Paul Chesser’s column is, in some cases, sad but true. In others, it widely misses the mark.
Like many of my likeminded Christian conservatives, I was deeply disappointed by the Miers nomination. I was willing to overlook Mr. Bush’s shortcomings (read, “fiscal restraint”) because I felt sure that he would keep his campaign promise, and nominate someone in the mold of Scalia and Thomas to the high court. So when I saw the news headline that he had nominated his former personal attorney, whom some White House staffers likened to a “school marm,” my reaction was that Mr. Bush had let us down in a very big way.
Not that this was an attack on Ms. Miers personally, as I made clear in an email to the White House that morning; she struck me as a fine person whom the president highly esteems. But to paraphrase David Frum, this merely qualifies her to be a good neighbor, not a Supreme Court Justice.
I was also disappointed in those few Christian “leaders” who blindly supported her. I felt these men should have known better than to simply take the Bush’s word as proof that Ms. Miers would be a stalwart strict constructionist. Didn’t they realize that Republican presidents had made similar promises on Harry Blackmun, John Paul Stevens, Sandra Day O’Connor, Anthony Kennedy, and David “Slam Dunk” Souter? On this, Mr. Chesser is absolutely correct.
On the other hand, Mr. Chesser does not seem to realize just how widespread Christian opposition and/or indifference to the Harriet Miers nomination really was. Pat Buchanan, who still holds much influence with conservatives like myself (though I have my disagreements with him), was astute in his assessment that the Bush White House simply did not want to fight this battle. D. James Kennedy, a prominent voice amongst politically active Christians, had a stated position of “trust but verify,” which is hardly a ringing endorsement. Concerned Women for America outright refused to back her nomination, and so did Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum.
Finally, out of the many like-minded Christians whom I spoke to on the Miers nomination, not one enthusiastically supported her nomination (a single person did so reluctantly, noting that Bush probably felt he had to, given the McCain mutiny/”Gang of 14” deal that kept the Senate filibuster intact). I realize this is anecdotal, but I bring it up so that Mr. Chesser will realize the Christian opposition/apathy to Ms. Miers’s nomination was far more widespread than he obviously thinks. Tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of us, were demoralized by the Miers nomination, and many of us wrote and called the president to let him know this. I believe that this contributed to Ms. Miers’s decision to withdraw her nomination.p>Suffice to say, Mr. Chesser’s claim that this was a case of Christians being “easy to command” widely missed the mark. br> — Greg Hoadley
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