October 29, 2005
Democrats Have Reason to Be Afraid

By Amy White

Halloween is a few days away, but the Democratic Party leadership is already busy trying to spook America about why Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination for the Supreme Court.

Harry Reid, the Senate Democratic Leader, tried to look grim when he took the floor of the Senate on Thursday. “The radical right wing of the Republican Party killed the Harriet Miers nomination. Apparently, Ms. Meirs did not satisfy those who want to pack the Supreme Court with rigid ideologues.”

Nevermind that the so-called “radical right” is the Republican Party. Reid shamelessly pretends that dangerous “radicals” like George Will and Charles Krauthammer are on a murderous rampage, “killing” the nomination of that nice lady from Texas who simply wanted to sit on the Supreme Court without the benefit of knowing constitutional law.

As the man who had suggested Ms. Miers – but then refused to support her outright – Reid also warned, “President Bush should not reward the bad behavior of his right base.” The “bad behavior,” it appears, includes writing letters, making phone calls, and organizing like-minded citizens. But for Democrats, democracy is just plain scary.

Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts was more restrained. “The fact that the White House and Senate Republicans were not willing to stand up for principle and fairness against the extremists in their midst should be disturbing to all Americans,” he claimed. As usual, however, Kennedy’s “extremists” are unconventional ones - attorneys from the Federalist Society, mothers in Concerned Women for America and editorial writers at the National Review.

“But now we have all seen that fringe of our society at its worst,” Kennedy continued, “and we know that their agenda is not the nation’s agenda.” In Democratic circles, this is what millions of conservative Americans casting their vote for conservative candidates to pursue conservative causes are: a lunatic fringe. Despite representing the minority political party, Kennedy labors under the delusion that only their agenda is the nation’s agenda. Obviously, Karl Rove isn’t the only reason they aren’t winning elections: contempt for the electorate never has gone over well.

John Kerry, who served in the military, was the natural choice to rebuke the Commander in Chief for his lack of courage. “The President has allowed right-wing interest groups to decide the fate of his Supreme Court nominee rather than stand up to his ultra conservative base,” he announced. Assumedly, insisting Harriet Miers continue to embarrass herself would be the “stand up” thing to do in Kerry’s book.

But the once and future presidential hopeful was hopeful of this, “It’s a telling statement about the instability and ideological confusion facing the White House and the Republican Party.”

He hopes, however, in vain. The Harriet Miers nomination has proven so successful in invigorating conservatives that at least one pundit muttered conspiracy theories. But no conspiracy is required to make voters hold their elected representatives’ feet to the rhetorical fire.

The White House has real horrors to manage - casualty counts, hurricane devastation and threats of a pandemic. They have political horrors, as well – bungled nominations, high-level indictments and sinking poll numbers. The Republican President wearies, the Republican Congress spends freely but the Republican rank holds firm, and demands the Supreme Court be restrained.

For this reason, a conservative judicial nominee will win the open seat, one way or the other. Conservatives have demanded George W. Bush reverse himself and by so doing, have declared their independence. They have also put Republican Senators on notice that if they fail to fight for a conservative on the bench, conservatives will fail to fight for them at the ballot box. In case there was any doubt, the Republican Party now understands they do not own conservatives – conservatives own them.

The Democrats may not be afraid….but they should be.

Amy White is a regular contributor to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Amy White

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