Enter Samuel Alito, stage Right. (Yes!)
It is no secret that I opposed the Miers nomination. I also do not believe the theory that this was some horrible miscarriage of justice. I do not think conservative opinion makers were responsible for her withdrawal. People have a constitutional right to free speech. They have the constitutional right to pressure both the congress, and the executive with any verbal tool they feel like using. I think this demonstrates strength of character and participation in government.
The political parties involved, in this process, made all the final decisions here.
They decided whether to be driven by pressure, stand on principle, make all the phone calls, advise, consent, dissent or pose for the cameras and smile.
I know emotions were high on this one. I visited a blog where the blogger was excoriating Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham for using their media pulpit against Miers. She was drawing some sort of parallel between the type of personal destruction wrought by the left, and the criticism of conservatives. She complained about Miers information being cherry picked and used as a weapon. At the end of the exchange what does she do? She visits my blog, cherry picks some information, then posts an insulting threat, directed at me, in the comments. She was demanding dignity for her nominee, while denying dignity to those who disagreed with her. Emotion breeds hypocrisy.
President Bush made his choice
President Bush nominated Miers, knowing the reaction he and Ms Miers would get from that nomination. If he did not know, he should have. The reaction was instantaneous. The left likes to always accuse the conservatives of being zombie ditto heads, marching in fascist lockstep. That ridiculous label was proven false, by this SCOTUS drama. We think. We express those thoughts. We do it without reservation or remorse, even when we vehemently disagree. A controversial choice was destined for controversy.
President Bush did not defend the choice
Bush asked me to trust his choice, without reservation and wait through the process. I am sorry. I voted for the President. I financially supported the president. I firmly support him on many issues. I firmly disagree on others. I did not marry the president. There is not an implicit trust relationship here.
Frankly, I scrutinize everyone, within the borders of the District of Columbia. When it comes to the Washington crowd, trust must be earned. I am not a bleating Pollyanna. Public skepticism is healthy.
President Bush did not support Ms. Miers with anything more substantive than what you see above. When asked for details, he could have done one of two things. First, he could have handed them over. Or, since this is not a criminal prosecution , he could have claimed executive privilege and respectfully said no. Either way, he could have insisted the Senate proceed anyway. What did he do? He sat back and let his beloved nominee submit her resignation. No factual support or moral support, publicly uttered.
Deja Vu. Can anybody say Miguel Estrada? The president only stood up and really rallied for his nominee after Estrada was filibustered into history. Now that was a case of a person being denied their vote after the approval of the SJC. The Democrats did it, while the executive watched them do it.
Miers did not defend herself
Many of the opinions out there, say Ms. Miers was never tested in the SJC for her strength of character. What did she think was going to happen to her one way or another, being a trusted member of the Bush administration and a political ally? This is Washington DC, with a liberal MSM. They play Hardball. Remember Clarence Thomas? Remember the brutal laundry wringers they pushed him through? Harriet could have said ok, I am going to stick it out. I am going to demand those hearings. I am going to demand that vote. She could have had all of that, even though her chances were slim.
- Maybe her resignation meant that she was bowing to the President's wavering doubt, out of loyalty.
- Maybe it meant she did not want to face the crucible.
- Maybe it meant she firmly believed that her chances were hopeless
- Maybe she realized she was not up to the job
The last is a heroic introspection, analysis and conclusion, which should be applauded. If this was the reason, she spared herself, the president and the people the embarrassment of a brutal SJC process.
In any event, her voice was withdrawn by her own personal judgement.
The Senate's half-hearted support
Many of the senators had private audiences with Miers. They expressed their doubts, to both the president and the public. Big deal. Is this an earth shattering surprise? Is this a violation of due process? I think not.
You had congressmen openly lamenting Ms. Miers plight before the MSM cameras. Does anyone seriously think that Kennedy, Shumer and Reid were doing this out of respect for Ms Miers' right to advice and consent? They would pull that filibuster out in a New York minute, if they even sniffed a faint waft of conservative victory. This looked dangerously suspicious to me.
Some senators were undoubtedly swayed by public opinion of conservatives.
If the Miers supporters were so fired up and concerned about these votes, why didn't they step up and make the same fuming stink their counterparts did? It is not like the waffling support was absent from the news every day. I am sick of hearing these whining post-mortem laments about how Rush Limbaugh is now running the country or that other organization is controlling the vote. I hear enough of that garbage from the Democrats. What did all that whining cost them? All of their power in government. Welcome to representative government 101. The loudest mouse gets all the cheese. If you want more, squeek louder, when the cheese is being passed out.
Do not blame the Strong Willed
Sorry, in the realm of government power, the meek never inherit the earth. The meek wait around to be told what to do, where to go and how to vote by those unafraid to do so. Anyone who is wringing their hands over Ms. Miers and her lack of hearings, should blame the President, blame Ms. Miers and blame the senators, unwilling to stand on principle, to defend an impending yes vote. If they are blaming those exercising their opinion, their blame is misplaced.
Does anybody notice a theme here? There is no political courage in Washington, period. None of these players seem to possess any vertebrae. Jellyfish need not apply to the SCOTUS, I say. Ginsberg, Breyer and Souter eat jellyfish with their morning coffee and muffins. That is why I want to see another Roberts, Scalia or Thomas. Strong spines for hard times.
The conservatives who openly opined against the Miers nomination, were strong people in this story. They were taking the slings and arrows from both the left and the right. They stood up , spoke and took those hits because they stood on their principles of conservatism and told the perpetual compromise commitee to beware the consequences. This was no act of collective betrayal. It was an act of constitutional triage. They are the ones who took this quote to heart.
"Trust but verify." - Ronald ReaganThey demanded that verify part. If the nominee chose to withdraw, instead of marching toward her hearings, that was the weakness of her DC political position speaking, not the strength of the conservative right wing voice. Some conservatives pushed against the wall. The wall crumbled. The wall was too weak to withstand the pressure. The displeased should grab their constitutional trowels and build a stronger wall, with a stronger nominee.
Where is this irreparable damage?
Will the Harriet Miers nomination debacle cause the demise of the 2006 elections?
This will happen only if Harriet Miers supporters are willing to go to those polls, and pull that lever or stay at home, with this single grudge in mind. They will have to ignore all of the other conservative issues. Short term memory are the watch words here. If the president nominates a strong candidate, in the mold of Roberts, this will all be forgotten.
If the president decides to play the grudge game, by nominating a liberal or another career lightweight, the same vocal conservative base will exert their will again. The same DC players will have all those political and principled choices to make. That might split the party emotionally. That might send a message of serious instability to the large pool of centrist voters. However, the vocal dissenting base does not vote on any single issue. People so strongly plugged into the news and the process do not act like cavalier, waffling moderates in the voting booth. So, will there be damage in the voting booth? Probably not.
I could be wrong, but I don't think most conservatives will make that Ross Perot style mistake again. This has become a deliberate process of nailing conservative stakes down in the fabric of the RNC tent. The bigger the Republican party gets, the more they will have to deal with infighting. A large party means many opinions.
The Democrats can only steal the weak, grudge minded vote. What candy are they going to use to tempt that vote to stay away or join them at play? A liberal agenda? The Un-Bush strategy? What a miserable palette to paint by.