Friday, October 28, 2005

Miers Withdrawal Watch -- Part 5 (finis)

I don't mean to say I told you so, but, uh, I told you so. From my Miers Withdrawal Watch -- Part 1 (Oct. 22):

It's going to happen.

See also Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

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The Post puts it succinctly: "The Bush administration withdrew the Supreme Court nomination of White House Counsel Harriet Miers yesterday, bowing to intensifying attacks from right-leaning activists challenging the depth of her conservative credentials and the strength of her judicial qualifications."

It had to happen. Miers may be a nice enough person, but there's no way she's qualified for a spot on the Supreme Court. Plus, pundits and bloggers from all across the spectrum united, in a way, against her nomination. President Bush rarely gives in and admits defeat (which this was -- it wasn't about executive power, as the spin goes), but this was a doomed debacle from the very start.

Who's next? -- Alito? Luttig? McConnell? Batchelder? Sykes? Callahan? Olson? Williams? Owen? Gonzales? Cornyn? Jones? Brown? The list is long, but these are some of the names that are out there.

My prediction? I'll go with McConnell. Or Sykes. Or Callahan.

But who knows? There are any number of directions Bush could take with this pick.

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The blogosphere has lit up on this story. I may do a round-up over the weekend, once things have calmed down a bit and it's easier to pick out the better posts out there, but, for now, I recommend going to Memeorandum and scrolling down for all the latest posts on Miers's withdrawal.

Oh, alright, I'll mention one... one on the right:

Captain's Quarters: "No conservative or Republican should feel like gloating over the withdrawal of Harriet Miers today, although perhaps a feeling of relief would be understandable. Bush made a mistake in nominating Miers, but it wasn't Miers' mistake -- and she acted honorably in withdrawing her name once it became clear that her nomination enjoyed little support among Republicans in the Senate and elsewhere."

And: "On the other hand, let's also not engage in sniping at each other further now that the Miers nomination has ended. We need to focus on the nomination ahead, and how best to engage the full Senate caucus to line up behind a candidate that reflects GOP control of the Senate. That requires not just a demonstrably originalist thinker who can help transform the Court from its activist impulses and return it to its traditional and balanced role, but also a unified base that can put as much energy into supporting such a candidate as we put into the debate over Miers."

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Memo to my liberal and moderate friends: This is what we're up against. I called Miers the Yoko Ono of the right, and I and others pointed gleefully to the conservative crack-up that her nomination seemed to instigate, but it's clear that the right will unite behind Bush's next nominee if that nominee is clearly one of them. Just pay attention to what they're saying.

It's far too early to predict the demise of the conservative movement and/or the disintegration of the Republican coalition. We didn't win this one, because there wasn't anything to win. Miers withdrew her nomination (or had her nomination withdrawn) because the right objected to her nomination -- Frum and Kristol had more to do with it than liberal or Democratic opposition, much of which was muted.

Stay strong. The battle begins anew. And it will be far tougher than the Miers debacle ever was.

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