While the bandwagon of conservatives calling into question President Bush’s selection of Harriet Miers continues to grow, the strength of conservative ideology grows along with it. How ironic then that the utter weakness of Republicans is displayed to an embarrassing degree. Conservatives are flexing their intellectual muscles, finely tuned through think tanks and institutions over the last 3 decades and doing what no liberal ever would: publicly call into question their elected leader for improperly using the power granted him by the people. The result is that they are proving they will put their ideology into action, an ideology which says that principle trumps personality and immediacy, the very antithesis of what Bush has done in selecting Miers, even if she does vote conservatively.
The principles of limited government and anti-cronyism are hallmarks of conservative distrust of government, and Bush has ignored both in his 5 years. (No, Enron and Halliburton are not examples of cronyism, but selecting a friend who would otherwise not be qualified for the court is. How I wish it weren't the case, but it is!) Conservatives understand that no one is immune from these principles, not even the beloved president. Bush has pushed his patient supporters to the absolute limit with Miers, picking someone clearly unqualified for the very thing conservatives have strategized for 30 years to win: the swing vote on the Supreme Court.
The beautiful in-fighting (remember that government quagmire and gridlock is the dream of conservatives and the intent of checks and balances) will emasculate the Republican party, but will strengthen the conservative movement. This makes me wonder if President Bush doesn’t have much bigger plans than we can see. Is he shrewd enough to sense that by proving the weakness of Republicans, he can start another round of hard-core conservative research and persuasion that will lead to real reversion to constitutionally originality in the next 30-40 years? I have no doubt of Bush’s brilliance, or his incredible strength of character when it comes to pushing long-term ideas, something most politicians are too weak or lazy to even consider.
So I’m starting to wonder if he senses that, in essence, Republicans shot their wad in 1994. He’s smart enough to see the long-term trend of conservatism in America (as he has brilliantly done with the War on Terror.) Does he now see that what began in 1994 with the House takeover is done? That the revolution failed miserably because the public’s liberal leanings hadn’t tilted far enough right yet? Can he tell that it’s almost-but-not-quite-yet time for a real revolution?
I’d like to think so. Republicans may continue to win at the ballot box, but there may also be serious backlash. Conservatives may have to wait until 2016 or maybe even later for the public to elect conservatives, not politicians. This next American revolution will not happen with guns perhaps, but by electing libertarian-minded conservatives bent on rolling back government for good.
Maybe Bush is committing Republican hara-kiri for the good of Republicans (or libertarians) in the long run. Maybe, like Francisco d’Anoncia in Atlas Shrugged, he has decided the forces on the left should be allowed to self-destruct, that he will better them at their own game of liberalism and hide in a cave until true conservatives start a real revolution that will lead to a Jeffersonian version of life. Perhaps he understands now that in 1994, Republicans came out of the cave too early. By nominating his buddy to the Supreme Court, maybe he’s telling us in code he’s given up, just as d’Anoncia said in code when he destroyed his own copper mines.
Or maybe I’m living in the same deluded state as Ayn Rand.