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.