Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct. 28, 2005 / 25 Tishrei, 5766

Starting Over

By Rich Lowry


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Within hours of the withdrawal of the Harriet Miers nomination, commentators were labeling President Bush a "lame duck." They have their analysis exactly backward. Continuing a debilitating fight with his own political base over a weak Supreme Court nominee would have hastened the day that Bush lost his political juice entirely. Withdrawing Miers is the first step toward recovery.

It shows that the White House has not lost all of its political judgment, that it has no mad design to try to govern without its most loyal supporters, and that it is still — despite all the pressure it's facing and some of the inevitable sclerosis that sets in after five years in power — supple enough to readjust after a mistake. Indeed, one of the first rules of politics is not to persist in an error for persistence's sake.

And the Miers nomination was a mistake. Some of her supporters claim that she was "borked," the famous verb created after Ronald Reagan nominee Robert Bork was taken down in a hail of misrepresentations. But it was difficult to misrepresent Miers's positions, because she had so few of them, and, as we learned in recent weeks, they often were contradictory or incoherent (against "the right to choose," and for women's "self-determination"; against the Federalist Society, and for it). No one disputed, as Miers's supporters argued, that she is kind to pets and small children and goes to church every Sunday. It's just that those are qualifications for a neighbor, not a Supreme Court justice.

Backers of Miers didn't give Bush enough credit. They argued that he would never withdraw Miers, because once he is set on a given course, he never changes direction. In this, they adopted a version of the Left's view of Bush — an unthinking political brute, lumbering on with no regard to truth or consequence. In fact, Bush adjusts. He endorsed the Homeland Security Department after opposing it, and removed Michael Brown from the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency after praising him. Bush persists when he thinks it's right and important — say, in fighting in Iraq or in preserving his tax cuts. The Miers nomination was neither.

That's not to say that the White House didn't need nudging. When most Republican senators were either supinely supporting the nomination or snippily dismissing Miers's critics ("what business do these mere mortals have trying to affect Senate business?") or wringing their hands and resorting to mealy mouthed evasion over a nomination they privately thought was a disaster, Kansas Republican Sam Brownback was more vocal about his doubts than anyone else. If it wasn't quite a profile in courage, it was a profile in more bravery than his Senate colleagues could muster.

During the Miers imbroglio, there was much talk of a conservative crackup. But the nomination created no deep, lasting splits on the Right, despite some harsh words in the blogosphere between Miers's critics and supporters who had the attitude "My president, right or wrong." Many of the arguments used to try to bolster her nomination — practically anyone can be a Supreme Court justice; valuing top-flight credentials is "elitist" — will be quickly retired, which will be a relief since they never should have been advanced in the first place.

The Miers nomination will be forgotten as quickly as the Kerik nomination (remember it?), especially if Bush now picks a supremely qualified judicial conservative. In considering his options, Bush should roam free of the constraints of gender politics — it's quality that matters most. But a solid pick will heal only one of Bush's wounds. The gravest political threat to his presidency is that he has no popular, high-profile initiatives. The Iraq war, if necessary and right, is unpopular. His Social Security initiative is dead. His guest-worker proposal might, unlike Miers, truly fracture the Right. The initial proposal floated out of his tax-reform commission, limiting the mortgage-interest-rate deduction, is a non-starter.

After Miers, there is adjusting still left to do.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment by clicking here.

Rich Lowry Archives

© 2005 King Features Syndicate

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles