Miers Appointment Ticking Off the Wrong People?
Hugh Hewitt continues to bear the heat of being perhaps the lone prominent conservative blogger carrying the administration’s water on the Harriet Miers nomination. His latest argument is an appeal to consequences:
Getting this vote wrong will be disastrous for the GOP, with possible consequences including Patrick Leahy returning to the chair of the Judiciary Committee for starters. Michael Barone was right to call it a 51-49 or 51-48 nation after last year’s election. That crucial margin can be lost. In such a situation, the GOP cannot send even 3% of its supporters to the sidelines.
One is tempted to respond, So what? If Miers is the best we can do electing Republicans, we might as well let Democrats pick the judges and at least have the satisfaction of being able to be angry about it.
Steve Bainbridge has a better retort, though: Which 3%?
But what of those of us whose party loyalty was stretched to the breaking point by the Miers law straw, if I may mix metaphors? (See, e.g., Rod Dreher.) What if ramming through Miers causes us to go to the sidelines? And what if we make up a lot more than 3% of the GOP base?
He examines the stats and notes that exceeding 3% is indeed likely.
There’s an old joke about a pompous doctor lecturing a group of medical students about some new treatment he had created and how he was testing it on his patients. One of the students asked, “But, doctor, surely you are using a control group?” To which the doctor huffed, “And condemn 50% of my patients to die?!” To which the student asked, “Yes, but which 50%?”
Do we risk giving up Republican control by siding with the Democrats against Miers? Perhaps. But we risk giving up Republican control by not governing like Republicans. For that matter, if we don’t govern like Republicans, there’s not much point in having control anyway.
While party politics sometimes feels like a team sport, it isn’t one. In sports, winning is the point of the game. In politics, winning is a mere means to an end.