So Harriet Miers has been nominated to replace Sandra Day O'Connor. I know that a lot of ideologues on all sides have a lot invested in this nomination, but to me she's a blank slate. For that matter, it was the same with Roberts. I simply don't know enough about any of them to make an informed judgment, so I resist the temptation to speak out.
The only thing I can say for sure is that the ideological warriors of the right seem to be mightily POed.
William Kristol is "Disappointed, Depressed, and Demoralized." [here]
Michelle Malkin is "Utterly Underwhelmed." [here]
John , the Hindrocket, calls him a "Disappointment" [here]
Right Wing News calls Miers a "Disaster." [here]
They wanted a movement person -- one of the numerous candidates they had been promoting for years -- and didn't get one. There are a lot of defiant statements out there, but they aren't very potent. Unless there's something horrible in Miers' record she'll pass the Senate and there's nothing that the zealots can do about it. They can't punish Bush -- he's not running again. They can take their anger out on Republican congress critters, but that's just hurting themselves.
There is a real danger to the Republican party here. Head up, one on one, on a national stage the Republicans always beat the Democrats and have since the days of FDR. The Democrats make gains only when the Republicans are engaging in intramural warfare or when some third party messes up the vote or when there is some great national crisis [like Watergate or JFK's assassination] that the Democrats can exploit. There is unlikely to be an exploitable crisis and no plausible third party candidate has emerged, and the Democrats are bent on trying to nationalize the upcoming elections [bad move on their part], so the only thing that can hurt the Republicans is internecine warfare and that seems to be likely. If the right wingers throw a tantrum next year could be very dark for the Republican Party.
I know that the MSM likes to portray Bush as a right wing ideologue, but it has long been clear that he, like Clinton and his dad before him, is determined to occupy the broad middle of the political spectrum. I see that as healthy. That's where the vast majority of the American people live. There has been much talk about the idological polarization of America. I don't see it. When Bush finishes his term we will have had five successive elections in which the political system has produced a moderate to lead the country. The Reagan Revolution ended a long time ago. It's time for Republicans and Democrats both to move on.
David Bernstein, over at the Volokh Conspiracy, writes:
I'm please[d] that Miers is (a) not from an elite law school; (b) not a federal judge; and (c) spent the vast majority of her career outside the beltway. All good things to bring new perspectives to the Court, and, in the case of (b), break a silly tradition [that Justices MUST be from the federal bench] that has evolved.I could not agree more.
And he continues:
What do Miers and Roberts have in common? They both have significant executive branch experience, and both seem more likely than other potential candidates to uphold the Administration on issues related to the War on Terror (e.g., Padilla and whether a citizen arrested in the U.S. can be tried in military court). Conservative political activists want someone who will interpret the Constitution in line with conservative judicial principles. But just as FDR's primary goal in appointing Justices was to appoint Justices that would uphold the centerpiece of his presidency, the New Deal, which coincidentally resulted in his appointing individuals who were liberal on other things, perhaps Bush sees his legacy primarily in terms of the War on Terror, and appointing Justices who will acquiesce in exercises of executive authority is his priority, even if it isn't the priority of either his base or the nation as a whole. Such Justices may be coincidentally conservative on other issues, just as FDR's nominees moved the USSC generally to the Left.Read it here.
Again, I agree completely. Bush has amassed a number of significant accomplishments but the centerpiece of his tenure is certain to be the Iraq war. He understands that Iraq is the most important thing he has done and could do as President and he is determined to protect that initiative. There is little scope, therefore, for appointment of a free thinker who might challenge Presidential perogatives. Bush is playing in an entirely different league from the ideologues in Congress and the press and, like FDR before him, he is going to have an immense effect on the course of American and world history.