Disclaimer: I do not plan to form any conclusions about Ms. Miers prior to her confirmation hearings. Until her testimony and/or public records show up I think any discussion of her qualifications are premature.
To the possible disappointment of a few, and to the likely relief/elation of some others, I have concluded that my preparations for the Nevada Library Association preclude me from a detailed deconstruction of President Bush's October 5, 2005 War on Terror speech at this time.
However, this being Politics Thursday, I'd like to spend a few minutes on why I believe that the perceived grievance and reaction of right-wing pundits and activists to the appointment of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court is quite similar to those across the political spectrum who opposed the President's manufactured war in Iraq.
What is being protested in both cases is a sense that the President takes decisions behind closed doors and expects Congress to rubberstamp his choices based solely on his say so. Opposition to his decision is cast as impure â€“ being a traitor in the case of Iraq, and being a sexist, elitist, or â€œnot a team playerâ€? in the case of Miers. I think my interpretation fairly represents the following conservative writers:
â€?First, Bush has no right to say "Trust me." He was elected to represent the American people, not to be dictator for eight years.â€?
â€œBut nominating a constitutional tabula rasa to sit on what is America's constitutional court is an exercise of regal authority with the arbitrariness of a king giving his favorite general a particularly plush dukedom. The only advance we've made since then is that Supreme Court dukedoms are not hereditary.â€?
â€œOtherwise the sound principle of substantial deference to a president's choice of judicial nominees will dissolve into a rationalization for senatorial abdication of the duty to hold presidents to some standards of seriousness that will prevent them from reducing the Supreme Court to a private plaything useful for fulfilling whims on behalf of friends.â€?
Although the above authors fanatically support the President's $255 Billion / 2000+ [coalition servicemember] lives project in Iraq, their opposition to Harriet Miers is rooted in a belief in Presidential unaccountability and capriciousness that is shared by the bipartisan opponents of the Iraq War and occupation. The right-wing activists are just unhappy that he's not favoring their projects and their people. In a perfect world, they'd join with us in holding the President accountable in all areas of his public life.
If we're fortunate, this rage at behind the scenes decision-making, combined with demands for rubber stamping from Congress will result in new assertions of Congressional authority and oversight in many areas. This can only serve the Republic well by dragging many secret things out into the light of public debate.