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. 10, 2005 / 7 Tishrei, 5766

She's not ideal, but she'll get job done

By Mark Steyn


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | From President Bush's press conference last Tuesday: Question: "Are you still a conservative?"

The president: "Am I what?"

Any port in a storm, especially after the storm has passed. I said the other day that the minute Hurricane Katrina hit, the media started scampering around like Munchkins singing "Ding Dong, The Bush Is Dead." They always do, and it always fails. In terms of destroying Bush and the Republicans, Katrina was a total bust. Insofar as it has any political impact, it's likely to make Louisiana less Democrat. That's it.

So the problem remains: how to slay Bush. And, if this last week is anything to go by, it looks like Democrats are going to be denied that pleasure, and it will fall instead to conservatives to reduce the Bush presidency to rubble. Conservatives are mad at Bush, and the theory goes that next November they'll stay home and the GOP will lose Senate and House seats. Of course, conservatives have been mad about a lot of Bush policies for a long time — education, immigration — but, in fairness to him, he campaigned as a massive federalizer of the school system and as a big nancy boy pushover for illegal Mexicans. So we can't complain we were misled.

On the other hand, he also said that, when it comes to Supreme Court justices, he'd appoint jurists in the mold of Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia: "conservative" judges or, at any rate, strict constructionists, who don't claim, as so many judges do, to be able to detect constitutional rights to abortion and sodomy in an 18th century parchment. Instead, the president nominated a lady called Harriet Miers.

Harriet who? Well, she served as his "staff secretary" — or, as her bio puts it, "the ultimate gatekeeper for what crosses the desk of the nation's commander in chief." Legally speaking, that makes her sound more Della Street than Perry Mason. But don't worry, she is, in fact, a lawyer: Indeed, for some years, back in Texas, she was Bush's personal lawyer. But she's not a judge, not a constitutional lawyer, not a legal scholar, not someone with any judicial philosophy or someone who's shown any interest in acquiring one. What she is is a pal of the president.

Conservative commentators have been withering about the inner-circle cronyism of the Miers pick. Where do I stand? To be honest, I haven't a clue. A vacancy comes up on the Supreme Court, and for a month or so every columnist is expected to be an expert on the jurisprudence of a couple of dozen legal types he'd never previously heard of. For what it's worth, my sense is that Harriet Miers will be, case by case, a more reliable vote against leftist judicial activism than her mercurial predecessor, Sandra Day O'Connor. Why do I say this? Well, she's a strong supporter of the right to bear arms. The great Second Amendment expert Dave Kopel says you have to go back to Louis Brandeis 90 years ago to find a Supreme Court justice whose pre-nomination writings extol gun rights as fulsomely as Miers. According to an old boyfriend, Judge Nathan Hecht of the Texas Supreme Court, she packs heat — a Smith & Wesson .45 — which I can say with certainty the other lady justice, the far-left Ruth Bader Ginsburg, never has. She also is personally very opposed to abortion.

In other words, what seems to be emerging is a woman Bush responds to as a fellow cultural conservative and evangelical conservative (she's a born-again Christian), rather than as a judicial conservative — a label Judge Bork dislikes, preferring quite correctly that we distinguish judges not as conservative or liberal but as either originalists or judicial activists. I find it hard to discuss Miers seriously in those terms, but on balance she seems likely to vote the right way for whatever reasons. She's thus another representative of Bush and Karl Rove's belief in incrementalism: that the Republican majority can be made a permanent feature of the landscape if you build it one small brick at a time. Miers is, at best, such a brick, at a time when conservatives were hoping Bush would drop a huge granite block on the court. But, given that she started out as a Democrat and has been on the receiving end of the partisan attacks on the administration for five years, she seems less likely than any detached effete legal scholar to be prone to the remorseless drift to the left that happens to Republican Supreme Court nominees.

True, that's little more than a hunch on my part. In the meantime, what's left is the base's distress and the perception of weakness on the president's part. The first is real and may cause problems in 2006, though I can't see it costing the GOP its congressional majorities. As for Bush personally, he was the better of the alternatives in both 2000 and 2004, but come on, the "compassionate conservative" thing was, in its implications, far more insulting to the base than the steel tariffs or the proposed illegal immigrant amnesty or the judicial nominees. Bush, it seems ever more obvious, is the Third Wayer Clinton only pretended to be.

The Slicker reckoned that, to be electable, a Democrat had to genuflect rhetorically to some kind of sensible soccer-mom-ish center, and he was right, at least insofar as without him the Dems have been el stinko floppo three elections in a row. But Bush, for good or ill, believes in himself as the real Third Way deal: It's a remarkable achievement to get damned day in and day out as the new Hitler when 90 percent of the time you're Tony Blair with a ranch. The president is a religio-cultural conservative who believes in big government and big spending and paternalistic federal intervention in areas where few conservatives have ever previously thought it wise. Not my bag, but, that said, every time I or anybody else have predicted he's blown it, he manages to eke out another victory. Even the sluggishness of the war on terror seems likely to be partially redeemed by the imminent fall of Baby Assad. Given the transformational potential of 9/11 and the fact that the Democratic Party is all out of gas, I think the Bush-Rove incremental strategy is way too limited. But it seems to work, and I'd bet it does again on Election Day next year.


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.

JWR contributor Mark Steyn is North American Editor of The (London) Spectator. Comment by clicking here.

Mark Steyn Archives


STEYN'S LATEST
"The Face of the Tiger and Other Tales from the New War."  

In this collection of essays, Mark Steyn considers the world since September 11th - war and peace, quagmires and root causes, new realities and indestructible myths. Incisive and witty as ever, Steyn takes on "the brutal Afghan winter", the "axels of evil", the death of Osama bin Laden and much more from the first phase of an extraordinary new war. Sales help fund JWR.

© 2005, Mark Steyn

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles