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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Miers--the aftermath

--posted by Tony Garcia on 10/04/2005

I have a theory on Miers.

What we know
Very little about her. The Democrats do not trust Bush. Republicans, or at least the base, want another Scalia. The Democrats were going to kill Bush's next nominee even if through a filibuster.

Well, we know a lot more but that should be enough to start out with.

Why could this appointment make sense? There were reservations about Roberts coming from the most conservative of the Right. It was not outright opposition but there was a little bit of disappointment. Why then appoint someone with less for the conservatives to hold on to? Because he wants that opposition from the right?

In the end Roberts passed easily and the thought behind the scenes was the Democrats knew they could not call Roberts unqualified to oppose him. They knew they had very little ground to oppose him on. Instead they had the token opposition and saved their strength (and filibuster) for the next one.

Enter Miers.

With Schumer (D-NY) breathing a sigh of relief the Democrats are in a tight spot. Oppose their base (who do not trust everything from Bush including a 'stealth' nominee) or oppose the nominee.

Keep in mind that most of the Democrats voted on Roberts in accordance with their state's 'color'. That is most of the Democrats who voted for Roberts were from red states and most of the Democrats who voted against Roberts were from blue states. It is a reasonable bet that the Democrats are going to receive the same pressure from their constituencies back home.

Remember also that the way was supposed to be paved with Roberts as the replacement for the moderate O'Connor. The fight was expected to be over replacing a conservative with a more-conservative. That would have been a difficult opposition for the Democrats to sell (they would have tried, but snake oil does not sell in large quantities). With Rehnquist's death Bush had a choice to make. (a) Stay with Roberts as the slam dunk O'Connor replacement while Stevens fills in as Chief thus encouraging unprecedented stalling on the Rehnquist replacement or (b) Use Roberts as the Chief nomination (still a slam dunk) and find another way to get around staunch opposition for O'Connor's moderate seat.

How do you get a conservative past a filibuster without ultimately killing a good nomination? Make a bad nomination that can also warrant a filibuster, thus warranting the nuclear option while still having the nomination fail. Then your best conservative nominee has the way cleared for a battle, though filibuster free.

Pie in the sky? Sure, but see if this makes sense.

So how does the confirmation go? Both sides will oppose Miers. The Democrats possibly on two grounds: her lack of qualifications and her lack of a paper trail. The Republicans possibly on the same two grounds. Neither side will be able to attack the other for being partisan. I think there is a good chance that Miers does not pass the Judiciary Committee.

In the end the opposition will be on a very unspoken ground. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans trust Bush on this nominee. The Democrats don't trust him in the sense that she may turn out to be another Scalia and that unknown is horrible to live with. After all, they are the party that wakes up each morning hoping to read in the newspaper about Scalia dying of a heart attack. The Republicans don't trust him in the sense that he has done quite a bit in the past to 'betray' conservative beliefs.

Even though I think the best place to kill the nomination would be in committee it is possible that the true opposition will not surface until Miers confirmation reaches the full Senate. By then Cheney will have made the rounds (like calling in to Rush's show) enough to convince people she will be the next Scalia. Perhaps she will be a little more forthcoming about her positions on various hot issues...like abortion.

Next thing you know there is a filibuster and BAP, POW, WHAM the nuclear option is engage. All of this to get a full Senate vote in which Miers confirmation will fail. The facade of the opposition will be that she is unqualified.

The truth is that Miers was only to clear the path for the next nominee with whom we conservatives will not be disappointed.

That is the only way this nomination makes sense to me.
All in all my money is on the nomination failing.

********** UPDATE **********
I reread this post and realized I forgot to mention a few other key items. I have added them with an underline.


Blogger Pete Arnold said...

Very accurate. I would assume that unless another hurricane comes to take media coverage away from a S.C. Judge nomination, this one will not go off without a hitch... perhaps the democrats will be able to find some more documents from 1983 about some obscure comment this nominee made when she was talking to her pizza guy or something...

October 04, 2005  
Blogger Unknown said...

Neat theory but it requires that Republican senators have a spine and that they reject Bush's Nominee. That's not going to happen.

She'll be confirmed and the Nuclear option will still be off the table.

October 04, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Democrats will readily go along with her -- they will happily help split the Repulbican party.

October 04, 2005  
Blogger Tony Garcia said...

I think that the opposition will be from both extremes...she is unknown and the Democrats do not trust that. More than that, the Dem base does not trust Bush and will put serious pressure on the Dem Senators to oppose her.

October 04, 2005  

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