On the October 13 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Rush Limbaugh falsely claimed that "religious conservatives are full-force behind Harriet Miers." Limbaugh was referring to an online MSNBC column by Newsweek's Howard Fineman titled "The Conservative Crackup," in which Fineman argued that evangelical conservatives feel slighted by Miers's Supreme Court nomination and that President Bush sought to satisfy their desire for a religious conservative nominee "by stealth -- by nominating someone with absolutely no paper trail." Limbaugh responded, "The religious conservatives are not angry about anything being stealth. ... They're not mad at Bush."
In fact, as the Think Progress website has documented, there has been a clear divide within conservative religious organizations and leaders regarding Miers's nomination. For instance, the group Concerned Women for America has stated that it "cannot endorse [Miers's] nomination." Gary Bauer, president of the religious activist organization American Values, has stated his concern about the nomination and has vowed to withhold support until he "know[s] with some certainty that she is a vote for our values." Operation Rescue, an organization committed to outlawing abortion, also has voiced its opposition. On its website, Operation Rescue states its position on the Miers nomination: "Operation Rescue will not support Miers' nomination unless more information is released assuring conservatives that she will be a strong constitutional constructionist to the [sic] in the mold of [justices Clarence] Thomas and [Antonin] Scalia."
Other religious conservative critics have been even more specific about their skepticism of Miers's nomination, and their reasons run contrary to Limbaugh's claims that "the religious conservatives are not angry about anything being stealth." On the October 4 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio program, Bill Bennett's Morning in America, religious conservative Bill Bennett declared his "disappointment" with the nomination "precisely ... because it rewards stealth" and that he's "tired of rewarding stealth." On the October 13 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, Bennett reiterated his concern about nominating a candidate without a paper trail, which he said would "set a very bad precedent."
The President's nomination of Miers is a betrayal of the conservative, pro-family voters whose support put Bush in the White House in both the 2000 and 2004 elections and who were promised Supreme Court appointments in the mold of Thomas and Scalia. Instead we were given "stealth nominees," who have never ruled on controversial issues, more in the mold of the disastrous choice of David Souter by this President's father.
Further, Liberty Counsel, which says its purpose is to advance causes related to "religious freedom, the sanctity of human life and the traditional family," stated in an October 11 press release that "it does not support President George W. Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers for the United States Supreme Court" and "calls on President Bush to withdraw the nomination."
From the October 13 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show:
LIMBAUGH: All right, folks, the left is out there salivating over what is happening in the conservative world over the Harriet Miers nomination. Two things here: Robin Toner piece in The New York Times today and a Howard Fineman column entitled "The Conservative Crackup." Subhead is "How The Neocons Have Developed A Political Exit Strategy." And I just know that Howard was sitting there drooling over his keyboard as he was typing this piece. And remember, Fineman had a piece recently that was two years late in discovering the influence that the extremist left-wing bloggers have on the mainstream Democratic party. This is a piece that is steeped in hope. And it's -- I think it grossly -- well, it's full of just wrong analysis. It's incorrect analysis.
What's wrong with this whole thing? What's wrong with this whole analysis of religious conservatives? Well, the primary thing is that they're not frosted! The religious conservatives are full-force behind Harriet Miers. The religious conservatives are not angry about anything being stealth. I've talking [sic] to religious conservatives on this -- on this program, who have said if they're angry at anybody, it's people like me. They're angry at what they think of the elitists inside the beltway. Conservative intellectuals. They're not mad at Bush.
The idea -- Howard, how can you miss this? How in the world can you miss it? He must think that everybody in the Republican party is a Religious Right conservative whacko, and that all those people who oppose Miers are no different than the Religious Right anywhere else.