Bloggers Weren’t The Decisive Factor In Stopping Harriet Miers. We Just Helped A Little

by John Hawkins | February 8, 2006 2:27 pm

Jim Geraghty of National Review’s TKS[1] had a column in the Washington Times today giving bloggers most of the credit for stopping the Harriet Miers nomination.[2]

“The withdrawal of the Miers nomination and the subsequent dynamics of the fight over Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito demonstrate that the debate in Washington is now set by blogs — and that this phenomenon has dramatically different effects on each of the two parties.

When Miss Miers was nominated, the right half of the blogosphere wasn’t quite united in opposition — radio show host and blogger Hugh Hewitt fought a relentless battle to boost Miss Miers until the day of her withdrawal. But by and large, Miss Miers’ critics operated on the Web. Each time the White House came up with an argument to support her nomination, her doubters assessed it and picked it apart, usually within hours. The blogs of the Miers skeptics — David Frum, Ramesh Ponnuru, and many other contributors to National Review Online’s “Bench Memos,”, and others set the pace, generating compelling counterarguments a lot faster than the White House could generate arguments. Other prominent conservatives, like former nominee Robert Bork and columnists Charles Krauthammer and George Will, gave her the thumbs-down, and their skeptical comments rocketed around the Web to a mobilized, energized, disappointed GOP grass-roots.

Conservative Republican senators on Capitol Hill read these blogs. They picked up on the grumbling, and echoed it to the White House. Soon it became clear that Harriet Miers was a disappointing choice to a significant chunk of Mr. Bush’s base, and that no Democrat was willing to lift a finger to help her chances.

So, Mr. Bush went back to the selection process — with the help of a supremely classy Harriet Miers — and picked Samuel Alito.”

Geraghty then goes on to give credit to the left side of the blogosphere for the ill-fated and foolish filibuster attempt the Senate Democrats mounted against Alito. He’s certainly right about that.

However, we bloggers have a tendency to take a little too much credit for things that happen on the political scene. That’s not to say that as a whole we haven’t made a big splash on RatherGate, costing Trent Lott his Majority Leader spot, helping to get Eason Jordan fired, etc.

But truthfully, bloggers weren’t the decisive factor in stopping Harriet Miers. Of course, that’s not to say we did nothing.

— Bloggers gave immediate and highly negative feedback on Miers’ nomination that helped catch her supporters off guard.

— We did come up with new arguments and help torpedo the pro-Miers arguments that were out there as well.

— Furthermore, when there seemed to be lulls in the battle, the blogosphere kept the waters churning and let people know this issue wasn’t going away.

However, we weren’t the heaviest hitters by a long shot.

George Will, Charles Krauthammer, Ann Coulter, Bill Kristol and Peggy Noonan all wrote tough columns, fairly early in the debate when a lot of conservative heavy weights seemed reluctant to take sides, that were huge difference makers — particularly the Krauthammer and Will columns.

Furthermore, although Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham were as fiery as Coulter or Will on the subject, the fact that neither of them supported the nomination had a big impact.

We also can’t forget the legal eagles like Manuel Miranda, Mark Levin, and most importantly, Robert Bork, who fought the nomination tooth and nail. Quite frankly, if a man like Robert Bork — who is a prototype of what a conservative justice should be — didn’t like Miers, that’s one heck of a big negative.

Then there was David Frum and John Fund who both tirelessly and effectively hammered away at the nomination. Frum was basically the de facto leader of the opposition and Fund did big significant damage with his anti-Miers scoops.

It also wouldn’t do to forget National Review and the Wall Street Journal, two flagship conservative publications that fought Miers. It was particularly damaging to have the WSJ coming out against Miers given that one of her selling points was supposed to be that the “business community” really loved her.

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s nice when bloggers get credit for what we accomplish. However, we shouldn’t want to soak up all the accolades at the expense of others who deserve them more. Plus, we bloggers have big enough heads already without hogging all the credit for stopping Miers ;D

  1. TKS:
  2. Harriet Miers nomination.:

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