Friday, October 28, 2005

When bad motives come home to roost

I posted before about the qualifications I thought Pres. Bush should seek to advance with his second Supreme Court nominee (before he named Miers): talent, a clean closet (as in no skeletons), and a leaning towards conservative thought.

Miers' nomination brought into question all 3 of those things. However, the BIGGEST problem I had with Miers was that Bush CLEARLY didn't address my biggest concern: that he narrowed his selection field down based solely on physical attributes rather than legal. From the word go, the administration seemed pretty free to admit that Bush wanted to nominate a woman, and that just isn't the purest motive to bring to the ballpark.

Now if he had found a talented, baggage-free conservative-minded woman to nominate to the Supreme Court out of a LEGITIMATE search that included many other skilled jurists/lawyers of all backgrounds, then I would have been happy as a clam. But it appears that such was not the case. . .

And if you think that Miers' withdrawl is the end of that debacle for the GOP, think again.

As it stands right now, I think the entire Miers debacle is going to be a major thorn in the side of the GOP for many cycles to come.

While those in the "punditry" game understand that there was much more at stake with the Miers nomination than simply gender quotas, I am willing to bet that the casual observer on the street doesn't "get" those issues. What the casual observer on the street is going to see is that the President nominated a woman to fill a "woman's" spot on the Supreme Court--and the GOP said not just no, but hell no!

Forget about the qualifications (or lack thereof), forget about the absence of background as a jurist--forget all that. Since Bush made this nomination at least in part about gender, it will henceforth be known as a nomination ENTIRELY about gender. And the bottom line: the GOP said no to a woman.

All that work that our party (major kudos to Ken Mehlman, by the way) has done the past couple years to "reach out" and make us "not your father's crodgety ol' GOP" is on the brink of being washed away 'cuz the PARTY looks to be on the wrong side of the gender equality issue.

SO, in that vein, I propose drastic action: the next Bush nominee HAS GOT TO BE A WOMAN. I hate saying that, because it goes against what I really feel should be done with this cherished spot on the SCOTUS, but sometimes you have to play politics, and the only way the GOP can hope to minimize the impact of the Miers fiasco is to put a woman up in her stead.

Otherwise, I think we're setting our party back many years in the fight to expand our "tent". And we just can't have that.

I sure hope Janice Rogers Brown has her cell phone by her side.

Monday, October 03, 2005

About Harriet Miers

Reference material: Bush 41's nomination speech for Justice David Souter; Bush 43's nomination speech for Harriet Miers.

Okay, let's be straightforward here: Miers was not on the short list of most conservative pundits for the vacant spot on the Supreme Court. Her lack of judicial record is worrisome, to say the least. Her close ties to Pres. Bush make this nomination seem. . .I don't know the exact right word for here, but I'm going to go with "funny".

But for that same reason, I think the President should get a little benefit of the doubt here. Above I highlight the nomination speeches of the two Bushes in nominating their "stealth" picks for the Supreme Court: Bush I for Souter (who I don't really need to tell you turned out to be a nightmare for conservatives) and Bush II's speech today. Note the stark differences between father Bush's knowledge of Souter and the current President's knowledge of Miers. Bush the elder admitted to having barely spent any time whatsoever with Souter, and pledged a certain degree ("total" is a degree, after all) of ignorance as to how the man had previously viewed hot-button topics such as abortion and civil rights, affirmative action and free speech. Bush Jr has known Miers for 10 years, and for 5 of those she has worked in the White House in three different capacities. While I doubt that Bush 41 was as clueless as he let on about Souter, I am willing to bet that the current President knows Miers far better than his father knew Souter.

Granted, that's no guarantee that Miers is going to be everything conservatives hope this spot on the SCOTUS turns out to represent. But I am willing to keep an open mind for now and let Miers' testimony try to win me over. While there are large segments of the President's policies that I am not in total agreement with, the types of issues that the Supreme Court decides happen to be issues on which I largely agree with the President. I can't imagine Bush would set this spot up for a disappointment in the same ilk as Souter.

But we'll just have to see. I am interested to know a couple of things, though (both questions spring from this article, the accuracy of which I cannot verify at this time. It is not a site I normally use in research): a) What is it about Miers that had her on the Dems' list of acceptable nominees?; and b) IF Miers was put in charge of the "action" team that was tasked with recommendations for the vacancy on the SCOTUS, were proper safeguards installed by the other team members to ensure that Miers has the background that will stand up to the questioning of the Judicial committees? While this pick might not sit well with the base (for now), if it turns out that she wasn't fully investigated by the team that she led, that would be disastrous for the White House.