Miers and conflict

Thomas Lifson’s rationalization of the Miers pick [Don’t misunderestimate Miers, The American Thinker 05oc04] received notice for its points about group dynamics and other reasons supporting the nomination to the Supreme Court. There was another point made that also deserves consideration.

In part, I think these conservatives have unwittingly adopted the Democrats’ playbook, seeing bombast and ‘gotcha’ verbal games as the essence of political combat. Victory for them is seeing the enemy bloodied and humiliated. They mistake the momentary thrill of triumph in combate, however evanescent, for lasting victory where it counts: a Supreme Court comprised of Justices who will assemble majorities for decisions reflecting the original intent of the Founders.

From columnists like G Will to some of the more popular conservative bloggers there has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth regarding the nomination. There are two common threads. One is that the President let them down and didn’t meet their expectations. The other is that they wanted to see an academic with a proven judicial record and are suspicious down to outright cynical about any other measure of the judicial qualifications.

It may be that these columnists and bloggers are the soldiers on the front line. The live and breathe the battle in close combat, in guts and glory. But there is a real need to be able to look above tactics of the skirmish and find the perspective of strategy in the goals of the conflict.

Those who have tossed in the towel and claim this as the last straw of the President’s misdeeds pull out their favorite list: size of government, Iraq, NCLB a la Kennedy, McCain-Feingold, immigration, and so on to support their view. They complain that all their efforts to win both the legislature and the executive were wasted and they are still having to achieve broad goals in small steps that often seem to be going in the wrong direction from their point of view.

Those who cite scholarly writings and a proven judicial history are seeking the comfort of a known quantity. This seems to be without regard to the idea that predicting the future is a risky business and that knowledge they desire can and has been used to damage the goods on the way through a nominations process.

The fact is that the Demoncrats’ or Leftists’ approach to politics, that of personal destruction, does not advance anything. Those who do not like the Miers nomination are not doing their cause any good by tearing, shredding, and maligning Miers or the President. The speak first and think later pattern of behavior can create harm. When you are offended or puzzled or surprised it is time to stop and think about your own feelings and avoid the knee jerk response.

Where most of the problem seems to be is that very many mouths are not thinking in broader terms about their goals, their perceptions, or their rationale. Thinking is hard but that shouldn’t stop those who put intellectual integrity in high esteem.

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