Excerpt Of The Day: Harriet Miers Vs. Christian Christmas Messages

I found this little excerpt to be interesting mainly because of the way Miers is being sold to conservatives as this diehard evangelical Christian, a James Dobson in a skirt, who can always be trusted to toe the conservative line on certain issues, like abortion, because of her religious beliefs.

Of course, your religious beliefs shouldn’t effect how you rule on issues before the court in the first place, but even if that’s what you want, this small but significant incident suggests that religious though she may be, Miers is not necessarily a “reliable Christian vote” on the court.

I’d also note that it fits in well with what David Frum, someone else who knew Miers personally, said about her: “Inside the White House, Miers was best known, not as a conservative, not as a legal thinker, but as a petty bureaucrat.”

Here’s the excerpt:

“I worked with Miers at the White House. Though my interaction with her was limited, since I was merely a Presidential Writer and she was the Staff Secretary, I had a unique experience with her. In 2001, I was given the task of writing the President’s Christmas message to the nation. After researching Reagan, Bush, and Clinton’s previous Christmas messages, I wrote something that was well within the bounds of what had been previously written (and in case you are wondering, Clinton’s messages were far more evangelical than the elder Bush’s).

The director of correspondence and the deputy of correspondence edited and approved the message and it was sent to the Staff Secretary’s office for the final vetting. Miers emailed me and told me that the message might offend people of other faiths, i.e., that the message was too Christian. She wanted me to change it. I refused to change the message (In my poor benighted reasoning, I actually think that Christmas is an overtly Christian holiday that celebrates the birth of Christ and the beginning of the redemption of man).

The director and deputy of correspondence supported me. I even emailed Ken Mehlman (then the Political Director at the White House, now the Republican National Committee Chairman), to see what he thought about the message. He was not offended by it in the least. Miers insisted that I change the tone of the message. I again refused, and after several weeks, the assignment was taken out of my hands. I was later encouraged to apologize to Miers. I did not apologize.

That is my one personal anecdote about Harriet Miers. Some will probably write that incident off as an insignificant, almost meaningless, occurrence. And perhaps it is. But Miers purposefully sought to dilute the Christianity of the message, thus revealing to me at least a willingness to compromise unnecessarily without outside pressure. That is my opinion based off that experience and I would be more than happy to be proved wrong.” — Ned Ryun

We have conservatives who are expecting Miers to overturn a decision as controversial as Roe v. Wade based on her Christian beliefs. Meanwhile, back in the real world, she’s getting weak kneed at the thought of the President sounding “too Christian” at Christmas. That’s not very encouraging…

*** Originally, I believed Ryun was talking about the White House Christmas card. That was an error and the post has now been corrected. ***

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