Was Reagan's Nomination Of Sandra Day O'Connor A Slap In The Face To Conservatives?
In hindsight, this seems an easy call - obviously yes. O'Connor was a deciding vote in upholding a woman's right to choose and affirmative action. Steve Benen digs up a story from 1981 where the arch social conservative Richard Viguerie says of the O'Connor nomination:
"The White House slapped us in the face," says Richard A. Viguerie, the conservative direct-mail expert. "The White House is saying you don't have a constituency we're concerned about. We don't care about you.
I'd say, at the time, Viguerie and people like him were in fact shunted aside because Reagan wanted to nominate the first woman to the Supreme Court. I don't think Benen is disputing that. I do think Benen is trying to discredit progressive dissatisfaction with President Obama. Indeed, he says the moral of the story is "that perceptions can change over time." That is silly. Some folks seem incapable of getting out of focusing on the pol, not the issue. Vigeurie was commenting on one event - the nomination of O'Connor. I am sure if he wanted to, Benen could find many instances of Viguerie praising Reagan at the same time (tax cuts anyone?). It is not all of one thing or another. Here's the real moral of the story in my opinion - who did Reagan nominate for the Supreme Court after O'Connor? Antonin Scalia. For those who decry pressure on their hero pols, the lessons of Richard Viguerie's complaints about Reagan's nomination of Sandra Day O'Connor are that they worked. Viguerie got what he wanted the next time.
Richard Viguerie understood what too many do not want to these days - pols are pols and do what they do. Your loyalty should lie with the issues you care about, not the pols.
Speaking for me only
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