2) Notice next the antipathy to ideas, the little curl of the lip about those opeds and policy conferences. Notice the refusal even to acknowledge let alone rebut the concern that Miers has shunned ideas her whole career. It is no reply to say that Harriet Miers is a very nice person. Nobody ever denied that Harriet Miers was a very nice woman, capable of generous acts. We all know about her work for Meals on Wheels. It's just that niceness alone is enough to qualify one for the Supreme Court. There are a lot of nice people in America. There are a lot of nice people at Valley View Christian Church. They cannot all be appointed to the Supreme Court.
The first and most famous slogan of the American conservative movement was: "Ideas have consequences." But if Matt fairly represents the state of mind inside the Bush White House, and on this I fear he does, then the main consequence of ideas seems to be ineligibility for service on the nation's highest court.
3) Note next the implied hostility to the larger American conservative movement. The ideas that are disparaged in this oped are not any old ideas. They are the ideas that moved millions of people to sacrifice time and money to build the movement championed by for example this magazine - and the ideas that (at least theoretically) led American conservatives to overcome their reservations about the son of George HW Bush and support the candidacy of Governor George W. Bush. The promise to appoint judges in the mold of Scalia and Thomas was the "Read my lips, no new taxes" pledge of the younger Bush's candidacy. But even Miers' strongest senatorial supporter, John Cornyn, admits that Miers is no Scalia and no Thomas. The inability to read the conservative reaction to this betrayal as anything more than personal pique on the part of American conservatives bespeaks a very serious clouding of the vision at the Bush White House.
4) And speaking of the clouding of vision, there is a real problem here of the inability to see ourselves as others see us. That line about the critics of the Miers nomination and their $20,000 speaking fees - is that really, um, well-considered? Does Matt expect anyone to take seriously the claim that those of us who oppose Miers are self-serving cynics, while those who silence their doubts and say "yes sir" to an erring president are self-sacrificing idealists? We're supposed to believe that Robert Bork is in it for the cash, while Ed Gillespie fights for the principle of the thing?
In my little private fantasy land, I like to think that Frum went and downed a couple lamb-chops after hitting the "publish" button.