TO WITHDRAW OR NOT TO WITHDRAW
I'm not actually in the withdraw Miers camp. It is a close call for me, but I'm willing to give her a chance. It is a mistake to say that President Bush made the best decision here, although he may genuinely feel that way.
Ms. Miers appears to be a great person and a good lawyer. The question continues to be, is she good enough for the Supreme Court? If the President wants her for a candidate, I believe that there might likely be a good reason for it. I don't think that he's always right, and neither do the people that voted for him, despite what some people may have been led to believe.
She has to be both personally and constitutionally trustworthy to have been selected but it would have been nice if the rest of us were provided a more reassuring basis to make that evaluation for ourselves. Some people are actually bothered that a legal scholar such as Judge Robert Bork has called the nomination of Miers to the Supreme Court a disaster. Including myself.
So the point that I want to make here is that although it can be entertaining, we should resist the cartoonization of some very dedicated patriots who are. As involved and informed constituents I think that they are right while in terms of actually changing the President's mind and having him accept their gloomy and skeptical view about his decision, they are likely to be wrong. I'm not very interested in fighting for or against the President in this case. Either way, I don't know enough to get very worked up by this move. It wouldn't be a far stretch to say that Robert Bork does, though.
This appears to be a major missed opportunity for us to put some pretty major intellectual firepower available in this country to good use. Of course whenever someone points this out, people cry "elitism." OK, I confess, I am a proponent of the elite. That shouldn't be confused with supporting elitists. I've said it before, this country has been producing too many elitists and not enough elites. There is a very substantial difference between the two things operating there. America has suffered too much from the problem of "educated fools." To quote Mr. Lewis, "Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make a man a more clever devil." And we have to be prepared to defend life and liberty at every level and recognize any deficiencies in both defenses and defenders.
As I wrote to Patrick Johnston after reading an IC article of his: The sort of pyrrhic victory that Jay Sekulow has pushed for here is what worries me with Harriet Miers [and] Mr. Sekulow in my view would have made a better Supreme Court nomination than Ms Miers!
As good or even great as this pick may end up being, it leaves us with reason to wonder. Its obvious that the President has a very good relationship with this White House Counsel appointee but she would probably not be on the short list of candidates for the Supreme Court of the United States if it weren't for her relationship with the President. It's bothersome to think about all the reliable constitutional legal scholars out there who would without question make better all around nominations.
Some big guns on the right have really unloaded on the president's choice, here; take the hard-hitting double-barrel of Bill Kristol and Ann Coulter, for instance. They could derail her nomination. Part of me hopes that they do, just to shake things up and improve upon the chances that the courts become more faithful to their duties and the legal profession, the industry of lawyers, be elevated in quality and performance.
I can't shrug my shoulders again in terms of "understanding" that President Bush campaigned on "compassionate conservatism" rather than a more reliable form. I guess this would be a good place to mention that I was a supporter of Steve Forbes during the GOP primaries for its presidential nomination for the 2000 election. Yeah, he was and is the flat-tax man and I think that he would have at least put up a fight against all of the pork barrel spending and government waste that is going on today. And I can't imagine that he wouldn't have rejected the euphemistically titled socialistic restraint on freedom of speech and expression known as "campaign finance reform." He would probably have made a better case for Social Security Reform, also.
I don't want to oversimplify, but for lack of a better way to make this point and crystalize the objection: YOU COULD NOT NOMINATE A JUDGE SUCH AS SCALIA OR THOMAS (I'm very tempted to say the only two good Supreme Court Justices, but all of them deserve respect for their service) BASED ON PERSONALITY AND PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS ALONE. You can't select judges like them through a big government philosophy or overcompromising realpolitik. As much as I appreciate our President's leadership, this definitely seems like a case where grassroots intervention and criticism is called for.
And that doesn't always look pretty.
I don't think that anyone doubts that the President made SOME mistake with this nomination. The infighting caused by the President's nomination here, is really about what exactly that mistake was. Some say that it was the actual selection itself, which means that there's no room for acceptance, and others say that the mistake was a political miscalculation in terms of the disconnect between the GOP base and its leadership in terms of the way that Sandra Day O'Connor's replacement was selected; apparently without regard for the legitimate concerns of Americans with reason to worry when it comes to domestic issues and the court.
My view is that the President just is not always on the same page, fundamentally, as the government and cultural reform movement known as Conservatism, in the United States.
Note, the following argument in the Weekly Standard, for instance:
[The President] has put up an unknown and undistinguished figure for an opening that conservatives worked for a generation to see filled with a jurist of high distinction. There is a gaping disproportion between the stakes associated with this vacancy and the stature of the person nominated to fill it. The stern critics of the nomination have, in my admittedly biased judgment, pretty much routed the half-hearted defenders.
One should add that some of the defenses of the president have been spirited as well--and in fairness to the defenders of the Miers nomination, they really were not given all that much to work with by the White House. Consider this game effort from one former Bush staffer:
Harriet used to keep a humidor full of M&M's in her West Wing office. It wasn't a huge secret. She'd stash some boxes of the coveted red, white, and blue M&M's in specially made boxes bearing George W. Bush's reprinted signature. Her door was always open and the M&M's were always available. I dared ask one time why they were there. Her answer: "I like M&M's, and I like sharing."
Bush has made this unfortunate nomination. What is to be done? The best alternative would be for Miers to withdraw. Is such an idea out of the question? It should not be. -Bill Kristol
Pretty persuasive. Still, I think that the court will be better off with a Justice Miers, or anyone else that President Bush selects to take the place of Justice O'Connor (President Reagan's appointment). Basically, we are likely to see a net improvement upon the USSC whether or not President Bush withdraws his nomination or if she withdraws herself.
Mark Noonan over at BlogsForBush wondered aloud: "The President has asked us to trust him on this nomination - and some of my rightwing friends seem downright insulted by this request."
The truth is, we didn't expect the President to play a Rorschach inkblot game with us, and it appears to be one, on this very consequencial and widely and long contemplated issue regarding the drift of the court away from the American Constitution and the Declaration of Independence as evidenced by horrendous judgements such as Kilo, Roe, and some others that I can't seem to recall off the top of my head.
Here's that disconnect again that I mentioned earlier. Sometimes Conservatives, just as President Bush's main political opponents, have to be reminded that he won the election in 2000 and 2004. If you didn't support Steve Forbes during the GOP primaries and were eligible to vote, I don't want to hear what you have to say right now. People think that their intelligence is being insulted while the President thinks that he's doing something other than disappointing! This is pretty funny, actually. This thing can get pretty polemical on both sides of this issue, but they are both reasonable positions to have, at this point.
I much prefer the country to be moving in the direction where debates are more worthy of a free republic. I think that this right vs. right argument is a good example of where this country as a whole could be as well as a healthy break from the debates provided by the currently irrelevant the left.
(Cartoons via Pookie18 at Free Republic)