“Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpation” -James Madison

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Now What?

Interesting to see that according to many blogs, my position on the Miers nomination indicates that I am a "far right-winger."

Hmmmm, an agnostic with many gay friends (not in support of the "marriage" issue), who voted Libertarian until 2000 and only voted Republican because of Al Gore (ditto in 2004 and John Kerry), is now a far right-winger.

In my mind that shows how far left everyone else has gotten. Recall the words of Ronaldus Magnus and how his party left him.

Well, this far right-winger now sees an opportunity not only for proper Court makeup, but also in political realignment across the Senate and even the House.

Now the President MUST nominate a short-lister, one of the Scalia types that everyone is convinced would trigger the war with the Dems, someone who will satisfy most conservatives and make Reid, Kennedy, Schumer, and Biden squeak.

At the same time, the President had better have a come-to-Jesus meeting at the White House. Invitees? ALL 55 Senate Republicans and the Redstate Dems. He needs to explain to this august assemblage that 2006 and 2008 are coming, and that the conservative based has now been sufficiently riled up by Miers as to actually pay attention to how Senators vote on this issue. He also needs to remind them that Stevens might possibly retire during this presidential term, and maybe even Ginsburg. Mostly, he needs to remind them that he is President and that the people who made him President expect Scalia-style nominations.

It is time for war. Harry Reid and Ted Kennedy need to be made to eat a bug. Filibuster? BRING IT ON! The stealth nomination of which I made so much admiration previously has been shown to be faulty and misplaced. Conservatives deserve a dance with our date, not her ugly sister. Bring out the big guns, call people out, and force the issue. If the RINOs prove disloyal, shout their names from every rooftop. If the Redstate Dems don't break ranks, shout their names as well.

Which nominee? I don't know. There are better and more engaged minds than mine debating that right now. My limited viewpoint tends toward Janice Rogers Brown, Mike McConnell, or Mike Luttig. Beyond that I haven't paid enough attention and really don't have a hard opinion among these three. Perhaps later I will research and give my opinion.

I am focused more on a larger picture of realignment. The Senate RINOs have to go, and we need unapologetic constructionists on the Court. Time to make it happen. It will require tremendous political will on the parts of all involved, but that's why they get paid to do this political stuff full-time and on our dime.


P.S. To any Repub pollsters, you need to get back to work earning my vote. I went with George in '00 to block Gore, and in '04 to support the war and to block Kerry. You got 2 for free. Now you need to show me that you are truly a small-government party that is interested in originalism, budgetary restraint, and border control. Otherwise having a Dem in power doesn't really seem any different than the Republicans we have now.

Monday, October 24, 2005

I oppose the Miers nomination

I oppose the Miers nomination.

At first my position was lukewarm support based in my trust of the President's judgment in terms of political machinations and his prior judicial nominations. The rhetoric of many early critics turned me off, and I searched for a reason to support this nominee, resulting in my post on Misunderestimation.

This was incorrect. While my reasoning may have been potentially valid, it appears now to have been completely misplaced. I was guilty of Misoverestimation, as was the President.

Over the last few weeks I have learned plenty about Ms. Miers' background that increasingly disturbs me. My support for her has eroded with each new fact. The White House, in the meantime, has been pathetically ineffective in making a substantial case for this nominee. By utilizing tired cliches about glass ceilings and quality personhood, the nomination has been undercut. Further damaging any remaining validity, the President chose to throw bones at the religious base with the nod-and-a-wink Roe implications.

And so many others were right about this long before I was. When Harry Reid is backing something, conservatives should immediately look elsewhere.

Although I do not share the Crony view, it is obvious the President thought he could slip a Stealth past the Senate Dems, soothe the jangled nerves of the conservatives, and move on to bombing Iran and Syria. Or gut the Mortgage Interest writeoff. Whatever.

President Bush appears to be suffering from 2nd-Term-itis. Convinced of his decisions (aided by an insular environment typical of 2nd-termers) as Absolutely Right, he cynically and arrogantly moved forward with a nomination that never should have been. The majority of his base was plainly against this nominee, and he would have known that and allowed it to enter his thoughts in a first term. He did not anticipate the backlash, believing that Our Side would follow in lockstep as long as We Knew The Dems Could Not or Would Not Stop It. He did not think about the long memory many conservatives have, and how long we have waited for this moment in time -- Control of the WH, Numeric control of the Senate, and open positions on the Court.

For whatever reasons, he has chosen to avoid the fight with Dems over this nomination. In doing so, he triggered one within our own ranks.

Assuming my original position is correct (which I no longer do), the President would appear to be a brilliant tactician. Alas, it now appears he is tired and out of touch, showing his true not-really-conservative side, and is ignoring those who brought him to the Presidency.

I wanted to buy into this nomination. I wanted to believe in my President. I wanted Ms. Miers to be the stealth Scalia.

Well, as the old saying goes, you can wish into one hand and s--- into the other. See which one fills up first.

I oppose the Miers nomination. I wish I did not.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Justices and Age

In my post on Idealism, I provided some inaccurate numbers regarding the ages of some Justices. No one caught me on it (sigh, looks like my Instalanche glory days are done for the moment), but I wanted to set the record straight and expand on the thought.

Disregarding Roberts for youth and Miers for not being yet confirmed, the remaining Justices are listed:

Stevens 4/20/20

Age: 85
Age at 2008 election: 88
Age at 2012 election: 92
Age at 2016 election: 96

Ginsburg 3/15/33
Age: 72
Age at 2008 election: 75
Age at 2012 election: 79
Age at 2016 election: 83

Scalia 3/11/36
Age: 69
Age at 2008 election: 72
Age at 2012 election: 76
Age at 2016 election: 80

Kennedy 7/23/36
Age: 69
Age at 2008 election: 72
Age at 2012 election: 76
Age at 2016 election: 80

Breyer 8/15/38
Age: 67
Age at 2008 election: 70
Age at 2012 election: 74
Age at 2016 election: 78

Souter 9/17/39
Age: 66
Age at 2008 election: 69
Age at 2012 election: 73
Age at 2016 election: 77

Thomas 6/23/48
Age: 57
Age at 2008 election: 60
Age at 2012 election: 64
Age at 2016 election: 68

Stevens obviously is the next likely to be replaced, barring injury/illness/untimely event (this assumption holds throughout my post here). He might very well retire during the remainder of this President's term, but almost certainly will be gone by 2012. While it is not unheard of to be serving into one's 90s, odds are that he will be retired or deceased by then.

This seat is the most strongly affected by Congressional elections in 2006 and 2008. Since he could step down as soon as next year, his replacement may benefit or face adversity depending on political winds. If it occurs prior to the 2006 election, the eventual nominee might be another Scalia Jr in the hopes that the Senate Republicans would feel pressure in an election year, as would Red-State Dems. I, and many other conservatives, would welcome this proposition as it would force the issue once and for all as to the response the constituents would expect from the Senate and this President.

Again assuming stepdown prior to 2006 election, if the nominee is another Stealth candidate or is not a base-approved conservative (moderate), it could prove dire to the Republicans as a whole. The uproar over Miers (fair or not) is an indication of the base's displeasure with decidedly non-conservative policies, votes, and actions on the part of the administration and elected representatives in the House and Senate. While losing seats in one or both houses and possibly the Presidency, this might potentially galvanize conservatives and lead to more purification of principles in the form of new candidates. As a step back, it could be a long-term positive in consolidating the "true conservative" principles with respect to party.

If he holds on until after the 2008 elections, the board is reset in terms of the nominating President. While I would trust President Rice or President Brownback to hold firm to strong conservative justices, I cannot say the same for President Giuliani or President McCain. Of course President Clinton II will most certainly be working the other side. Since the potential presidents of 2008 are largely not conservative, it will be up to the Senate to enforce discipline in terms of rejecting non-conservative nominees (assuming the current politicization of the Court and confirmation process continues), and that is exactly why 2006 and 2008 Senate races are the most important to the future makeup of the Court. Given the current Senate and its decidedly non-disciplinary approach, we have got to ensure as best we can that the squishy RINOs are tossed out and replaced with solid conservatives. If the current President does not get to replace Stevens, the next one surely will.

Ginsburg is the next most likely to leave. While I have no substantive information, I have heard that she has health problems that are beginning to become more prominent. This is admittedly second- or third-hand, so any corrections or updates are certainly welcome. At the time of the 2008 elections she will be 75; not ancient by any means but also an age when many people decided to enjoy their remaining life. This is magnified in the case of health issues. By the 2012 elections she will be 79, by 2016 she will be 83. There is a remote possibility of her retiring this president's term, but if she steps down it would most likely be during the term of a 2008 or 2012 president, especially if a Dem is in office during one or both of those terms.

Scalia, Kennedy, Breyer, and Souter all form the next tier of possibility. They are all within 3 years of each other and after disregarding health issues (about which I know nothing of any of them) and accident/untimeliness, would all have pretty equal chances of being replaced. Conservatives can take heart that 3 of the 4 are NOT Scalia, although he is technically the eldest of the bunch by 4 months over Kennedy. Most likely they make it into the 2016 president's term, at which they are all over 75. This group would be most affected by the 2016/2020 elections in terms of using politics as a deciding factor in retirement and/or replacement nomination.

Thomas, thankfully, is the youngest (not counting Roberts), so we can look forward to having his voice on our Court long after the others have moved on.

This post obviously is an outgrowth of the Miers debate. While I originally supported her nomination out of trust for the President and his calculation of Senate confirmation politics, this support is checked by the sorts of underwhelming information about her found on so many other sites. Further erosion is based in the administration's lukewarm-at-best public praise of Ms. Miers. Attacking critics, utilizing "1st woman to..." and "Glass ceiling" arguments, and other not-particularly-persuasive statements have made it difficult to support the nominee enthusiastically. It is possible that the President is trying not to give too much ammo to the opposition Dems, but it is affecting Republican support in that they can't defend what they don't know. My original post on Misunderstimation explored the ideas of managing a difficult Senate and the idea of a bigger picture. Sadly, I am no longer sure I hold that position, and have begun to consider the possibility of Misoverestimation. I do not believe she is a Crony; I still think the President believes that she is what we and he want -- a conservative originalist. However, the end-run, lack of conlaw experience, weird defense, and general appearance of working from weakness is undercutting the process. In addition, conservatives are supposed to be against the outcome-based political machinations where the Court is concerned, and this nomination is beginning to look just that way.

In addition I am also considering the idea that this might in fact be the time to try the Janice Rogers Brown or Michael Luttig route -- know that there's a fight coming, know that part of the Senate (R) votes will run over to the opposition, know that the Dems will 'filibuster', know that you may or may not have the votes to break it, and that your nominee might not get out of committee or voted down in the Senate proper. However, in each of these instances, it will be possible to take names and let the constituents of each state represented thereby to know exactly which (R) or Red-State (D) allowed the President's Very Conservative Choice to fail when there is a majority of (R) votes listed on the Senate register. 2006 is not far away, and it might do our side some good to cull the herd.

Friday, October 14, 2005


Setting aside Ms. Miers herself and looking at the political fights avoided or put off, I find myself torn.

The pragmatic part of me says "Trust the President" for the reasons I have outlined in previous posts.

The idealistic conservative part of me says "No way should this lady have a chance; let's thrown JRB in there and force the issue" for all the reasons everyone else has pointed out.

Wheels within wheels within wheels, and I'm basically glad I don't have to be the one to decide what to do.

The choices facing the President:

1. Assuming he is truly a step ahead of us, get Miers confirmed with relatively little fuss from the left, knowing that a few decisions will reassure the base and leave room for the Scalia Jr. next time.

2. Knowing the conservatives aren't liking this selection, allow the nomination to stall and fail either in committee or the full Senate vote because of torpedoes from the Elephant side. Nominate Scalia Jr and go for broke.

3. Pull her or convince her to step aside. Nominate someone more to the base's liking and expectation and prepare for the Senate showdown. Must make sure to have second and third nominees in mind and ready to go. One should be Scalia Jr. and the other more moderate but still solidly conservative.

There are various political consequences from each choice, none of them particularly palatable.

I think the worst happens when any nominee is voted down, forcing a new nomination as history shows the second nominee typically is more moderate and pliable to the liberal side. They also tend to be the truly stealth candidates that we should really worry about. Political capital is drained by that point, making other agenda items more difficult to work around, not to mention the time and attention wasted on the first nominee and the rumblings over the second.

Other points I have addressed in recent days deal with the makeup of the Senate and the upcoming '06, '08, '10, and '12 elections. Due to the ages of the various current Justices, the presidents of 2008 and 2012 will have possibly as many as 5 or 6 nominations.

Perhaps it is time to rethink my guarded support for Harriet Miers. As it seems imperative to me to weed the Senate garden and toss out and RINOs, it may be time to think about forcing the issue: Put up Scalia Jr., inform the Spineless Republicans and Red-State Democrats that the mandate has been given -- twice -- and lead. Going into an election year, the conservative base is riled up enough to decide that a faithless (R) or a (D) that wouldn't cross over has had enough time on the public dime and it's time to go home. This base has had it -- borders, spending, etc. The President may have misoverestimated himself on this one. The base wants the fight, they've been waiting for it for far too long, and pressing the issue going into an election year with superior numbers seems natural and logical. And we have been let down by this President in the past due to fear of RINOs and his desire to get along with the Enemy.

The last few days I have argued for trusting the President and assuming that he has made this nomination because he has the personal knowledge that Ms. Miers *is* Scalia Jr. and the Dems won't know that until it's too late. This has been increasingly difficult to do, as the best case the White House can make for Ms. Miers is quite far from convincing, even to someone like myself who wants to believe, and it does not seem to be a tactic to put off the Dems. She seems a fine lady, to be sure. If I needed someone to direct an organization or advise on business law, she'd be on the short list. But Associate Justice? It's getting harder to buy, even when I take her out of it and look at the politics involved in getting the results desired through unorthodox means. She does in fact appear to be a lightweight who has not handled herself well in statements I have read, and there are plenty of pieces of her history that should make any conservative decide to withhold support. The *only* possible reason to support her is because of my original proposition, that Bush knows she's really our originalist and has calculated that only a stealth candidate survives this Senate, saving a fight for later when he has reliable (R) votes. Every other qualification test against her does not measure out well at all.

This President is not a conservative. Much of the Senate Republicans are not conservative. If we are going to get Scalias on the Court we have to have conservatives in the Senate and Presidency. The question is, do we get there by trusting the President now and support Ms. Miers, or do we get there by rolling the dice and jamming Luttig, Rogers, Brown, etc. down the throats of RINOs and Dems alike? We need to figure it out, or the Lizard Queen is going to get choose as many as 6 Justices.

I do not know. I honestly cannot say which approach is correct. Principles are important, but so is getting your nominee in, and she is his nominee.


Much has been written over the last couple of weeks regarding qualifications, experience, judgment and conservatism. The wailing and gnashing of teeth over the nomination of Harriet Miers has prompted an astounding number of conversations in realtime, on blogposts, comments, and chatroom discussions. Most of these conversations have come down to an examination of exactly why Ms. Miers is not an ideal choice for the Supreme Court, and how so many others would be. Sometimes the conversations go deeper and talk about the political makeup of the Senate and/or the President and administration, again noting how this member or that decision indicates ideological weakness or betrayal. There are conspiracy theories, rumors of paybacks and deals, speculations on the President's sanity or disloyalty.

There is such a huge push to block this nomination on the not-ideal principle, yet we have continued to tolerate the not-ideal from our President, members of the Senate and House, governors, state legislator, and on down to the local dogcatcher. The standard to which Ms. Miers is held would preclude most of our existing judiciary at all levels as well as government at all levels, from being filled with ideal candidates. One of the most ideal nominees in my lifetime, Judge Bork, was turned away and a weakened Reagan administration was forced to cough up a truly not-ideal Kennedy. Justice Thomas, who most would consider ideal, was also a stealth candidate who had never really done any conlaw, was basically an administrative lawyer and had only a couple of years on any bench. Rehnquist was never a judge prior to being elevated. By today's standards and elitist requirements (from our side, no less!), neither of these justices would have been supported, possibly not even confirmed.

Of course, the major difference is that the Supreme Court is a lifetime posting. I will concede that this fact alone allows for more scrutiny and perhaps a greater weight placed on the ideal.

We also do not REALLY know how ideal or not-ideal Ms. Miers is. Again, trillions of electrons have been lit up with descriptions of past statements, affiliations, and facts that appear not-ideal. The only thing the pro-Miers crowd really has to hang onto in Trust in the judgment of the President. It is frustrating for everyone, pro-Miers and anti-Miers, that the President and administration will not or can not make a strong case in the PR arena. Perhaps it is a tactic to not divulge too much prior to the hearings (and give ammo to the Dems), or maybe there is nothing there. Again, it comes down to Trust, which is going to swing wildly across the spectrum of conservatives.

The MSM and all of blogdom, right and left, have listed example after example of how conservatives are not being represented in the manner to which we expect. Border control, runaway spending, "collegiality" and "comity" with the ideological enemy, McCain-Feingold, pork, the Education bill, judicial activism (Roe, Kelo, etc.), Bill Clinton's non-removal via impeachment and many others are examples of not-ideal conservatism but in which our "conservative" elected officials have all had a hand.

We have settled for the not-ideal many times. Is this one more? Or is this relative unknown truly an ideal under wraps?

Does the President have a plan? Almost certainly. Will it result in an ideal candidate for Associate Justice (or as ideal as we could have at this point given the Senate RINO factor)? We all hope so.

The thing that bugs me most about all this is that if we would spend half the energy we've spent bickering over Miers, and focus that on '06 and '08 primaries and support only TRUE CONSERVATIVE CANDIDATES for elected office at all levels, we'd sweep the Socialist Marxists right in the dustbin where they belong.

You want ideal? Start with the people who make the decisions, from the bottom up and the top down.

That means no McCain or Giuliani for nominee. That means getting rid of the SSS (Senate Spineless Seven) for good. That means ditching the House Rep that has been there for 20 years and is good at bringing home the pork. That means we may lose a seat in one house or the other due to getting rid of a strong incumbent (R) that is wobbly, ineffective, or NOT-IDEAL. It may even mean a stint in the White House for the Lizard Queen. It may take just that to galvanize our side.

It is most important we have conservatives in place in the Senate and President in 2008. Justice Stevens will retire during the next president's term, if not before. Ginsburg most likely will as well, and by that time Scalia will be 82. In addition, Kennedy will be 82, Breyer 80, and Souter 79. Thomas will be 70. The 2008 and 2012 president(s) will have a MAJOR opportunity to shift the Court.

I grew up in the country. When I was a kid my dad would occasionally come home with a flamethrower and burn off part of the acre of yard around our house, leaving a huge patch of ugly blackened earth. When I asked him why he did that, he told me that the weeds in that part of the yard were so bad as to resist herbicides and had taken complete control; fire killed the weeds and the grass returned and eventually won out. For awhile it was bleak but before long that section was green and soft and we could run around barefoot without getting stickers in our feet.

Conservative ideas, principles, and IDEALS are strong and will win. Sometimes it takes stepping in with a flamethrower and burning the weeds away so we can have room to catch some sun and rain to prosper. But once we have the foothold (roothold?), there's no turning back as long as we tend our yard.

If we had IDEAL people in the Senate, perhaps the not-ideal Miers would never have had an opportunity to stir us up like she has. Don't blame the President for this choice. I think it was as ideal as he could have at this point.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Miers continued

Wow, I got me a li'l ol' Instalanche (Thanks Glenn)!

Great comments, folks -- pro and con. Not only have I learned a bit more, but it's given me the opportunity to think about my own positions and some of the things I had written.

Yesterday I put forth the proposition that the Miers nomination is the culmination of an agreement between the President and the adult Dems regarding his prior pick of Justice Roberts, based on the political calculations of this Congress. The President is aware that the confirmation process is now highly politicized, partly due to the recent activist positions the Court has taken. The President is also aware that he does not have sufficient numbers of reliable votes to force a Scalia through, because he can count on Dems to provide an unbreakable wall with the assistance of a handful of unreliable Reps.

I am not a cheerleader for Harriet Miers. I don't know much about the lady, only that the President trusts her. That's not good enough for many people (I am not yet decided if it is for me), and I can certainly understand and sympathize with that. This President is not particularly conservative on many issues, from spending to border control to education and beyond. By most accounts, however, his judicial picks have been very pleasing to conservatives. At any rate, he is the President and He Gets To Pick.

There is no requirement for a Justice to be a judge, or a scholar, or even a lawyer. The recently departed Rehnquist was not a judge prior to assuming his place on the Court (as were over 30 other Justices in our history). The Founding Fathers largely were not legal scholars or lawyers. They were farmers, merchants, bankers, soldiers, fishermen, trappers, loggers, and many other blue-collar-ish professions. They gave us a document that anyone who reads English can understand. It is a rule book that spells out exactly what the federal government can do, and it specifies that anything unsaid is to be the responsibility of the People to deal with on whatever level they deem necessary -- state, county, city, etc.

It does not take a Harvard JD to get this.

Activism in the legal system is repugnant to all people of liberty. Regardless of the side, regardless of the issue. I would no more want a Court that makes laws I might otherwise agree with, than I currently do with the same Court that has illegally written questionable laws de facto like Roe, Kelo, and many others. It would be every bit as wrong to have Conservative activism as the liberal activism has been.

I fear that many conservatives have been waiting for this moment for so long, that they are spoiling for a fight. Many comments address the idea of having the majority and wasting it, or of forcing the issue and 'settling' later if the force does not work. Some have brought up that Scalia was verbose about his philosophy and was confirmed unanimously. Others point to the 2006 elections as a net loss for Reps so they say we should vote while the voting is good.

Good points, all, but they are indicative of my original proposition: We do not have the numbers necessary. There are not 50 or 51 solid (R) votes for a McConnell, Luttig, Brown, et al. There would be at best 47 or 48, and I highly doubt any (D) will break ranks on such outspoken conservatives, even the Red-Staters. It is too polarized in the Senate, and the process has become too litmus-tested on both sides for a fight of that nature with our current numbers.

I would LOVE McConnell, Luttig, Brown, or any of the other party favorites. Having a young Scalia-type on the Court for 40 years would be a dream come true.

Unfortunately we are awake and not in the dream world. The President has proven to be a savvy pol when it comes to getting his way against the odds. There is no reason to believe that he has messed this one up. It might be the case, but none of us can know that now. Again, some people are not comfortable with that, which I completely respect. Souter was and is a disaster, but he was also an unknown to the elder Bush, who trusted his aides far too much. This Bush is much more in his own loop, and has a proven record of success with his judges.

Some have questioned why avoid the fight even if you can't win -- just make the point and stand up to the Dems. To me that's a false proposition that assumes (once again) that this is happening in a vacuum. We are still at war, with the constant media drumbeat of quagmire and LBJ comparisons. We have come through a couple of disastrous storms that have affected us all economically and the president politically (fairly or not). We are beginning the ramp-up to the 2006 elections. There is a very real likelihood not only of armed conflict with Syria and Iran, but also of a burgeoning worldwide flu epidemic. There are LOTS of issues to deal with, not only for the President but also the Senate. It makes sense to me that we look at the political landscape, take what we can right now and save the energy for another fight on another day when we have a better chance of winning.

To everyone who is considering abandoning the party in 2006: You're playing right into the hands of the Socialist Marxists. They are salivating over this division, and by not voting or voting Lib you will be giving the Senate back to the Donkeys, making this situation even worse. I understand disappointment, but we live in a real world, not some alternate universe where Atlas Shrugs and the Howard Roarks are proven right at the end. This is politics, which by necessity involves COMPROMISE and getting what you can and fighting only when you win. Guerilla tactics and desperate gambles won our Revolutionary War, but they tend not to work in capitol domes. We need to concentrate on getting any (R) into the Senate for numbers and likelihood of 50 or 51 spines, and do our best to replace RINOs with real conservatives at the primary level.

Screaming at this point for a fight sounds very much to me like a Howard Dean yeargh. Give Bush some credit -- he's let us down on many things, but on judges he's got the goods. He also knows the Dems and RINOs better than they think, and he knows what he can get and what he can't.

Worst-case: she's another O'Connor but will probably not have more than 10 or 15 years on the Court. I do not believe based on what I've seen, that she will go along with the activism at all. She may or may not be particularly conservative (insiders claim she is personally, but we don't want that personal bit involved in decisions, right?), but it's a good bet she would stand with the originalists on many issues. If confirmed, I believe she will prove to be a very pleasant surprise for the shouters.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Misunderstimation and the bigger picture

The nomination of Harriet Miers has conservatives split and arguing amongst themselves. Beyond being silly, pointless, and counterproductive, I find it all very puzzling.

Like everyone else, I scratched my head and said "Who?" upon hearing of the nomination. And like everyone else, I wondered why the President would choose someone so far outside the Conventional Wisdom as to be patently invisible and unknown.

My belief is that we should be looking past Ms. Miers herself to learn why the President has nominated as he has. Going back to the John Roberts nomination and confirmation, a few things present themselves:

  • 1. Roberts was not shown to be a firebreathing conservative; rather, he appears to be solidly conservative while still being acceptable to all but the most fevered moonbats.
  • 2. Senator Leahy broke with the Dems and publicly came out for Justice Roberts well in advance of the vote, leading to a split in the Dem coalition and a solid if not overwhelming confirmation, avoiding the party-line vote. This 78-22 vote indicates bipartisan support and lends validity to Justice Roberts.
  • 3. The President knows that of his majority numbers in the Senate, he has no more than 44 or 45 that he can reliably count on when a fight is in the air, especially on social conservative issues. The odds of getting Olympia Snowe, Lincoln Chafee, et al on board for a hardcore like Luttig are effectively nil. There is little point in starting a war that you know your soldiers will not fight.

Senator Leahy and the rest of the backdoor Dems undercut their party. This is never done lightly in those circles, and it is reasonable to assume that some sort of deal was worked out with the President. My take is that in order to get Roberts in with a minimum of fuss, he had to agree to provide another apparent O'Connor to Dems. A woman with a history of supporting affirmative action, giving money to Dems in the past, etc, must have appeared irresistible to the Dems, and so they jumped at the opportunity to give us Roberts in exchange for Miers. The ringing endorsements from Dems like Reid give reason to believe that even if some Reps defect, there will be more than enough votes to support the confimation.

While I support and trust the President, I am certainly not one of the cheerleaders. That being said, I believe President Bush has done it again -- he got everyone (including his own supporters) to misunderestimate him in order to achieve the larger goal, which in this case is to rein in the Supreme Court and return it to a more originalist bent.

The President has demonstrated an ability and willingness to nominate solid conservative judges over the course of his time in office. Ms. Miers has been a major part of this, from assisting in the process of selection to vetting and finally to preparing nominees for confirmation, including Justice Roberts. They have a close personal and professional friendship that dates back to the Reagan years. It is safe to say that he truly believes and trusts that she will embody the principles he seeks to invest in that seat.

The issue of personal knowledge versus the paper trail should be minimized, rather than maximized. Many of us have been hired (or hired others) based on nothing more than the word of a friend, getting into jobs or positions that we/they are not on paper qualified for, but are nevertheless able to perform and even excel. Granted, these are not usually as high-profile as in this case, but the principle remains. There is no doubt in my mind that the President himself has confidence in this nomination, and based on his judicial track record and political acumen, I am inclined to trust him.

The President knows fully that had he nominated Luttig or one of the other Scalia types that we have hungered for, it would have triggered war with the Dems (not necessarily bad in and of itself). The problem is that this war would likely be lost due to the defection of his own RINOs, and the guarantee of Dem solidarity. Why fight the war you can't win? It makes infinitely more sense in these circumstances to slip in a Stealth nominee that will fool the Dems into thinking she's another O'Connor. If the President is convinced she will in fact be a solid conservative originalist, then he will have achieved true diplomacy in that he made the Dems think they won while he got exactly what he wanted. From his gubernatorial contests on down through his presidential contests he has consistently been the Dummy That Outsmarted The Smarties. He is a risk-taker, and he knows his opponents better than they know themselves.

I agree that in most cases it would be best to take the fight to them, to put in someone we know we will all stand behind, and be someone steeped in judicial knowledge, experience, and scholarship. The problem is that this person will never get confirmed in the current political arena -- Remember Judge Bork?

My clarion call is for conservatives to stop for a moment, consider the things I have said here, and to remember that politics does not happen in a vacuum. There is ALWAYS a bigger picture, and most have missed it. Yes, we have been betrayed by this President on spending, on border control, on cronyism in other areas. But the judicial appointments have been excellent, and there is no evidence now to have reason to believe that this one is a mistake. I'm not telling anyone to "shut up" or accuse anyone of being on a lynch mob; rather, sit back and observe without rancor and malice. The debate can and should happen, but it should not rage like a DU slapfight. Most importantly, try to remember that President Bush is concerned with having conservative originalists on the Court, as are the rest of us. Sometimes we get desired results from undesirable methods.

Remember, this buys time for the 2006 elections. Two solid conservatives (assuming the President is correct on Miers) will have already started the process of reworking the Court. Hopefully we will gain more seats in 2006, which could allow President Bush to think about a Luttig when Stephens retires. There is a time for boldness, and a time for quiet, and this is the time for quiet victory. When we have 51 solid conservatives, then we can ram candidates down the Dems' throats. Until then, we still have to convince them either that we are right or trick them into giving us what we want. The former hasn't happened; I believe the latter will.