"bench-clearing brawl"

From Peggy Noonan, writing today on the Miers nomination: “The president would have been politically better served by what Pat Buchanan called a bench-clearing brawl.” Meaning that Bush should have selected any one of a number of first-rate legal minds who, by the way, are also conservative in outlook and don’t have the baggage of being a Bush crony. Which appears to be Miers sole qualification. Oh yes, I forget: she does go to church a lot.

But then, so do Michael Luttig, Mike McConnell, and, I’ll betcha, Edith Jones. Ms. Noonan is right. Bush should have gone to the mat on this nomination, which he appears to have squandered in a moment of weakness. The Miers choice smacks of appeasement to the “moderates” of both parties, most especially the “Gang of 14” in the Senate who place comity above principle. Their statement, “This nomination didn’t set off any alarm bells with any of us,” should, all by itself be alarming.

Harriet Miers may, or may not, be confirmed. She will not be if a sufficiency of Republican senators remember why voters put them there to begin with. Some Democrats will vote against any Republican president’s nominee, and this speaks volumes of their worldview that their political party is more important than their nation. For these Donks, that’s not principle. That’s pure politics.

For those few Republicans, if they can find their spines, it will be about the direction that the Supreme Court should move. Does Harriet Miers, though she be conservative in outlook, have the intellectual depth and the charisma necessary to help lead the Court out of its wilderness? Possibly, though there are others, for instance those mentioned above, who are much more likely to do so.

You say that conservative jurists with known, and published opinions can’t be confirmed? Perhaps. Sometimes it is better to lose a battle, and win the war. From Peggy Noonan’s article:

If in the end President Bush lost [a bruising confirmation fight with a known conservative jurist], he’d lose while advancing a cause that is right and doing serious damage to the other side. Then he could come back to win with the next nominee. And if he won he’d have won, rousing his base and reminding them why they’re Republicans.

George Bush has been weakened by his failure to be strong enough in Iraq, and by events beyond his control (Katrina). His spending habits, or shall I say his lack of veto habits, proclaim that here is a man who thinks he can buy the love of the people. This stealth nominee, when there are so many more eminently qualified choices, also proclaims that Dubya would rather get the job done and go back to his ranch at Crawford for more r&r than actually fight the good fight.

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