Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Harriet Miers - Chosen Because of the War on Terror?

For the past couple of days, I have sat back and pondered the Harriet Miers nomination. Why did Bush nominate her in particular? Was it because the president was not up for a fight? I doubted that was the cause. Bush has never kow-towed to the Democrats on anything and at last count, the Senate was still controlled by Republicans. I know that he did not fear a filibuster. His base has been spoiling for that fight for a long time, and nominating a hard line conservative would been exactly what he needed to re-energize his dwindling base. Instead, the right seems to be eating its young over the nomination.

I also know that no decision would be made without Karl Rove's steely hand involved. I'll be the first to admit that he is brilliant, far smarter than I am.

So, the question still remained. Why Harriet Miers?

Then I read a piece today in Roll Call that reported on a conference call that Ken Mehlman, chairman of the Republican National Committee, held yesterday with conservative leaders to address their concerns about Miers. That's where I think I may have found the answer to the quandry.

He stressed Bush’s close relationship with Miers and the need to confirm a justice who will not interfere with the administration’s management of the war on terrorism, according to a person who attended the teleconference.

We all know that Bush likes absolute loyalty. We also know that Bush sees his role on the War on Terror is his legacy. We also know that there has been a lot of questionable calls by the Bush administration when it comes to the detainment and treatment of terrorists and enemy combatants and what role the civilian courts should play in their final adjudication. Whether you agree or disagree with the administrations actions, the courts have decided both for and against the administration on the matters. The only way for Bush to maintain the staus quo is with friendly court rulings. Many court cases in regards to the detainees have already been brought, and many are still pending. Many will make their way to the Supreme Court. Bush sees his ability to keep these detainees out of the civil legal system as crucial to fighting the War on Terror. A hostile court could be disastrous to his vision of how the war should be fought.

He knows how Miers feels on this. She is his personal attorney who has advised the president on these specific issues. Bush, Rove and Cheney are not going to roll the dice on an unknown candidate such as Owen or Brown. Their legal philosophy is definitely conservative, but there is still an unknown factor in how they would rule on such cases.

I think the War on Terror is the reason that Bush sold out the religious right on the nomination (assuming she would not overrule Roe). Nothing happens without reason in Washington, especially with this administration. If this is Bush's intentions, then he has chosen superbly on the matter. She is unlikely to be filibustered, and should get easily confirmed. He gets what he wants without a fight. Stealthy nominee, indeed.


Paula said...

That does make sense, Dingo. Bush always seemed to me a bit phony in his nod to some of the far-right issues. Once he said offhandedly that he didn't think there should be an anti-abortion amendment. (That hasn't received much press for whatever reason.) He needed the far-right votes, but now...eh. But the WoT, yeppers. *That* he is passionate about. As he should be, IMO.

Dingo said...

I am not passing judgment on the decision, just why I think he made it.

Beth said...

Over at the Volokh Conspiracy, one of the lawyer eggheads alluded to something along those same lines--about it being an pick that would not interfere with prosecution of the WoT, that she's in agreement with the legal issues. It kinda makes sense, and if that is so, then you know at least *I* will be pleased.

Of course, the silly wingnut right thinks he sold them out, but I'm pretty sure that he didn't--she is, after all, an Evangelical Christian. I'm honestly don't think that's going to make a difference in her rulings (IOW, she doesn't appear to be one who will try to change the court according to her own moral values), but it ought to shut the crybabies up.

You're exactly right also about Bush prizing loyalty. I am of the same mindset, actually, about the loyalty issue, and I'm disgusted at the idiots talking "third party" nonsense. They did that crap in '92 (and of course the left did it in 2000), and I am not one to so easily forget that. I think the far right has NEVER been a strong base, and I don't trust them. I suspect Bush, being devoted to loyalty as he is, feels a bit the same way. What's ironic is that Bush--like me, again--is definitely a conservative, and usually agrees with the "far right" or "religious right" on the issues, but he doesn't self-identify as one of them. There's always going to be that slight level of mistrust between them and Bush.

This of course is why I'm one of the Bush Kool-Aid drinkers, if you will. I can identify strongly with his politics, his vision. I could be all wrong, of course (although I don't think I am on this), but because of this I just don't see the "Bush lied" or other evil attributed to him. As a result, I don't think this nomination was a big "f--k you" to the right that some think it is, nor an appeasement of the left. In fact, if I had looked at the field carefully before yesterday, I probably would have predicted that he would pick Miers; her nomination appears to be totally in character for him.

Dingo said...

You have made some good points Beth. I agree. I think this is definitely a loyalty thing, not an "F-You".

I don't think Bush is evil, per se. And I definitely don't think he is a racist as many say. But I defiantly do think he is way to arrogant for his own good sometimes and completely unwilling to either admit to himself when he is wrong or unwilling to surround himself with people who are willing to tell him when he is heading in the wrong direction. I think it is a combination of the two.

as for evil... Karl Rove is a whole other ball of wax. Supposedly he is a nice guy, but would sell his own mother to get what he wants - i.e. no conscious.

P.S. good job of your Bama boys knocking off the Gators.

Aldon Hynes said...

You might also be interested in the article in Editor and Publisher Miers Briefed Bush on Bin Laden PDB, But Papers Handle Photo From That Day Quite Differently, pointed out by CT Blogger.

Sigmund, Carl and Alfred said...

You raise a good point- but in fact, it's hard to imagine a nominee would be picked based on a single agenda.

She is one vote and one vote only.

There had to be more to his choice than that.

What is more interesting to me is that if you look at who is talking, it would appear that Mr Bush is getting more breathing room and cooperation than most might imagine.

Some of the Dem posturing may be political theater. There may be more going on here than meets the eye. Maybe Harry Reid was brought into the loop.

Beth said...


Anyway, see, I REALLY don't think of Bush as arrogant, and definitely not one who takes himself so seriously that he can't admit a mistake.
I think it's probably stubbornness, at worst, or steadfastness to (and faith in) his beliefs. I might be projecting here, but looking at the man's life--who he is--I've never really bought the arrogance charge. Unwilling to admit to himself? Probably so, because he likely doesn't believe he's wrong (about Iraq, for example). I know it's probably hard for you to imagine that there ARE honest "true believers," but we do exist. (Just like I am mystified that people actually think "Bush lied"--I can't believe that anyone REALLY thinks that.)

Anyway, I'm not trying to change your mind, 'cause I know I won't in blog comments. I guess I'm just running my mouth. ;-)

[Hi Aldon, Hi SCA!] ::waving::

Dingo said...

Thanks everyone for the good comments and stopping by.

Aldon - thanks for the link. I wonder how this will play out in the confirmation.

Siggy - about the single issue. I think that she is conservative which satisfies Bush and Cheney. But I do think that this one issue may play a large role in the decision. O'Connor is a swing vote, so by locking in Miers, they have at least a 5-4 majority on the issue. It would be easily foreseeable that an "originalist" would find that it was not the intent of the founders that anyone should be held in perpetuity without adjudication. The bill of rights infers that exact opposite. I think originalist are actually much more unpredictable than "living document" types.

Beth - we will have to agree to disagree on Bush. it is tough for me to understand how anyone DOESN'T believe that Bush misled us. It is just one of those things. Like art, two people can see the exact same thing in different ways.