"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

No Fear of Miers

I haven't yet weighed in with my personal assessment of President Bush's appointment of Harriet Miers to the the U.S. Supreme Court. Judging from the reaction here and elsewhere, everyone to the right of Harry Reid is appalled by the choice.

I guess that I must be preternaturally sanguine, then, because I just have not been able to see this appointment as troubling at all. Yes, I have heard that Miers gave money to Al Gore's 1988 presidential campaign (and that since then she has given mostly to Republicans). And I understand that the public knows little about her judicial philosophy. But Bush must most certainly know what she thinks about how justices should assess constitutionality, and he has said that he does know and is extremely confident of her conformity with his views on the matter. Hence it appears to me that she must have precisely the kind of judicial philosophy for which Republicans have been asking. Furthermore, we have been given no evidence for reasons to think her less likely to retain her current philosophy than, say, Chief Justice Roberts is. Plus, she's almost certain to be confirmed by the Senate. If all those things are true, what's the problem?

2 comments:

Tlaloc said...

oh what the heck I'll take a stab at it.

Far as I can tell the logic goes like this...

Background:
1) not too long til 2006 elections
2) Republicans in general and especially the president are absolutely tanking in the polls
3) Republican leaders are wracking up indictments like parking tickets.
4) Iraq is a mess, nobody is buying the president's delusional statements on the topic anymore (he "overestimated" the number of Iraqi brigades that are combat ready by, oh, 99%).
5) Katrina highlightd Bush's tendency to appoint cronies no matter how terribly incompetnet.
6) Katrina also happened to dispell the myth that Bush is a strong leader in the face of a disaster.
7) Katrina also proved that his enormously expensive Department of Homeland Security is run by Larry, Chertoff, and Moe.
8) Bush has badly failed the fiscal test of conservatives by being in fact the most spend happy president in recent history.


Situation:
Bush gets to nominate a second Supreme Court Justice to fill a swing voter seat, and has the advantage of a 55 seat majority in the senate and the possibility of a nuclear option in case of opposition fillibuster.

Conclusion:
Many social conservatives looking at how bad the situation is for the Republican, knowing Bush's general bullish political tendencies, and desperate to control other people's reproductive rights expected Bush to nominate a very hard right known quality who was of high enough caliber to be qualified for the SCOTUS.

Instead Bush nominates an unknown quantity who is only marginally at best qualified.

The problems then are as follows:
1) the social conservatives are looking at a possible souter candidate, hence much gnashing of teeth
2) the republicans needed a bloody gruesome fight that they could sell to their base so as to get their minds off of their indictments, failures in Iraq, and failures facing hurricanes.
3) the candidate is another example of cronyism, a charge already making headway in sticking to Bush.
4) the appointment now splits Republicans, some of whom want to trust the president and some of whom will score political [points (ahead of the 2006 and 2008 season) by opposing his nominee. Some republicans have even discussed filibustering her nomination!

In other words it appears to be a loss for Republicans on two fronts, a loss for the president on every front, and a quite possible loss for social conservatives on the only front they care about.

Given that the issue should have been a slam dunk for at least the social conservatives and the president (if not republicans in total) I can see why the right blogosphere went to defcon 1.

Tlaloc said...

Oh I think it also highlights what I've said for some time now:

Social conservatives utterly demolish their political power by being single issue voters.

That is to say that so long as the social conservative crowd will always vote for the more anit-abortion candidate absolutely no one will actually try to make abortion illegal. It's far too politically valuable for the Republicans to have the social conservatives perpetually in their pocket (and on the flip side of course the democrats have a similar, less binding, arrangement with the pro-choice crowd).

If you ever really want to make a change in abortion you'd have to learn not to let abortion control your voting. Paradoxical but ultimately true.