Bush’s character revealed

Accusing Miers’s critics of bigotry against women was just the beginning for this tribal, closed-in-upon-itself White House. According to John Fund,

Many longtime supporters of President Bush have been startled to get phone calls from allies of the president strongly implying that a failure to support Ms. Miers will be unhealthy to their political future. “The message in Texas is, if you aren’t for this nominee, you are against the president,” one conservative leader in that state told me. The pressure has led to more resentment than results.

Echoing other stories about the extremely small number of people involved in the choice of Miers, Fund’s sources say that nomination was “cooked up” by the president and his chief of staff Andrew Card, who evidently thought it was a neat idea. Now get this. The same Andrew Card was deputy chief of staff in the elder Bush’s White House, under John Sununu, the begetter of the David Souter nomination. Fund continues:

Two other aides who served with Mr. Card in the White House told me he was an enthusiastic backer of the Souter selection. “Now that he’s brought us Miers we worry that 15 years later Andy is playing the role of a Serial Souterizer,” one said.

It’s too much. First we have this president who limits discussion about important decisions including Supreme Court nominations to a tiny circle—Andrew Card, Condoleezza Rice, and Mrs. Bush—whose main qualifications are that they are very close and loyal to him personally and are mental mediocrities and midgets like himself. Then, as he himself has described, he reaches his decisions by instinct, and confirms them by prayer (see my article, “Bush’s leadership method capsulized”). Then, in this instance, he and his official family turn with contempt and name-calling on anyone (excuse me, not just anyone, but only conservatives) who criticize his nomination of Miers. Then he sends flacks to threaten people (excuse me, not just any people, but only conservatives) with political harm unless they support the nomination.

When Bush with his trademark wholesome glow said he would restore honor and dignity to the White House, I don’t think this was what we pictured.

But as bad as all this is, it understates the case, because, beyond the factors mentioned above, Bush gratuitously betrayed his own supporters on a fundamental issue and spit in their eye, thus wrecking his own power base. In the annals of presidential folly, this is unprecedented. There have been presidents who became politically isolated before; there has never been one who got that way by making a specific promise to his core supporters on the single issue that was the most important to them and their main reason for supporting him, then arrogantly violating that promise, then turning on his supporters when they became distraught at his betrayal. But that’s still not the whole story. Even now, Bush could get out of the crisis that he has created, by simply withdrawing Miers and fulfilling his pledge to pick a justice in the mold of Scalia or Thomas. But he refuses to consider doing that. Why? Out of stubbornness and resentment. And what is the root of that resentment? His dislike of conservatism and of the conservatives to whom (in order to be elected and re-elected to the presidency) he falsely pledged he would choose a conservative judge. He stunningly betrayed them, and when they got upset about that, he became bitter toward them and dug in his heels, exacerbating the crisis.

Thus the root of the situation is Bush’s appalling bad faith, his pretended allegiance to a conservative judicial philosophy when in reality his allegiance was to the liberal feminist philosophy of his inner circle, consisting of his wife and Condoleezza Rice plus a few other close associates. That’s where his true political loyalties belong, to his family and his personal friends, not to the conservative movement, not to the Republican party, and not to the country as a whole. This crisis reveals the small man that Bush has always been.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 24, 2005 07:05 AM | Send

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