Bush and NR: the marriage may really be over

Earlier this month I took David Frum to task for having seemingly threatened to drop his support for President Bush if Bush nominated Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court, but then, after Miers was nominated, reaffirming his support for Bush while, of course, strongly opposing Miers. Frum’s colleague at National Review, Ramesh Ponnuru, seems to have made good on Frum’s promise. In an op-ed in the New York Times, Ponnuru speaks of the compromises that conservatives made in backing Bush in the past: they knew he wasn’t conservative in some areas, but thought that on balance he would help advance a conservatives agenda, most importantly in his choice of Supreme Court justices. The Miers nomination has killed that calculation and that hope. The op-ed closes with these—for a writer of Ponnuru’s gentle demeanor—stinging words:

[Miers’s] defenders say that we should nevertheless trust Mr. Bush’s judgment. At the very moment that conservatives have begun to conclude that their bets on Mr. Bush are no longer paying off, Mr. Bush has asked them to double down. That request has even pro-Miers conservatives feeling disillusioned, and other conservatives feeling betrayed. That’s what’s dividing conservatives—and it’s why they’re thinking more and more about life after President Bush.

In effect, the Miers nomination—plus the White House’s stunningly idiotic and insulting defense of it—has had the effect on National Review’s relationship with the younger Bush that the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1991 had on National Review’s relationship with the elder Bush. NR said in an editorial during that period that while they would still back Bush in the general election against the Democrats, they were endorsing Patrick Buchanan’s primary challenge against him.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 17, 2005 01:15 PM | Send

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