Skip to comments.(Vanity) Is Dubya Playing Poker with Miers?
Posted on 10/07/2005 10:43:33 PM PDT by grey_whiskers
What a firestorm has erupted over President Bushs nomination of Harriet Miers to be the next Supreme Court justice. And on both sides, too. Back during the summer when it was noised about that Sandra Day OConnor was first going to retire, would anyone have predicted the following?
--Harry Reid of Nevada photographed with the candidate, and it being known that the selection was made in consultation with him?
--DiFi being quoted as saying the candidateis clearly a bright, intelligent woman (and being echoed by Ted Kennedy) without any hint of sarcasm?
--White House advisors borrowing a page from the Democratic playbook, by calling Republicans opposed to the candidate sexist and elitist?
It should have been a cold day in hell when the leading Democrats are more favorable to the Republican Presidents nominee to the Supreme Court than the conservative base. Clearly (to mix a metaphor), somebody has been smoking the Kool-Aid. How could this happen? Or, more simply, what were they thinking?
To answer that, it is necessary to parse the question. Who are they?
And the answers are that there are two sets of theys: namely, the President and his inner circle; and the mainstream conservative base. Time for a little history.
Back in the fondly remembered days of the Reagan (God Bless Him!) Presidency, there was the chance for a conservative president to nominate a Supreme Court Justice. Please recall that during these days, Democrats had held sway in Washington for some time, riding in on the tails of Watergate. Their liberal ideals had not been crushed by reality: and there was not yet much of a conservative movementRush Limbaugh was not even on the air nationally. In 1987, Reagan nominated Robert Bork to the Supreme Courtand the left went nuts. Ted Kennedy was openly saying that Borks appointment would lead to segregated lunch counters, to back alley abortions; political operatives (remember, this was pre Bill-and-Hillary FBI files, too) dug through his garbage to try to find dirt; and Bork was raucously defeated, giving rise to a new political term. Strike one.
Fast Forward to the nomination of Clarence Thomas. Does the name Anita Hill or the words Long Dong Silver strike a chord? (Again, before Bill and Monica, when sexual scandal really mattered.) Thomas was barely confirmed, but his reputation as a jurist was taintedand the politicization of the Courts was in the open. Strike Two
Oh, yes, and Sandra Day OConnor, that conservative from Arizona was from Reagan, too, wasnt she?
Later, Warren Rudman prevailed upon John Sununu (who bragged of his 170 IQ) to recommend David Souter to George Herbert Walker Bush, as a Conservative, for the position of Supreme Court Justice. His paper trail seemed OK, to that point. But after being appointed to that August Body, Souter started to veer left. Foul Ball, still Strike Two.
Bush 41 did not help his standing with conservatives (or with much of anyone else except the leaders of the Democratic Party) when he issued his infamous read my lips, no new taxes pledge. It was not just that Bush 41 lost re-election; not just that Bill and Hillary came into the White House (focus like a laser beam, White House Travel Office, Cattlegate, Bimbo Eruptions, Whitewater, Paula Jones, Brodderick, Kathleen Willey, Sex Toys on the Christmas Tree, Somalia, 1st World Trade Center, USS Cole, Monica Lewinsky, Wag the Dog, Bosnia, OKC bombing blamed on right wing radio, Waco, and others too numerous to mentionthe above were off the top of my head). Bill (ok, maybe it was Hillary) got to name not one, but two Supreme Court Justices !! Does anyone really pretend that Robert Bork was more extreme than (ACLU) Ruth Bader Ginsburg? If Bush had been re-elected, maybe this pick would have been unnecessary . . . but I digress.
Therefore we have a history of even well-meaning, bona fide conservatives such as Reagan fumbling their High Court picks. As well as a string of Wishy Washy members of the Bush Family (from read my lips, no new taxes through ignoring illegal immigration, to globalist cheerleading and sucking up to the Clintons) who seem to mess up their Supreme Court picks too. No wonder the right is suspicious!
But on the other hand, there are members of the Conservative Movement who are welcoming Miers with open arms. The dreaded Religious Right, of course. After all, we are told that Miers, in addition to being an influential lawyer in private practice, is a born-again evangelical Christian (not that that helped Jimmy Carter much). And Bush proclaims he has known her for 10 years, and that she shares his values. So the question here is, since even the Presidents base is up in arms about Miers, and the left is famous for their antipathy towards Christians, what is Bush doing? He has a tendency of being misunderestimatedand this looks like a good example.
One suggestion hitherto overlooked is that he is not using Miers as a stealth candidate so much as a battering ram. How? Recall two things: first, the last few conservative-nominated Supreme Court nominees have had to face such stalwart Catholics as Ted Kennedy, demanding that the candidates refrain from EVER letting their Catholic faith affect their public life (something that Ted Kennedy seems to have done effortlessly). And second, the left, becoming ever shriller and more desperate in their failure to connect with the American populace, has resorted to becoming ever more intolerant of religion (except for militant Islam, of course).
Perhaps Dubya is playing Texas pokerhe nominates an underqualified crony, who is also a staunch Christian. The fact that Miers is an evangelical is a red-meat bone thrown to his base; and acts as a red flag to the Democrats. He is daring the democrats to attack her faith, and to finish severing their connection to the mainstream of American culture. That would be genius enough, worthy of Karl Rove (hee hee)! But notice the other choice open to the Democrats. If they are savvy enough not to take the bait on Miers religious faith, but instead attack her inexperience, then they have abandoned their right to object to religion on principle. At that point, either Bush or Meirs could withdraw her nomination, announce that the Democrats arent happy with anybody, and appoint any religious conservative he chooses to replace her. And the Democrats wont be able to do anything about it.
Of course, there is always the other possibility. That Bush is laughing in his sleeve, appointing another Souter. And if gasoline prices and Iraq lead to 4 years of Hillary, Im afraid we may not see a Constructionist Supreme Court in our lifetimes.
I just dont know
I love that she doesn't come from the bench and I even wish she wasn't lawyer to boot -
I say this because I sincerely believe that Judge Roberts won't be the 'conservative' that we in FR all hope he will be.
There are two reasons I feel this way. First, almost nobody predicted Bush would nominate Roberts. All the prognosticators, conservatives and lefties alike, guessed other, better known right wing justices. So why was Roberts selected by Pres. Bush? Why was nearly every one taken by surprise?
Second, and more imporantly, is the fact that the "Catholic" Roberts answered exactly the way JFK did when asked if his Catholic faith would be a factor in his decisions. JFK essentially said he wouldn't be bringing his faith to work, and that neither his Catholic beliefs, the Pope's dictums, nor the Bible itself would have any influence whatsoever on his decisions. Judge Roberts quickly and convincingly echoed John F. Kennedy's sentiments, almost verbatum.
A man of true Christian faith will not put his faith in his pocket when making policies or judicial rulings that govern men. Faith will always play at least some role in a true Christian's decisions.
Roberts basically denied his Christian faith when those angry, anti-Christian Senators questioned him, exactly as Peter did when he was questioned similarly by an angry group who hated Christ; (Luke 22:56 - - though Peter later collapsed in tears and repented of his denial, as I pray Roberts will do too).
"My faith and my religious beliefs do not play a role", Judge Roberts said.
He added later,"There's nothing in my personal views based on faith or other sources that would prevent me from applying the precedent of the court faithfully,"
Roberts also said, "I don't look to the Bible or any other religious sources."
Then Roberts added: "They (rulings) won't be based on my personal views. They will be based on my understanding of the law,".
Perhaps the worst thing Roberts said was: "I believe very strongly in the separation of power that is very protective of our individual liberty."
So with this last quote,Judge Roberts already shows us how he can pull something from the Constitution that does not exist.
To me, a man who puts his faith on the shelf from 9:00 a.m to 4:00 p.m. because his job entails interpreting a human document is essentially denying his faith, and that's not good. Especially since Roberts will be interpreting the Constitution, not writing it. The Constitution was, after all, written by a body of men of whom many were Christians, and of whom most believed that the "Creator", (God), is the One who endowed us with certain inalienable rights, as is made obvious in the Bill of Rights. So if our rights and our Constitution were influenced by faith in God, why can't modern Justices interpret the Constitution through their religious faith?
Actually I think the answer to why Bush picked her is simple. During the course of Miers veting dozens of judicial nominees Bush spent more time discussing judicial issues with Miers than anyone else since he was elected--probably ever. During that time he came to admire her, and realized her views and his were aligned, both because she shared his basic outlook, and she probably helped him flesh out his own opinions. He came to trust her judgement, and believes she is the best person he knows to build and protect what he views as his legacy, a conservative non-activist SCOTUS. When he says he named her because she is the most qualified person for the job he means that he has more confidence in her than anyone else to defend and articulate those ideas. If it's poker, then Bush isn't playing tricky, he's just betting what he thinks is the best hand.
Instead of enforcing party discipline and standing up to the liberals - including, McCain, Snowe, Chafee, Specter and their ilk - they have decided to cut the President off at the knees time and again. Nevertheless, the President could have forced a fight with the mid-term election cycle getting into gear and given opponents - both Republican and Democrat - a bit more pause when considering their actions.
The President isn't playing poker. He's cashing in his chips and leaving the game.
From a while back:
GWB: HBS MBA
The American Thinker February 3, 2004 | Thomas Lifson
One final note on George W. Bushs management style and his Harvard Business School background does not derive from the classroom, per se. One feature of life there is that a subculture of poker players exists. Poker is a natural fit with the inclinations, talents, and skills of many future entrepreneurs. A close reading of the odds, combined with the ability to out-psych the opposition, leads to capital accumulation in many fields, aside from the poker table.
By reputation, the President was a very avid and skillful poker player when he was an MBA student. One of the secrets of a successful poker player is to encourage your opponent to bet a lot of chips on a losing hand. This is a pattern of behavior one sees repeatedly in George W. Bushs political career. He is not one to loudly proclaim his strengths at the beginning of a campaign. Instead, he bides his time, does not respond forcefully, at least at first, to critiques from his enemies, no matter how loud and annoying they get. If anything, this apparent passivity only goads them into making their case more emphatically.
I for one do not know what he's doing. But I tend to think his choice isn't pretty, but very functional for those who wanted a constructionist.
I haven't seen any comments around the fact that Miers got her undergrad degree in mathematics. That gives a poker player an edge (grin).
Scalia tried to present what I thought was a brilliant question in the UMich affirmative action matter, but he was unable to frame it understandably--to the public, the lawyers, and perhaps the rest of the court.
Well, the facts that Miers likely has good math logic skills and that she packs a 45 revolver is enough to get my support.
LOL .......... and I hear you. She (he) who studies math is no dummy.
She'll be fine in her new position. May I just say this about her upcoming appearance at the hearings. After the incredibly smooth, brilliant, and likable Mr. Roberts, it will be hard for ANYONE to follow him. Anyone will look a little awkward after him. He was incredible!
The Democrats don't have to attack her faith at all.
They can completely knock her out of the ball park by pointing out her obvious lack of professional qualifications for this job. That is reason enough.
In the end they could not argue credibly that Roberts did not have the qualifications for the Supreme Court. They can very credibly argue that Miers does not.
Exactly. And if they do that, then they HAVEN'T disqualified her on the basis of her Christianity. And that sets the precendent that Christian faith does not disqualify one for high government office.
The problem is that Bush promised a justice in the mold of a Thomas, a Scalia, and failed to deliver.
Miers might happen to be a constitutionalist but she is not easily identified as such. And since the Constructionists have been burned before (and Jimmy Carter was allegedly "born-again"), the assurances given to date are insufficient.
I think that it does not matter what I think. Unless I can vote on it, that's all it amounts to - a thought.
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