When President Bush nominated John Roberts to the Court, liberal interest groups like NARAL and People for the American Way were burning up the fax lines within a matter of minutes, denouncing Roberts and demanding that the Democrats block him. This time? Nothing. Check out the NARAL and PFAW web sites. Nothing but bland press releases adopting a wait-and-see attitude.
What did happen within 30 minutes of Bush’s announcement was a press release by Harry Reid that included the statement, “I like Harriet Miers.” It’s hard to avoid the suspicion that Bush’s nomination of Miers reflects some kind of deal with the Senate Democrats. Such as, the Dems gave Bush a list of candidates they would deem “acceptable” (pending Judiciary Committee hearings, of course), and Bush chose the best candidate he could off that list.
Is that what happened? I don’t know, but the theory seems to fit the facts. Why would Bush accede to the Democrats rather than fight for another Roberts-type conservative? The only reason I can think of is that liberal Republicans in the Senate, starting with Arlen Specter, told him they wouldn’t back him up if he replaced Sandra O’Connor with a strong conservative. There are enough RINOs in the Senate to make such a threat credible, I think.
This is pure speculation, but it is one scenario that seems to fit the facts as we know them so far.
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