Fight on the right hits Web

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October 16, 2005|By TROY MCCULLOUGH

President Bush has a big blog problem.

In perhaps the most unexpected political turn since conservatives discovered the Internet, the normally lock-step right-wing bloggers are fighting among themselves, worrying about the future of the Republican Party, and venting criticism against the president - all over Bush's nominee for the Supreme Court, Harriet Miers.

"The president's surprise pick to replace Sandra Day O'Connor has ignited a massive debate among his former loyalists, especially in the blogosphere, where I spend a fair amount of time," conservative blogger Edward Morrissey wrote last week in an essay in The Washington Post, reprinted in part on his site, "Captain's Quarters"(captains "Wails of betrayal are clashing with assurances of the president's brilliant strategic thinking. Meanwhile, the heavyweights of punditry drop columns like artillery shells into what already may be a conservative civil war."

Conservatives, both online and off, are battling it out over Miers. But it's the online sphere that could pose the biggest troubles for the president and his nominee.

Nothing dies quietly on the Internet. Problems fester. Debates linger. Controversies grow. John Kerry had his Swift Boat adversaries. Dan Rather had "Memogate." And Howard Dean had his Iowa caucuses yawp (which the Internet still hasn't let go of: political htm).

Online conservative pundits are worried that Miers has no proven conservative track record, and they're suspicious of the president's motives.

"Increasingly, it looks as though we've got another O'Connor on our hands. I would love to be talked out of this. But the evidence mounts," wrote Stanley Kurtz on The National Review's blog, "The Corner" (corner.nationalreview .com).

"My problem is that there's no particular reason to think she'd be a good Supreme Court Justice," wrote Glenn Reynolds on "Instapundit" (

Says Andrew Sullivan of "Bush ... is treating the Court as a means for personal protection and dynastic noblesse oblige. The question is simply whether the GOP wants to become the vehicle for a crony-ridden aristocracy or something more transparent and meritocratic."

Others are worried about the effect on the Republican Party.

"Formerly friendly conservatives are now not merely viewing each other as worthy opponents in debate, but as suspicious and untrustworthy `thems' who should just shut up. This is very troubling," wrote "TheAnchoress" (the

A posting on "" adds: "Whether Miers is confirmed no longer matters in this uprising. What should matter to conservatives is whether the conservative movement will still be able to make a relevant difference in the direction of the country."

Bob Owens of "Confederate Yankee" ( has dubbed the nomination a "Quag-Miers."

Not everyone is taking the nomination so seriously. The parody site "Harriet Miers's Blog!!!"( gives Miers the voice of an overly enthusiastic teenager in its first posting: "OMG I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M THE NOMINEE!!! This is BIGGEST DAY OF MY LIFE!!! EVER!!!! OMG OMG OMG."

For homecoming queen, at least, she's a lock.

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