Jesus loves you more than you would know, woah woah woah.
Ok, so my observations are neither timely nor particularly unique, but here they go anyway. Harriet Meiers was clearly not the "best we can do" pick out of the White House for the Supreme Court. Conservatives reacted with a vengeance and ultimately applied so much pressure that she "withdrew" herserlf from consideration for this nomination. Fine. Big deal. But what's really going on?
First: W has lost his base. He was always the "best we can do" candidate for philosophical and cultural conservatives, but none were ever really excited about his presidency. He is a pragmatist, and not a very good one at that. He has made decisions time and time again that have completely alienated constituents who voted for him.
His base was a loose amalgamation of philosophical and cultural conservatives on one side and coutnry club Republicans on the other. In the middle were the vast majority of Americans who neither understand nor really care about this divide in Republican politics and voted for W because it's what Jesus would have done, or because he would fight harder against the terrorists, or because they looked at the other side and said "No, way, I'm not stupid."
The seems of the very "big tent" have ripped. Conservatives who are in ascendancy in the Party have declared an all out war on the President. "We will push you to the right, or we will push you out." This is the message. Harriet Meiers was the test case. Bush capitulated. Conservatives celebrated. The winner is clear.
Sam Brownback for President?? Or maybe even Santorum? Where was he in all the Meiers mess? Planning, I bet.
Second: The Meiers fight indicates the left's dream come true. While they have spent the last 15 years arguing among themselves, Republicans have slowly and surely taken control of the federal government. Democrats have been in no position to fight back because they are severely crippled from the inside. Their big tent is too big and no one will work with each other. Meanwhile, the republicans have had the "left" to fight. They were united in saying two things. "The left be bad." and "We ain't the left."
In politics this is called genius. A simple message. A simple identification. Many votes. Brilliant. The left tried to retaliate with similar slogans "The right" "The Conservatives" "religious zealots" "war mongers" etc. It was too late. First, they couldn't agree on an attack and second, too many people were already voting republican and saying "but that doesn't quite describe us."
Now, it is obviously the Right's turn to crack up. The Left is getting ready to cheer . . . Karl Rove indicted, "Yes!", The right's meltdown over Harriet Meiers "Yes!", high gas prices "Yes!" 2,000 dead in Iraq "Yes!" It's a party over at the DNC, but it will be shortlived.
In the End: Harriet Meiers has allowed Conservatives on the Right to refind their voice. They created and worked friendships and networks to defeat the nomination of Harriet Meiers. They're talking to each other, they're joking with each other, they're planning with each other. This isn't the end of the Republican party, it's the first signs of a new Republican Party . . . one that is tougher, better organized, and less willing to settle for a mediocre candidate just because they seem winnable (not just for the SCOTUS but for EVERY office . . . watch who starts getting touted in Republican primaries in Rhode Island and which senators and governors will start getting a lot of face time . . . look to Georgia for a vice president, look to South Dakota for a voice, look to Pennsylvania for a president, look to Arizona for a king maker (and we're not just talking McCain here).
The next Karl Rove will be named Newt Gingrich. He's back. He's not a face man anymore. But don't think he didn't have a part in the Right's "sista souljah" moment. Watch and wait . . . forget the next SCOTUS, look beyond . . . this is all about 2008 . . . and it's gonna be a row.