October 05, 2005


George Will runs his rapier through the Miers nomination. Will seems to put the pick down largely to a cave on the part of Dubya to identity politics, while I still believe it probably has more to do with cronyism, but his reasoning for rejecting the nomination is pretty sound. (There! I said it! I think she's a poor choice!)

UPDATE: BTW, I'm not completely convinced that this isn't some kind of stunt, that Miers might have been, well, a deliberate wild pitch. I'm not saying I believe this yet, just that I haven't dismissed it as being beyond the realm of possibility.

UPDATE DEUX: Jonah's G-File today nicely sums some theories behind Dubya's pick and the dilemma it has created:

But President Bush has put himself in the awkward position of asking his base to trust him at precisely the moment the base was expecting Bush to demonstrate their trust was well-founded in the first place. For this reason and others, the Miers nomination has opened up several crisscrossing fissures on the Right: East Coast credentialists vs. outside-the-Beltway populists, Bush loyalists vs. conservative-movement activists.

The press will spend a lot of time wondering what the Democrats will do. But for now the more interesting question is, what will the Republicans do?

Emphasis mine. This seems to be the basis of the bulk of the criticism coming from the Right, at least what I've seen of it. As I say in the comments, whether the hissy-fitting is justified or not, the White House should have seen it coming. Either it didn't, which is worrisome, or else it did and chose to ignore it, which would appear to lend some credence to the charges of arrogance being hurled about, and certainly strikes me as something of a political gamble.

YIPS from Steve:

JT on Meirs:

Mr. President, I've supported you on a LOT of issues. I've taken my share of crap about it, and I've never complained. But there are a few places I won't stick up for you. The first is your abandonment of the issue of border security. The second is your spending our money like a drunken Kennedy (but I repeat myself). And the third one is your judgment of other people.

To cite three examples: appointing Michael Brown head of FEMA without discovering he had padded his resume'; naming and keeping Leon Panetta on as Secretary of Transportation; and your saying "you've looked into Vladimir Putin's soul" and trusting him. Sorry, sir, but three strikes and you're out. I don't feel I can rely solely on your sense of personal judgment about other people.

Yes, except the pesky issue of Norm Minetta being the incompetent triple-token Transportation Secretary, instead of Leon Panetta, who while I disagree with on most ideological issues has a distinguished record of public service.

My beef with all this is the missed opportunity for a Transformative Appointment to the Court: the party at the national level has one three sucessive national elections for the White House, the Senate, and the House. Now is the opportunity to get our William O. Douglas or Hugo Black on there. People keep saying, "sure, there have been lots of Supremes who haven't been judges before" (like Douglas and for all real purposes Black for that matter), but it's annoying to keep lumping the former Chief into that category. No, Rehnquist hadn't been a judge, but he had clerked at the Supreme Court for Justice Jackson. The whole conservative legal movement has spent the last generation focused on building this network, and to now not use it, well, it's baffling. It's Truman-esque in many ways.

Color me unimpressed and unpersuaded. Does this mean I'm going to take my vote and go home? Oliver and his minions can dream on. But am I happy? Not by a long shot.

UPDATE from Steve:

John at Wuzzadem blows the lid off of all this...

UPDATE DEUX from Steve:

Dr. Rusty weighs in with the Meirs/bin Laden connection, plus a photo which is going to lead to some pretty bad pshopping....

Posted by Robert at October 5, 2005 09:22 AM | TrackBack

I'm not so sure about his reasoning, especially the part that says, to paraphrase, "if you asked 100 experts to give you 100 names."

Will is forgetting that the Constitution explicitly tells Bush with whom he has to consult on judges -- the 100 statesmen/fools in the Senate, not the 100 best legal minds out there. Miers was on their list, and if Bush felt she was the best conservative he could get without provoking a fight with the Senate, it is his prerogative. Bush does have other fish to fry, after all.

I don't think Miers is the best person available -- point granted. A Robert Bork or Ken Starr might well be. But the Founders decided to interject politics into the process by letting the Senate have a say. Will can hardly blame Bush for that fact.

He can argue that Bush ought to have found a better choice, and/or Bush should have provoked the fight, certainly. I myself am inclined to let Bush slide on this one.

Posted by: The Colossus at October 5, 2005 09:59 AM

That is actually the first thing I thought. The old bait and switch...

Posted by: babs at October 5, 2005 10:00 AM

I don't mind saying that I'm pretty dismayed by the ferocity of the opposition. When you step back, a lot of Conservatives are sounding shrill, sounding unhinged, sounding...well sounding like them - those Left-wing nuts we're always making fun of. It's not pretty. Like Bill Murray says to Akroyd and Ramis in "Ghostbusters II": "Guys, you're scaring the straits!" Hell, I'm a Conservative and some of them are scaring me a little.

Posted by: Gary at October 5, 2005 10:33 AM

Yes, but whether the hissy-fit is justifiable or not, the White House should have seen it coming. Either they didn't, which makes this pick seem politically tone-deaf, or else they did and chose to ignore it, which either supports the charge of arrogance or (I'm still hoping), is a clue that there is a deeper strategy to all this than we've yet realized.

Posted by: Robbo the LB at October 5, 2005 10:57 AM

I think Rove may have seen it coming -- after all, Rove sees all and knows all.

But he probably figured "not a chance the Republicans in the Senate will actually block the nomination." So it's safe -- and because she is Reid's idea, she gets confirmed. In two months we will have forgotten all about it. We'll feel even better if she then ends up following Roberts on every vote -- which she may well do. And I'm not thinking either of these two are liberals.

Plus, Bush will undoubtedly get another pick before all is said and done, likely for Stevens's seat.

All of the sudden, the court is: Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, Miers, Other conservative, and sometimes Kennedy versus Ginsburg, Breyer and Souter. Thats 6-3 on a good day, 5-4 on a bad.

Who needs another legal scholar? Roberts, Scalia and Thomas provide that. What we need are votes.

And to get the votes, the person needs to be confirmed. Which she will be. There ain't gonna be a conservative revolt. Not gonna happen.

Trust Bush? Hell, I trust Rove.

Posted by: The Colossus at October 5, 2005 12:23 PM

[Insert best Arte Johnson German accent]

Veeerrrry eenterestink........

Posted by: Robbo the LB at October 5, 2005 12:53 PM