• People Talk and My Ear Bleeds


    from Twitter


    Thursday, October 27, 2005

    Harriet Miers Withdraws

    Well, it seems we don't even get to see her get grilled. I was hoping to see that. I guess she will stay somewhat of an enigma.

    It's for the best though.

    Charles Krauthammer with the Washington Post said, prophetically, five days ago that the only way out for the Miers and the Bush administration would be her withdrawl becuase of irreconcilable differences due to the inability to release documents.
    For a nominee who, unlike John Roberts, has practically no record on constitutional issues, such documentation is essential for the Senate to judge her thinking and legal acumen. But there is no way that any president would release this kind of information -- "policy documents" and "legal analysis" -- from such a close confidante. It would forever undermine the ability of any president to get unguarded advice.

    Hence the perfectly honorable way to solve the conundrum: Miers withdraws out of respect for both the Senate and the executive's prerogatives, the Senate expresses appreciation for this gracious acknowledgment of its needs and responsibilities, and the White House accepts her decision with the deepest regret and with gratitude for Miers's putting preservation of executive prerogative above personal ambition.
    But is this the REAL reason for the withdrawl? The RCP Blog says
    One interpretation of the Miers withdrawal is that the President realized (or was informed by GOP Senators) that she didn't have a chance of being confirmed. A more speculative interpretation of the timing of the withdrawal is that the President knows there are indictments coming down tomorrow and needs to have his base support consolidated. He can use news of a new appointment to deflect attention from any possible bad news from the Fitzgerald investigation.
    When I woke up the the news of the Miers withdrawl this morning, I thought first that she couldn't withstand the Senate rigor--her personal interviews were just not impressive enough. Bush knew from their feedback that she wouldn't pass, and so she resigned. However, that isn't necessarily the best way to do it. He could have let her go through the grilling, and spun an anti-senate view that would have softened up the American populace and his base for a candidate that undoubtably will get far more fire from the left than Miers.

    Obviously, something more than the excuse of white house documents must be at work. I find it far within the realm of reason that Bush knows exactly when indictments are coming. He's probably expecting Rove, the mastermind, to be indicted, and possibly V.P. Cheney as well. Miers herself could also be indicted, but at the very least, having his white house counsel whom he trusts so much by his side as his administration goes down in the flames of ineptitude will provide him solace and maybe, just maybe a way to weather the storm.

    It is frustrating to see an adminstration with so much promise do so much wrong. It is also interesting that this nomination has highlighted the power of blogs. Never before Roberts has the American public had such a powerful say in their judges. Although I agree with Politechnical Institute that
    "Whatever Miers’ shortcomings as a Supreme Court nominee, it is clear that she is an accomplished attorney and has served the public honorably. The character she exhibits now in withdrawal does her credit..."
    the competency flaws seen by the senators were first highlighted and hit upon repeatedly by bloggers. Such flaws may have gone unnoticed, or at least slipped under the radar until the Bork-like confirmation hearings, in a previous era. But today, bloggers have put an onus on the nomination of a supremely rigorous candidate for a supreme position.

    Whatever the reasons, the Bush administration is severly weakened, and has no choice but to nominate a divisive candidate. The Right won't support another Miers and the Left won't support what the Right will. Perhaps O'Connor will be adjudicating for quite some time yet. Everyone has their opinion on who the next nominee should be. Orin Kerr at The Volokh Conspiracy suggests Michael McConnell or Karen Williams. California Conservative predicts Edith Jones. Slate knocks around many women's names and the reason why the Bush administration may not choose any of them.

    The other side of the coin has this to say: (From Left Field)
    But if Bush's political success is linked to a rabid wingnut getting onto the Court, you better believe his base will fight and fight hard to mitigate any damage from the Plame indictments. That's why I see this withdrawal, politically speaking, as good in the short-term, bad in the long term. Bush looks bad now, but he'll have more people behind him now when indictments come.

    ...with low numbers and embarrassing indictments, the moderates in the Senate like McCain and Specter have even less incentive to rally around a Priscilla Owen or Janice Rodgers Brown.

    ...I forsee a Luttig or Wilkeson appointment, or someone along those lines - someone with Federalist Society bona fides, but enough experience and distance from the president to win confirmation. That won't completely please the radical right, but they have to realize Bush cannot sustain a nasty filibuster fight.
    It will be an interesting couple of months to end out the year.

    No comments: