Wednesday, October 19, 2005


I haven't blogged much about the whole Harriet Miers controversy. The people who insisted that they were going to wait until the confirmation hearings probably took the wisest course of action. And yet ... I can't help being seriously annoyed with the President. All indications are that Ms. Miers is a firm pro-lifer ... But, so what? Abortion is the number one issue with me and a lot of people, obviously, the deal maker-or-breaker, but it's not the only issue. How is she on those other issues? Who knows?

Besides which, I kind of expected the president to nominate someone with not only the judicial philosophy of Scalia but also the intellectual caliber of Scalia. Justice Antonin Scalia is a legal genius whose brilliance is so obvious that even his die-hard opponents (Sen. Harry Reid, et. al.) acknowledge it and consider him a qualified jurist. New Chief Justice Roberts isn't quite as smart as Scalia, but he is an incredible intellectual thoroughbred. Not to be nasty, but Ms. Miers' main qualification seems to be that she actually told the president something to the effect that he is "the smartest man I've ever met" and "the best governor ever!" (this was back when he was in Texas). President Bush is a lot smarter than his critics give him credit for - you don't exactly receive multiple Ivy League degrees on the strength of your "connections," even if that's what got you into the school in the first place - but, come on. Has Harriet Miers never met any of the current Supreme Court justices? I think even the really liberal ones are of a much higher caliber than the president (although they're wrong all the time!)

Finally, I am rather angry because even on the Roe v Wade issue, the best we can really hope for with a Justice Miers is "cross your fingers and wait with bated breath ... ehhhhhhhhhg!" And honestly, when I voted for the president, I was expecting something a little different than "hope for the best" and "ehhhhhhhg!"

Peggy Noonan had a great column out earlier this week which pretty much mirrors my feelings. It seems she feels pretty confident that the Miers nomination is toast; she actually provides several ways for the president and company to handle this with grace:
The full Tim McCarthy. He was the Secret Service agent who stood like Stonewall and took the bullet for Ronald Reagan outside the Washington Hilton. Harriet Miers can withdraw her name, take the hit, and let the president's protectors throw him in the car. Her toughness and professionalism would appear wholly admirable. She'd not just survive; she'd flourish, going from much-spoofed office wife to world-famous lawyer and world-class friend. Added side benefit: Her nobility makes her attackers look bad. She's better than they, more loyal and serious. An excellent moment of sacrifice and revenge.

... Connected to this is the modified Dan Quayle. When George H.W. Bush chose Mr. Quayle to be his vice presidential candidate, the 41-year-old junior senator from Indiana should have said, "Thanks, but I'm not ready. Someday I will be, but I have more work to do in Congress and frankly more growing to do as a human being before I indulge any national ambitions." This would have been great because it was true. When his staff leaked what he'd said, a shocked Washington would have concurred, conceding his wisdom and marking him for better things. He'd probably have run for president in 2000. He could be president now.

The best way to do the modified Quayle comes from Mickey Kaus: "How about appointing Miers to a federal appeals court? She's qualified. Bush could say that while he knows Miers he understands others' doubts--and he knows she will prove over a couple of years what a first-rate judge she is. Then he hopes to be able to promote her. Semi-humiliating, but less humiliating than the alternatives. And not a bad job to get. . . . Miers could puncture the tension with one smiling crack about being sent to the minors. The collective sigh of national relief would drown out the rest of her comments." That's thinking.
The best part of the piece comes near the end:
An essential White House mistake--really a key and historic one--was in turning on its critics with such idiotic ferocity. "My way or the highway" is getting old. "Please listen to us and try to see it our way or we'll have to kill you," is getting old. Sending Laura Bush out to make her first mistake as first lady, agreeing with Matt Lauer that sexism is probably part of the reason for opposition to Ms. Miers, was embarrassingly inept and only served to dim some of the power of this extraordinary resource.
"Please listen to us and try to see it our way or we'll have to kill you." Doesn't that basically underlie most of the Administration's policies, even those regarding, for instance, foreign policy? Now, obviously, I really have no problem with them issuing these kinds of ultimatums to terrorists. But applying it to your allies ... Well ... It just kind of causes a revolt in the ranks, doesn't it?

1 comment:

  1. Eh... I feel ya, sista, and I really wanted a Scalia too (heck, I wanted Scalia to be the new HJ), but maybe this'll all work about, you know?

    You should here Laura Ingraham go one on this, I think you'd really agree with what she thinks about all this.