Regardless, even if his electoral base sticks with him, much of his "professional conservative" base is deeply vexed. Republican Congressional staffers are grumbling about Miers like convicts in the prison cafeteria who just heard tonight's screening of "The Longest Yard" has been cancelled - and there's no more peach cobbler! And, while groups like the Federalist Society and magazines like National Review and the Weekly Standard may not carry states into the GOP column on election day, they do make up the intellectual and institutional machinery of the permanent conservative movement.
By picking Miers, Bush threw sand in that machinery. He got into this mess in no small part by insisting on appointing a woman. He made the choice in no small part because he admired Miers' character, not her constitutional philosophy. And now we know that some part of the decision was driven by the fact that she's an evangelical Christian. And when people complain she's not qualified, some Mm'Doh! sufferers respond: "But she's a decent woman of sound character who is an evangelical Christian! What? You have a problem with those things? For shame!"
Nonetheless. Now that my fever's subsiding, I don't care so much. No criticism remains unspoken, no gripe unexpressed. The hearings will reveal what they'll reveal.
And, it should be noted, the movement was overdue for a bout of St. Vitus' dance. Conservatives have tolerated a lot from this White House - not least the sort of spending we normally associate with Saudi royal concubines at the mall.
There's much panic and wishful thinking about what all this means for the Right in America. Howard Fineman of Newsweek declares that the conservative movement is "falling apart at the seams." This, too, is delirium. Such spats come with being a majority party. Recall that another president made a vastly more divisive Supreme Court play once. FDR tried to pack the Court with a whole herd of cronies. His party went batty. Insults were hurled in all directions. The scheme ended in a humiliating loss for FDR. And yet: The Democrats were re-elected three more times.
Take plenty of fluids, wait for the hearings, this fever will pass.
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