Thursday, October 27, 2005

Harriet Miers withdraws her nomination

I have extremely mixed feelings about this. I was never completely "sold" on her. I was, however, completely sold on President Bush's right to appoint who he saw fit, and on the reasons for trusting his judgment, which he has earned.

Hugh Hewitt has consistently made excellent arguments for giving her a hearing, for giving W the benefit of the doubt, and not making fools and hypocrites of ourselves by borking her. His last two essays were particularly fairminded and thoughtful. He's been a model of charity, a model little-reflected by conservative opponents.

Miers' opponents, on the other hand, have raised valid concerns and issues -- but often in invalid ways. Personal attacks, ridicule, bringing in irrelevances, refusal to listen or grant personal fallibility, hypocrisy... all on bright, loud, frequent display. I think they've given an arsenal of weapons to our enemies, and undermined our decades-long positions and practices about these nominations.

I read two recently-released speeches of hers. They were miserable. Their contents ranged from ungrammatical, to banal, to very concerning (words of admiration for Barbara Streisand, Janet Reno, Ruth Ginsburg; her phrasing about abortion; her blameshifting on judicial activism). Supporters say maybe she changed her mind in the last 10-12 years -- but they also argue that she won't change her mind (i.e. go Souter) in the next 10-12 years. Hard to make both cases at the same time, it seems to me.

The entire situation put all conservatives in a bad place.

What we have today is, I think, what we don't want to have in the overturn of Roe v. Wade: a good result for the wrong reason.

We want Roe overturned -- but for Constitutional reasons, not as an act of reactive judicial activism.

And similarly, probably Miers' withdrawal is a good thing -- but not for the reasons for which she has withdrawn, and not with the events that have led up to it.

My fear now is that either W will nominate Gonzales, for whom I have NO enthusiasm, but who is qualified, and pretty clearly NOT in our corner ideologically; OR he will nominate an excellent candidate, and our enemies will use the very weapons we just so thoughtfully handed them to oppose him.

And we'll be unable to respond with integrity, having just done the same thing to Harriet Miers.

After we voiced our concerns, this should have been our policy, in my humble opinion:
If one gives an answer before he hears,
it is his folly and shame
(Proverbs 18:13)

Now we'll have to live with the consequences... and I am very concerned about what they will be.

UPDATE I: the wonderful La Shawn Barber is nice enough to link to this post and, in response, gives good reasons to be unenthusiastic about the prospect of an Alberto Gonzales nomination. To make sure I was clear, when I say Gonzales is "qualified," I mean technically so -- i.e. in the ways Miers' critics complained that she was not.

UPDATE II: All Things Beautiful's Alexandra provides comments, as well as links and summaries of many reactions from others.

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