WASHINGTON -- This takes the cake. In fact, this takes the whole bakery. Usually intellectuals organize in committees or letter-writing campaigns to liberate an incarcerated dissident or urge legislation for a noble cause. During the Cold War I recall intellectuals organizing to "Ban the Bomb" or, in one memorable instance, install intermediate-range missiles in Europe. I believe I even served on that committee. Certainly putting missiles in Europe is always a good idea.
Yet today we have intellectuals organizing over poor Harriet Miers. In a way, I suppose, you could say they are agitating to free her. They want her nomination to the Supreme Court withdrawn. That would be a kind of liberation for her. Right now she sits over in her White House Office cringing every time the telephone rings. No news for her would be good news, but there is an abundance of news, and it is mostly bad. The latest is that a group of conservative intellectuals is organizing against her. Led by a former Bush Administration speech writer, David Frum, and a former Reagan Administration official, Linda Chavez, they want the Miers appointment withdrawn.
In the pre-tech days Linda might be leading a group of her fellows on a march down Pennsylvania Avenue. She might be strumming a guitar and singing "Where Have All the Strict Constructionists Gone?" David might be chaining himself to the White House fence or howling to a glassy-eyed throng. Oh, perhaps things would not go that far. After all, these are conservatives. When conservatives demonstrate, things are more sedate. In fact, conservatives rarely demonstrate. Rather, they pay taxes and vote. Yet these are conservative intellectuals, and this is the era of High Tech. So these two and their colleagues have established a website, www.BetterJustice.com, and they are calling for Miers to do the honorable thing and withdraw. They also are raising money to pay for radio and television ads.
All of this is unprecedented, at least for conservatives. I cannot recall such opposition to a conservative presidential initiative ever. Others are weighing in. There is a second website lambasting Miers, www.WithdrawMiers.org. It has the support of Phyllis Schlafly's venerable Eagle Forum, the Center for a Just Society, and something called Conservative HQ. James C. Dobson's Focus on the Family remains steadfast for Miers, but among conservatives, support is not gathering.