October 27, 2005
Smoke and Miers
Timing is everything [link dead]:
WASHINGTON — The prosecutor hasn’t announced any indictments, but President Bush’s aides and their allies in Congress are working on strategies to counter the blow if White House officials are accused of crimes.
The basic plan is familiar to anyone who has watched earlier presidents contend with scandal: Keep the problem at arm’s length, let allies outside the White House do the talking, and try to change the subject to something — anything — else.
Now that Bush has caved to the lunatic right, Dems are going to have to deal with an even harder-core wingnut nominee (and by any sane measure, Miers wasn’t exactly short on winger credentials). And this time it will be one with a solid legal track-record who will be raring to overturn Roe v. Wade. Which means an inevitable filibuster—one that, as the National Review gloats, will have almost zero chance of success:
[P]residential mistakes have consequences that cannot be simply erased. If President Bush now nominates someone whom most conservatives can support, as he should, then Bush and the conservatives may, together, win the nominee’s confirmation. But their chances of jointly succeeding were better immediately after the confirmation of Chief Justice John Roberts than they are now. The Democrats will insist that the far Right has forced a nominee beholden to it on a weak president.
But taking on the Democrats, even Democrats armed with that argument, still seems the best option. Republicans still have a majority of the Senate. If Democrats mount a filibuster, Republicans should be able to break it one way or the other. Republicans will need only two members of the “gang of 14” who made the filibuster deal to prevail.
Had Miers been confirmed, Dems would have been faced with a Supreme Court justice who might, just might, have wavered on issues such as Roe v Wade. That won’t be true of Bush’s next nominee. And to the extent that Dems have goaded the wingnuts into ditching Miers, they bear some responsibility for that.
Still, maybe tomorrow will be a better day.
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