Upper Left Coast

Thoughts on politics, faith, sports and other random topics from a red state sympathizer in indigo-blue Portland, Oregon.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Winning friends and influencing people

From a story on the American Spectator website:
"This choice sends the message that this President has the desire to not get boxed in by his enemies," says a White House source. "He could have taken the easy way out, or comparatively easy way out, and nominated a perfectly acceptable woman like [Edith 'Joy'] Clement, or even [Edith] Jones. But he didn't. He replaced a woman justice with a man, and real conservative one at that. If that doesn't send a message to Republicans about where this President's head is at, I don't know what will. It makes those buffoons who spent all their time harping on [Attorney General Alberto] Gonzales look like petty whiners. Now these folks are going to try to take credit for the Roberts nomination, but they have nothing to stand on. Credit for this nomination belongs to the President, Karl Rove, Senator Bill Frist and the White House and Senate leadership staff who did the heavy lifting."

"Another point," says a senior Senate staffer, "is that despite all the talk of compromise and consultation, the Roberts pick was not something Democrats would have supported wholeheartedly under any condition. This is a nominee who is disliked by Senators Schumer, Leahy and Kennedy. This is a shot across the extremist left bow, and it shows that the President is perhaps willing to sacrifice on the legislative agenda front for the big, long-term gains a Roberts on the court represents."
The story details some of the rumors that were floating around Washington yesterday — rumors about Clement, Jones, Michael Luttig and, finally, Roberts — and how the left-wing flame-throwers responded similarly to each name.
By 8 p.m., liberal groups had essentially deleted the name of Clement on their press releases and e-mails and inserted Roberts' name. At that point the White House strategy, and those of such top-flight outside advisers as Ted Olson, Barbara Comstock, and Boyden Gray became apparent. The similarity of liberal reactions to Clement and Roberts gave lie to the extreme left's approach to any nominee: smear first, learn later.

"We've boxed the MoveOn types and the Ralph Neas types with today," says a Senate Judiciary Republican staffer. "They have no standing. They'd attack anyone, regardless of credentials."
I'm thrilled that the White House thinks John Roberts is a "real conservative," and I love that it exposed the left's hypocrisy for what it is. However, I'm not sure that calling your core supporters "buffoons" or "petty whiners" is a good way to win friends and influence people.
This is similar, in my mind, to the president's reaction to criticism of Gonzales. Bush said:
I don't like it when a friend gets criticized. I'm loyal to my friends. All of a sudden this fellow, who is a good public servant and a really fine person, is under fire. And so, do I like it? No, I don't like it, at all.
I don't care about who gets credit, but when the White House is floating trial balloons on the acceptability of Gonzales, there's nothing wrong with trying to shoot down those balloons before they gain sufficient altitude to be unreachable. It had nothing to do with Alberto Gonzales as a person; it had everything to do with how his presence on the highest court would shape the legal landscape away from three decades of constitutional reinvention.


Post a Comment

<< Home