Judiciary

Misunderestimating the Furor Over Hurricane Harriet

The White House’s spinmeisters are either ignorantly misreading or intentionally mischaracterizing the general conservative opposition to Harriet Miers’ nomination to the Supreme Court.  They continue “misunderestimating” the furor at their own peril.

It’s not that conservatives think she’s “unqualified.”  We accept the fact that one need not have been a judge to sit on the Supreme Court.  We accept the fact that many a fine Justice had no judicial experience before joining the court.  On the other hand, a lot of really lousy former justices had no judicial experience either.

We also accept the fact that Miers is an accomplished lawyer who won’t “legislate from the bench.”  And we’re fairly comfortable that she won’t “go Souter” on us.

And it’s not that she isn’t “conservative.”  Conservatives not only accept that she’s a conservative, but is most assuredly a social conservative, as well.  We also accept that she’s probably a very nice, but tough, lady who “has a good heart” (whatever the heck that means to one’s ability to interpret the Constitution).

And it has nothing to do with the fact that she didn’t come from an Ivy League school.  Most of the other individuals on the short-list of nominees who would have been warmly embraced by grassroots conservative activists and leaders didn’t come from Ivy League schools either.  In fact, not coming from an Ivy League school is probably more in her favor among rank-and-file conservatives who are not exactly enamored with Harvard and Yale ivory-tower liberalism.

And it’s not that we don’t “trust” the President–although after McCain-Feingold, Sen. Teddy Kennedy’s No Child Left Behind program, LBJ’s prescription drug bill, that pork-filled highway bill, his federal Marshall Plan for New Orleans, losing his veto pen, amnesty for illegal aliens, etc., etc., etc., perhaps that trust should come into serious question.

And it’s not that Miers is a close, personal friend to the President.

Although the charge of “cronyism” is, indeed, a legitimate point, that really isn’t what the entire hubbub is about.

No.  This is about Republicans never blowing an opportunity to blow an opportunity.

The visceral objections to Harriet Miers have more to do with the fact that many conservative activists have been toiling in the political trenches for many years to elect a Republican President and a Republican Senate for the expressed purpose of being able to seat individuals on the nation’s highest court who have the conservative judicial and intellectual star-power and brain-power we were denied by the left when they “borked” Robert Bork.  The fact is, with Republican kiesters warming 55 of the Senate’s 100 seats, a superior Bork-like nominee could have been confirmed to join Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Antonin Scalia and Chief Justice John Roberts on the Supreme Court of the United States of America.

Instead, we get … Harriet Miers?

We could have had filet mignon.  Instead we got hamburger.  We could have had Dom Perignon.  Instead we got Pabst Blue Ribbon.  We could have thrown a touchdown.  Instead we ran it up the middle for a two-yard gain.  And then to rub salt in this open wound, the President insulted the nation’s collective intelligence by claiming, laughably, that he “picked the best person (he) could find.”  Perhaps he should have extended his search beyond arm’s length.

It’s not so much that Harriet Miers is “bad,” but that we had an opportunity to do so much better.

There are only nine seats on the Supreme Court.  Vacancies don’t occur very often.  Why settle for a second- or third-stringer when there were so many experienced, bona fide super-stars sitting on the bench waiting to get into the game?  With the World Series on the line, why send an untested, inexperienced rookie to the mound when you have the likes of Roger Clemens or Randy Johnson at your disposal?  This nomination is the sort of decision which would get a major league manager fired on the spot.

Nevertheless, there are still some GOP partisan loyalists out there who are blindly accepting the President’s nomination on faith and disparaging anyone else who dares voice objection as not being a “team player” or a “true conservative.”  These Bushophiles need to wake up and smell the coffee.  For the record, here’s just a partial list of prominent, bona fide, card-carrying conservatives who have expressed reservations, if not open hostility, to the Miers nomination over the past week:

Former Judge Robert Bork, American Conservative Union Chairman David Keene, columnist Charles Krauthammer, talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, columnist George Will, Rep. Tom Tancredo (R.-Colo.), Roger Pilon of the Cato Institute, Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard, columnist Thomas Sowell, columnist Mona Charen, former ACU executive director Richard Lessner, Sen. Sam Brownback (R.-Kan.), Sen. Trent Lott (R.-Miss.), columnist Robert Novak, columnist Bruce Fein, columnist Peggy Noonan, former Bush speechwriter David Frum, HUMAN EVENTS Editor Terrence Jeffrey, columnist Michelle Malkin, the Wall Street Journal, Manny Miranda of the Third Branch Coalition, the Federalist Patriot, columnist David Limbaugh, Gary Bauer of American Values, Alan Keyes of Renew America, columnist Pat Buchanan and Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation.

All of these people are wrong and the President is right?  All of these people aren’t “true conservatives”?  All of these people aren’t “team players”?  Come on.

President Bush is not the pope.  He is not infallible.  He made a mistake.  But it’s a mistake which can and should be rectified.  The nation need not settle for second or third best with this lifetime appointment.  Bush should take a “mulligan,” withdraw this nomination and appoint someone such as Judge Janice Rogers Brown instead.  Absent that, Miers should take herself out of the game–for the good of the conservative movement and for the good of the nation.


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