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October 03, 2005

Miers as sacrifice metal

Harriet Miers is an odd pick for the Supreme Court. The conservative base doesn't like her and she's conspicuously underqualified. Loyalty counts for a lot in the Bush administration, but surely there are more nominally qualified sycophants out there. Why would Bush risk splitting his own party over such a mediocre nominee?

I find Tom Goldstein's preliminary explanation compelling:

I really need to get down to the Court to argue but wanted to note my sense that the President's nomination creates a very interesting political dynamic - one that places the nomination in peril. The nomination obviously will be vigorously supported by groups created for the purpose of pressing the President's nominees, and vigorously opposed by groups on the other side. But within the conservative wing of the Republican party, there is thus far (very early in the process) only great disappointment, not enthusiasm.

Rick Hansen is making similar arguments at Electionlaw Blog.

Tom and Rick wonder if Miers' nomination is a Rovian set-up. Bush may have nominated Miers precisely because she's unlikely to be confirmed. On this view, Miers is like sacrifice metal on a boat. She will bear the brunt of the initial Democratic onslaught. Then, after Miers takes the fall, Bush can nominate a real fire-breather like Janice Rogers Brown. Rove is betting that by then the Democrats will be spent, the public will be sick of confirmation "bickering", and the Republicans will have had some time to regroup after the Katrina/DeLay/Plame crises.

Granted, the "sacrifice metal" model sounds a little far-fetched, but it's the best rationale I've read so far.

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» Loyalty Has Its Costs from MoJo Blog
My friend Agi. T. Prop writes today:Harriet Miers will forever be known as the Michael Brown of the federal judiciary.... [Read More]

» BRILLIANCE from The Heretik
GEORGE BUSH LOOKED AT SUPREME COURT NOMINEE HARRIET MIERS [story] His brilliant choice reflected on her and her brilliance reflected back on him. The White House got so bright today, many could not see some were not so happy [Read More]

» Harriet Miers: The wrong choice for the Supreme Court from The Moderate Voice
(Cross-posted at The Reaction. This post is meant to complement Joe's exceptional work on this story -- see [Read More]

Comments

I don't think she's a "sacrifice metal" at all. AP has been reporting that Reid suggested Miers to Bush. It seems to me that there won't be a lot of heavy duty Democratic onslaught against her.

I think Bush nominated her because since the Dems allowed Roberts without a great deal of trouble..a hard core pick would most certainly bring out the filibuster..and the gang of 14 may very likely acquiese to it.

I'm very dubious; there's no reason to go through that much trouble unless Bush thinks Democrats have the power to torpedo a wingnut nomination the first time around. I don't think the Dems could, but more to the point, I'd be shocked if Bush thinks they could. Besides, if Bush loses one nomination battle, he's in a much weaker position to face the next one.

I just think Bush really trusts his long-term advisors and friends.

I think that the White House is in such turmoil and disarray that they were unable to seriously look into anyone they didn't already know.

Also this woman supposedly was the person assigned by the Bush campaign for governor to look into the National Guard issue and how to deal with that problem. She may know some embarassing things about Bush and Rove on this issue.

A real sacrifice metal situation would have involved a far-right nominee that the right wing base loved. It would be a rallying cry for both sides and force the Dems to use their (presumably) one credible filibuster.

Miers is so unpopular, the FB might not be necessary. And Bush's genuine premium on loyalty makes his intentional sacrifice of a close associate unlikely.

Maybe he was counting on a little more support from the base on this, but even that seems far-fetched. They clearly wanted a younger and demonstrably conservative pick, and there were a number of well-qualified names to pick from.

Was Rove out of the loop on this one? Seems like the latest in a crescendo of P.R. fumbles.

I don't buy the arguments that it's a Rovian setup. It's straightforward; Bush likes to appoint cronies he's personally comfortable with. It's a clear pattern, and not surprising that it would manifest itself on the Supreme Court.

"a little far-fetched, but it's the best rationale I've read so far."

Why does it have to make sense? Did appointing Brown to head FEMA make sense? Did invading Iraq make sense? I think she's the President's personal choice because he's an idiot.

I tend to agree with Scott. The simplest explanation is he likes her personally, she's loyal, and he doesn't give a damn what anybody thinks, whether they're on his side or not. Even if Rove had this scheme, it don't see how he could pitch it to Bush without making the argument that they had to do it because they've been weakened. I have trouble seeing anyone saying that flat-out to Bush's face even Rove. If they'd really wanted Owen or whoever, they would have just picked her.

Supposedly, Bush was thinking of appointing the guy who landscaped the Crawford ranch. Guy did a heck of a job. And his interpretation of that bible passage in Isaiah predicting that Bush would become president was pretty remarkable, so just think what he'd find in the Constitution!

Unfortunately, Cheney accidently shot and killed the guy. Apparently, Cheney is always doing this with Bush's favorite picks. It is really a bummer.

I agree with Scott. I also think that if she is an idealogue, she's in the best position to allow the Bushies to tell the fundies that's what she is without revealing her views and/or any agenda to anyone else.

I agree with Lindsay: Miers is to be sacrificed; her reward is that, when she does eventually come up for a Federal District Court post, she'll be a "former Supreme Court nominee;" by taking the hit she causes to the Democrats to spend time and money that are better devoted elsewhere. The proof will be in how the Republican rank-and-file come out on this: if they don't push hard for her, the fix is in.

I agree with the sacrifice play scenario. It reminds me of Bork being followed up by Thomas, who turned out to be the most lock-stepped, ultra-conservative on the court. Everybody thought Bork would be the worst (if you were a liberal, anyway), so how could Thomas (an african-american, etc.) be as bad? Even the sexual harassment spectre didn't stop him.

If Meiers gets dumped, you can be sure the next nom' is secreatly somewhere to the right of Rove himself.

Normally, I would agree with a sacrifice, or more to the point, the shot from the School Book Depository window to get everyone looking the wrong way...

However, I am reading a lot from the Dem establishment that is not about gearing up for a massive battle against her, in fact, they seemed to be somewhat ... oh, what's the word... "nonchalant" about it.

Meanwhile, Right Wing Asshat Blogistan is (literally) losing its collective religion over this. Check out Free Republic, Little Green Footballs, Southern Appeal or Junkyard Blog.

These people are gripping, and gripping hard

What do you think? A Democratic attempt to "confuse the cat" as it were? Maybe...

Although, I have another explanation. Why choose a Janice Rogers Brown, when there is another, stealthier flunky, who is even more beholden to you and will do your bidding on the court, no questions asked.

Remember, a Bush nominee to the high court doesn't need ideology. The Bush and Rovians will give them their ideology when they need. No, the only thing a Bush nominee to the court needs is a sincere desire to be a willing sycophant to W.

mojo sends

Sergei said:

The proof will be in how the Republican rank-and-file come out on this: if they don't push hard for her, the fix is in.

Vanmojo said:

Meanwhile, Right Wing Asshat Blogistan is (literally) losing its collective religion over this. Check out Free Republic, Little Green Footballs, Southern Appeal or Junkyard Blog.

Can we say that the fix is in already?

When a bipartisan bloc rejects Mier, the radicals will have the power. Bush can then appoint a radical and have his base all fired up. Filibuster is not necessary. She may lose an up or down vote.

I wrote about this possible gambit before seeing this post. If the same thing has occurred to so many, perhaps it's not so far-fetched after all.

It reminds me of Bork being followed up by Thomas, who turned out to be the most lock-stepped, ultra-conservative on the court.

Bork was followed up by Athony Kennedy. This is the second time I've read in weblog comments that Thomas was the followup-nominee to Bork. Is there some kind of talking-point running around that, "if only the Democrat's hadn't opposed Bork, Thomas wouldn't have been nominated?" that's permeating the public consciousness?

Thomas may be a radical rightwinger (distinctly NOT a conservative, but a radical) but Bork is insane in a devious way. You have to read his books to really know.

As for Meiers the virgin, I think we should all be wary of falling for something as basic but as powerfull as reverse psycology.

I see no point in worrying about what the next nominee will be; that one too will be a reactionary crony. So I think this nominee should be very thoroughly vetted, her deficiencies and conflicts of interest described to all. If Bush loses this one due to bilateral opposition, so much the worse for him, and the better for everyone else.

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