Monday, October 03, 2005

Jab from the Right
Harriet The Judge

It's looking like the Left is far more excited over Harriet Miers' selection as BushCo's nominee to SCOTUS; Salon's War Room surveys the reaction:

Bill Frist, John Cornyn and Orrin Hatch have each taken a turn before the TV cameras this morning, and each has proclaimed himself excited about George W. Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers. Maybe we're just projecting, but it seemed from here that each displayed a remarkable lack of enthusiasm in the process. Frist was measured and halting as he introduced Miers. Cornyn read from the talking points he trots out each time the subject turns to the federal judiciary. And Hatch used words like "hardworking" and "good lawyer" at a moment when you might expect to hear more superlative superlatives.
When Bush selected Roberts, the Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol called it an "important and courageous" decision. Today, Kristol declares himself "disappointed, depressed and demoralized." "It is very hard to avoid the conclusion that President Bush flinched from a fight on constitutional philosophy," Kristol writes. "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 ... 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?"

At National Review Online, the posters are working themselves up into a collective lather. Rich Lowry wonders if conservatives will have to take back everything they've ever said about competence trumping diversity, while Ramesh Ponnuru sneers that the Miers nomination is an "inspiring testament to the diversity of the president's cronies. Wearing heels is not an impediment to being a presidential crony in this administration!"

Daily Kos diarist georgia10 has some thoughts on the upcoming confirmation hearings:

The approach to Miers' nomination should not be solely focused on her ultimate confirmation. Rather, Democrats should appreciate this event for what it truly is--political gold.

See, Miers has been so entrenched in the inner circles of the Bush clan for so long that the air of numerous Bush scandals cling to her still. Specifically:

The Controversy Over Bush's National Gaurd Service
Miers was paid by the Bush campaign in 2000 to spearhead the investigation into Bush's military record. For $19,000, she scoured public records and strategized on what impression those records left about Bush's military service, or lack thereof. It is important to note that this is still a live controversy.
What role did she play with respect to these documents? Exactly what did she 'investigate' for $19,000 and what did she find? Was what she found consistent with the public record, and public statements about Bush's military record?

The Plame Controversy
Miers is White House Counsel. She has been intricately involved in the White House response to the CIA leak. (Yahoo photo link). She was Deputy Chief of Staff over the summer, and unquestionably has played some role in the White House response to the leak.
Of course,that information is likely privileged. However, stressing her involvment in the White House response gives the Democrats another opportunity to thrust the CIA leak into the spotlight again. Critically, the confirmation hearings (which will be carried live) can be like a virtual press conference for the Democrats to denounce the obstructionist tactics employed by the White House in response to the leak.

Let the games begin!


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