Harkin to the defense

ABC reports: “Senate Dems defend Miers on top court nod.” Both Senators Harkin and Mikulski, quoted in the AP story, were among the 22 Democrats voting against Judge Roberts’s confirmation as Chief Justice. I wonder if the conservative supporters of Harriet Miers have any thoughts regarding what, if anything, Tom Harkin and Barbara Mikulski know about Harriet Miers that they don’t? Have Harkin and Mikulski perhaps grown in office over the past couple weeks? Or do Ms. Miers’s conservative critics deserve credit for drawing Harkin and Mikulski to the cause?
JOHN responds: My guess is that Harkin et al. don’t know anything about Miers except that she is a conservative and a trusted confidante of GWB, which would normally have them frothing at the mouth to keep her off the Court. I suspect that they are saying a few kind words to enjoy the fun of seeing the Republican Party dividing and self-destructing, while, of course, making no commitment as to how they eventually will vote.
One basic question that I don’t think has gotten enough attention is, why did President Bush nominate Miers in the first place? The answer, I think, is reasonably clear, and it’s deeply ironic that conservative critics are wondering whether, given her lack of a paper trail, she will turn into another David Souter. I think that Bush is acutely aware that the Souter nomination was his father’s worst and most avoidable mistake. I think that, as was widely reported, he liked John Roberts and was impressed by him during their relatively brief interview. But what grounds, really, does Bush have to trust Roberts? How does he know he won’t “grow in office”? It seems pretty obvious to me that Bush selected Miers to make damn sure that at least one of his nominees won’t drift to the left. He knows Miers well enough to know that she won’t be seduced by Washington Post editorials and Georgetown dinner parties, as a number of Republican appointees have been. He doesn’t think Roberts will be seduced, either, but he can’t know for sure. Isn’t it obvious that the reason Bush chose Miers instead of a better known, objectively better qualified nominee, is that he wanted to be absolutely sure of appointing a staunch and unwavering conservative?
I can only imagine how Bush and those who are privy to his reasoning view the current outpouring of conservative venom against Miers. Which is not to retract my oft-stated view that Bush would have done better to choose one of the party’s leading intellectual lights; but, as I have said, that conviction does not rest on a suspicion that Harriet Miers might not be a conservative.


Books to read from Power Line