Monday, October 10, 2005

President Bush "misunderestimates" the impact of Miers

There have been so many good subsequent postings on the Miers matter that I stopped updating my earlier post. But here is a summary of my current thoughts.

  1. Harriet Miers may be a wonderful appointment. Equally, she may be the worst mistake of Bush's presidency. We simply do not know, and cannot know -- and that is the problem.
  2. President Bush is shocked at the overwhelmingly negative response of his base, I think, as a result of a huge miscalculation on his part. Briefly stated: he is demanding that all of his supporters simply trust him, he expected they would gladly and instantly do that, and he was wrong. He has earned our trust; but he has not earned our unqualified, instant, unquestioning trust. He has "misunderestimated" the damage that he has done to his own credibility by his mishandling of border issues, by his signing that miserable anti-campaign-financing abomination of McCain's, by his huge-government excesses, and by his constant love-fests with his/our domestic enemies (i.e. Kennedy) and simultaneous too-frequent stiffings of our domestic allies (i.e. Toomey). Also, I think he has misunderestimated the shadow of his father's appointment of Souter, as well as the elder Bush's close friendship with unrepentant Bill Clinton (i.e. do the Bush men ever learn anything?).
  3. When I read or hear the spirited defenses and perspectivizings of Hugh Hewitt, Beldar and others, and when I read the endorsements of Jay Sekulow, James Dobson, and others, I am reassured.
  4. But when I read the equally spirited criticisms of the gang at The Corner, the hesitations of Mark Steyn, the acerbic slams of Ann Coulter, and hear the concerns of Laura Ingraham and others, I can't say they aren't voicing valid concerns.
  5. It's passing ironic to have Robert Bork "bork" Harriet Miers. He was rejected, to the abiding disgrace of culpable senators, after having every opportunity to explain his perspective. But now he has painted Miers' nomination as a "disaster" -- and that before she's had the same opportunity that he had.
  6. Having said that, it's hard to argue that Bork's remarks that "it’s a little late to develop a constitutional philosophy or begin to work it out when you’re on the court already," that "it’s kind of a slap in the face to the conservatives who’ve been building up a conservative legal movement for the last 20 years," and that "one of the messages here is, don’t write, don’t say anything controversial before you’re nominated," are unfounded. Unfounded, no; premature, yes.
  7. Then, just as an odd note, there's the guy who claims inside knowledge that the folks we wanted to see named did not want to be named, perhaps due to closetal skeletonnage, and that Judiciary Committee itself would have rejected others we'd have preferred, so Harriet Miers is the very best the President could have gotten confirmed. Who knows?
  8. It also is bitterly true that the President has succeeded where Dean, Kennedy, the Clintons, and the whole MSM have failed. He has fractured his own base. He did it because of #2, above: he just thought we'd all have no problem implicitly trusting him. He was mistaken.
Put me with those who think that Miers withdrawing would be damaging, and Bush withdrawing her name is unthinkable. Never has pressure been greater on a nominee to perform during the confirmation process. That is where she will either re-win the President's base, or heighten its sense of alarm.

So little in her past unambiguously shows why she is, in the President's mind, the very best person for this lifetime, epochal appointment. That is her problem, as well as her strength -- given the miserable state of the Senate. President Bush has appointed some excellent folks to judgeships, and deserves some benefit of some doubt. We must allow Miss Miers the opportunity to tell us about herself in her own words.

"If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame" (Proverbs 18:13).

UPDATE I: Well, this is unnerving. Having written and published all of the above, I now find Ron Brownstein in the LA Times taking much the same approach. On my list of life-goals "Agreeing with the LA Times about anything" is not to be found. I forget -- is Brownstein their token sane writer?

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