“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

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.


55 Old Comments:

There's a typo in the first paragraph following your three points. You used 'in' instead of 'if'.

By Anonymous Deputy Mayor, at 10/10/05 12:26 PM  

This is much of what I had been thinking for the past week, and you put it into words quite nicely. Let's hope conservatives don't shoot themselves in the foot on this one.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/10/05 1:18 PM  

You have said it so clearly. Bravo! I am patiently waiting for the hearings to begin and for Meirs to surprise us all with what Bush already knows.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/10/05 1:33 PM  

Deputy Mayor,

Thanks for the tip -- fixed now!

By Blogger Skymuse, at 10/10/05 1:33 PM  

We aren't going to gain seats in 2006, we're going to lose seats in 2006. The President's implicit slap at his base by nominiating this mediocre nonentity, accompanied by the explicit slaps at the base by such as Senator Graham, will persuade many of us our support isn't wanted or needed.

On the other hand, the nomination of a credentialed conservative who is a prominent legal scholar might have been confirmed and certainly would have energized the base (and the non-ideological middle, who are already growing sick of the Left's radical positions on judges) to possibly gain seats in 2006. This nomination represents two opportunities lost forever - the chance to have four strong conservative legal scholars on the Supreme Court at once, and the opportunity to build on the conservative numbers in both houses of Congress.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/10/05 1:34 PM  

I agree with you completely. President Bush has consistently looked at the big picture. His long term goal is to incrementally increase the conservative power base so that the Republican party maintains control for the long term. A conservative court is an important pillar in this quest and Bush has shown that he has learned the lessons from his father's presidency. Great leaders, not to mention great businessmen, tend to look at things on a level much higher than they are given credit for. Bush's critics have misunderestimated him once again.

By Anonymous Paolo Thompson, at 10/10/05 1:37 PM  

This may be the intended strategy, but if so, it's dumb. In the past, when Bush has gotten people to underestimate him, it's never been his base. There are a lot of us that, despite rising doubts, have been willing to trust in him, his message, and his goals.

All along, there has been some glimmer of hope that we could cling to that he really was one of us, and an effective member of our group, that the other side just never saw coming.

Now, he's made a move that even we, his base, don't understand. If it is part of a hidden agenda, it's so hidden that we can't possibly have faith in it. That's a mistake.

And honestly, if this does end up splintering the Party, it's not the warring factions that are to blame for shooting themselves in the foot, it is the Bush administration, who wrestled our guns from us and then shot us in the foot.

By Blogger RFTR, at 10/10/05 1:37 PM  

I've made this point many times since the nomination myself.

I think the court is inbred with judicial 'experience' and the power-trip that evolves along with it. Roberts and Miers will help to alleviate this.

By Anonymous Jimmy, at 10/10/05 1:40 PM  


I don't pretend to enjoy the scenario I've proposed; I truly wish we could take one of the Scalia types and say "too bad, we're going back to originalism" the the Lefties and force the vote because we can.

The problem is, we *cannot* thanks to the RINOs. With 44 or 45, you can't force any issue, and everything must be massaged.

I'm merely saying that given this time, these circumstances, this Senate, the President chose to fight another day, and do his best to give us what we want.

Whether we win or lose seats in 2006 is unknowable; my belief is that he is betting on a gain so that if another opportunity arises then we can put a more immediately palatable choice in the seat.

With all due respect, I think that the foot-shooting is on the part of those who demand immediate gratification and the blame lies with the RINOs and Socialist Dems who have wrestled the confirmation process into an agenda-driven and litmus-tested meatgrinder.

I sincerely hope for the best here, and I am willing to put trust in the President. If you are not, fair enough and we will have an honest and agreeable disagreement.

By Blogger Skymuse, at 10/10/05 1:49 PM  

A very astute piece. The conservative puritans can't seem to remember that the fight for Bork gave us Kennedy. The Seven Dwarves really are the problem and the President has to play a hand that takes them into account. It would be nice if "the best" and "the best we can do" were the same but as long as McCain and Graham believe that salvation lies in the undifferentiated muddle this is what will occur. I can understand Snowe, Chaffee and Collins but the other four Dwarves ought to try and rent a spine.

By Blogger Rick Ballard, at 10/10/05 2:06 PM  

"inbred with judicial 'experience' and the power-trip that evolves along with it."


By Blogger Mr. Snitch, at 10/10/05 2:07 PM  

How do you figure 45 republican votes? Maybe you could count down the defectors? My count is more like 5 defectors (out of 55), with some Red State Dems up for re-election being forced to vote for the Repub nominee. Probably not enough to break a filibuster, but enough to pass a majority vote. But let the Dem's filibuster a well qualified conservative nominee and let the chips fall as they please.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/10/05 2:18 PM  

Chaffee, Collins, Dewine, Graham, Martinez, McCain, Snowe, Voinovich have all proven to be wobbly wrt this administration. President Bush might get some of these votes depending on the nominee in question, but any of these names are a red flag IMHO. I agree with the Red State Dems point, but that is shaky support at best.

My point is based on the premise that if we want Scalia Jr up for nomination, we'd better have ALL our (R) votes in line, because the (D) votes will likely be in lockstep against, and there are at least 5 (R) votes that we know are faithless. Since that is a recipe for failed confirmation, it seems to me that Bush got the Dems to vote for his guy and then he "agreed" to demands for O'Connor's replacement knowing that she will be more to the originalist bent than the Dems think.

By Blogger Skymuse, at 10/10/05 2:34 PM  

We are going to lose one or two seats in 2006 no matter what. In addition to the standard stuff about second term off-year elections, Rhode Island (Chaffee- no big deal), Ohio (DeWine) and Pennsylvania (Santorum) don't look very good right now, and there are no clear opportunities for pick-ups.

The GOP has not succeeded in recruiting strong candidates (the WVa best hope turned down the urge to run against Byrd), and the Red State Dems (e.g., North Dakota, Florida, Nebraska) are either too purple (Florida) or too entrenched (Dorgan). Minnesota would be an opportunity, but it is a very purple state, and the likely Dem nominee, Amy Klobuchar, is actually sort of moderate (as a county prosecutor) and is universally lionized by the media, so she is likely to win because of female power.

So Sky is right- the RINOs kill the opportunity for a strong SCOTUS pick, and the window is closing. The Reps have already harvested all the low-hanging fruit (Southern open seats).

Meanwhile, the giant hissy fit of constantly fussing about Katrina and Medicare prescription drugs is again painting the Republicans as the "let them eat dog food" party.

I wonder if I can move to the Isle of Man?

By Blogger Kurmudge, at 10/10/05 2:51 PM  

Interesting piece and good comments. I've been trying to noodle this one out, and you present the 'wait and watch' argument about as well as I've seen it.

I guess it comes down to two sides on the conservative base: 1) those who believe that a knock-down, guns-blazing fight for a strong nominee (e.g. Luttig, Brown, Owen) is useful, even if the nominee fails, and 2) those who believe, like Al Davis, that the key is to "just win, baby."

One thing I've learned in observing politicans: no matter what they think, say, and do, all of them, lib and conservative, Dem, and Rep, all have one thing in common --

-- they know how to count.

They are really, really good at figuring out what can be done, how many votes there are so whatever the issue is at the moment, and what's going to happen at election time. If they aren't good, they don't stay in office.

So I suspect that Pres. Bush, who is himself extremely good at counting, has done some counting, and figures that he can't get Luttig or Brown through. Further, he figures that a loss on such a nominee is going to cost him more than a success on someone like Miers.

Now maybe he and Leahy cut a deal (interesting thought), maybe not. But I suspect the President looked at the Senate and said, nope, I can't get 51 for Luttig.

So he nominated Miers. I suspect he knew the base would be angry but hoped that people would figure out the nod-and-wink from people like Dobson, et al. So far that hasn't happened, and the reason is, I think, that the base is far more interested in a fight, regardless of the loss. I think GWB simply doesn't want that.

My two cents, anyways. Again, good essay.

By Anonymous Steve White, at 10/10/05 3:05 PM  

Your argument rests wholly on 2 premises:
1. We only have 44-45 R votes confirm in the Senate someone like Luttig
2. Miers is conservative

#1 is false and #2 is highly questionable.

On #1, You're correct that Chafee,Collins,Snowe & Specter are squishy and likely would vote no, but when push comes to shove Graham, McCain, Martinez, Voinovich, & DeWine will vote yes. Further Ben Nelson of Nebraska will vote yes and there are a few other moderate/reasonable D's that could vote yes (Pryor, Landrieu, Lincoln, Dorgan/Conrad). We have a floor of 52 votes to confirm and 51 to end the filibuster. You ask us to remember Bork, but in his day there were 58 Democrat senators, Bork was much more outspokenly conservative than any Luttig or Alito would be and he still only failed by 8 votes.

On #2, you said yourself that this is a woman who has supported affirmative action and given money to Dems in the past. There is virtually nothing in her record where she has ever taken a stand for conservative principles.

Yes, it should count for something that Bush knows her personally. But this fact remains, Bush knows NOTHING about how she would act as a judge. You can know someone as a friend, and as a lawyer, but until she puts on the black robe you will not know how she will rule on certain matters. The thing that is said most often about Miers is that noone knows what she really thinks about issues. Read John Fund's report today for more on that.

SkyMuse, I truly hope you are correct, but the more I read about Miers, the more wrong I think you, and the President, are.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/10/05 3:28 PM  

Skymuse said:

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.

Sorry, no. If I choose to go out on a limb and make a hiring decision solely on the advice of a friend, I have a fall-back position if experience teaches me the hiring was a mistake -- I have the power to fire as well as the power to hire.

Neither the president nor we have a place to retreat to if the Miers tenure on the SCOTUS is a disaster. It's a lifetime appointment -- once she's confirmed, she's beholden to no one, and we're stuck with her.

If what you mean to say is, "I feel comfortable ignoring Miers' complete lack of judicial philosophy, her inadequate set of professional experiences, and her sympathy with several liberal activist policy positions, and I trust the President's gut feel more than I trust my own eyes," then you should say what you mean.

I don't trust the president to make a nomination of this importance on "feel". I expect him to heed the advice of experts (Andy Card doesn't qualify). I expected him to fulfill his solemn promise to give us nominations in the vein of Scalia and Thomas.

I trusted him and was betrayed.

By Blogger Tom P, at 10/10/05 3:36 PM  

Excellant essay. I am not enthralled with the nomination, but when Olympia Snow is defending her you have to pause. The sum effect of all this carping by the "elites" is simply to torpedo the nomination. Is that REALLY what they want. I don't. I concur with your position on the senate votes. There is not a majority of senators that will support a nominee from the far right, heck, even from the close right. Why give McCain and the great facilitators another platform to crow from. I believe when the dust clears "the dummy" will have scored another one for his legacy.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/10/05 3:37 PM  

A voice of sanity!

The "conservatives" seem to think they are Gods gift to the Republicans. Lot of people voted for GW without being conservative.

Not only is Miers an excellent pick, being an ex-dem (she can always respond to criticism by explaining why she left!), lets not underestimate the religious angle here. Miers is born-again! The born-aginners should be dancing! But no one ever prospered doing favors for the right. :(

By Blogger Xiaoding, at 10/10/05 3:45 PM  

Anonymous @ 4:28 PM,

I like your post. Well reasoned and well counted. However, the factor that you're not giving proper weight to is the polarization effect.

The nation, and hence the Senate, are more polarized than at any time in my memory. Far more than in '87, for instance. The Dems CANNOT break party ranks, it'll be the end of 'em. The Judiciary is all they have, and CANNOT let it go. Ergo, the nuclear fight over a Luttig (et al). And they explicitly threatened those Repubs in Violet situations, such as Chafee, to a full-blown war come reelection time.

Also, read the other tea leaf: qualified Repub candidates staying away in droves. They're trying to tell us something, and my money is on the internal polling being really bad. Like lose the Senate bad.
This fight wasn't winnable, so he took the next best option. Sorry, that's the way I see it...

Skymuse, what a wonderful post! I stayed off this topic last week because the signal/noise ratio was WAAAAY out of line. Thanks!

By Blogger PSGInfinity, at 10/10/05 4:07 PM  

Great job Skymuse!

Part of the bigger picture is the need to enforce some discipline on those who would make side agreements across party lines. A nomination that brings the power hungry 14 into play has a lot of consequences. Giving McCain a pulpit is alone a serious concern in that it rewards such damaging behvior. His willingness to damage the conservative base should be getting more attention from our supposed great conservative thinkers.

Thanks Skymuse for bringing the bigger picture issues to the table. Andy

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/10/05 4:36 PM  

Nice summary. Bush certainly cannot count on the RINO's to act like they're in the majority.

If I'm not mistaken two of the harshest critics of this nomination, George Will and Bill Kristol, also were opposed to invoking the nuclear option during the earlier judicial nominations which led to the gang of 14 including MCCain. How do these critics expect a Brown or Luttig to get past a filibuster without the RINO's?
Mark Levin commented on this at bench memos on NRO and said we should all thank MCCain that Bush held back here.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/10/05 4:50 PM  

You concede that Miers is at best an O'Connors vote. If that's what you think you've got going in, what are the chances that she won't evolve to the left of that. She does not have O'Connors intellectual credential going in, she has a history of never taking a position that liberals would consider outside the "mainstream" and she is a single workaholic (precisely Souter's profile). Her evangelical Christian leanings are easy to maintain in Dallas (or in the hothouse of the Bush West Wing); but when she has lifetime tenure, no more political/business clients dictating her priorities, replaced by the social pressures/advantages of the D.C. liberal salons, I think Republicans would be fools (after Warren, Brennan, Blackmun, Stevens, Kennedy and Souter) to accept another "stealth" candidate on faith. After all the betrayals of Bush's failures on immigration, Medicare drug benenfits, steel tariffs and federal spending the consolations of your "long-term strategery" argument have the odor of Stockholm Syndrome about them.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/10/05 4:58 PM  

I'm sorry that many consdervatives were so anxious to crush the left with a dressed up version of Robert Bork that they are totally unable to appreciate the fact that W. has "done it again." We in Texas know both him and Harriet. They're both full of moxie and as conservative as they can be. By nominating a woman he shuts up many of the Hillaryesques and by nominating an unkown (except to us who know her to be a strict constructionist and dedicated Christian) who is not a jurist he has completely confounded the left side of the committee who have no idea what to ask and, if they bully her, will get nothing except egg on face.

Come on, people. Calm down. Harriet is one of the good guys.

Bob in Dallas

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/10/05 5:11 PM  

Anon @ 6:11

Guys? (raises eyebrow)

Well, she does resemble Emperor Palpitane...

By Blogger PSGInfinity, at 10/10/05 5:21 PM  

What did Rove tell Dobson?

By Blogger Steve J., at 10/10/05 6:13 PM  

It's so damned annoying to constantly hear people whine about being "slapped in the face" or some other such BS by the Bush Administration and how his base is being "split" and the GOP is going to lose seats in '06 because of the actions of the Administration.

Sure. I believe you. When it comes time to either protect and possibly enlarge the GOP majority or to give Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi a chance to run Congress, you're all going to sit at home because Dubya made you mad. Sure. Come on. It would be a lot more impressive if the GOP base wasn't such a paper tiger when it comes to rebelling against G-Dub. You'll go out and vote for Republicans in droves and we all know it. Unless you're all monumentally stupid and would rather give the Democrats a chance to run Congress thanks to some childish gesture of defiance against Bush because he didn't do what you wanted him to do.

How sad that he disappointed you on Issue X! Maybe you'd prefer the Democratic Party's approach to Issue X? What's that? You don't? Well then I guess you'd better do something about that. And what's the only way of doing so? Voting for Republicans? Well I guess all you people moaning and groaning are between a rock and a bit of a hard place, aren't you?

Talk about being shortsighted. Add in a bit of ignorance - "Bush knows NOTHING about how she would act as a judge" (interesting, I would have thought that perhaps Bush would have at least asked her about how she would decide cases if she was a judge, especially considering the part where he nominated her to be a Supreme Court Justice) - and you have a bunch of whiny babies who will, inevitably, go out and vote, if for no other reason than they will at long last recognize that however many times they think they've been "betrayed" by Bush, it's better than the Democrats being in charge anywhere. And if you do stay at home? Good for you, you've expressed your independence and displeasure. In 2008 you'll be talking about how important it will be to "take back" the House or the Senate or both because you wanted to teach George Bush a lesson and you didn't realize that the Democrats would actually pick up seats or gain a majority, really, you thought the GOP would lose a few seats but still be in charge!

So you have fun with that. Really, have a ball. After two years of a Democrat congress, especially a Democrat congress with the current lot of fools in its ranks, you'll be falling over yourselves to say what a mistake it was to not go vote back in '06, but it'll be a little late then.

It's not a good situation, but it's what we're facing. Recognize that. Bush is disappointing in a multitude of ways, true, but disappointment in a Republican President and Congress is infinitely better than looking at the Hill or at the White House and seeing it being run by a donkey.

By Anonymous Chaos, at 10/10/05 6:17 PM  

power or principle? being a conservative, I prefer principle. bush has been a disappointment, except with foreign policy.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/10/05 7:01 PM  

Let's get back to considering the 2006 election, because it's important, and this nomination affects it.

With this nomination, President Bush told the American people that the Democrats matter. Given a choice between picking a nominee that Harry Reid approves of, or one that Republicans approve of, Bush chose to go with Reid's pick.

You're trying to decide which party to donate to so you can have the most influence. Who do you give to, the Democrats, or the Republicans. President Bush just told you to go for the Democrats.

You're a voter, trying to figure out who to vote for so you have the most influence. Again, President Bush just told you to vote for the Democrat.

Bush had the chance to propose a nominee who would paint the Red State Democrat Senators into a corner: either you agree with the voters in your state, or you agree with the Democrat National Party.

He had a chance to put the RINOs (esp McCain, who wants national prominence) on the hot seat: wither you support the President's Supreme Court nominee against a Democrat filibuster, or you never win another election as a Republican.

Again, he punted.

Bush 41 demonstrated that when it comes to political power, either you use it, or you lose it.

Bush chose not to use it.

By Blogger Greg D, at 10/10/05 7:41 PM  

GWs betrayed you RWsas wellas every real citizen.

He's fucked boys, He won't be back nor will many of his cronies.............

have one last glass of koolaid

By Anonymous RalplhMugutzup, at 10/10/05 8:08 PM  

I am a liberal interloper here - this is a fine piece of writing and a great take on Miers. My only issue with the whole piece is this: "Hopefully we will gain more seats in 2006, which could allow President...."

Right now there in NO hope the GOP will gain seats in 2006. As lame as the DEM leadership is the Democrats are still going to make huge gains. Bush is hovering around Nixon's numbers now and after the heating oil shock this winter he will be in the 20s. I want this to happen - but I am also shocked that a clear Conservative does not see the train coming for the GOP.

By Anonymous sockmonkey, at 10/10/05 8:37 PM  

You've said nicer than I did...

Miers was not only qualified, she was pre-qualified...

By Blogger jwt4412, at 10/10/05 9:09 PM  

Sorry, your analysis does not hold up

In your scenario, why would the president not score some points with the base go down blazing with a Luttig and then simply nominate Meirs on the rebound? A luttig loss is not nearly the foregone conclusion you make it out to be. He would likely, but nowhere near certainly lose.

Why intentionally put himself in the position of simultaneously having to convince conservatives she really is (wink wink) conservative and Liberals that she is not that conservative if he didn't have to.

Why is the white house so obviously unprepared for the uproar and if this is so cleverly thought out, why is their spin so pathetic...criticism is elitist, its its not coming from the grass roots

No, the simplist explaination is the most likely. The simplest is the White House, distracted by upcoming indictments and the mostly slef-inflicted damage from Katrina flailed around took the base for granted and went into default crony mode. This can be seen in any number of signs....To drum up flagging support he finally had to do something he has avoided for five years and explicitly named radical islam as our enemy in the war on terror. "We will spend whatever it takes to rebuild New Orleans"...

No he took he base for granted and completely missed this one. If she is confirmed the perceived breach of faith will result in the effective end of his presidency and significant losses in 06.....

As more about her squishyness comes out, The foot soldiers of the right will stay home in droves and there are not enough republicans to knock on doors and man all the high risk polling places.

Too my mind that would be just fine. In its current state 2or4or6 years of the wacky left governing, even if they get a couple of supreme picks will do more for conservatives than 20 years of JOhn McCain

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/10/05 12:35 AM  


What you are saying can't happen did happen not that long ago with another faux conservative: Bush 41. The current Bush is out LBJing LBJ in just about every way, including Harriet Abe Fortas. This will lead to a lack of effort, money, and votes soon enough.

Unfortunately, what the liberal interloper said is true about the GOP losing badly in the next election. The economy is lousy, gas and heating costs are going way up, and the war is nothing to be satisfied with.

The administration is most likely in panic mode with its legal problems and falling poll numbers. A friend on the court could come in handy if some legal muscle is needed.

By Blogger biggovgop, at 11/10/05 1:20 AM  

You only get to shoot the Constitutional Option gun once. Therefore, you need 50 who will shoot it. I don't see those 50, hence the gang of 14, who are "loyal" to the "institution" of the Senate. If Bush has been squishy on Court nominees, I don't see it. It also gets O'Connor off the court by Christmas with a person that the picker personally knows and believes will vote as a strict constructionist. I like those odds versus the Willig etal option.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/10/05 6:02 AM  

Well said. You don't go to war without an army that will fight. The President knows his RINOs.

By Blogger cube, at 11/10/05 7:59 AM  

I think that the white house was completely asleep at the switch on this one, and frankly the president is screwing over the entire republican party. Absolutely no good can come from this nomination- the woman literally doesn't know Earl Warren from Warren Burger. And I have no hope of us doing well in the next election- we've got indictments on Delay, that even if dismissed still smear us (both partys are in bed with the lobbists, but our sheets are the ones getting yanked back...), high gas prices and a dead end war. How can we not loose seats? He basically just nominated the janitor for a seat on the supreme court... that's not elitism- I want my judges to be familiar with the constitution, and she's not.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/10/05 8:30 AM  

Bush is willing to take a beating from his own base in order to actually give them what they want in the long run, without their realizing it.
Sounds like a genuine leader to me.

By Anonymous Allison Aller, at 11/10/05 8:58 AM  

I'm not a republican or a conservative, and honestly I feel that this administration has done a lot of harm. I'm not willing, however, to view you as an 'enemy' or any nonsense like that. I'd really like to understand your philosophy because you're all obviously very politically active, intelligent, and seem unified in knowing what you want.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/10/05 10:01 AM  

Are those angry at the President over Miers Originalists or not? They seem now to be suggesting he had no right to select Miers, but the Constitution says he does. What's going on now is not just disagreement with him about his choice, they seem to be intent on preventing confirmation of his choice in order to force him to nominate their preference. This is abandoning their own principles, it seems to me.

By Anonymous Peggy, at 11/10/05 10:22 AM  

Do any of you really think our jelly fish senate republicans would go to the mat for a Luttig or Brown?? Look how they treated John Bolton. Besides, John McCain said something to the effect that it was not up to the President, but rather it was up to the "gang of 14". I have far more trust in our President than I do in Bill Kristol or Pat Buchanan.

By Anonymous dixie68, at 11/10/05 10:50 AM  

I am an unapologetic liberal. And like many, I dissent from the conservative point of view. There is a large swath of Americans on both sides.

I dont agree with the president on MANY issues. But I dont conisder this any "liberal givaway" either.

I think that we need judicial leaders who will judge the law justly, nothing more.

Conservatives are just as interested in justice for all. Be reminded that there was a time when BOTH major parties supported slavery. When BOTH major parties thought it was a joke for women to vote....

Times change - they just do - it is a function of the supreme court to recognize this change when it is appopriate to do so. There are times when they MUST look at the issue at hand and either point to congress to change it, or to change what is clearly unjust if congress fails to do so.

That is our history and greatest strength - compromise - not 51% - compromise.

This nomination does just that. And it is one of Bush's finest moves. Meirs is not defeatable from either side.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/10/05 11:09 AM  


the Republican party first ran a candidate for national office in 1856. John C Fremont on an explicitly anti-slavery platform In fact, the only republican not to run on an anti-slavery platform was Abraham Lincoln in 1860, who was merely against the SPREAD of slavery. No Republican candidate running on a national ticket ever supported slavery. As the Republican party began as a repudiation of the Whig party. It can safely be said that none of its antecedants were pro-slavery either.

That said, I never said the president didn't have the right under the constitution t nominate whoever he wished. I also still believe the Senate's voice should be limited to the "competant or incompetant" determination.

As one who worked his buns off to ensure the president got re-elected, I have every right to carp about how disappointing his nominee is. He also is not allowed to be shocked or disappointed when, the next time one of his functionaries calls me asking for a letter to a senator or a few more bucks I tell him to bite me. Multiply those bites by the millions of disappointed hard core supporters and he will have effectively limited his ability to lead. As he has turned in the ghost of LBJ, this sits just fine with me. BROWNBACK in 2008

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/10/05 12:05 PM  

Thank you for your insight. This man, Bush, comes from a grandfather and father who were both attuned to what can and usually will happen in Washington.
"W" knows his stuff and will succeed. (Even Clinton was aware of that, ie. Compassionate Conservatism). You are watching a true leader at work.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/10/05 12:28 PM  

Skymuse you write in part:
"I don't trust the president to make a nomination of this importance on "feel". I expect him to heed the advice of experts..."

I live in NH. The "exoperts" convinced Bush 41 to give us Souter. Earl Warren was a conserative. Point is that there are NO experts on how a judge will rule once on the SCOTUS.

You believe that a paper trail is the litmus test of someones political outlook. No matter the available information once the judge gets teh job they are there until they die or retire.

I've hired or recommended the hiring of dozens of people throughout my career. Without a doubt the best results are when I can hire people that I personally know. Thats my best litmus test.

This is Bush's slot to fill. He believes that he knows Meirs. He's done well so far with his appointments. If he's right he'll slightly shift the court. Wait and see and pray that the repubs hold the senate and he gets another pick. Not because this is a bad pick, but because we need to replace a lib to really effect things.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/10/05 12:38 PM  


I *do* trust the President; I think you're responding to another commenter. I also don't believe the paper trail is necessarily accurate.

However, we do agree, especially the last 2 grafs of your comment. It's all about political reality and the game of inches.

By Blogger Skymuse, at 11/10/05 12:44 PM  


I think a comparison to 41 is faulty; the confirmation process had only started its overt politicization and elder Bush relied far too much on the opinions of his aides. He did not even know Souter.

I agree that if one has the political power one should use it. In this case, we do not have as much power as we think or would like due to the RINOs and McCain's Gang of 14. It is my opinion that any attempt to put a hardcore known conservative up for confirmation will result in lockstep Dem opposition combined with RINO defection and failure.

At that point any political capital has been squandered, time has been wasted, and a nominee who might get in with better Senators in the future has now been dumped for good. Bork is a perfect example of this.

I wish we could force the issue. We can't. The alternative is to slip in a stealth conservative that they can't torpedo, and that seems to be exactly what has happened.

By Blogger Skymuse, at 11/10/05 12:49 PM  


That's why I said "hopefully" instead of "Of course" :-)

This actually brings my point more in focus -- we'll probably lose seats in '06, so it's best to get what we can while we can.

By Blogger Skymuse, at 11/10/05 12:52 PM  

I answer with a Quote from the movie 'The American President (1995)'

And you think you're wrong?

I don't think you win elections by
telling 59 percent of the people that
they are.

We fight the fights we can win.


You fight the fights that need

David --

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/10/05 1:35 PM  


Fair enough, but I prefer not to take political lessons from finctional movies, especially those directed by Rob Reiner.

As I've said, typically I believe in playing strength, and if it were possible I'd love it if the President would ram Scalia Jr down Harry Reid's throat. He *can't* due to interference from RINOs and faithless Reps. We don't have the (R) spines in the Senate to do that.

There's fighting the good fights, and there is wasting energy. In this case I think it would be wasted energy. Signing a piece of legislation that will make your numbers drop is a far cry from steering a nominee for the Court through confirmation.

By Blogger Skymuse, at 11/10/05 1:52 PM  


fictional (is that even grammatically correct? sigh....)

By Blogger Skymuse, at 11/10/05 1:52 PM  

I agree with the Palestinians. I think God told him to pick her.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/10/05 3:14 PM  

Brilliant. I did not see a trackback, but my response is here

By Blogger Don Singleton, at 11/10/05 3:38 PM  

Look, Dr Sowell was spot on and he's more spot on than Levin. I'm devistated we didn't get Rogers-Brown or Luttig. Disappointed beyond belief. I agree with every conservative except the blindly "I trust W" crowd. I trust W too, but that's not why I am for Miers' nomination. My disappointment is Dr Bill, whose only course of action to help get W's nominations through the subcommittee is "I'm concerned, Chris." As long as Frist refuses to change the Senate rules, Chuckie, et al WILL filibuster, especially a Rogers-Brown, Luttig (you know, the ones we KNOW to be originalists). The MSM will gleefully destroy their lives (Bork ain't seen nothin' yet) and we won't get a known quantity originalist. It breaks my heart that W must use the Supremes to overcome his ONLY threat: Senate Republicans (especially the gang of 14 and Dr Bill) but they have to be defeated. What I do trust is my suspicions that Miers is an originalist based on her past picks for W, all originalists. This isn't about the Supremes. It's about the greatest enemy of conservatism: Senate Republicans. They have to have their rear ends handed to themselves, and that's what W's doing. Either way this confirmation goes, the GOP senators get their teeth kicked in, Frist gets a wake up call to play ball and W lets them know their dogs ain't huntin'.

By Anonymous gone2pot, at 11/10/05 5:47 PM  



We have got to break up the Good Ol' Boys Club in the Senate and get some real representation (on both sides, really). All the "comity" and "collegial" nonsense needs to be dumped.

If we had even 50 true conservatives (let alone the 55 our numbers say we should have), the only debate would be Luttig, McConnell, or Brown. Ms Miers could continue to advise the President and prep the nominees for confirmation.

Great comment!

By Blogger Skymuse, at 11/10/05 11:13 PM