From National Review Online
No conservative should be in a celebratory mood now that Harriet Miers has withdrawn her nomination. For one thing, reasonable conservatives who considered her unqualified for the Supreme Court conceded that she has had an accomplished career and that she has served the president loyally and, for the most part, well. Gloating would be unseemly. For another thing, the object of conservative agitation against Miers was to get a solid justice confirmed. So the conservative opponents of her nomination have not yet won a victory.My Comments:
Still, today is the best day Republicans have had in some time. It was clear almost from the beginning that the president had made a poor choice, and has been clear for more than a week that withdrawal was advisable. An ill-considered nomination had reached an impossible pass. One day would bring news suggesting that Miers would be (or at least vote like) a judicial conservative. The next would bring news suggesting the reverse. The net effect was to leave both liberals and conservatives concerned about both the substance, and the muddle, of her views. Even minor mistakes in her answers to senators' questions were being judged harshly. And her meetings with senators were not going well.
Yet some observers — especially those well-disposed to Miers's nomination — still insisted that the president would "never back down," even to correct a mistake. These observers gave the president, and Miers, too little credit. The president is strong-willed, but not willful.
But presidential mistakes have consequences that cannot be simply erased. If President Bush now nominates someone whom most conservatives can support, as he should, then Bush and the conservatives may, together, win the nominee's confirmation. But their chances of jointly succeeding were better immediately after the confirmation of Chief Justice John Roberts than they are now. The Democrats will insist that the far Right has forced a nominee beholden to it on a weak president.
I'm certainly NOT in a celebratory mood.
For one, I feel very sorry for Harriet Miers who was placed by her boss in an untenable position. Regardless of her merits with respect to the position of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Miers seems like a very nice person and a very loyal supporter of the President. I'm embarrassed that many who took the side I took in opposing this nomination decided to attack her personally. I tried to stay away from that line of attack, and stick to the merits of whether her nomination represented what the President had promised in a Supreme Court nominee. I don't think I ever got personal in my criticisms of Miers, but if I did, I take this opportunity to apologize.
Second, I feel the President wasted a golden opportunity to move the Court into the direction he claims to believe it should go. Assuming Dubya does
pick a nominee that is in the mold of Scalia or Thomas as he promised in 2 different elections, I think such a nominee has less of a chance of being confirmed now than he or she had if nominated from the very beginning.
Third, I'm upset that the President needlessly divided his base at a time when he most needs the support of those who worked to elect him. Dubya obviously believed that cronyism was more important than merit in what, to many of his supporters, was the most important domestic decision of his presidency. And he expected "Trust me" to be good enough to elicit our support. Having learned in the past that "Trust me" usually leads to more Souters than Scalias, many of the President's most ardent supporters would have none of it. In fact, many - like me - felt betrayed that such brazen favoritism towards a trusted friend would trump jurisprudential merit. And in response, the President and his henchpersons (including the First Lady) resorted to baseless accusations of elitism, sexism, anti-Evangelicalism, and being part of the "far-right fringe". The result: division and rancor. I'm very upset that I'm not sure I can continue to trust a man whose image, up until a month ago, I was ready to add to Mount Rushmore.
In short, I'm extremely heartbroken at what has transpired over the last month. But I am heartened that the President now has a chance to do what he should have done in the first place with respect to this nomination. I pray that he will not let us down again.