Apples and oranges

Our friend Hugh Hewitt (to whom we owe a good measure of our blogging success) is wide of the mark when he compares the concerned reaction of some conservatives (but not Power Line) to bad exit polling information on election night 2004 with the instant conservative dismay over the nomination of Harriet Miers. Hugh’s comparison mixes apples and oranges. The polling information was implausible and turned out to be garbage. The initial disappointment over the Miers nomination was based on knowledge. We knew that Miers lacks a substantial track record on constitutional issues. We knew that her track record as a conservative (if any) is far less substantial than those of the people we wanted to see nominated. We knew that this nomination will divide conservatives.
Hugh’s point, I think, is that we don’t know that Miers will not be a reliable conservative vote, any more than we knew whether the exit polling data was reliable. But the concern with Miers is not that we know she won’t be a conservative, it’s that we don’t have a strong basis for thinking that she will be. Power Line was agnostic about the exit polls and we’re agnostic about whether Miers is a strong conservative. We’re disappointed because we expected not to be agnostic about a Bush Supreme Court nominee’s conservatism.
Hugh, in turn, is disappointed that the instant reaction has marred the confirmation process of a nominee he has faith in, and has hurt the president. I respect that reaction, as I hope he respects ours.
By the way, my Daily Standard column will argue that, disappointment notwithstanding, conservative Senators should be prepared to vote in favor of Miers.