Last week, the conservative movement had its Rosa Parks moment -- we refused to give up our seat on the bus even for a Republican president. Regarding that event, liberals, mainstream mediacrities as well as conservative movementistas all shared a common impression: Something important happened last week for conservatism -- and thus for the broader political scene.
The successful opposition to Miss Miers was not a triumph for just some faction of the conservative movement. If it used to be said that the Church of England was the Tory Party at prayer, then it also could be said that the conservative opposition to Miers was the entire conservative movement on the hunt -- at full regimental strength.
From the market-oriented Wall St. Journal to my own Washington Times' classic Reaganite conservatism, to the social conservative opposition of Phyllis Shlafly and so many others on the social and Christian right, to the neoconservative opposition of The Weekly Standard and Charles Krauthammer, to the paleo-conservatism of Pat Buchanan, to the high Toryism of George Will, to the popular talk radio titans Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and their legions of regional voices, to the lawyer-turned-hip radioist Laura Ingraham, to the iconoclastics Michael Savage and Ann Coulter to most of the conservative blogdom (with the prominent exception of the always magnificent Hugh Hewitt who rode heroically and almost alone with the fox rather than us hounds) -- this was a never before seen moment of comprehensive conservative opposition to a Republican initiative.
Of course, conservatism has often stood almost equally united in support of a Republican or conservative issue (e.g. Reagan, anti-abortion) or in opposition to a Democrat or liberal issue (e.g. Clinton, raising taxes).
But such broad, shoulder-to-shoulder conspicuous conservative opposition to a Republican president advocating a not liberal nomination or position is, I think, without precedent.
Of course, elements of conservatism have often been disgruntled with the actions of conservative presidents. When Reagan first reached out to Gorbachev, national security conservatives muttered deep concern. When G.H.W. Bush raised taxes, the House conservatives rebelled and beat his proposal on the floor, initially. But those were responses of only factions within the conservative firmament. Other factions may not have liked such initiatives, but they didn't move into loud, direct, public opposition.
Whenever a seminal political event such as this happens, politicians and activists rush in to try to publicly explain and exploit it in a manner useful to their political objectives.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.