Monday, October 03, 2005

A Skeptical Take on the Miers Nomination

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?


CGrim said...

Interesting theory, but it does seem to have a sort of Rube Goldberg-like tints and hues... quite a few things could derail that.

Fingers crossed, however...

I think people have learned not to 'misunderestimate' him. What I question is whether he shares our goals.

Hoots said...

Great minds think alike, I suppose. You beat me to it by an hour or so, but I basically said the same thing. The cowboy knows well how to take care of himself.

W. said...

We can only hope as you say or that she actually does come through to be a strong and Scalia-Thomas like justice. Even if the latter, I still wonder why her (when he could have nominated so many others) other than she may be the type of stealth candidate that gets through without too much of a fight and filibuster. Your comments about Rove keep me thinking that maybe there is more to her as Bush's pick than many conservatives are lamenting about.

Hope all is well,

Stephen M. St. Onge said...

        I think you're half to two thirds wrong.

        I believe Bush seriously thinks Miers will be an excellent Justice, and that's why he nominated her.  She may not have credentials with you, but she was one of the most succesful lawyers in Texas when he met her, and W. has had a dozen years of personal association.  I'm sure he thinks she'll do fine.

        But if she is rejected, on the grounds of lack of academic-type qualifications, then Bush will nominate a McConnell or someone like him, and play it as you expect.

        But me, I think she'll be confirmed.

The House of Saud Must Be Destroyed!

Michael Gordon said...

Is there a chance that the Republican members of the Senate will say "no unqualified political cronies to the Supreme Court"?

BeingHuman said...

While the strategizing makes sense, I would hesitate to believe that Bush would use someone closely connected to him for that purpose. Picking Miers also makes him look bad from the "cronyism" angle, while the country (particularly the press) is so acutely aware of the costs of such favors ("Brownie").

Gil said...

I think this makes a lot of sense.

It would be very difficult to get his dream nominee confirmed now. If Miers should somehow get confirmed, he'll be happy, but if she doesn't, he's more likely to be able to propose someone he'd like to see on the court, that would answer the major arguments against Miers, and they'd have a better chance of confirmation with the first fight out of the way.

And, being such a close confidante of the president, I suspect she is fully aware of the strategy.

Hell, maybe she even suggested it.

Z said...

Tom, it's hard to imagine Rebublican Senators voting down Miers on ideological grounds after helping approve Ginsburg 97-3.

Rick Sincere said...

The best result of the Miers nomination so far has been that conservatives and Republicans are finally realizing that George W. Bush is not a demigod. Perhaps now the congressional Republicans will begin to oppose Bush's attempts to expand the size and scope of government and stop being a pack of lapdogs.