04 October 2005

Liberal Views Of Conservatives On Miers.

Many in the right wing are furious that Bush has nominated Miers to serve as a Supreme Court Justice, because while she may be a true social conservative, her record isn't clear enough to make this a safe choice. This is inexplicable to the right, which rightly feels that they are in a sufficiently strong position to confirm a much more openly conservative judge.

Over at Daily Kos, diarist thereisnospoon proposes that a large part of the Republican base cares more about the culture war than anything else and blames liberal judges for virtually all of their defeats in that culture war. He sees the resurgence of the Republican party and the focus on the Supreme Court to the near exclusion of all other issues, as a counter-revolution.

Implicit in this analysis is the acknowledgement that the right is deluded. The Court may very well have gotten out a little ahead of the public on occassion, but fundamentally, American culture has changed and the conservatives have lost. Some states might roll back Roe (legalizing abortion), but none are going to roll back Griswold (protecting the right to contraception). They might loosen up establishment clause restrictions, but in most of the country, the public does not have the stomache for the kind of overtly Christian displays they want. Feminism is not going away. Public religious observance is not going to make Americans more religious.

I'm not convinced that the right is as monolithic as thereisonspoon suggests, although there absolutely is a wing of the Republican Party for which the observations are dead on. If this is really what most of our opponents believe, it certainly makes it easy to see them as the enemy. But, the passion of the intraparty battles over Referrendums C and D in Colorado, show equally well that large elements of the Republican Party vote GOP to keep taxes down more than any other reason. These Republicans don't care about most of the Bush agenda any more than the social conservatives do. But, unlike the social conservatives, for whom judicial appointments to the Supreme Court are the dominant consideration, who are disappointed right now, the anti-tax base of the Republican Party has never been more happy with Bush. Tax cuts have been his primary accomplishment in office, and those are done deal.

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