Editorial Roundup for Saturday — October 22, 2005

• Bush speaking in code


Bush speaking in code

San Francisco Chronicle, Wednesday, Oct. 19:

When President Bush says of White House counsel Harriet Miers, “I know her heart,” those words may not be of much guidance to most Americans trying to assess her fitness to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court.

But Bush has long had a way of speaking in code to what appears to be the main target of this and many other public comments that seem insufficient or even mystifying to others. Bush has mastered the art of effectively signaling to religious conservatives, his bedrock base of supporters, “Trust me. I’m one of you.” …

Bush is hardly the first president to talk openly of his faith or to invoke refrains from hymns or the Bible. But the deftness and frequency with which he speaks of the “culture of life” or other words with meaning to Christian conservatives and other foes of abortion have proved remarkably effective — at least until now.

It was not surprising at all that Bush might think he could reassure skeptics on the right by simply saying he knew what was in Miers’ heart, a phrase that had the ring of code. This time, however, many are demanding to know much more about her views on Roe v. Wade and other constitutional issues. So should all Americans.

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