America's "Imperfect Servant"
- Senator John McCain, February 7, 2008 speech at CPAC
More specifically, John McCain has been conservative America's "imperfect servant". "A great American, lousy senator, and terrible Republican", as Hugh Hewitt likes to romanticize it.
And speaking of Hugh Hewitt, the "Rah, Rah, Romney-man", himself, here is what he wrote Thursday:
The campaign ahead is first and foremost about victory in the war. As Romney argued today, Senators Clinton and Obama are committed to retreat, and Senator McCain to victory in that war. That's all the reason any conservative should need to fully support Senator McCain now that his nomination is assured.The author of 2004's If It's Not Close, They Can't Cheat, also had this to write from 2 days ago:
There are seven reasons for anyone to support the eventual nominee no matter who it is:
The war and six Supreme Court justices over the age of 68.Hugh Hewitt understands perfectly well what the stakes are, and what party purists can do to the conservative movement, if they refuse to stick to the principled position of sticking to Party. I recommend his book to anyone who is serious about winning elections. The stakes are as great now, as they were in 2004. On "the War", on justices:
Folks who want to take their ball and go home have to realize that even three SCOTUS appointments could revolutionize the way elections are handled in this country in a stroke, mandating the submission of redistricting lines to court scrutiny for "fairness."
"It is undeniable that political sophisticates understand such fairness and how to go about destroying it," Justice Souter announced in his diseent in Veith v. Jubilerer, the Pennsylvania redistricting case in which the Court declined by a vote of 5 to 4 to immerse itself in the details of the partisan redistricting of Pennsylvania.
If Democrats control the White House and gain even one of the five seats held by the center-right majority of current justices, this and many other crucial issues are up for legal grabs. When activist judges are more than willing to rewrite rules of long-standing, periods of exile should never be self-imposed "for the good of the party." Exiles can go on a very long time indeed. Ask the Whigs.
They can go on indefinitely when enforced by courts.
The GOP as well is the party committed to victory in Iraq and the wider war. A four year time-out would be a disaster, a period of time in which al Qaeda and its jihadist off-shoots would regroup in some places and continue to spread in others. Iran, even if punished in the months before November, would certainly continue and accelerate its plans under the soft pleadings of a President Obama or Clinton 2.0.
These aren't the years to wish a pox on your primary opponents' heads beyond June.
I don't expect the principals to let up on each other in the two months ahead, and I am especially looking forward to the Ohio and Texas votes.
But it is very possible to play full contact politics without the threat of going home if your team loses. The stakes in the fall are far too high for that.
In the next four to eight years, we can anticipate that there will be at least two and perhaps as many as five new appointments to the Court. As of November 2008, when the next president will be elected, the ages of the current justices will be as follows: John Paul Stevens (88), Ruth Bader Ginsburg (75), Antonin Scalia (72), Anthony Kennedy (72), Stephen Breyer (70), David Souter (69), Clarence Thomas (60), Samuel Alito (58), and John Roberts (53). The good news for Republicans is that the three youngest justices are solid conservatives, while the two oldest are strident liberals. These two, Stevens and Ginsburg, almost certainly will leave the bench during the next president’s tenure in office. By 2016, Kennedy, Breyer, and/or Souter (not to mention Scalia) also may succumb to age or infirmity. Replacing these justices with solid conservatives may finally accomplish the conservative counter-revolution on the Supreme Court that Republicans have worked tirelessly to achieve for decades.Much has been ballyhooed on John Fund's WSJ piece, regarding Senator McCain's purported statement on appointing a Roberts, but not an Alito to the Supreme Court, because Alito "wears his conservatism on his sleeve". I can believe that McCain probably said that, and doesn't remember. But from that piece, what the anti-McCain conservatives filtered that to mean is: "McCain won't nominate an Alito to the Bench!!!" But that's not what it means; nor, is that what John Fund wrote:
Senator McCain has supported every conservative judge who has ever come up for nomination, including in the lower courts. And he strongly supported voting to have Alito confirmed. What about the "Gang of 14"? It's been one of those issues that I was angry with McCain on, too. I still am. But Michael Medved, puts the case forth, on John McCain's motives, as well as its effect:
Hugh Hewitt interviewed John Fund, today, btw. Fund stressed that his piece not be misconstrued and conflated, that McCain WON’T nominate a Samuel Alito justice, but that he might not nominate one. Fund also pointed out, to be fair to McCain, that McCain has been stellar in always supporting every conservative nominee who’s come up, like Robert Bork (who doesn’t support McCain), Clarence Thomas, John Roberts, and yes, Samuel Alito. Fund stressed the distinction between who McCain might nominate, as opposed to who he will support, as someone else’s appointment pick. And Fund was right in making his point, as you exemplified how he writes one thing, and the McCDS sufferers hear this:MIGHT not, is the operative word, here.
He won’t nominate a Sam Alito.
LIE #3: John McCain organized “The Gang of Fourteen” to Block the Confirmation of Conservative Judges.
TRUTH: John McCain organized “The Gang of Fourteen” to win- not to block -the Confirmation of Conservative Judges, and his efforts succeeded in the Senate.
This group of seven Republicans and Seven Democrats (representing a full 14% of the US Senate, obviously) ultimately broke the logjam that had delayed confirmation of some of the most conservative nominees of President Bush. Because of McCain’s leadership, Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito won Supreme Court confirmation without filibuster from the Democrats. He also secured the previously blocked confirmations of Appellate Judges William Pryor, Janice Rogers Brown, Priscilla Owen, and Brett Kavanaugh, previously filibustered by Democrats. At the same time, McCain and his “gang” managed to protect the right to filibuster – an important tool with obvious value now that Republicans find themselves in the minority. McCain has never opposed a Republican nominee for the Supreme Court; unlike some of his prominent fellow Republicans, he actively supported the nomination of Judge Robert Bork. His disagreement with Senate Republican leader Bill Frist on the “Gang of Fourteen” issues involved questions of tactics, not the goal of securing a judiciary that honors the principles of strict construction.
Daniel Henninger of the WSJ had this to say:
The big lesson of the failed Harriet Miers nomination is that a real establishment on judicial nominations exists now in Washington. Throwing another David Souter over the transom and onto the Court is nearly impossible. A participant in this process who has discussed it with Sen. McCain tells me that he says his advisers on major judicial nominations will include Ted Olson, Sam Brownback and Jon Kyl. Miguel Estrada, a victim of the Gang of 14 senators on the judicial filibuster, has endorsed Mr. McCain.One thing I am sure of: on appointing justices to the Supreme Court, affecting the course of our country for generations, I trust McCain more than I would trust Hillary or Obama, in putting forth (conservative) strict constructionists. And no matter who the pro-life GOP candidate would have been (Rudy Giuliani included), there is no guarantee of predicting how a judge will make decisions, once appointed to the Supreme Court (think Kennedy- appointed by Reagan- and Souter- appointed by Bush #41).
Mitt Romney is now being whole-heartedly embraced by johnny-come-latelies, after delivering a stellar speech prior to McCain's. Romney demonstrates that he understands what's at stake (the "War") in this election cycle; and he's able to set aside his differences for the larger good of the Party and the Movement. The question is: will the Reagan footsoldiers be able to do the same? Or will they allow personal animosity and selfish reasons dictate their decisions over the larger picture?
Cross-posted at Flopping Aces
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