Well… he might have nominated the disgraced, former FEMA director, but Mike Brown lacked the one crucial qualification needed for this particular appointment: a vagina. And so in his ongoing quest to fill the government with appointees even less qualified than himself, President Bush has nominated White House Counsel Harriet Miers — a woman with absolutely no judicial experience — to the “girly seat” being vacated by retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
Apparently, in the Bush administration, the only prerequisite for appointment to high office is to have none.
Undoubtedly, Bush intended Miers to be a stealth nominee, with no judicial record to trip her up during confirmation hearings. But it’s funny how these things work out, and clearly, Republicans are a helluva lot more pissed off by her nomination than Democrats. Over on Daily Kos the early talk is about a political and judicial win-win for the D’s. One thread describes the upcoming confirmation hearings as “pure gold“, an opportunity to explore Miers’ involvement in a number of White House controversies, from Bush’s service (or lack thereof) in the National Guard, to PlameGate, to the administration’s illegal and immoral use of torture. And Kos himself writes:
Several Democrats, including Reid, have already come out praising Miers, which ultimately will only fuel the right-wing meltdown on the decision.
I reserve the right to change my mind, but Miers’ biggest sin, at this early juncture, is her allegiance to Bush. That her appointment is an act of cronyism is without a doubt, but if that’s the price of admission to another Souter or moderate justice, I’m willing to pay it.
And that “right-wing meltdown” appears well under way. Former White House speechwriter David “Axis of Evil” Frum was so scathing in his comments on his blog at the National Review, that he actually went back and excised the middle paragraph:
Harriet Miers is a taut, nervous, anxious personality. It is impossible to me to imagine that she can endure the anger and abuse – or resist the blandishments – that transformed, say, Anthony Kennedy into the judge he is today.
She rose to her present position by her absolute devotion to George Bush. I mentioned last week that she told me that the president was the most brilliant man she had ever met. To flatter on such a scale a person must either be an unscrupulous dissembler, which Miers most certainly is not, or a natural follower. And natural followers do not belong on the Supreme Court of the United States.
Nor is it safe for the president’s conservative supporters to defer to the president’s judgment and say, “Well, he must know best.” The record shows I fear that the president’s judgment has always been at its worst on personnel matters.
And I couldn’t be more cheered to read that William Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard, is “disappointed, depressed and demoralized“…
the president had to be ready to fight on constitutional grounds for a strong nominee. Apparently, he wasn’t. It is very hard to avoid the conclusion that President Bush flinched from a fight on constitutional philosophy. Miers is undoubtedly a decent and competent person. But her selection will unavoidably be judged as reflecting a combination of cronyism and capitulation on the part of the president.
I’m demoralized. What does this say about the next three years of the Bush administration–leaving aside for a moment the future of the Court? Surely this is a pick from weakness. Is the administration more broadly so weak? What are the prospects for a strong Bush second term? What are the prospects for holding solid GOP majorities in Congress in 2006 if conservatives are demoralized? And what elected officials will step forward to begin to lay the groundwork for conservative leadership after Bush?
Where does Miers stand on the issues of the day? Who the hell knows. But, if you really want the nitty-gritty dirt on Miers, Wonkette dishes up the kind of personal profile you aren’t likely to find in the MSM:
- She is immensely, perhaps irrationally, into birthdays: “She always remembers everybody’s birthday, and has a present for them. She’ll be finding a present for somebody in the middle of the night…. ‘Can’t it wait until next week?’ ‘No,’ she’d say, ‘It has to be done now.'”
- She has dated Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht “over the years.” [NOTE: Absolutely no other article online mentions this fascinating fact.]
- She’s nit-picky micromanager who failed upwards at the White House: “She failed in Card’s office for two reasons,” the [former White House] official says. “First, because she can’t make a decision, and second, because she can’t delegate, she can’t let anything go. And having failed for those two reasons, they move her to be the counsel for the president, which requires exactly those two talents.”
- Not even the president can think of much interesting to say about her: In 1996, at an Anti-Defamation League Jurisprudence Award ceremony, Bush introduced Miers as a “pit bull in Size 6 shoes,” a tag line that has persisted through the years, in part because colorful anecdotes or descriptions about Miers are notoriously difficult to find.
We’re not even that excited about her being gay.
I’m guessing we’ll get a lot clearer picture of the nominee over the next few days as Democrats leak the reasons for their early support, and GOP right wingers turn on their own in a cannibalistic fury. This nomination could be fun.