Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 4, 2005
By: Kevin Drum

WHY MIERS?....I may be totally wet on this, but I want to toss out a theory about why George Bush picked the obviously underqualified Harriet Miers as a Supreme Court nominee. Try this on for size.

Everyone seems to agree that Bush didn't want a big ideological fight. Fine. But even if that's the case there are a hundred moderate but highly qualified candidates he could have chosen. So why pick Miers and then be forced to endure relentless mockery for nominating such a lightweight?

Here's my guess: if he had picked a highly qualified moderate with a long paper trail, it would have been way too obvious that he really was backing down from a fight. Conversely, by nominating Miers, he's got everyone convinced that he's just picking a friend. Sure, the base is temporarily pissed that he's let them down, but before long they'll convince themselves that (a) it's just cronyism and (b) she's probably pretty conservative after all (especially after Dick Cheney has spent enough time peddling her conservative cred to Limbaugh and Hannity).

If Bush had picked a real judge with a moderate record, his base would have been absolutely sure they were being betrayed. With Miers they're not. She allows him to avoid a fight while suffering only momentary venting from his supporters. From that perspective, it was a smart choice.

And if I'm wrong, won't it be fun to see Miers get confirmed with more Democratic votes than Republican votes? Maybe Dems will even break a Republican filibuster! That would be too rich....

UPDATE: The officially leaked version from the White House is that Bush has been planning to nominate Miers for months. Sure.

Kevin Drum 1:08 AM Permalink | Trackbacks

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