Random Jottings writes, with regard to the Harriet Miers nomination,
Loyalty to the Republican Party is very important. As William Rusher said, it is the bottle that holds the conservative wine. Neither the bottle nor the wine is much use without the other.
I agree. But I don’t think loyalty to the party is the highest virtue, just like loyalty to the Catholic Church or the Pope isn’t the highest virtue for a Catholic. If conservatism isn’t about principles transcending the actors who happen to strut about the stage in this act, it’s not really about much at all. Moreover, one of the key advantages the Right holds over the Left these days is the ability to criticize the party line and party leaders, rather than following in rigid conformity to whatever spin is today’s effort. I simply can’t go along with “It’s for the best, if the President says so” as a basic Republican or conservative principle.
That said, of course one must strive (as in all things) to achieve a balance of support and criticism. Although I thougt Miers was a bad choice for the SCOTUS, I didn’t think she was so bad it was a threat to the Republic. There was little I actively disliked about her, but in these times of Republican ascendancy and for an office as influential as the SCOTUS, “not bad” is damning with faint praise. As the Alito nomination shows, President Bush did have other, better choices, and it was this that was at the heart of the valid criticism, rather than some flaw in Miers herself.
That said, I have to agree that the effort put forth in favor of Alito, who looks to be everything the anti-Miers factions said they wanted instead of Miers, will be a good measure of how principled that opposition was.