by John Hawkins | October 27, 2005 11:59 pm
Update #1: First of all, thank God! I cannot even begin to tell you how happy this makes me. In fact, I actually whooped so hard when I heard she withdrew that I scared the dog. He was looking at me like, “What, are you hurt or something?”
This is such a great moment, such a great day for conservatism! In fact, to celebrate, I’m grilling steak tonight. Oh man, it’s just such a win. I mean they say you can’t fight City Hall? Well, conservatives just fought the White House and won! Did I say this is such a great moment, such a great day for conservatism already? Good, because it deserves to be said twice!
Update #2: The good news is that we’ve just won a great battle for conservatism. The — I don’t want to call it bad news, because I don’t think it will be — is that we’re only 1/3rd of the way done. George Bush still has to select another nominee and then we have to get that nominee through the Senate.
If Bush does go with Alberto Gonzales or some other unpopular nominee, I don’t think you’ll see this kind of fight again because part of the reason conservatives fought so hard was to save George Bush from himself. If he nominates another stinker after this long, bloody, brawl then not only would it prove his intentions weren’t good, it would show that he’s every bit as dumb as the Democrats think he is — and let me tell ya, he’s not a dumb guy.
That’s why I suspect that George Bush — who is probably quite understandably weary of fighting with his own base — will select a nominee that conservatives will be thrilled with this time. Then, I think you’ll see an unprecedented pressure from the base on Republican Senators to support that nominee to the hilt.
So while we shouldn’t count our chickens before they’re hatched, I think we’re “in position to get in position” and when it’s all said and done, we’re going to be very happy with the person George Bush picks the next time around.
Update #3: Next, let me reiterate three things I’ve said before:
#1) “Supporting Harriet Miers is not “unconservative,” “dishonorable,” or “unprincipled,”….”
I’d be lying if I said I was anything less than thrilled out of my mind by the withdrawal of Harriet Miers, but I have nothing against anyone who was on the other side on this one and I look forward to having everyone on the right united to fight for a new nominee next time around.
#2) “I don’t think Harriet Miers is unaccomplished, a moron, or an awful person.”
I’m sure Harriet Miers is a very nice lady, who has accomplished a lot in her life, and I wish her all the best.
#3) “Conservatives who are opposing Bush on this nomination are sending Bush a message. If he shows that he hears that message and the Miers nomination is withdrawn, then he deserves credit for that and a 2nd chance to prove his intentions were good.”
Conservatives had every right to be furious with Bush over his nomination of Harriet Miers. But, the withdrawal of Harriet Miers (They’ve obviously had this planned all week) proves that even if Bush wasn’t paying attention before, he’s listening now. Since he is paying attention, conservatives should cut him a little slack and give him a chance to show he’s sincere.
Our motto at this point, even for conservatives who have been frustrated with Bush, should be the same as that poster in Mulder’s office on the X-Files: “I want to believe”. That’s how I feel and I know a lot of other people on the right who have felt compelled to fight him on this issue look at it the same way.
Update #4: DJ Drummond over at Polipundit is a little worried a particular ramification of this withdrawal:
“This hands a whole new weapon to the Left; Ideology as a valid litmus test in nominations.”
#1) The official reason for Harriet Miers withdrawal was that the Senate was going to seek documents from the executive office.
#2) While ideology was a complaint of those us who opposed the nomination, cronyism and her lack of qualifications for the post were also frequently mentioned.
#3) The Democrats already use ideology as a litmus test. Why do you think Bork was defeated? Why were Estrada, Brown, Owen, among many others filibustered? It certainly wasn’t because they weren’t qualified for the job. It was purely because of their ideology. So, the Democrats are already using a litmus test.
Update #5: If Rush Limbaugh can toot his own horn sometimes, then why can’t I? Here’s a little Miers timeline to show what a prognosticator I turned out to be on this whole thing:
Sep 28, 2005:
“…(I)f anything, the base is looking for a sure thing this time around and the level of discontent on the right will certainly rise if they don’t get it….Up to this point in his 2nd term, for whatever reason, George Bush’s political instincts seem to have largely failed him. But, this is one area where Bush cannot afford to make a mistake. Nominating Alberto Gonzales or for that matter any of the other nominees with questionable conservative credentials — like Edith Brown Clement, Larry Thompson, J. Harvie Wilkinson, or Harriet Miers — would be a calamitous error.”
October 3, 2005
(Miers is nominated. This post was made within 15 minutes of the official announcement): “George Bush’s decision to appoint Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court is bitterly disappointing….To merely describe Miers as a terrible pick is to underestimate her sheer awfulness as a selection…. Miers’ selection will lead to a wave of attacks on the President by conservatives….This is undoubtedly the worst decision of Bush’s entire presidency so far.”
October 4, 2005
“Withdrawing the Nomination: This is still a longshot, but it’s the best chance conservatives have to stop Miers.”
October 5, 2005
“Do the right thing, W.: pull the nomination.”
October 11, 2005
The obvious solution would be to pull the Miers nomination and select a candidate who would satisfy the base. Many people don’t think that will happen because Bush is famous for his bulldog like tenacity. As Rogers Cadenhead put it:
“The president’s so stubborn that were he captain of the Titanic, he would have run the ship into a second iceberg to prove he meant to hit the first one.”
That’s a great line, but it doesn’t necessarily ring true in this case. Remember Linda Chavez and Bernard Kerkik? Since their nominations were withdrawn earlier in his administration, there’s no reason to believe that Bush will stick with a nomination until the end, regardless of the political cost. That’s doubly true in this case since there are plenty of far superior candidates to Miers waiting in the wings.
October 21, 2005
“This situation is so out of hand that it would be an incredible blunder NOT to pull this nomination. What’s the point of going forward with a nominee who is so widely disliked when you’re allowed to withdraw the nomination and select another choice? Politically, this should be the biggest no-brainer of Bush’s presidency. That’s why I still believe that the Miers nomination will be withdrawn. Either Bush will come to his senses, Miers will give up, or enough Republican Senators will promise to vote against her behind closed doors to force Bush’s hand.”
October 25, 2005
“…(T)here are now some signs that the Harriet Miers debacle may be drawing to a close….Given that the Miers nomination is still being ferociously hammered, you’d expect the White House to still be trying something, anything right now — unless — they’re planning to give up the fight.
Now, don’t take this to the bank yet, it’s not over until it’s over. Heck, I think it’s about to be over and I already have a big anti-Miers piece written for tomorrow. But, if we’re lucky, we may be seeing the beginning of the end for the Miers nomination. Cross your fingers…”
October 27, 2005
The Harriet Miers nomination is withdrawn.
Update #6: This is a repost of something I wrote back on October 7th. So, the dates will, of course, have to change and we don’t know who the nominee will be yet, but I think it’s entirely possible that things may play out roughly like this:
How A Miers Withdrawal Scenario Might Go
On October the 14th, the White House announces that Harriet Miers has asked the President to withdraw her nomination. The Sunday Morning talk shows talk incessantly about how Bush’s crony pick was withdrawn, the split in the conservative movement, and how this is the worst thing that ever happened to Bush. What a triumph for the left…or is it?
On the following Monday, October the 24th, President Bush announces that he is nominating Edith Hollan Jones to the Supreme Court. The left wails & gnashes their teeth in anger. The same conservatives who bitterly attacked Bush over the Harriet Miers nomination, praise him to the skies for his selection. Right wingers who previously said that they wouldn’t donate money to the GOP in 2006, open up their checkbooks to donate money to conservative special interest groups that plan to run ads to defend the Jones nomination.
On November the 7th, Jones goes before the Senate. Every Republican plans to vote for her, but the Democrats aren’t happy. There is even some talk of a filibuster. But, after just seeing the terrible “wrath of conservatives scorned” over the Miers’ nomination, Republican members of the “Gang of 14” become terrified of the consequences of a vote against the nuclear option. John McCain understands that going the wrong way means his presidential campaign in 2008 is doomed. Mike DeWine knows he’ll lose his Senate seat if he votes with the Democrats. Lincoln Chaffee has a tough primary coming up and he knows going the wrong way means defeat. Lindsey Graham, who has already been stung by criticism over his role in the “Gang of 14” deal, doesn’t want a repeat performance.
Harry Reid then sees that there are 52 votes for the nuclear option and figures that he may not be able to stop Jones, but if the conservative base is less motivated in the future, he may still get a chance to block a nominee down the road. So, knowing that he can’t win, he decides to keep his powder dry in case there is another Supreme Court opening later in Bush’s term.
Then, on December the 2nd, Edith Hollan Jones comes up for a vote which she wins: 55 – 45. The public at large? They’ve heard the Democrats’ spiel about Republican extremists a thousand times before. They just don’t pay much attention to it. Besides, Edith Hollan Jones seemed so competent in the confirmation hearings.
The Democratic base? They’re demoralized and angry. They had the best nominee they were ever going to get with Miers and somehow it all slipped away from them.
The Republican base? They’re energized & ecstatic because they snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. The Miers nomination? Well, since Bush proved himself by selecting Jones, it must have meant his intentions were good with Miers. Maybe she wasn’t a great candidate, but at least things did turn out OK in the end. Heck, OK is an understatement! We got Edith Hollan Jones on the Supreme Court thanks to Bush!
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