This is better than sports.
I'm gonna post this in red, white and blue.
The Harriet Miers nomination allowed Bush to alter the political landscape in a way that nothing else could have done. Analysts and pundits will be arguing for years whether he did it deliberately or carelessly, but either way it's going to be recorded like a strike in bowling. All the pins fell down.
Ann Althouse seems to have called the best scenario today describing how he is gonna get out of it unscathed. First, here is the "Krauthammer strategy:"
...a way out: irreconcilable differences over documents.For a nominee who, unlike John Roberts, has practically no record on constitutional issues, such documentation is essential for the Senate to judge her thinking and legal acumen. But there is no way that any president would release this kind of information -- "policy documents" and "legal analysis" -- from such a close confidante. It would forever undermine the ability of any president to get unguarded advice.
That creates a classic conflict, not of personality, not of competence, not of ideology, but of simple constitutional prerogatives: The Senate cannot confirm her unless it has this information. And the White House cannot allow release of this information lest it jeopardize executive privilege.
Ann Althouse watches. Listens. Waits. Comments. The president is questioned about withdrawing the nomination, and replies by speaking about his candidate in glowing tones, buuuuut...
...I read this as a sign that the nomination WILL be withdrawn: he's setting up the Krauthammer exit strategy with the documents; he did not address the question that was asked directly; and he fuzzes things over with irrelevant assertions about what a fine woman Miers is.
MORE: Here's the link to the Krauthammer article proposing that Bush set up "a classic conflict, not of personality, not of competence, not of ideology, but of simple constitutional prerogatives," in which an impossible bind requires the withdawal: "The Senate cannot confirm her unless it has this information. And the White House cannot allow release of this information lest it jeopardize executive privilege." And then, of course, you say all the nice things about what "an extraordinary woman" Miers is.
I was watching this press conference on TV, and it seemed as if Bush was making a planned withdrawal speech. He hesitated a lot and put his words together carefully. Note that he did not express confidence that she would be confirmed or that she would make a fine Justice. He focused on her general excellence, unrelated to the position she's been nomited for, and on the Senate, stepping up the pressure to give her a fair hearing -- right after turning up the heat about the denial of the documents. It seems as though he wants the Democratic senators to make more of a stink about the documents so that he'll look more credible blaming them for forcing him to withdraw her name. I'll bet they are too smart to make that move, though. Let him twist in the wind while they hold their fire until the hearings. Or maybe even -- crazily riskily -- just go ahead and support her and leave Bush to solve his own problems, without using them for leverage.
Brilliant. What was left unsaid, often the case, is more important than what is spoken. Sure enough, before hours pass, Bush moves a knight.
President Bush said Monday that he will not release any records of his conversations with Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers that could threaten the confidentiality of the advice that presidents get from their lawyers."It's a red line I'm not willing to cross," Bush said.
Bush did not directly answer the question that was posed to him by a reporter at the end of the meeting whether the White House is working on contingency plans to withdraw Miers nomination in the face of opposition to her from liberals and conservatives. Instead, he said that she is an "extraordinary woman" and that he understands people want to learn more about her.
"Recently, requests, however, have been made by Democrats and Republicans about paperwork out of this White House that would make it impossible for me and other presidents to be able to make sound decisions," Bush said. "In other words, they've asked for paperwork about the decision- making process, what her recommendations were. And that would breach very important confidentially."
Mark Kilmer at Red State thinks it's all over but the shouting.
It's a difficult situation. An impossible situation. It looks like, barring the construction of new criteria, this nomination will fail. If that is not part of the plan, I think it would probably be best for the President to look elsewhere.
Ann Althouse already found a name (Diane Sykes) of a candidate suitable to follow Harriet Miers. Ever since I learned she was a Democrat, I have become an even bigger fan.
Question: When a cowboy plays chess, does the knight wear a helmet?
As I said, this is better than sports.
Monday, October 24, 2005
This is better than sports.
Posted by Hoots at 4:26 PM