Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Prez takes a mulligan

Whew. That was close. For a second there, I thought Harriet Miers was actually going to have to testify before the Judiciary Committee, and that wasn’t going to be pretty. If her answers to the questionnaire she was given were any indication as to how she would fare when people like Chuck Schumer and Ted Kennedy start asking her questions, she’s much better off having withdrawn.

It’s going to be reported that it was Harriet Miers’ idea to withdraw herself, but that’s crap. Odds are that some of the senators on the Judiciary Committee told the President ‘Look, it’s just not looking good for her. So, she can either withdraw now, or be made a fool of at the hearings and get voted down. It’s your choice.’

Knowing that a withdrawal would save much more face than an outright ‘no vote,’ the President likely figured that the former would be a much better option. So, Harriet Miers took one for the team. And for that, she should be commended.

I’m not exactly ecstatic at Miers’ withdrawal for a couple of reasons. First of all, it’s sad that it had to come to this. I’m sure Ms. Miers is a lovely, bright, decent woman. She just wasn’t ready to sit on the Supreme Court. All of the criticisms about her (lack of) qualifications were brutal and maybe a little unfair, but they were also necessary. If she couldn’t handle the process, she likely couldn’t handle the position. So it’s probably better this way.

Another reason I’m not ecstatic about the Miers withdrawal is that it puts Republicans in a precarious political situation. Democrats were largely silent on Harriet Miers, and that was a rather deft political move on their part. Now there’s the illusion that Harriet Miers was derailed because she wasn’t conservative enough (which isn’t necessarily true. It was more that she wasn’t intellectual enough…). So now no matter whom the President nominates to replace Miers, they’re going to be absolutely lambasted by the left for being a right-winged kook. This, however, won’t be that big of a problem if the Senate Republicans could get enough backbone to put down any potential Democrat filibusters.

Of course, this is all assuming that the President nominates someone that conservatives approve. He could very well serve up another dud, or — God help us — someone even worse. Time will tell, I suppose.

It is, somehow, still satisfying that conservatives can rally together — even when it’s rallying against a Republican president. This unity is going to come in handy in the coming weeks, especially if the President nominates a staunch conservative that requires steadfast support from his base.

For what it’s worth, I think Janice Rogers Brown would be a good choice. Not only is she conservative, but she’s also brilliant, as well as a black woman. She’s the Condi Rice of judges. She’d be unstoppable. If not her, then maybe Edith Jones, or Edith Clement, in as much as I think a woman nominee is a given at this point.


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