This nomination is the 13th stroke of the clock. It calls into question not only itself, but everything that came before. Bush thought that his right flank was shored up. What he didn't realize is that we conservatives shared many of the concerns about Bush that our leftist colleagues do about him. Bush's difficulties articulating himself, for example, are embarrassing to all Americans. He seemed far too chummy with the Saudis in the immediate aftermath of 9-11, and that was demoralizing. He lacks the gravitas for the job. But we've tolerated him because we wanted one of our intellectual stars on the Supreme Court, and we figured he's the guy to make the appointment. We have the votes to confirm a Luttig, a Janice Rogers Brown, an Alito. We're eager for the discussion and the debate and think we can prevail both in the argument and in the court of public opinion. After all, we're right! We've been waiting for this moment for more than a decade. And then Bush shrinks from his duty.
George Will puts it best:
It is important that Miers not be confirmed unless, in her 61st year, she suddenly and unexpectedly is found to have hitherto undisclosed interests and talents pertinent to the court’s role. Otherwise the sound principle of substantial deference to a president’s choice of judicial nominees will dissolve into a rationalization for senatorial abdication of the duty to hold presidents to some standards of seriousness that will prevent them from reducing the Supreme Court to a private plaything useful for fulfilling whims on behalf of friends. [Emphasis mine.]
Some folks here at IndustrialBlog have suggested that conservatives are being used by corporatist Republicans. Just as the leftists are used by the Democratic Party. Clinton sold out the left, frequently. In fact, Clinton was a bit more conservative a president than Bush. That's why I thought it was stupid to keep attacking him. We were getting what we wanted. Clinton's triangulation policy simply allowed him to take credit for GOP policy victories.
The scary thing is Bush doesn't seem to know what he's done. His hastily called press conference yesterday only made matters worse. "Trust me?" Are you kidding?
This selection was, as George Will, a profoundly unserious pick. I don't care if Harriet Miers votes as I'd like. We're not selecting a representative of conservatism to the Supreme Court. We're selecting a justice, and that person should be qualified in constitutional jurisprudence. Harriet's not even a constitutional lawyer.
Defeat the nomination. Then perhaps in the next three years of this lame-duck presidency Congress can take the lead.