Thursday, October 27, 2005

Clean Hands & Dry Powder

Now that I'm over the initial "Woohoo!" reaction to Harriet Miers withdrawing her Supreme Court nomination, I find I am having another, somewhat milder "Woohoo!" reaction to it. Not only did President Bush suffer yet another embarrassing political defeat, but it came at the hands of his own party, and not the Democrats.

Yes, I know they're spinning it as being the result of those
mean old Dems demanding that Bush violate executive privilege by sharing some kind of paper trail of her past activities, but really her nomination failed because she got barely any support at all from Congressional Republicans.

This to me is by far the best case outcome - Bush does not get to saddle the Supreme Court with an unqualified crony, and it didn't require any concerted resistance from the Democrats at all, which means that they are free to oppose a wingnut nominee without looking like unreasonable obstructionists out to blindly sabotage anyone the President trots out there.

Better yet, Bush has to name his next nominee in the wake of the Plame indictments, and a Rove/Cheney braintrust that will be distracted and off their game (or even out of the picture entirely). I could see him going either way, either tapping a qualified centrist to avoid a fight with the Dems, or a raving whackaloon to avoid a fight with his base.

All other things being equal, I would expect Bush to attack the Democrats, who have a long history of folding ignominiously, but I can't imagine a worse climate than right now (by which I mean "next week") to try to shove a right-wing ideologue down the Democrats' throats. Worse yet for Bush, as 2006 approaches, more and more Republicans will be trying to distance themselves from his sinking presidency, so he will have a much harder time convincing moderate Republicans to hold their noses and stand with him on a controversial nominee.

I suppose he could threaten to campaign for them...


In all seriousness, what I think Bush should do is get a list of impeccably qualified judges with brilliant legal minds, and use that as the starting point for whatever ideological calculation he chooses to make. What I think he will do, given that he may have no political savvy or expertise outside his own to rely on, is to fall back on what his gut is comfortable with. Which means yet another trusted crony. Which means... Abu Gonzales, your time has come at last! Get out there and help Big-Time Dick stump for torture!

3 comments:

spork_incident said...

I'm going with #3 - The Chrsitofascists just demonstrated that they own his ass so he'll nominate somebody truly scary.

Just my guess.


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Eli said...

Yeah, that's entirely possible. In which case we will quickly find out if the indictments have had *any* kind of spine-stiffening effect on the Democrats.

The Heretik said...

Well said