The Brazen Word

Liberals and conservatives are finally agreeing on something, sort of.

With President George W. Bush’s approval rating dropping somewhere between 37 and 43 percent, depending on which polling company you believe, and for the first time in his presidency, he is under significant scrutiny from American conservatives. He is under fire for his role in the Hurricane Katrina disaster, his spending on rebuilding New Orleans, raising gas prices, the war in Iraq, his lax approach to immigration, and most significantly, his nominations.

Limousine liberals are thinking, “It’s about time you conservatives started opening your eyes! Now come join us in Bush-bashing over cocktails.”

I’ll pass.

There is liberal disapproval, and then there’s conservative criticism.

Bush is used to liberal disapproval, the conservative kind is a little trickier. It is not that conservatives are disappointed or have grown disconnected from Bush, rather, it is that they are skeptical. There have been conservative skeptics, just never made this public.

Liberals have had a ball since Bush nominated Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, citing her lack of experience as a judge and labeling her as one of those Church people (gasp). Like the criticisms of Chief Justice John Roberts or the Hurricane Katrina critiques, this is a noticeably shallow argument- there is a much deeper one on the other side.

Liberals, especially feminists, should praise Miers as a trailblazer. She was the first woman hired by her law firm in 1972, the first woman to be part of the Dallas Bar Association in 1985, the first woman president of the Texas State Bar in 1992, and the first woman president of her law firm in 1996. Miers is now the first female to ever be nominated to the Supreme Court without ever serving as a judge.

Don’t care to hear about her experience in law? Think she needs experience as a judge to be a judge on the Supreme Court? Why not look at the last Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, a man who before entering the Court, had zero experience as a judge.

“I’ve come to agree with the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who wrote about the importance of having judges who are drawn from a wide diversity of professional backgrounds,” Bush said in Miers’ nomination speech. “I’m proud to nominate an outstanding woman who brings a similar record of achievement in private practice and public service.”

But wait! Isn’t she religious? Miers has been depicted as a religious Evangelical Christian. She’s even rumored to be against the Roe v. Wade ruling, a case that many pro-life and pro-choice lawyers will agree is founded on bad law.

But a judge is not supposed to be pro-anything. A judge’s job is to rule based on the U.S. Constitution, not to contort the law into something that fits a personal agenda. Because of this, it is useless for the Senate hearings to ask Miers about her stance on abortion, just like it was useless with Judge Roberts. A judge is qualified based on resume alone, not personal opinion.

No one is going to find out in a Senate hearing if a judicial nominee will allow their biases to override the Constitution.

Conservatives, on the other hand, are criticizing Miers’ nomination through skeptic inquiry.

Bush had an opportunity here to push Democrats further out of the national equation by nominating a strong, well known, and principled conservative. Democratic Senators would have looked ridiculous bad-mouthing yet another conservative nominee, and Bush would have had strong backing from his loyal conservative base.

So while liberals would have spewed their standard complaints, conservatives would have diminished liberal influence from the Supreme Court and felt proud to be a Republican- the thought of this leaves conservatives in disenchantment.

Instead, we have a nominee who we know nothing about, who may or may not serve as a strong judge. We have liberals screaming and conservatives in rebellious questioning.

It’s like when fast food restaurants play that nauseating, cheesy 70’s and 80’s music: instead of making no one happy, why not make someone happy? Play some heavy metal or some rap- nominate a prominent conservative judge; liberals would have protested no matter what.

The John Roberts Chief Justice nomination was the same thing. Liberals complaining that he is too conservative while a few conservatives called for Judge Antonin Scalia to be promoted, wanting a strong, unwavering, and well known conservative judge.

Liberalism will always lower Bush’s approval rating. When we add in a disconcerted conservatives base, it drops two fold. The two kinds of disapproval, though statistically grouped together, are on two completely separate planes. Much of the president’s 50-something percent disapproval rating is really likely composed of inquisitive conservatives, not Bush opponents.

Like when Hurricane Katrina hit, and liberals complained that Bush did not storm in to New Orleans (no pun intended), riding in on his horse, evacuating the city and feeding desperate victims.

Conservatives replied by blaming local politicians, explaining that it is not Bush’s responsibility or right to send the National Guard in without their request. Furthermore, liberals would have undoubtedly jumped all over an opportunity to label the president as an impious, power hungry dictator with no respect for local politicians.

Despite all this, Bush should have sent in the National Guard and done anything and everything he could to resurrect New Orleans as quickly as possible. Who cares about the state’s rights and a few whining liberals when lives are at stake?

Bush could have saved many and won the support of conservatives and reasonable Democrats along the way.

In Mark Twain’s autobiography, he quotes former British prime minister Benjamin Disraeli as saying, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

39 percent is low.

A low, deceiving statistic.

While liberals gain momentum in the war of political banter, conservatives ponder in contemplative criticism.