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October 24, 2005

My Miers Issues

Several readers seem confused about my opposition to the nomination of Harriet Miers, so let clarify. This post is based upon a comment I left in a previous post.

It's been suggested by readers that Harriet Miers has lots of support. From where? The editors of National Review and the Weekly Standard oppose her. Rush Limbaugh is not on board. Neither is Laura Ingraham. Robert Bork doesn't like the idea. The only serious voices that I know of are Ken Starr, Thomas Sowell and Hugh Hewitt. Miers' leading support comes from evangelicals. I'm not sure what Chuck Colson is thinking but don't tell me that James Dobson's opinion matters a whit. It doesn't. Does the man have a credible opinion on constitutional matters that don't involve abortion, gay rights or euthanasia? I mean no disrespect, but why should I care what Dobson or Jay Sekulow think more than I should care about what Rush Limbaugh or Will have to say? Oh, that's right. Dobson and Sekulow are evangelicals. Reckon I should just get in line.

As a grassroots leader, Dobson is second to none. I don't doubt his sincere concern for what have become known as "life issues." Because of their sheer numbers, evangelical often act like they own the market on these issues. The truth is that many people, of all religious backgrounds, take the conservatism position. Thus it is not incumbent upon evangelicals to only support one of their own in order to see their causes advanced. Conservative Catholics and Jews - even a few agnostics - share the same outlook on these matters. Likewise I know that, on the whole, folks like Limbaugh, Will, Krauthammer, Kristol, Frum, et al ad nauseum share the same outlook as evangelicals. It is not as though National Review opposes Miers because she is, supposedly, pro-life.

On the merits, I can't think of a good reason to support Meirs. She has questionable views of affirmative action. She has no paper trail to suggest she has a clear view of Constitutional matters. She rejected the Federalist Society as "partisan." She worships the ABA, a moderate organization at best. She started a lecture series at SMU that has been a revolving door off far-left feminist thought. I could go on but that should suffice.

I am not asking that she be an appelate court justice. I am not asking that she be a politician or a law professor. I am asking that a nominee publicly demonstrate, before their confirmation hearings, that they are, as the President promised his supporters, original constructionists in the mold of Scalia or Thomas. Thus far, I have no reason to believe that Harriet Miers meets that criteria.

I will quiet my opposition if she defends herself well in her confirmation hearings. Thus far, she's not doing well with the Senate's early questioning and, frankly, I think she should withdraw before the hearings start.

Posted by Matt at October 24, 2005 09:56 PM

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Matt, it sounds as if you are going to oppose the nomination unless enough evidence is presented to support it. I believe we should support the nomination. I explain my reasoning in further detail in this post. Let me know what you think.

Posted by: Tom at October 24, 2005 11:44 PM

More correctly, Dobson's sincere concern for SOME "life issues."

You forgot to add all the progressives and Democrats who are opposed to Miers to your list!

Posted by: Dan Trabue at October 25, 2005 09:03 AM

Hi Again Matt,

One of my conservative principles is to make up my own mind without needing affirmation from pundits.

If you were really interested in reading opinions contradictory to your own, you could find plenty of reasonable conservative voices who support the Miers nomination. Do you consider Newt Gingrich a conservative?

Conservatives can trust in Miers By Newt Gingrich

What about Tony Blankley?

High Court Politics By Tony Blankley

If you care to do the research there are plenty more. Is Dick Cheney a conservative?

Also, why do you use inflammatory language? If Ms. Miers is “blatantly” unqualified, why would any reasonable person support her including the President and Vice President? If she “worships” the ABA, why is she not in a funny farm?

The Federalist Society is an ideological club. It may establish the hard core conservative credentials of it’s members, but it is not a prerequisite for being a conservative judge. It boggles my mind that you want a judge who is conservative, but then you create non-Constitutional requirements out of thin air. You may be a conservative, but your opinion on Ms. Miers is anti-conservative.

Posted by: David M. Smith at October 25, 2005 11:50 AM

This is getting old in a hurry. No, one need not be a member of the Federalist Society to be a conservative, but if a lawyer/judge rejects the Fed. Society as "partisan," then they have seriously lost credibility as a conservative.

And you have your definitions wrong. From the outset, conservatism has been defined by a respect for tradition and those who came before. I am tired of arguing definitions with someone who is obviously uninformed. Don't quote Newt Gingrich, because he, like Hugh Hewitt, is concerned with the party in this case. I understand the concern, mind you, I just find it to be misplaced.

I defy you to find one conservative theory that predates the blogosphere and use it to validate your opinion. You won't be appeal to, but I can offer you the benefit of the doubt. Contrary to what you want to believe, conservatism, generally speaking, has some definitions that have existed since the 18th century. Read the Conservative Mind or the Conservative Reader. My opinion is quite in keeping with conservative thought, and if you want to be childish about this, I've got more folks on my team than you have on yours.

Posted by: Matt at October 25, 2005 03:40 PM

Hi Matt,

My initial impression of you was that you were hard headed but reasonable. My initial impression is beginning to whither into just hard headed. It is possible to be informed without agreeing with you. It is also possible to be uniformed and agree with you. Perhaps you should spend a little less time insulting your readers and a little more time trying to be reason with your readers.

Newt Gingrich meets all of the criteria to be called a conservative leader. He has worked tirelessly for the cause of conservatism as a thinker, a leader, and as a doer. He supports Ms. Miers and he affirms the conservative credentials of President Bush. You have every right to disagree with his opinion, but you should at least acknowledge you were wrong when you claimed that no serious conservative supported her nomination.

Respect for tradition is one definition of conservatism, but it is not the only acceptable definition. By that definition, the New Deal and Legal Abortion are conservative. Pat Buchanan, George Will, William F. Buckley, Rush Limbaugh, and many, many others, all claim to speak for conservatives. None of them have ever been elected and they sometimes disagree with each other.

There is nothing childish about challenging the thinking or lack of thinking of others. There is something very childish about claiming number of people making an argument or the stature of the person making an argument somehow makes the argument right. An informed person would know that both are logical fallacies.

I will not answer any more of your challenges unless you acknowledge and answer some of mine.

Posted by: David M. Smith at October 25, 2005 04:41 PM