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Poor Harriet

A person almost feels sorry for her. Here's Harriet Miers who's toiled loyally in the vineyards of George W Bush, and just when he rewards her fealty with a plum, lifetime job, almost everybody who should be lined up to sing her praises is, instead, stamping on her like the grapes of wrath. My goodness, but it's fun to watch!

Harriet Miers gazes adoringly at George Bush
"In the White House that hero worshipped the president, Miers was distinguished by the intensity of her zeal: She once told me that the president was the most brilliant man she had ever met." — David Frum, former Bush speechwriter

George Will dissed her. Charles Krauthammer dissed her. Trent Lott dissed her. Bill Krisol dissed her. Pat Buchanan dissed her. Ann Coulter dissed her. Even Robert Bork is dissing her!

W has been reduced to public defense of his choice, but that defense amounts to two words: "Trust me." W says he has "looked into her heart" and she won't change (read: "be another Justice Souter"): "I know her well enough to be able to say that she's not going to change, that 20 years from now she'll be the same person with the same philosophy that she is today." The doubters — and they are legion — point out that 20 years ago, Miers was a Democrat and a Catholic. So much for not changing.

Pat Buchanan, Commentator erstwhile presidential candidate
Richard Land, Southern Baptist Convention

And what reasonable, thinking person believes that not changing with a changing world is a virtue, anyway?

On Sunday's Meet the Press, Tim Russert brought together two arch-conservatives, Pat Buchanan and Richard Land to discuss her nomination. The best that Land could come up with was that he trusts George, and George trusts Harriet:

Because I trust the president and this president is not those previous presidents.  George W. Bush, if he's anything, is a man of his word.  And if there's any issue that he's earned the trust of conservatives on, it's this issue.  He has held steadfast and put up stellar nominees in the face of unprecedented opposition from the Daschle-led clack in the Senate and never backed down, never blinked, never flinched.  He picked a person he's known for 15 years, and I believe he picked her because he knows her that well and he knows that she will vote the way he would want her to vote.
Meet the Press, 9-Oct-05

What is really sticking in the craw of conservative christians is that they aren't sure Miers will vote the Right way on hot-button social issues like abortion, gay rights, etc. They were just so sure that with a born-again in the White House plus control of the House and Senate their dream of turning the Supreme Court into an instrument of their political agenda would finally come to pass. But with Miers, they see the brass ring slipping from their grasp, and they're pissed.

Meanwhile, Harry Reid, Senate minority leader, is grinning like a Cheshire cat, having suggested Miers name to the president, and he took full advantage to publicly thank her for her past donations to democratic candidates and for her career as a corporate lawyer. You could almost feel the grains of salt being rubbed into the right-wing wound. For the most part, Democrats are just hanging back, letting the Right fight among themselves.

What has made this whole fiasco so delicious is watching the Right eat so many words. A few weeks ago they were excoriating Democrats for raising questions about John Roberts' Catholic beliefs; now they tout Miers evangelical credentials. They scoffed at Democrats for wanting documents that might reveal Roberts' judicial philosophy; now they disparage the absence of a paper trail proving Meirs unwavering determination to Right perceived wrongs of the Court. They railed against Democrats' use of the courts to achieve political ends; now they bemoan the fact that Meirs' confirmation runs the risk of depriving them of precisely the same opportunity. We see Hypocrisy with a capital H, laid bare for all to see.

Land quote

More than anything else, Miers' nomination has made transparent the Right's determination to impose their version of Christian religiosity on government and the courts.

W may have done the nation a favor. All sides are now clamoring for hearings that will let the country find out where Miers stand on important issues. The ability to hide behind "inappropriate to comment on issues that may come before the court" has long been abused.

It's pretty clear to me that Miers ought not to be confirmed: She's a crony, pure and simple. Most of the documents that might show how she thinks about issues are protected by the double locks of executive privilege and lawyer-client privilege. She's backed only by the full faith and confidence of George Bush, and we've had five years to see how bad his judgment is. She thinks Bush is the "most brilliant" man she's ever met — that alone disqualifies her.

On the other hand, someone who has roused the enmity of so many scumbags can't be all bad!

Pat Oliphant
Pat Oliphant