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.
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.
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.
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,
broad, shoulder-to-shoulder conspicuous conservative opposition
to a Republican president advocating a not liberal nomination
or position is, I think, without precedent.
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.
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.
to arrive at the scene of the fire with cans of gasoline were
the ever politically resourceful (if substantively barren) Democrats
and their dutiful echoes in the mainstream media.
unctuous, faux-humble, faux-everyman Sen. Harry Reid, to the ever
clever, ever-striving Sen. Charles Schumer, to their automaton
stenographers in the mainstream media, this event was characterized
as the triumph of the hard-right, extreme, radical, fundamentalist
Christian, anti-abortion, doctrinaire, out-of-the-mainstream right
Now, I will
concede that they may well be sincere in making such characterizations.
These days, the Democratic Party spokesmen and spokeswomen tend
to see anyone much to the right of Joe Biden as falling into the
category of out of the mainstream right wingers, if not actual
Joe Lieberman -- a classic moderate from the unconservative state
of Connecticut -- could barely get 7 percent of the Democratic
Party vote for president.
But in fact,
the conservative coalition that defeated Miss Miers' nomination
last week is the same broad based movement that has elected its
candidate president in five of the last seven elections, elected
28 currently sitting governors and a Republican congress for the
percent of Americans are self-described conservatives, while only
19 percent are self-described liberals. When one adds only the
most conservative third of the remaining 47 percent of self-identified
moderates to the self-proclaimed conservatives, one has a voting
majority in an American election.
they say we are out of the mainstream, they are using words in
a manner inconsistent with reality.
was a uniting theme to the conservative opposition, it wasn't
anti-abortion, or any particular substantive issue.
conservatives respect the law. We have deeply resented its misuse
for the last 70 years by clever and willful liberals who would
usurp the law for their own policy purposes. We want its rectification,
so the true constitution can return from its exile (somewhere
in the Wyoming Rockies, along with John Galt, I think).
a revolt for excellence. It was a revolt for a faithful scholar
of the law. It was a moment of high faith in reason, and in the
blessings that will flow from a fair and wise reading of our founding
2005 Creators Syndicate