Check out these entries:

And these are just the most recent entries. Some may see the debate going on (competing articles as well as in the comments) as bad for the Republicans, but I disagree. When Bill Clinton was President, there was not nearly the objective criticism of him by Democrats as Republicans are willing to have of someone in their party. When Clinton signed NAFTA, for example, there was a bit of a murmur, but not much. I've always thought that conservatives were more honest about their beliefs; less party-driven and more principle-driven. This debate is confirming that.

Posted by Doug at October 5, 2005 01:22 PM

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Doug writes: I've always thought that conservatives were more honest about their beliefs; less party-driven and more principle-driven. This debate is confirming that.

Looks like the proverbial Democratic Party "circular firing squad" to me. Conservatives could have avoided this meltdown if they had policed their stragglers earlier in the process and retained the political capital required to push forward a LoudAndProud™ member of the Federalist Society to the Supreme Court.

Instead, you're forced to put forward a stealth candidate and whip the Party apparat into supporting her as yet another litmus test of political loyalty. This is how the Democrats went into decline.

Posted by: s9 at October 5, 2005 04:38 PM

Well, I think your initial comment in another thread was more correct; that the language has been hijacked, and anyone to the right of Ted Kennedy gets labelled an "extremeist". Republicans can't seem to get the hang of governing as the majority. That and they have, in my opinion, a opposition press that amplifies the Democrats talking points.

That is to say, they're already behind in the count, and they aren't helping themselves much.

But by the same token, do you really think that someone who was loud and proud about opposition to Roe v Wade would get a fair hearing by the Dems or the press? The Left makes noises that overturning that would instantly outlaw abortion everywhere, which is far, far from the case; it would return the decision back to where it ought to be; the states, as is their right in the Constitution. But the issue isn't honestly debated by the Left and the press. They've hijacked the language and the "framing". And even though Ruth Bader Ginsberg things that the Roe decision was poorly argued, no conservative is "allowed" to say that without being savaged.

The Left has hijacked the language, and won't give it back. It may take more time than has elapsed with a Republican majority to restore a little honesty to it. The Democrats had decades to do this. While I may wish the Republicans would do more at this point, they're relatively new at this. So I'm willing to understand the need to be stealth about it. For now.

Posted by: Doug Payton at October 5, 2005 05:49 PM

Doug Payton writes: The Left has hijacked the language, and won't give it back.

More accurately, the Left bought the language lock, stock and barrell over three generations ago with a lot of hard work, guts and determination. Moreover, they continue to own it outright, and the Right is still powerless to wrest control of it for their own purposes.

Which means, you can't push forward an openly right-wing conservative revolutionary for the Supreme Court, because the language you have to use to sell that nominee is still owned by the Left. Instead, you have to push forward a stealth candidate, and somehow whip your partisan activists— who have grown impatient with the pace of conservative efforts to regain control of the language— into supporting the stealth candidate in the absence of any clear statement of principles or faith.

What looks like healthy debate to you is nothing more than counter-productive public whining and complaining over the strategy and tactics of a minor conflict in the larger struggle over the consciousness of the American electorate. It serves no purpose other than to make conservatives look indecisive and weak.

Until conservatives can push forward a nominee for Supreme Court that can openly say she will vote to overturn Roe v. Wade— and let's be honest: that is the fortified ground you have to take from the Left to claim a victory— you will continue to be forced to struggle against the fact that you don't control the language. The Left does.

Posted by: s9 at October 5, 2005 06:20 PM

And while we're on the subject— let me take this opportunity to give you a gentle schooling in what's going on with your inability to get around the problem of how the Left has defined opposition to Roe v. Wade as equivalent to a constitutional amendment to extend the equal protection clause to cover the unborn.

Yes, it's true that overturning Roe wouldn't outlaw abortion everywhere in the United States. It would just remove the constitutional protection that prevents the states and the federal government from outlawing it. Unfortunately for your team, the Left has successfully convinced Americans that overturning Roe is only the first step in a sequence of events that will result in the outlawing of elective abortion everywhere in the United States.

The Left can easily point to myriad groups among the anti-abortion right, who enjoy the full support of conservative politicians and leaders of the Republican party, that all say they want abortion outlawed everywhere for everyone under all circumstances. They explicitly draw an equivalence between abortion and the murder of children, and they make no room for pragmatism in their preferred policy.

You make it so easy. The Left can say that overturning Roe will free the party of Tom DeLay to make abortion a federal crime. They can say the party of Rick Santorum wants to make every miscarriage into grounds for a murder investigation, because that's what extending the equal protection clause to cover the unborn will definitely do. And Americans will buy it whether it's really true or not. Because it's plausible. And you people don't even bother to try to deny it. Heck, the Texas GOP platform explicitly says that's what Republicans there want to do.

So, go ahead. Whine all you want about how the media won't talk about how overturning Roe won't really outlaw abortion nationwide. The Left knows they control the language and there's no way you can make your argument about overturning Roe a coherent one that people will care about and understand without it also being an argument to make abortion illegal everywhere under all circumstances, which is an argument Americans still reject— in language crafted especially for that purpose by the Left.

Posted by: s9 at October 5, 2005 06:44 PM