Carol Platt Liebau: Getting Miers Strategy Back On Course

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Getting Miers Strategy Back On Course

This AP story, with a decided flair for the obvious, helpfully points out that the Bush strategy for the Miers nomination has, so far, backfired. (Good thing those journalist are there to feed otherwise indecipherable information to a waiting world, no?).

The fact is that the Bush Administration can't afford to treat this nomination like the Roberts nomination. The pertinent issues aren't the same, the political calculus isn't the same, even the supporters and opponents aren't (at least in some cases) the same.

Clearly, in nominating Miers, the President was hoping for a controversy-free confirmation process. That obviously isn't going to happen, and The White House won't (and can't) get it together until it comes to terms with that fact. Ironically, his efforts to avoid controversy may, in the end, have resulted in generating more of it. But what's done is done. The best thing to do is to get some real information about Harriet Miers views out there, and let the chips fall where they may.

And as for the "views" we're waiting for -- we're not talking here about Ms. Miers' favorite flavor of ice cream, her sports team or even her political views (much less her religious ones). What matters is, first and foremost, her judicial philosophy. What is it, how was it formed? That's what we need to know. That's what will reassure those in the conservative base who are at all open to listening -- and if it's at the price of alienating the liberals, so be it. It's not like it will be the first time.


Blogger Mr.Atos said...

Granted you are correct about the controversy fired by the Miers' nomination. But, I just don't buy the idea that Bush erred here. The AP (and others) assuming he did not expect a controversy over Miers is more of the same underestimating of the man that has been characteristic of his critics for over 5 years. You'd think WE on the right would know better having watched him best his oppenents time and again. W's a poker player. He knows the game and the stakes. And what's more, he is the only one who knows the cards in his hand. I'm not betting against that.

8:53 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

I really question whether Bush was trying to avoid controversy with this nomination. If that is true, the White House political operation, which by historical standards has been outstanding, totally failed. Anyone (even her most vocal supporters) could have told them that Miers would not be immediately and unquestioningly accepted to the base. It's hard to believe no one saw this coming. I still wonder if this isn't part of a plan to some end, although I confess I cannot see a good result for the Republican party yet from all of this.

8:59 PM  
Blogger American by Choice said...

As one who has been and still is prepared to trust the President on this nomination, I must admit it's getting to feel awfully exposed out here! Carol's right. For goodness sake, White House, get your act together. Get us substantive information on Ms. Miers judicial philosophy. Let her speak for herself and be damned to public silence before the hearings. Or, if the convention's so important, get her to use the fact that she has to send more written stuff to the Senate to include a powerful essay telling us where she stands. And , for heavens sakes, get on with it.

5:48 AM  
Blogger wile e coyote said...

To me, the Miers nomination suggests Bush has become too isolated and surrounded by syncophants.

One of Bush's greatests attributes had been a knack for intuiting how the average person looked at things.

Nominating Miers for the Supreme Court suggests he is losing his touch.

9:15 AM  
Blogger American by Choice said...

rzafft, I think you make an excellent point except that I wouldn't put it quite as strongly as 'sycophants' (they may be but I think the isolation doesn't need that). In fact I've been thinking that the general phenomenon of presidential, second term drift/stagnation/scandal/.... is because of that out-of-touchnessness. Here's a theory...

For success, a new President needs a considerable degree of insulation from the outside world for all sorts of very good reasons. By the second term this turns into a loss of personally experienced feel for the public pulse, which is the source of the intuition you describe. And there may be no way to avoid it.

10:00 AM  

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