Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Is Bush crazy to nominate Miers?

It's hard to judge what is going to happen with Harriet Miers, but I find interesting the various (and loud) reactions from the conservatives.
Every conservative has basically said Bush wimped out, evoking memories of his father's difficulties. There is considerable worry that Miers is another David Souter, which would be fine with me. Souter may have some liberal tendencies, but he is a thoughtful, hardworking justice who doesn't try to stretch the law from what I've read.
I think conservatives may be overreacting. I don't think they'd go this crazy as part of a conspiracy (as some on the left are claiming) to get her through, and she turns out to be crazier than Janice Rogers Brown. (By the way, have you noticed they all say they want a "constitutionalist" justice instead of a "conservative" one? Is conservative polling badly right now?) I think they are pissed because she appears to be a moderate, and they think they've lost a generational chance to change the court (as if some of the other justices aren't pretty old themselves!).
Let's examine a couple of key issues here. The first theory I have is that Bush sees that things are not favorable for Republicans right now. Katrina, gas prices, Social Security, Iraq, more abuse allegations, DeLay's indictments, etc. would make it hard to shove someone through who is a hardcore conservative. Many people might see it as court-packing of a sort (i.e. trying to change things before you lose power) and use that as a pretext to vote out some senators. Therefore, consult Harry Reid (which is kind of smart, considering Reid is a pro-lifer) and get someone who they can both agree on. There's no indication whether she is pro-life, pro-choice, or rides the fence, but if Reid is on board, she'll win confirmation unless the Republicans revolt.
Option number two is that Bush doesn't care about the party and just wants his way. While possible, it's unlikely that he would do that, because the Senate Republicans have to confirm, and his approval ratings are in the toilet, and he can't afford to piss them off too badly.
Also, some Republican senators are facing tough reelection battles, and Libby Dole is struggling to get anyone to challenge the entrenched Democrats facing reelection this year. Republicans could lose six seats, including Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Montana and Missouri. If they lose six seats, it will be 51-49 Democrats, making Bush's last two years difficult and killing off any more changes. If these senators are responsible for shooting down the schoolteacher (which is Miers' image, and yes, I'd say she has more substance than that, but she looks like one) and they could get grilled for beating up on her. Furthermore, her confirmation would likely demoralize many Republicans, perhaps setting up a much tighter House as well.
In no way does this mean D.C. will mean Democrat City on January 2, 2007. But Republicans are suffering badly right now, are in position to lose at least one house of Congress, and that house is voting on someone who could be another Souter or another Thomas. The rough thing for them is either way, they lose in some way. They have to decide which loss is worse.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:46 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home