My take on the Miers nomination: Bush offers her as a sacrifice to Republican lawmakers approaching mid-term elections. A respectable number of Republicans get to feign outrage that Miers lacks conservative bona fides, thereby consolidating a party base P.O.ed about the Iraq War and the bloated federal government. The Miers nomination does the Democrats a favor, too. Thanks to tepid Republican support for the nominee, Democrats will get to carry her head home to the faithful.
Advantage: Republicans. Not because of the immediate results, where in fact Democrats probably come out ahead, but because of a crucial secondary result. Rebel Republicans will object to Miers on grounds she lacks adequate credentials. Democrats will jump on that bandwagon. Then, after Miers fails to win confirmation, Bush will roll out someone like Michael McConnell. "You wanted credentials?" Bush will drawl, "My new nominee has 'em in spades."
This, a skeptical take on the nomination circus, explains why Bush nominated Miers better, I think, than does the supposition that he seriously offers her as the best possible nominee to the Supreme Court. That, the conventional explanation, strikes me as utterly implausible. Even if you think Bush an idiot (which I do not), how can you explain Rove letting Miers pass? I wax incredulous.
Still, while I tout it as better than the usual explanation, my somewhat conspiratorial account of the Miers nomination does not answer all the questions. There remain these mysteries: Does Miers know or suspect that she's being sacrificed to the political wolves so Bush can pull off a head fake? Did Rove plan Mier's set-up without Bush's knowledge? If not McConnell, whom?