Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Hurricane Harriet

With the meltdown of the Bush administration dominating the news cycle, I am on schadenfreude overload these days. (I’m trying not to peak before the Plame indictments arrive.) This is a source of internal conflict, because it feels like I’m rooting for bad news.

I have to remind myself that I’m not. I am acknowledging that my evaluations of this administration’s policymaking and character were correct.

I wish Bush had proved me wrong. It would have been hard to take, no question. It would have been awful. But I wish it had happened. I wish we had turned the elusive corner in Iraq, pumped up the economy, and handled Hurricane Katrina skillfully. This would have forced me to reconsider my assumptions, reexamine the facts, and reconcile my dire predictions with a country that was inarguably moving in the right direction.

Unfortunately, the past 10 months have been a cavalcade of disasters. No WMD and nearly 2,000 KIA in Iraq. Private, er, personal accounts. The prescription drug benefit. The energy bill and ANWR. The transportation bill and its bridge to nowhere. Mike Brown and FEMA.

Which brings us to Harriet Miers, whose nomination is causing a refreshing moment of clarity among true conservatives. These people have been working for four decades to establish a conservative majority on the Supreme Court. This nomination -- replacing a moderately conservative swing vote with a reliable, consistent conservative -- was supposed to be a shining moment of glory, an everlasting moral victory.

Right now, real conservatives are realizing what liberals have known about Bush from the get-go: He looks out for number one. Miers’s qualifications, her intellectual curiosity, her potential impact on decades of American life -- all of these are secondary concerns.

Conspiracy theorists say Bush wants a ringer on the court in case Plamegate goes nucular. I think it’s more pathetic than that. I think he just likes her. He thinks she’s great and vice versa. Most important, he knows she will remain loyal.

The rest of this second term will be interesting, to say the least, if more conservatives decide that loyalty has its limits.


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