Thursday, October 27, 2005

Justice Denied

Well, Harriet Miers has withdrawn her nomination to be placed on the Supreme Court.

I don't for a second believe that she made this decision on her own -- her lemming-like loyalty to the President means that she'd never go against His Will -- so we can take this as a recognition from Bush that no matter how much lipstick (and dark black eyeliner) he stuck on this pig, no one was going to buy it.

Personally, I'm a little let down. I was looking forward to watching this all play out before the Judiciary Committee, with the costs of Bush's cronyism exposed in Miers' ignorance of constitutional matters and the schism in the Republican Party exploited as the far right had to break away from the right. And as long as the nomination was standing, the internal fighting in the GOP ranks could continue.

So what happens next? Well, there are two scenarios. First, you could argue that Bush desperately needs a victory here and will try to find another John Roberts -- moderately conservative, eminently qualified, and easily passable. But I don't think that'll happen. Bush has a chance to win back his base, and with the Plame indictments coming down soon, he's going to want them rallied around him. So I think we might see him reach deep into the nut factory and pull out someone like Janice Rogers Brown or Priscilla Owens.

However, even if Bush does put forth a troglodyte for the next nomination, I think the Democrats now have the cover to shoot her down. Bush is now deeply unpopular, and the indictments of his administration will surely make him more so. Rebelling against Bush is no longer a political risk; it's fast becoming a political asset. What's more, now that the Republicans are all on record for standing up to Miers -- demanding documents, announcing their opposition, playing the media -- it becomes much easier for Democrats to do the same with the next nominee.

It's hard to predict the future, but I think we can now look back on the Miers nomination and pinpoint the moment where it all went wrong. Decades from now, historians will look back and, I am confident, seize upon the homespun wisdom of the sage prognosticator who said: "Nice knowing you, Harriet. Go back to writing 'Mrs. Harriet Bush' in cursive on your Trapper Keeper, because this other dream just ain't gonna happen."

Truly prophetic.


Thrillhous said...

I see Bush going with scenario 2, nominating a hero(ine) that the Justice Sunday crowd would approve of.

I think a controversial nominee (i.e., one dems hate but repubs love) would help draw attention away from the other bad news, which is a plus for Bush. Also, the dems in the "gang of 14" already preapproved Owens and Rogers, sorta. At least according to their agreement with the 7 repubs, they won't support a filibuster of a nominee they don't think is extreme, and by agreeing to let Owens and Rogers onto the federal bench they pretty much said that those two aren't extreme enough to filibuster.

So Bush wins back his base and distracts attention from his other problems. If the dems oppose (assuming it's Rogers or Owens), the gop goes on the offensive against those flip-flopping demicrats.

Then again, ever since Bush v. Gore I always think the judicial glass is half empty. Hope I'm wrong.

ORF said...

Way to pat yourself on the back there, Otts...altho I must admit that you so totally called it and in a most hilarious way at that!

Ra_wiggum said...

"The White House said Miers had to withdraw over concerns that senators wanted documents of privileged discussions between Miers and the president"

What were they trying to hide?

Also, I like the pig with lipstick image. Maybe cletus will want to date harriet?

Otto Man said...

ORF, I'm just giving credit where credit is due. And this one is pure, uncut Otto. (I think I've been watching the Colbert Report too much lately -- the pompous ass thing comes too easily to me.)

I'm not sure what they were trying to hide with the documents, Ralph, but it probably speaks generally to the administration's love of secrecy and specifically to the fact that recent exec. decisions (torture, Iraq, etc.) will likely come before the Court soon.

Smitty said...

I thin, for what it's worth, that part of what this shows is that the Bush Misadministration has lost their ability to lead. Congressional Republicans are putting a whole lotta gone between them and Bush's folks right now, even parting from Bush on minor issues like the regulation of Fannie Mae (Bush said the bill didn't go far enough, so COngress voted FOR it). They see that their only chance to maintain majority is to distance themselves from Fearless Leader.

No surprise, then, to see that Bush got someone to accept the blame for a shitty nomination so it wasn't their acknowledgement of ANOTHER failure. This was simply kindly little Harriet not wanting to further burden her One True God.

Mr Furious said...

Thrillhous is probably right. That was the biggest problem with the Gang of 14 agreement. They already have given tacit approval of both Owens and Rogers.

All the distraction is a nice bonus.

Otto Man said...

I'm not so sure the Gang of Fourteen is hogtied on this one. They promised not to block a nominee unless there were "exceptional circumstances" and I've heard rumblings from a few of them that the swing seat on the Supreme Court fits the bill.

Mr Furious said...

I won't be surprised if it's Alberto Gonzales, however. Bush is such a dick, he might just do it to spite the rejection of Miers by the fundies. He doesn't care about getting reelected... said...

Interesting spectator politics going on. Will Bush nominate a slam dunk candidate (not Tenat-slam dunk, the real kind) or will he appease his base? (I think AG AG fails on both counts now.)

I think the Dems are screwed on this one. They didn't defeat the Harriet Miers nomination, they mostly got out of the way while the Republicans did. If they try to filibuster the next nomination, I can picture them playing the part of the Republican party during the government shut down (taking a huge PR hit). Watching from the comfort of my sofa, the filibuster just doesn't play well -- it underscores desperation and powerlessness. It would be fun to watch which party's image takes a bigger beating if the Dems filibuster and the GOP go nuclear.

InanimateCarbonRod said...

It will be Janice Rogers Brown. This weak arse president will bow to the fundies for two reasons: 1) No more political capital to spend. 2) A knock down drag out fight over a supreme will take air time out of the indictment extravaganza, and from their perspective anything is better than that. I bet they're upset that Fitzmas didn't happen today. They expected this to be news for only a couple hours and now it's the big thing for 24. They better hope Fitzmas happens tomorrow, or all the Sunday talk will be about how weak this White House is.

Otto Man said...

It won't be Alberto Gonzales for a couple reasons, both of which mirror Miers' problems. First, he's considered soft on abortion by the right (and soft on torture by the left) so he'd face all the opposition Miers did, and then some. And second, he was Miers' predecessor as White House Counsel, and if Bush refused to release Miers WHC documents, then he'll do the same with Gonzales, and that'll be the end of it.

Like iRod, I also think it's increasingly likely that he'll go with an in-your-face choice like Brown (or Jones, Owens or God forbid Luttig) and actually go looking for a fight. He'll rally the base around him again, which helps him in the Plame investigation because it strengthens his hand and distracts the media.

If he were smart -- I said "if" -- he'd go with Michael McConnell. He's a stalwart conservative, but one who's sharp and has the widespread respect of liberal law professors. It would stunt the liberal resistance and he'd sail through.

As far as the timing of this goes, they were probably hoping to lose this in the Plame wake. The indictments will come down tomorrow, though, so that'll happen. Still, I think you might see the Sunday shows full of talk about how Bush is weak and corrupt, and that ain't good.