Iraq Votes, Yon Notes, RedStaters Emote, and I Confess Everything I Don’t Know About the Miers Nomination.
Back to Biola and GodBlogCon I, and then ND-USC, so light Saturday blogging. Brant DeBow has done a great job of summarizing the panel discussion from last evening. Rev. Joel Thomas appears to be a liberal Christian from Canada, so for a completely different take on the proceedings, read his Bene Diction. Having gone into blogger gatherings organized by the political left on their assurance of fairness and welcome, I know how he feels. Trophy Husband –blogging all of three weeks– offers another interesting take.
A note on the courage of the Iraqi people:
Whole families marched to the polls, standing in line by the hundreds in the crucial electoral battleground provinces of central Iraq
Check Michael Yon, now a freshly minted Weekly Standard affiliate, for Baghdad observations later in the day.
Here is my new column in World. Key paragraphs:
It will be difficult for conservatives to object in the future to the employ of such tactics against nominees they favor. Similarly, the demand laid down by some on the right for a “paper trail” and certainty on judicial philosophy will morph into a demand by Senate Democrats for the same, and the objections mounted in the past to various lines of questioning will certainly sound hollow coming from any pundit denouncing Ms. Miers now for her purported lack of an “overarching” judicial philosophy.
Opponents of the Miers nomination from the right have every right to express their belief that nominee A or nominee B would have been a stronger nominee in their view. They do not know whether the Senate could have broken a filibuster, and they have not seen, of course, background files on their preferred candidate. But they can still assert their preference in terms that do not damage the long-term case for a return to civility and propriety in the nomination process.
Which brings me to my mail box. Many have e-mailed “ah hahs!” to me based on a post at RedState.org by an “anonymousbous” and a related thread at Free Republic. Many commentators at both places are making the argument that since prior to the Miers nomination I supported Michael Luttig, Michael McConnell, or Edith Jones on the basis of their long records, and wrote against the idea of nominating Judge Owen or Brown because they lacked time on the federal court that would more fully illuminate their federal views, I am at worst a fraud and at best a hypocrite.
They can of course conclude that, but I’d like to thank them for assembling in one place at least a small slice of the vast amount of evidence for my preference for other candidates. I also have a preference for nominees nearer to 50 than 60. I also promoted Senator Brownback as a safety pick if filibuister was feared. On the eve of the Miers nomination I was practically pleading for Luttig or McConnell. I hope to have the opportunity to do so again.
In short, I made many arguments that were unpersuasive to the president if indeed he ever heard them or similar arguments relayed by staff.
How can I then support Miers? This is a little too easy to have to explain, but given there are some people who think slowly if at all, let me spell it out:
First, I am not the president. I don’t get to make the pick. The Constitution assigns him that right and responsibility.
Second, I know what I do not know, and I know that I don’t have all the information the White House has. I especially don’t know if some of the potential nominees I favored declined to be nominated or were judged insufficiently prepared for the rigors of the gamut, though that does not seem at all likely concerning at least Judges Luttig or McConnell, though I emphasize I do not know. I do suspect that Judge Brown is being given an opportunity to turn out a few opinions that will show she is not committed to the resurrection of Lochner, which is a silly charge but one that has been repeated for three years and which can also be easily refuted by even a year’s service on the D.C. Circuit. Owens and Pryor also need time to develop a record of opinions to refute imbedded arguments against them. Etc. Etc.
I don’t know the status of the Gang of 14 vis-a-vis a Luttig or a McConnell or a Jones. If the GOP wobblies are going to bolt again on the constitutional option, it will be politically far superior if they do so in September of 2006 rather than December of 2005 as elections will loom and the referendum the country will face will be one very advantageous to the GOP. If there was either uncertainty –or rock solid knowledge that a filibuster could not be broken if Luttig/McConnell were the nominee, then the choice to postpone the battle was a very wise one indeed. In the course of such a long battle we would have left unfilled a seat that the president and staff believes can be ably filled by Harriet Miers.
I don’t know if the White House believes strongly there will be another retirement.
I don’t know Harriet Miers. Many people whose judgment in these matters is very sound –Dean Starr foremost among them, but there are many others– tell us she is an excellent nominee. Older than I would have liked, yes, but the perfect must not be the enemy of the good.
The of course there is the fact that the president picked her. With a nomination made, I prefer to press to the desired outcome, and support the president and recognize that the defeat of a nominee is a calamitous political consequence, no matter what other people say.
It may come as a shock to people, but I am a Republican, who believes that the care and nurturing of governing majorities of the GOP in the Senate and the House in time of war, and the preparation for a monumental struggle with Hillary in 2008, are crucial –indeed the most important– goals on the table.
We can lose the war. We can suffer terrorist attacks far more devastating than 9/11. Iran is not being deterred, and North Korea continues to be run by an unbalanced dictator with nukes. There are at least hundreds of thousands and probably millions of Islamofascists who would gladly bring WMD to this country and use them in our major cities. I would have preferred a different nominee, and I hope that my short list is the president’s short list the next time a vacancy occurs.
But the field is large, many forces are at work on it only a few of which I glimpse, and President Bush has not broke his word on a promise to his party yet. I will not presume the first occasion of such a breach simply because I am disappointed. I do know that the president knows Harriet Miers very, very well indeed, and that his record on judges is very, very good.
On a related matter, an anonymous tipster to Ed Whelan asserts that I have been misled by Karl Rove. Ed Whelan is a superb commentator and analyst and he says that he knows and trusts the e-mailer. Unfortunately, I do not, and I cannot test the credibility of the individual or their ability to make the assertion they are making. Mark Levin and I discussed anonymous sources last week:
if you look at what I said on Bench Memos, some people are writing on there, people who worked with her said this, people who worked with her said that. And I said, you know, if they don’t have the guts to come forward and attach a name to a position, I’m not interested.
Niether am I.