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Monday, October 17, 2005  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

In this morning’s New York Times, Ramesh Ponnuru argues:

CONSERVATIVES are conducting a bitter debate about President Bush’s nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. Some see a divide between populists and elitists: they say that the conservative masses are gung-ho for the nomination, which is opposed only by Beltway insiders.

The truth is that the debate, like most political debates, is largely among elites.

No, it is not. In fact, it is elitist to refuse to acknowledge the deep seated convictions among Republicans, which are trending very heavily towards supporting the president. The debate is fierce at every level of the conservative movement and the GOP. But it ialso being won by the anti-anti-Miers people. Yesterday, Mike Gallagher, Michael Medved, Dennis Prager, and KI appeared at a “townhall” event for many hundreds of people in the Los Angeles area (Big Lizards was there, and no, it wasn’t a white lie), and much of the conversation among the attendees and some from the stage was about Miers. The toughest question from the audience was a detailed objection to Miers, for example, that pivoted off of her age. But my overall sense of the crowd was that the president deserves support on this nomination.

Similarly, the e-mails that are flowing in at an astonishing rate are from all over the country, the vast majority of them from folks who have never penned an op-ed. They are also divided, though the clear majority of my correspondents favor Miers. At this point, it may be that anti-Miers elites like Ramesh would like to keep the debate among elites because they are not winning it among GOP voters.

Jonah this morning posts my Wiki resume, and suggests that I too am an elitist, never realizing that an Ohio-born and raised Cleveland Indians and Browns fan cannot be an elitist. Further, my argument has been with the Bos-Wash Axis of Elitism, and not an argument about snobbery. Rather, it is an argument about who leads the conservative movement and the GOP. The president does, and as a result the Miers nomination will succeed despite obvious and sincere dissatisfaction along the BWAE.

Professor Bainbridge and I have figured out a formula for asessing the record of Justice Miers and have wagered on it. He will post it soon, and I suggest others involved in this debate adopt it as the standard for judging the Justice when she dons her robe. As I am off on vacation, which means light posting until Tuesday next, I will leave with this bit of surprise: and The Wall Street Journal are being used as the platforms from which to put forward the argument that Miers is a weak nominee because her friends may have said she will overturn Roe v. Wade.

But the critics of Miers wanted a nominee with a paper record that was obvious in its path to a reversal of Roe.


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