Thursday, February 02, 2006


You remember Harriet Miers, don't you?

I was asked by a reader or twelve what I now think about the Miers nomination in light of the events surrounding Alito. More than a couple people suggested that if Miers had been allowed to have her hearing, that it would have been the GOP, not the Dysfunctional 'Crats who would be in disarray just now. Certainly I admit that when Ted Kennedy remarked about greatly preferring Miers to Alito, it gave me pause. But there are reasons to revisit the Miers affair, if for no more than to give the lady a respect she never got the first time around. And besides, it has been very quiet lately; not one person has called me a 'bootlicker' in quite a while, so forget about letting sleeping dogs lie - let's kick that puppy and get talking.

There are three serious questions to face regarding the Miers Nomination. Not whether she was qualified, should have been confirmed, or indeed any of the what-if theories some want to present. Harriet Miers is not a SCOTUS Justice and never will be. But serious thought and discussion should be applied to these essential matters:

1. President George W. Bush has a very good track record for his decisions and appointments overall, but especially for his judicial picks. That suggests that there was a sound reason why he chose Miers for the high court. Insulting the woman by presuming she was just a crony, insulting Bush by claiming he feared a fight with Liberals, or insulting the Senate by pretending they would rubber-stamp anyone appointed for the Supreme Court without a reasonable review, are just puerile evasions of the main question - what did President Bush see in Miers that convinced him she was not only suitable for the post, but the best first choice?

2. Prior to the Miers nomination, most leading Republicans and especially Conservatives demanded that a Presidential nominee be allowed a vote - up or down - without attempts to ambush the candidate or obstruct a fair examination and decision on the nomination. When Miers was nominated, many Conservatives abandoned that principle and demanded her withdrawal before even a minute of hearings. What damage, if any, has this hypocrisy done to the Republican Party, and how might such equivocation show up again to the cost of Conservative plans?

3. A key difference between Democrats and Republicans in recent years, is the ability to debate internal issues and resolve them while still respecting minority viewpoints witin the party. That ability, while annoying at times, is alive in the Republican Party, but quite dead in the Democratic Party. For example, there are gay Republicans and there are Republicans who find the gay lifestyle offensive, but they can both support the party. No anti-gay Democrat has a voice in the party of 'Tolerance'. There are pro-Life Republicans and there are pro-Choice Republicans, but there are no pro-Life Democrats willing to take a stand on that issue. There are Small Government Republicans and there are Big Government Republicans, but there are no Small Government Democrats. The list goes on. Has the Miers debate damaged the Republican Party in the eyes of most Americans, or did their ability to debate a Presidential appointment reinforce the character in the GOP which is so sadly deficient on the Democrat's side?

Remember, this is not a thread to discuss whether Miers would have been a good Justice or should have been confirmed; that ship has sailed. Thanks.

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