Explaining Why So Many Conservatives Are So Angry About Harriet Miers With A Basketball Analogy

Let’s say you and 4 friends have been playing pick-up basketball with another 5 guys for a while. The games are pretty evenly matched and as a general rule, one team is as likely to win as the other.

Well, you and the other team place a huge bet on your game next Saturday: $5000 a head goes to the winning team. Everybody on the team is jazzed up, everybody is talking about it and suddenly you catch an incredible, once in a lifetime break. One of the regular players on your team won’t be able to make it and according to rules everyone agreed on, you get anyone you want as a replacement.

The reason that’s such good news is that one of the guys on your team actually works for the NBA and he knows lots of pro-basketball players who have all agreed to fill in if he asks. Suddenly, everybody on the team is debating whom they want to play on Saturday. Would the team be better off with Jermaine O’Neal or Allen Iverson? Would it better to have LeBron James or Tim Duncan? Yao Ming or Ben Wallace?

So everyone is on Cloud 9, waiting for the coach to come back with his selection and he chooses….Tom, whom he plays basketball with in his back yard. Mouths drop open, people start to curse, everyone is disappointed and Coach W. says: “Don’t worry, I’ve seen Tom play and he’ll be a great addition to the team.”

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This blows everyone’s mind. With so much on the line and so many great players waiting in the wings, why in the world would the coach select his buddy Tom? To this, the coach says: “Trust me, Tom will be fantastic! You’ll love him! See you on Saturday.”

This is where we are on the Miers nomination, except the stakes are infinitely higher. We have a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court on the line, a large number of extremely well qualified judges with great track records ready to go, and Bush is picking a pal and telling us to trust his judgement. Of course, if he had great judgement, he would have never picked Miers for the position in the first place.

But, as some Bush defenders are pointing out, Miers may do just fine on the Supreme Court. Agreed. But given the extreme paucity of her track record, it’s also entirely possible that she will turn out to be another Anthony Kennedy, Sandra Day O’Connor, or even a David Souter. That’s the problem.

We have 55 Republicans in the Senate, a President who has been promising for years to appoint judges like Scalia and Thomas to the bench, and now, when the stakes are the highest, conservatives are being presented with a woman who is essentially a coin flip: heads we win, tails we lose. That’s just not good enough under the circumstances…

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