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October 03, 2005

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thanks for reminding everyone about the 2000 election, george.

I like the idea of refusing to consider a SC replacement while the high-ranking officials, if not Bush/Cheney themselves, are under a cloud - a black cloud at that: conspiracy to commit treason? I thought that the Dems should have refused to consider the Roberts nomination until the administration took care of the storm victims and put in place an effective emergency management program.

Me too. But we didn't. And now Bush has "handled" Hurricane Rita, and the bars in the French Quarter are open, so everything's back to normal. It's time for us to happily accept "the best we're likely to get from this president," even though he's now had two chances to nominate the much-feared wingnut, and hasn't found the will to do it.

But by all means, let's cower in fear of what he obviously has no interest in doing.

How long ago was it that we were all swooning over the fantastic insight of What's the Matter with Kansas?

But Kagro, how do you really feel?

If we can't demand a hold on the nomination until after the Cheney-Bush conspiracy cases are done, then we might just turn Miers into an opportunity to ask about all the things Bush would like to hide from: the hiring of cronies over competence, his buried TANG history, everything. At the very least, our questions would reinforce the corruption of this administration. And heck, it might incent a few more Republicans to hold off--they're going to be looking for ways to distance themselves from BushCo in the near future, after all.

Oh, and I apologize for using "incent" as a verb. Time to go back to editing academic tracts rather than marketing proposals, I think.

Absolutely; certain Republicans might not want to raise the objections themselves, but if the Dems complain loudly and the media picks it up, I could see them inching toward the bandwagon. But if the Dems don't raise the issues, no one else will.

That's all there is to salvage from this nomination, emptywheel, and I look forward to Democratic Senators picking up on the prospect, though I don't hold out a tremendous amount of hope.

I'm steamed. And rereading all the commentary about how Bush was beholden to the wingers, and owed them this "balloon payment" on the Court is only making things worse for me.

Bush thinks he can treat the high court as judicial training wheels? This is a contemptuous appointment and should be rejected on that ground.

It is and it should be. But it won't be. The latest "news," by the way, is that Miers was on the "no filibuster list" handed over by Senate Dems to the White House, and has the recommendation of some 80+ Senators.

Politically, this is a huge win for the Dems on many levels. In terms of her legal rulings, well, who has any idea about that?

For Bush to make this pick the day after Rahm Emanuel rolled out the "culture of cronyism" theme couldn't have been planned better. We get to attack GOP cronyism in 2006 and 2008, while enjoying the benefits of the conservative crackup over Bush's failure to appoint an outright winger.

I would not go so far as to say the Dems should let this sail through, since there's still plenty we don't know, but I think it's best to take a step back and let the world watch the GOP infighting.

The first thought I had on the nomination was that Bush must be really concerned about what is coming down the pike to go for loyalty over any other trait in the mix.

Particularly so since Miers is also a gamble on his part. She has no natural constituency--not the conservative bench, bar and academia, as Roberts had; not the Dobsonites as a Janice Brown or Priscilla Owen might have had. Nothing to recommend her except she is a loyalist and Bush's pick. In fact, SCOTUSblog suggests than an honest ABA might find her unqualified, not that it would matter to Bush. They also report some rumblings on the Right that she should be rejected to force Bush to pick a flamer.

There is lots of gold to mine in the legal advice she has given Bush over the years, but the Dems won't be goven the picks to find it. With this one in particualr they can beat the drums of cronyism and coverup and what are they so worried about until Christmas. There is no past confirmation vote, no highly respectable body of work, to restrain anyone, and nonnatural constituency to defend her but Bushbots. And lots of men (and a few women) who know very well they were far more qualified.

Plus, as SCOTUS blog also pointed out, Bush had the bad manners to totally step on and upstage Roberts' investiture ceremony. Completely lacking in grace and class. Once agqain, its all about him and how to keep him in power and out of trouble.

Mimikatz

Don't you think he did this at the crack of dawn today to get her nomination out there "before" the start of the term. So that he could complain if she wasn't approved quickly? "I nominated her before the beginning of the term and here we are two months in an you haven't approved her yet; that's just stonewalling!" he will say.

Unless the ABA comes out with an unqualified rating for Miers, or Dobson declares jihad on the Bush administration for this pick (wouldn't that be something to behold?), I see her getting confirmed. I guess Bush wanted a SCOTUS win any way he could get it, to offset Iraq, Katrina, Social Security failure, Plame. Although it won't be an unqualified victory, since he'll have pissed off part of his base in the process, and contributed to the emerging view of the Bush administration as Cronys R Us.

I guess she's Abu Gonzales without the baggage - her only qualification is loyalty to Bush. Roberts got a lot of mileage out of his intellect and Harvard credentials. Most were so dazzled that they didn't notice that he hadn't done anything worthwhile with his abilities. He certainly was good at talking - sounding smart while saying nothing. No evidence of wisdom and plenty of evidence of mean-spiritedness. At least with him there is a (vanishingly small) chance that he'll rise to the position. From what I can tell Miers doesn't have it in her.

orchid,

ABA won't be able to rate her, she's never been a judge and has no paper trail.

'Wheel, he didn't have to do it at the crack of dawn on the first day of the Supreme Court term. He could have waited until the afternoon, and given Roberts his moiment in the sun. Even waited one day. But I don't think Bush/Rove ever thinks of others in that way. Besides, Sandra D is going to stay on the court.

Apparently from what I read the Righty blogs are going somewhat nuts with this choice. Bush has the extreme advantage here of knowing what Miers' views are in a way that the rest of the public never will. The rest of us need to be very attuned to see which groups seem to calm down as if they have been given private assurances of some sort.

The right posture for the Dems, it seems to me, is to rather gingerly point out her lack of a record of any sort, constantly contrasting her with Roberts, who, whatever his politics, was by all accounts a brilliant advocate. She isn't. She has none of the qualifications that good non-judge picks have had, such as a solid political (Earl Warren) or academic career (Frankfurter). She hasn't demonstrated that she understands constitutional law and legal reasoning at the level that is needed for the Supremes, as, again, Roberts demonstrably had. Not to put too fine a point on it, she is a joke, and a bad one at that, given her recent career as Bush's cleaning woman.

So, again, the Dems should politely ask lots of questions and demand to see her all of writings BECAUSE WITHOUT THAT WE DON'T EVEN KNOW IF SHE CAN WRITE OR THINK AT ALL because there isn't the lawyer's trail that there was with Roberts. Emphasize the REALLY stealthy quality of her record because there is so little of it that is public. This will make the Right squirm just as much as Liberals. And the cronyism. We need all this information because Bush has such a history or appointing incompetent people to high positions, and it has caused us a great deal of grief in the last several years. And with all the investigations coming down the pike, we really need to know that we are getting something other than a fixer here. That is the tack to take.

Once again, its all about him and how to keep him in power and out of trouble.

'Twas ever thus. It's amusing that the Bush 'administration' is seen as highly ideological when of course that rigidity is just a strategy, like everything else. In a confidence game like this, it's just a matter of time before everyone's trust is betrayed, most especially including 'allies' like the religious wingers. It's their turn (again!).

And one more thing. Bush was really between a rock and a hard place with this pick, because Roberts was in many ways a good pick for him. Roberts was a solid, even brilliant, lawyer, so much of the criticism of him from both sides was muted, and the stealth strategy worked.

But this time both the Right (because this is their chance to change the Court) and the moderates (because this is Bush's chance to change the Court) would never have been so deferential. Bush is apparently trying the stealth strategy again, but this time without the cushion that a brilliant legal career would provide. He apparently does not feel strong enough to really offend either side here, so he thought only of himself and made the "safe" pick--someone very loyal and mediocre. It shows both his weakness and his fear about the future.

There is no need for the Dems to be deferential here. This is the US Supreme Court, for gods' sake, not the Dallas District Court. A crony is a crony is a crony, and with someone this mediocre, there is no need for the Dems to pretend otherwise.

I take it all back. She DID have a political career. Two years on the Dallas City Council. And she was president of the Texas State Bar. Obviously, in the Bush Era, that is enough for the Highest Court in the Land.

Some really good analysis at TPM Cafe including this from mark Schmitt and Ed Kilgore's post comparing thisto the balloon payment on the Right's 30 year mortgage--looks like Bush wants to refinance. Somewhere in the comments to that post is the description of Miers' term on the Dallas City Council.

Frankly, I find the "balloon mortgage" metaphor utterly discredited at this point. Bush says, "F. you. Come get your money."

And because the fundies' personal fortunes depend on being on good enough terms with the GOP to sell them their mailing lists, the Republican Senators will refinance this deal for them. Which is pretty much what I said about this metaphor in July, under slightly different circumstances.

Not to mention her most important qualification: having said that 'the president was the most brilliant man she had ever met'.

If I were a man who had ever met her, I'd be insulted.

Mimikatz, I hope you are sending your points to every Dem on the Judiciary Committee.

There is no need for the Dems to be deferential here.

If the party had banners like samurai cavalry, this is the slogan that ought to be emblazoned on every one of them.

Philosophically, I've been a far-left social democrat for four decades; pragmatically, just like my grandpa urged me, I've been a diehard Democrat. For this I've taken no end of shit. But I have not wavered. I've argued with fellow radicals who have said there is no difference between the parties and apathetics who have asked what the party ever did for them. I've supported compromises, and tactical maneuvering and slick strategy with the thought that these would keep this or that outcome from being worse than it could be.

I've suffered deep gouges in my principles to further the cliché that politics is the art of the possible. I've worked for radical policy change outside the electoral process and worked to elect the most liberal/left primary candidates. Yet, when the crunch came, I closed ranks and pressed reluctant others to do the same. I've gone along with the politics of half a glass or a quarter-glass in hopes that some day it might be close to full.

Frankly, if the Dems let this transformative nomination sail through without a screaming fight, I'm done with them.

Re: Meteor, that's an interesting post.

My cynicism is so deep it comes back around the other side to naivete. There is nothing that could happen that would make me not show up on election day and vote for D's over R's or any hopeless fringe party. I'm surprised at nothing, and don't bother with self-absorbed idealists. So I say don't ever "quit." You probably can't,anyway.

I'm not sure I see the possible benefit to fighting this to the near-death; though I think 35 No votes would be fine, hitting on cronyism and lack of experience for '06 message building.

Re: Harriet, I may as well add another take. I probably agree with all the above, but it's also possible that the foundations of Bush's thinking are far shallower and less calculating than we think. Maybe Bush just likes this woman. And that's enough. An Occam's Razor of politics.

Give it up. Leahy and his 21 other traitors set the precedents on Roberts. The nominee can avoid providing any substantive answers to any question that would reveal judicial philosophy, even avoids providing opinions on already settled, past cases - these Dems vote yes anyway.

Leahy and his 21 other traitors set the precedent that the Prez can withhold any and all documents, even if only on a whim, that exist that would illuminate the nominee's philosophy and these Dems voted yes because this was A-OK with them. They cannot now change their tack, forget THEIR precedents, flip-flop and fight against the latest crony nominee. They can't. It's a done deal.

Besides, Senator Harry Reid and a few others are already on board with the crony. It's over. The only people that can possibly derail this nomination are Rethug Senators.

Whatever her credentials for the high court, Miers' loyalty to Bush — who once called her a pit bull in size 6 shoes...

First Karen Hughes' size 12's, now Miers' size 6's. Why do we keep hearing so much about the shoe size of the women close to Bush?

What's her connection to Laura Bush? One of the conservative blogs says that the two of them are really close. After all the Hillary bashing it would be interesting if the first lady influenced this nomination.

My gut tells me this nomination has absolutely nothing to do with right-to-life, stem cell research or christianism; I think this is purely Bush putting in somebody he trusts absolutely to protect his corrupt, stupid ass. I think it is about TANG, drug abuse, drunk driving, Abramoff, Plame, Katrina - all his lifetime of failures not coming out so the "Bush Legacy" will be safe. Rove knows the RR needs him where he is as much as he needs them. They'll stick. Notice how Bush hides behind women's skirts when the going gets tough? WTF does that mean, I wonder? SO much dish to serve up with him, id'nt there? Books will be written about him for centuries, provided there is a United States after he is done ruining it.

Instant classic from an unexpected source: the 'Brownie' Moment

I’d like to take a moment to coin a new phrase: Brownie Moment. A Brownie moment can be defined simply as the moment when a supporter of President Bush is smacked in the head by reality and loses any and all faith in the president from that moment forward. As you may have surmised the term comes from Bush’s recent comment regarding former FEMA head Michael Brown’s leadership in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.”

This was my Brownie moment. I understand that in the world of politics leaders often have to say things they don’t mean, or shake hands with dictators and scumbags, and do a lot of morally repugnant stuff. But when Bush said that I realized that after surveying the impotent, incompetent response of the federal government he truly, honestly believed that Brownie was doing a heck of a job. That sealed it for me. I’d been turning sour on Bush for a while, but I was still generally supportive of him. When I heard him make that remark, however, that was it. That was my Brownie moment.

More right head-to-wall bashing here from Ezra.

And a summary from Andrew. A small man picked a smaller nominee (not talking size). it's all about Bush... it always has been.

Mimikatz -- So, again, the Dems should politely ask lots of questions and demand to see her all of writings ...

Aye. Slow-cook this one, until fork-tender.

Do we know Bush's pet name for her?

If you haven't seen this yet, it is a MUST read.

http://harrietmiers.blogspot.com/

Plus, I have a post up at firedoglake, if anyone is interested. Blatant blog whoring, I know, but there you are. For the record, I am disgusted at the President's lack of judgment on this, but what else is new? The fact that a large part of the right-wing blogosphere has erupted in flames and spewing brimstone? Priceless.

Do we know Bush's pet name for her?

'Lipstick', short for 'Brown lipstick' (since 'Brownie' was taken).

I wasn't insulted by the choice of Roberts. I thought he was as good as anyone could expect, given that elections do matter.

But I'm insulted by this choice. It's cowardly, and that cannot be good. I echo everything mimikatz said above. This is worth a fight.

ScientistMom, one of the best questions asked anywhere all day.

I'm confused about this nomination. I've gone through everything I know about Bush's present situation, and I can't find anything that explains why he chose Harriet Miers. I can see why he chose a stealth moderate rather than a wingnut -- Bush's poll numbers aren't good, the stealth strategy worked for Roberts, and the religious right will stick with him because they haven't got anywhere else to go. But why not pick a more respectable conservative instead of Harriet Miers? As Mimikatz pointed out, Miers has no natural constituency. Mainstream conservatives want someone they can admire and idolize, not a marginally qualified Bush crony. No one wants stealth this time around. The fact that she's a woman doesn't make up for that. Even if Bush wanted to play it safe, surely there were better choices available, in terms of politics.

Did Bush choose Miers solely because of his own impending legal problems? Maybe, but only if those legal problems are a lot worse than we suspect. And if they're that bad, wouldn't Bush be crippled for the rest of his term?

Or was it a mistake? Maybe the Bush administration has come apart to such an extent that Bush actually made this decision himself.

Or is there some other reason that I've overlooked?

Actually, RedState was reporting that the WH was flummoxed and didn't know who to appoint. Best theory I read was that Bush wanted Gonzo, couldn't have him and picked the next loyalist he had to bring to the table. IOW, it's about him (Bush), not about conservatives.

the above is from Andrew Sullivan, now being repeated on Olbermann.

YK

Maybe the Bush administration has come apart to such an extent that Bush actually made this decision himself.

I'm hearing that BUsh and Cheney are not playing well together anymore. So maybe Bush felt like he needed another Cheney.

ScientistMom

Miers doesn't appear in the Dubya Nickname list. But maybe that's because she hadn't yet had her 15 minutes of fame ... and her first name isn't Paul.

Well, if Harriet Miers is truly Bush's personal pick, and conservatives aren't happy with it, so much the better. Bush's personal character ("you can trust him") has always been an important part of his appeal, and this gets right to the heart of it.

BTW, this may be an obvious point, but I actually think Harry Reid's show of support for Miers is a smart move. It signals to conservatives that if they don't like Miers, it's up to them to do something about it -- they can't just withold their support and let the Democrats torpedo the nomination for them.

I agree with dksbook's gut (@ 16:22). Maybe the nickname is "Big Mama"?

ReddHedd, the harrietmiers blog is the funniest thing I've seen in a long time. I also located firedoglake, and will read it later tonight.

ABCNews had a clip of Leahy itching for the cronyism argument against Miers.

ScientistMom -- I know! It was unexpectedly hilarious and I spewed coffee all over my keyboard laughing. I am SO jealous of whomever came up with the idea -- wish I'd thought of doing it. I re-read bits of it again this morning and laughed out loud the whole time. Between that blog and Wonkette's "virtual makeover," this may be the most fun Supreme Court nomination we've had since the pubic hair ate my coke hearings.

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