(and what it revealed about the Republican Party)
In my opinion (of course, this really goes without saying – what else would I write here?), the whole Harriet Miers episode, more than anything else, exposed the hypocrisy and imperialistic tendencies of the ultra-conservatives that seem to control the Republican Party, or at least the Republicans in Washington. For the first time that I can recall, I actually agree with Harry Reid when he said that “the radical right wing of the Republican Party killed” Harriet Miers’ chances to be confirmed for the Supreme Court.
We’ll have to wait and see who Bush’s next pick is – I can only hope that he remains true to his principles and doesn’t allow the power-base to make the pick for him.
Within moments of the nomination, conservative leaders were yelling and screaming that Harriet Miers was unqualified to serve as a Supreme Court Justice, and continued to demand her to withdraw. The only basis for the contention that she was unqualified was that they didn’t know her, and weren’t confident that she would be the ultra-conservative judge that they wanted. How could they know she was unqualified? She didn’t even have a hearing. I think it interesting that we heard very little from the Left, except support from Harry Reid. They knew just as little about her as the Right, and had to assume that she was as conservative as Bush. Still, they took a “wait and see” mentality; it was the Right that drove her to withdraw.
Let’s back up a bit: The qualifications for being a Supreme Court Judge are pretty loose. You don’t have to have been a judge of any type in the past, and you don’t even have to be a lawyer. The President can nominate someone he feels would be a good SC Judge, and Congress is to give their “advice & consent.” So, far, she seemed perfectly qualified.
Recall just a few weeks back when Roberts was nominated? The liberals were rattling their swords, and the conservatives were saying, “shame on you, let the man have his hearing.” It seems that the only thing that changed was that Miers was an unknown. The Republicans in Congress apparently are not committed to the process – they are, as liberals are fond of pointing out – just committed to the radical right agenda. In my mind, that’s hypocrisy. If you are going to be committed to the process, it has to be regardless of who the nominee is. Throwing political weight around to stack the deck – and in effect take the real nominating power away from the President – just degrades the process.
Now, I want a good, strict contstructionist judge as much as anyone else. I would have liked to have seen Miers go through the confirmation hearings, and see what she had to say. She may have been confirmed, she might not have been. We may have found out that she’s a complete flake. But, that’s the way the process is supposed to work. At this point, I think it’s safe to say that the process is not working.
Rather than operate as the founding fathers intended (I am committed to the concept of “original intent”), the process has become a tool of the power-mongers. I have said this before, I think the current two-party system has outlived its usefulness. It has become stale; I think the life has all but evaporated out of both parties. All that is left is the “sludge” power-base of each party. The parties no longer function as they should, and as a result government itself is not functioning as it should.
There seems to be a principle that whenever something good grows to have too much power, it ceases to be an agent of good, and becomes, for lack of a better word, a monster. Labor unions are a good example – I am all for collective bargaining, but the unions have now become too powerful, and many now exist simply for self-preservation and power. We need to look seriously at the Republican Party and evaluate whether or not it is serving the purpose for which it was intended.
I personally think that it’s time to break the power-base of the Republican Party. I am tired of the outsiders, like Dobson, as well as many of the insiders. I think we should vote them out, and start fresh. I am not suggesting that people vote Democrat, as I think they have even more problems than the Republicans. I am merely saying they need some new blood; conservatives who are committed to the Country first, and the Party second.
This would be a good time to do it – the Democratic Party has no vision whatsoever (their prime agenda appears to be “hate Bush”), and it’s clear that aside from the entertainment industry and the media (wait… aren’t they the same?), the majority of people tend to share a more-or-less conservative vision of America. Let’s raise up some statesmen (whoa… when’s the last time you heard that word?) who are truly committed to America (and not the radical right or the gun lobby).
I personally think that Bush did a pretty cool thing by nominating Miers. He dared to think independently, which I think infuriated the radical right more than who it was that he chose. Besides demonstrating a desire to not be controlled by the radical right, his nomination of Miers also confirmed that he truly is not motivated by public opinion. I would have thought that public opinion – inspired, of course, by the media – would have been in support of this move. However, it seems that the media is not just slanted to the left; the media on both sides appears to be tied to the power-base and is hesitant to support independent thinking.
It will be interesting to see who the next nominee is, and how the “powers” react.