Over at Amy Wellborn's Open Book, I made this comment last week:
Something occurs we may see in the next few days . . .
If Bush wants to pick Alberto Gonzales -- knowing conservatives and prolifers have a problem with him -- the smart thing to do would be to get conservative pundits and columnists to start writing about how misunderstood Gonzales is, that he's actually sheep in wolf's clothing, that he'd actually turn out to be kind of "secret weapon" because he's actually great, but misunderstood, and so picking him would be really good news, because the liberals would think he was pro-Roe when -- just entre nous -- he's a secret prolifer, etc.
It may not happen; but if you see pundits and columnists telling this story, watch out!
I'm pretty sure the White House and the GOP have tried this; but so far, the Right is staying solid as far as Gonzales and the Supreme Court.
Today, I read this by Fred Barnes at The Weekly Standard. I worked with Fred when I was in Washington and was impressed with him.
I have to say, too many of the "conservative" pundits and opinion-writers I met or worked with, while well intentioned, ended up being unreliable for various reasons. Either they were not sufficiently informed, or their judgment was too shallow, or they are suckers for "trick plays" that are offered as substitutes for the long, often arduous work of actually winning the policy in view.
Or, they were too susceptible to the GOP's self-serving claims: the GOP, naturally, wants to co-opt various movements and causes the conservative movement pursues, and wants the supporters of those causes to see the GOP as the certain and utterly trustworthy advocate of those causes. GOPers shriek like scalded cats whenever anyone dares to question their commitment to causes like pro-life, Right to Work, lower taxes, smaller government, gun rights, property rights, and so forth. Or they weep copious tears to think they are so misunderstood, so unloved.
This is not to bash the GOP, though it is tempting; pro-lifers should never, ever forget that the Supreme Court that has given us Roe v. Wade, and any number of pro-abortion rulings since, has been a Republican-dominated court! So it's simply absurd to accept the "Trust us" response from the GOP. The Republican Party's job is to build its own organization and power. The job of citizens who got involved in politics, and GOP politics in particular, because they care about issues, is to hold the politicians', and the party's, feet to the fire. Always, always, always.
President Bush may not like it that pro-lifers question Attorney General Gonzales' suitability for the Supreme Court, and he may prefer it if we nodded docilely like those dog dolls people used to put in their rear windows, but sorry, no deal. Mr. Gonzales has a record as a judge in Texas, and he cast at least one pro-abortion vote; and it was then-Governor Bush who put him on the court there. It's fair game.
It may be the job of the GOP, including our GOP President, to tell pro-lifers to pipe down "for the sake of the party"; but it's the job of pro-lifers to respond, "with respect, Mr. President, you work for us; we don't work for you."