The reaction on the Right to the Supreme Court nomination of Harriet Miers has made it clear how fragile the coalition of factions that ruled the US for the last five years really was.
-Evangelical Christians who are focused on moral issues.
-Movement Conservatives intent on fiscal restraint, federalism and a restricted role for the federal courts.
-Neoconservatives obsessed with foreign policy and "national greatness."
The alliance of these groups has proven unstable. This was pathetically clear today on the weekly TV talkathon in the statements made by representatives of these groups. The level of abandonment of Bush by those who have been his faithful "friends" was striking. Statements were made that essentially imdicate that he is believed to be "unreliable" and "untrustworthy." One should not want to hear that said about a US president, any president. National polls indicate that such sentiment is spreading.
At this point it looks as though only the evengelicals are going to stick with the president on the Miers nomination. She may squeek by for confirmation in the Senate but the battle will be so bloody that her creibility as a jurist will be forever harmed.
Why will the evengelicals persist in backing Bush on her nomination? It seems clear that they have been given indications in the "back channel" that she will certainly vote on the court in ways that will please them and President Bush.
Does this mean that she will vote to end the federal protection of abortion rights? It seems likely given her life story and associations. Some people think that Bush does not really want to reverse "Roe v. Wade" because of the damage that this would probably cause the party among women voters. Given his personality it seems unlikely that President Bush would let the welfare of the party be a governing concern once he has left office.
Senator Specter will be intent on learning if it is that it is true that Harriet Miers is as committed to the "pro-life" cause as people tell me she is.
In any event, the conservative coalition is badly split. Considering the multitude of crises faced by the Republican Party, it will be very hard to put that coalition together again.
This might mean the coalition is no longer behind Bush, who’s turned lame-duck.
Unless they start to see their interests as mutually opposed, they might align easily behind somebody else who promises them all what they want.
You conclude by saying:
“In any event, the conservative coalition is badly split. Considering the multitude of crises faced by the Republican Party, it will be very hard to put that coalition together again.”
How do the corpratists fit into this equation? After all this alliance has worked out quite well for them so far. Though there are those pesky Abramoff and DeLay indictments.
Are you being the perennial optimist?
“Perennial optimist?” Thanks, nobody has said that of me for a long time.
Ideas matter. I am not an economic determinist, never was. The conservative forces in this country are much more dominated by ideas than you may accept. (Ideas you don’t like are still ideas.) The Texas centered business interests (banks, lawyers and oil men) who rode into power with Bush fils are not the masters of the people I spoke of, just the exploiters. pl
“Considering the multitude of crises faced by the Republican Party, it will be very hard to put that coalition together again.”
I would not misunderestimate either Karl Rove or Bob Shrum, who if he were not doing God’s work with the Democratic Party would surely have found a place in the Bush-Cheney Defense Department.
The term “lame duck” may be appropriate but what I worry about is an abandoned and petulant Bush, dealing with the excessive pressures and demons he carries. I fear he will not meekly wait out his term doing no further harm.
And then, what of those who feel betrayed? Radicalized disenchantment among some of his former constituency would be quite dangerous. Evangelical activists especially, should they too feel betrayed on abortion rights, is an instability I do not look forward to.
I suspect that Miers will be approved by a comfortable margin, and that none of the factions will abandon the Republican party. After putting nearly all their efforts into the party for forty or so years, where are they going to go? All of the factions know that their interests will be better attended to by the Republicans than by any other viable political entity, and after all this time and effort these people are not likely to drop out of politics altogether. I would be less surprised to see a new left-liberal party than I would a new right-wing party.
I can still remember that old Bush campaign sound bite: “The soft bigotry of low expectations.”
I understand that the lady in question has never served as a judge nor ever argued a case before the Supine Court.
An unqualified, corporate Bush nanny — expectations don’t get much lower than that.
I don’t know if it’s the end of “conservative” dreams, but I hope it is the breakup of a political machine and the celine of the new no nothings of talk radio among others.
I think our system works best when there are lots of votes across parties.
I think that there are a wide variety of interests. For example the “corporatists” are not a unified lot. Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld have represented a feudalist lot, who think government is designed to represent entrenched wealth and mantain. Other companies are competitive and capitalist. I read the financial pages and there has been a lot of criticism.
And fear. Choices made by this administration may aggravate the coming recession severely.