October 06, 2005

Quag-Miers Watch*

It's Noonan vs. Lileks this morning.

I'm giving this round to Peggy. She says the same thing we've been saying here for the past couple days:

The president would have been politically better served by what Pat Buchanan called a bench-clearing brawl. A fractious and sparring base would have come together arm in arm to fight for something all believe in: the beginning of the end of command-and-control liberalism on the U.S. Supreme Court. Senate Democrats, forced to confront a serious and principled conservative of known stature, would have damaged themselves in the fight. If in the end President Bush lost, he'd lose while advancing a cause that is right and doing serious damage to the other side. Then he could come back to win with the next nominee. And if he won he'd have won, rousing his base and reminding them why they're Republicans.

He didn't do that. Why didn't he? Old standard answer: In time of war he didn't want to pick a fight with Congress that he didn't have to pick. Obvious reply: So in time of war he picks a fight with his base? Also: The Supreme Court isn't the kind of fight you "don't have to pick." History picks it for you. You fight.

James is funny, but I don't think he can uber-arch his way out of this one with Souter-Sith jokes.

*Not my own.

UPDATE: Rachel relays Steyn's take. Let me make it abundantly clear that I hope my misgivings are groundless. Steyn seems to suggest they might be.

Posted by Robert at October 6, 2005 09:21 AM | TrackBack

Robert, I think Noonan underestimates the devastating impact that a loss would give Bush. How much easier would it be the next time around? Not very, I would guess.

Posted by: Gary at October 6, 2005 09:35 AM

I'm with Lileks on this one; ran the quote from the Screed over at my place. I'm perfectly willing to defer the fight until the Stevens replacement. Look at it this way -- Roberts replaces Rehnquist; I think that'll be a pretty even exchange. Miers replaces O'Connor -- who frankly wasn't the sharpest knife in the jurisprudence drawer to begin within either, and who was migrating pretty steadily to the left. That's a win for us. She's no Luttig or McConnell; granted. But she was on the Dems list, so we don't have to watch a Borking/filibuster, which I'm thankful for. You think Arlen Specter's got the stomach for that fight?

Bush got Miers without having to go to war. Remember, he's got the Iraqi constitution vote coming up; he's got to be prepared for doom and gloom on that front (though I think everyone will be surprised in a good way). I'm ok with Miers, provided she is more conservative than O'Connor, which I think she is.

Posted by: The Colossus at October 6, 2005 09:46 AM

Yes, but Lileks has the bestest and most wisest quote ever on today's Bleat:
"The entire purpose of life is to drink whiskey."

Posted by: rbj at October 6, 2005 01:42 PM

I agree that the bench-clearing brawl should be on the table, but I don't think this is the catalyst.

The more I think about it, the more I think about the fact that only one person can sit, which would leave thousands of qualified people "overlooked," so no big deal there.

Will she be any good should be the real question, not whether she's the conservatives' Helen of Troy.

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