BUSH BRAIN BURP
October 10, 2005
No good deed shall go unpunished.
Political patronage prerogatives have boundaries. A president can create a ‘Kitchen Cabinet’; appoint buddies to cabinet posts, and reward loyal cronies with assorted puff posts and even ambassadorships. However, apparently the cronyism privilege stalls and loses potency with lifetime Supreme appointments.
President Bush has precipitated an excrement storm over his nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.
In his weekly (weakly) radio address, the president said, "Harriet Miers will be the type of judge I said I would nominate: a good conservative judge,". Okay then give her a District judgeship and let her show her stuff…make her bones.
Bush said, "When she goes before the Senate, I am confident that all Americans will see what I see every day: Harriet Miers is a woman of intelligence, strength and conviction." Okay, we believe she is all that and more. However, a Supreme Court Justice? THAT dog ain’t gonna hunt.
Charles Krauthammer noted, “To have selected her, when conservative jurisprudence has …at least a dozen others on a bench deeper than that of the New York Yankees, is scandalous.”
It also appears to be an effort by the president to dodge a bullet and hide from a fight that needs to be fought…Krauthammer crystallized my angst when he observed, “By choosing a nominee suggested by Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid and well known only to George Bush, the president has ducked a fight on the most important domestic question dividing liberals from conservatives: the principles by which one should read and interpret the Constitution. For a man whose presidency is marked by a courageous willingness to think and do big things, this nomination is a sorry retreat into smallness.”
Even failing to find a qualified handicapped, black, Jewish female with a Hispanic surname there were several potential candidates better than Miers. William Kristol wrote, “I'm disappointed, depressed and demoralized. I'm disappointed because I expected President Bush to nominate someone with a visible and distinguished constitutionalist track record--someone like Maura Corrigan, Alice Batchelder, Edith Jones, Priscilla Owen, or Janice Rogers Brown--to say nothing of Michael Luttig, Michael McConnell, or Samuel Alito. Harriet Miers has an impressive record as a corporate attorney and Bush administration official. She has no constitutionalist credentials that I know of.” And Bill is not the Lone Ranger. The conventional wisdom had been that after the Roberts confirmation, there would be a ‘Super Bowl’ partisan battle over the ‘next’ Supremes nominee. The Bork and Thomas hearings were going to pale in comparison to the November ratings sweep firestorm when Bush appoints a for real knuckle dragging, constitutional fundamentalist conservative to replace Justice Sandy Day O’Connor.
Katie Bar the Door and “Let’s get ready to RUMMMBBBLLLLE”…Hank Williams was already remixing the Monday Night Football theme ‘Are you ready for some FOOTBALL?”
It was going to high drama, political intrigue, establishing new heights for partisan vitriol and dueling punditry ass kicking….Or not….
A week before the unveiling of Miers, republicans were jazzed over the prospect to unite the party behind, around, and in front of the president’s Supreme Court nominee. Now, in the wake of the Miers selection, republicans are eating their own and democrats are snickering in the shadows occasionally dribbling gasoline on the fire.
Harriet is in some ways a ‘twofer’: 1) she is an absolute G.W. loyalist and is getting the penultimate ‘attagirl’ for years of dedication and hard work; and 2) so much is unknown (or legitimately ‘privileged’) that those tasked with vetting her don’t know (and won’t find) ‘Jack-spit’ about her.
The president is saying, “Trust me! I KNOW this woman and I trust her.” But to those republicans who have been grudgingly losing trust in their president…that isn’t enough. In some ways it is similar to Ted Kennedy telling Mary Jo Kopeckne, “Let ME drive!”
Bush had promised to choose justices in the mold of Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia (two rock solid conservatives). Miers is a top drawer lawyer…but for sure…she is not a Scalia or Thomas.
The president coulda/shoulda bit the bullet and engaged the fight. Janice Rogers Brown would have been a great choice (as would others). Force the libs to try their filibuster and then make Sen. Bill Frist do what he should have done from the jump and correct the abuse of process introduced to the Senate by Mike Mansfield and Bob Byrd.
By nominating Miers the president has squandered a unique opportunity to create a Supreme Court that is constitutionally grounded and principled.
Bush blinked…and his administration, his party, and the country will pay the price.
© 2005 Geoff Metcalf - All Rights Reserved
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