This could be added to the list of reasons some conservatives don’t want Jeb Bush as the Republican nominee in 2016.
But it’s a pretty big one, IMHO:
Jeb Bush says that the Senate should confirm the nomination of Loretta Lynch, President Barack Obama’s choice for attorney general. A number of Senate Republicans oppose her nomination.
“I think presidents have the right to pick their team,” Bush said, according to reports of his stop at the “Politics and Pie” forum in Concord, New Hampshire, on Thursday night.
The former Florida governor made sure to get in a few digs at current Attorney General Eric Holder, saying that Republicans should consider that the longer it takes to confirm Lynch, the longer Holder stays.
Now, what’s wrong with Bush’s statement?
Nothing much—that is, if it were the olden (pre-Bork) days.
The Bork nomination in 1987 is often considered the beginning of the current hyper-partisan attitude towards nominations, be they Supreme Court or otherwise:
Within 45 minutes of Bork’s nomination to the Court, Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) took to the Senate floor with a strong condemnation of Bork in a nationally televised speech, declaring,
“Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the Government, and the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens.”
A brief was prepared for Joe Biden, head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called the Biden Report. Bork later said in his best-selling book The Tempting of America that the report “so thoroughly misrepresented a plain record that it easily qualifies as world class in the category of scurrility”. TV ads narrated by Gregory Peck attacked Bork as an extremist, and Kennedy’s speech successfully fueled widespread public skepticism of Bork’s nomination. The rapid response of Kennedy’s “Robert Bork’s America” speech stunned the Reagan White House; though conservatives considered Kennedy’s accusations slanderous, the attacks went unanswered for two and a half months.
Note the players, including Joe Biden. Note, also, how flatfooted the Reagan administration was. They had an excuse, though; the no-holds-barred virulence of the attack was relatively new—not to American politics, which had had periods (even in its earliest days) in which that sort of thing was almost commonplace, at least for political opponents. But it was relatively rare in the mid-20th century, which had more often been marked by a more civil tone.
Jeb Bush appears to be living in that world—which would be nice, if the left, liberals, and the Democratic Party were still living in it, too. They are not—and the left never was.
It may just be that the biggest difference between the moderate Republicans whom conservatives do not support and those they do is this: whether or not a candidate understands that the left is playing hardball. Bush isn’t bringing a knife to a gunfight; it’s worse than that. He’s bringing a peashooter to a gunfight.
[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]DONATE
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