George Will is an excellent writer and he has a great example of his writing up now: Defending the Indefensible, about Harriet Miers' nomination. It's a very good article and well worth the read. But consider this passage:
In their unseemly eagerness to assure Miers's conservative detractors that she will reach the "right" results, her advocates betray complete incomprehension of this: Thoughtful conservatives' highest aim is not to achieve this or that particular outcome concerning this or that controversy. Rather, their aim for the Supreme Court is to replace semi-legislative reasoning with genuine constitutional reasoning about the Constitution's meaning as derived from close consideration of its text and structure. Such conservatives understand that how you get to a result is as important as the result. Indeed, in an important sense, the path that the Supreme Court takes to the result often is the result.Guess what, George? That sort of conservatism is dead! Nobody cares what "thoughtful" conservatives think anymore. People like Will and Andrew Sullivan lament how the Bush administration has become a big government administration, pandering to the religious right and kowtowing to corporate America while installing cronies at various government positions. But when you realize that, the Miers nomination is not only defensible, it is logical.
There is a rift within the Republican party between the "thoughtful conservatives" and the "social conservatives", but here's why the rift doesn't matter: the "thoughtful conservatives" will vote Republican even if their candidate is a Bible-thumping, big government one. They voted for Bush, they will vote for Frist or whoever. Why? They have this undying faith that the Republican party will change, and that in any case, they say, the Republican candidate is better than the Democratic one. Meanwhile, the social conservatives will simply not vote unless they think their vote can end abortion or put prayer in schools, or whatever the issue of the day is. The Republicans in power can no longer afford to ignore the social conservatives; however, they can completely ignore the "thoughtful conservatives", and will continue to do so, as most of these so-called "thoughtful conservatives" are just sheep.
So Mr. Will: please stop complaining that the Miers nomination makes no sense. Instead, it's time to accept the fact that this is the way the GOP works now. And if you don't like it, it's time to reconsider party allegiances.