Monday, October 03, 2005

playing devil's advocate

While Democrats and the left apparently love the nomination of White House counsel and Bush crony Harriet Miers to the position of associate justice of the Supreme Court, and while conservatives are running around like headless chickens at the thought of another David Souter donning a SCOTUS robe, my first thoughts are that this will turn out to be a long-term victory for the modern conservative movement.

Kos mentions how many on the left see weakness in Bush's White House in the aftermath of the nomination announcement. Assuming that Miers is indeed another Souter (which could turn out to be completely off-base), I think this is actually a shrewd move by a Bush administration which has the future of conservatism in mind; if Miers is another Souter, it seems unlikely that Roe v. Wade would be in any danger.

This is the key - the modern conservative movement has largely been fueled in recent years by the very thought of wiping away decades of liberal law and jurisprudence, with Roe at the top of the list. Conservatives have literally waited decades for this morning's announcement, and their utter disappointment belies what just could be a brilliant political maneuver. If Bush gave conservatives exactly what they wanted - a frothing-at-the-mouth, bible-thumping Republican put on Earth by God to don the robes, protect the unborn and smite the liberal heathen - the conservative movement would eventually have lost a major reason for its existence and continued momentum.

In its fifth year, the Bush administration is essentially politically dead. So why not take one for the team, get bashed by its core supporters for a little while (what are they gonna do? vote Democrat?), and ensure that another generation of conservatives will chase a dangling carrot? Conservatism is a movement defined and fueled by perpetual warfare at all levels - militarily, politically and culturally. Assuming Roe is safe, Bush saw to it today that the culture warriors will be fighting for a long, long time - and, more importantly, getting out the GOP vote for a long, long time.

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