Monday, October 10, 2005

Miers & pundits

The Hedgehog Blog has a number of questions in regards to the Miers nomination. Question number six touches upon something that has been rolling about in my head for a little while now:
6. If Miers is indeed confirmed, will conservative pundits regain their focus?
Depends on what one considers focus. In the 2000 primaries, there was question as to how conservative George W. Bush really was, and the result of that was the "Compassionate Conservative." That rankled a few pundits back then, and it wasn't entirely convincing. Anytime someone has to put an adjective in front of Conservative, there is reason to worry a bit. I don't think a lot of pundits were really convinced of Bush's conservativism until late 2001 into 2002. Even then, there were nagging issues in Bush's agenda to question how conservative he really was. But I think most pundits put their faith in him. There was hope he was more of a Reagan than a Bush 41. This debate, combined with the Pork debate that preceded it, has eroded that faith. The pundits may in fact have a sharper focus on Bush's conservative failures. There may not be free passes for decidedly non-conservative legislation like the Medicare expansion and No Child Left Behind were. His conservative credentials are starting to look a bit shaky.

If by "focus" we mean "just going after Democrats in order to further Republican gains," then I wouldn't count on it, but a lot of that will depend on Bush himself. If he can again convince everyone of his conservative credentials, then pundits will probably go back to their usual targets. I'm not sure how likely that is, though. I think a lot of pundits have been willing to reason away Bush's non-conservative streaks, but I don't think he'll get that slack any longer. But if by "focus" we mean criticizing those who are due criticism, then I'd say yes. The problem with that definition, though, is that to some of us that means the punditry has had focus all along.

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