Skip to comments.Split on Right a Chance, Choice for Democrats: Fate of Miers Vote Held in the Balance
Posted on 10/17/2005 8:49:05 AM PDT by cogitator
Nice article highlighting Democrat confusion on how to handle the Miers nomination.
Excerpts: "While the turmoil on the right offers Democrats a tantalizing opportunity, party strategists said, it also will confront them with a difficult choice: Confirm a conservative with close ties to President Bush, or oppose her and join ranks with hard-right activists who historically are their archenemies."
"Jim Jordan, a former presidential campaign manager for Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.), agrees that Democrats will have plenty of reasons to oppose Miers, but he said some worry that Bush might replace her with a more forceful and effective conservative. "Even though she's undoubtedly a mediocrity," he said, "philosophically she's probably the best they [Democrats] can do." . . .
Jordan added: "If the Republicans splinter, as looks likely now, the Democratic caucus will be in the bizarre position of having to decide whether to bail Bush out." The choice will not be easy, he said. "From a purely political standpoint, they'll have to decide whether to add to his humiliation," Jordan said. A Miers rejection, however, would allow Bush "a do-over" that could improve his relations with his conservative base.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
I swear, playing three-dimensional Strategery will cause a major headache.
It's a risky game to play, when the Dems might just turn around and confirm her.
It's in the bag unless some significant info comes out of the hearings.
Miers will be confirmed.
Honestly...don't you think the President counted Senatorial noses before he put her forward?
Maybe not accurately. Some of those actually face reelection.
He has his own resources and those of Frist to count noses.
You'd have to think he'd at least check the confirmability of any nominee among his own party senators.
And they might not want that to happen, either.
Even if it was accidental, Bush managed to set up a cute lose/lose scenario for the Dems.
So in 3-D strategery, it might not have been accidental but it plausibly could have been accidental. Because it looks accidental, the President looks like he made a mistake when he actually ends up with what he wants, either way.
I think I should stick with checkers.
"D*mmit, Spock, I'm a doctor, not a politician!"
The strategy for now is "to not interrupt the argument that's going on in the Republican camp," said Joel P. Johnson, a lobbyist and former Clinton administration aide with close ties to Democratic senators. "But as we get closer to the hearings, and if this thing moves to a confirmation vote, I think it's going to begin to occur to people that this person who is completely devoted to the president is not very likely to let the president down."That's what I'm counting on. That's why I support Miers.
Of course he did and he also did count the Senatorial votes if he nominates an openly know conservative and the results were that this nominee would have been defeated no matter how much pressure the President would put on the 7 to 10 RINOS in the Senate who would not vote to end the judicial filibuster.
"philosophically she's probably the best they [Democrats] can do."
This is the reason many conservatives are upset - we don't want a USSCJ nominee to be the best one possible for the Dems. That's the worst we can do for US.
I get the impression that all but the most frothing, deranged anti-Bush zealots are on board with the Miers selection.
Am I off-base in that assumption?
The Dems all seem pretty happy with her.
You would think from the deadly silence of their side. Of course, our side is having a showdown:
Maybe when he wakes up in the morning and turns on his computer he does strait to that days "Day in the life" thread on FR, and thus thinks that he can do no wrong with his base.
Honestly, RK, if you were the president, wouldn't you do a nose count on any given nominee?
You are way off base, all polls show democrats oppose the Miers nomination 2+ to 1. Check Rasmussen and FOX polls for the latest two. NARAL and NOW are fuming over this choice, but holding their fire because democrat leaders are telling them to. You can expect when push comes to shove, and it appears her nomination is likely, they will bring out the fire power to try to make sure she is not confirmed. They are wanting her to directly state she supports 'women's rights and the right to privacy', which will never happen, and when it doesn't, just watch their campaign against Miers swing into high gear.
As long as Bush does not withdraw the Miers nomination, he has strategically set himself up in a win/win situation. Either Miers gets confirmed or he gets a 'do over'. And after democrats reject someone they put on the list, he is free to nominate a hard core conservative with impunity.
I do not fear the Miers nomination, though she is not my first choice, nor second or third, etc. I personally think Roberts will actually turn out to be to the right of Rehnquist, I think because Miers was so closely involved with the Roberts pick, she will gravitate towards him on the Supreme Court. They will probably be the two most pro-capitalist judges on the Supreme Court, which is a good thing for conservatism.
I heard that Senators voting against a nominee chosen by a President from their own party have only done so twice, one was an Eisenhower appointee, Harlan II, and I forget the other one. As I recall, and I may not be clear on this, there were only a couple Senators that did this each time. Every other time all the Senators from the President's party voted in favor of confirmation.
It is a very, very rare occurrence, historically speaking.
If I'm wrong about this I'd appreciate being corrected.
Yeah, I was just kidding.
"Jordan added: "If the Republicans splinter, as looks likely now, the Democratic caucus will be in the bizarre position of having to decide whether to bail Bush out." The choice will not be easy, he said. "From a purely political standpoint, they'll have to decide whether to add to his humiliation," Jordan said. A Miers rejection, however, would allow Bush "a do-over" that could improve his relations with his conservative base."
Normally one would think so, but given their admitted suprise over the Miers uproar, who knows what they were doing on the weekend of October 3rd.
You don't get more "pro-capitalist" then Janice Rodgers-Brown, unless you're planning on resurrecting either Ludwig Von Mises or Friedrich Hayek.
"This is the reason many conservatives are upset - we don't want a USSCJ nominee to be the best one possible for the Dems. That's the worst we can do for US."
Something is up. My bet is Stevens is also ready to retire and Miers turned into the throwaway pick which is driving both the right and the left batty.
The right is going to let Miers get an up or down vote. The left probably believes that if they do anything to hurt this nomination, Bush can scream, "see? anyone we choose who is not a lefty will be turned down by the left."
They are going to sneak Miers in under the radar then hit the RATS with a Luttig when Stevens leaves.
The only glimmer of hope I can see for the Dems is if the Miers nomination fails; then the President nominates a strong conservative judge; and the Gang of 14 agrees that the nominee is sufficient to invoke the "extraordinary circumstances" clause of the agreement reached to stave off the nuclear option on filibusters of judicial nominees.
Based on that possibility, I think that the Dems will eventually work to defeat the Miers nomination (and that's certainly not a surprise). I think that the Judiciary Committee questioning from the Dem side will be politely brutal -- they have to avoid the appearance that they are attacking the sweet, petite Harriet, but they also have to try and fluster her and make her look inadequate.
So I agree with you. But the downside for the Dems is if the President manages to nominate a good conservative judge that won't invoke the "extraordinary circumstances" of the agreement. So the putative nominee under this scenario has to fit in a fairly narrow slot.
Pictures of Salma please?
Clarence Thomas received 2 no votes from Republicans. He was confirmed 52-48.
Up votes from 41 Republicans and 11 Democrats and down votes from 46 Democrats and 2 Republicans.
Another false, made up dilemma from the WP.
Of course the Dems would join with the far right in crushing the nomination. It would humiliate the President, and upend his administration. It would paint Republicans as foot shooting extremists, who have no problem in foisting their views on others even if it leads to disaster. The middle would flee toward the democrats, teeing things up nicely for '06 and '08.
But, hey it's OK, because at least we haven't compromised our core values./sar
The key being it has to be the democrats, mostly, who defeat her nomination. Bush will be able to say "I gave you someone on your list, you didn't follow through. So I no longer need to consult with you, your word cannot be trusted." We all knew this, but this would provide documentation and cover. Then comes the hard core conservative nominee, I still prefer Miguel Estrada. He and Roberts were considered in legal circles among the sharpest legal scholars in the country.
I still think Miers being on the democrat list was a huge mistake, they did not expect Bush to nominate her, she was there as a token conservative so they could point to her and say we gave him a conservative choice, thinking he would be afraid of the cronyism charge. Can you say misunderestimated again ? They thought they could bluff a poker player, he called their bluff. Sadly, this clever and intelligent strategy was beyond the entrenched ideologists to comprehend.
If one can step back from their partisan position, and look at it logically, it makes sense. Miers most certainly was not on Bush's original list because of the cronyism charge alone, in my opinion. That the democrats put her name forward, removed any credibility to that charge. This was a 'put up or shut up' nomination by Bush to the democrats. I trust Bush's track record on judicial nominations, on other issues (CFR and prescription drugs, etc.) that are irrelevant to this, I question him. For this to be a winning play, he cannot withdraw her. Even if she is defeated by democrats with republican help, the democrats can be accused of not delivering on someone they recommended. The democrats outmaneuvered themselves when they put her on the list as a bluff.
Didn't one of those no votes come from the late-but unlamented-Mark Hatfield?
JRB was not confirmable, in my opinion. While I like her positions, she would not have garnered the RINO support necessary to be confirmed or invoke the constitutional option.
If this is strategery, then conservatives protesting the choice help him.
Regardless of whether she would have ultimately been confirmed-and I agree that it would have been one hell of an uphill struggle with Rodgers-Brown-the point stands that President Bush blew an opportunity by not nominating someone like her or Prof. Mary Ann Glendon.
If that effort had failed, then he still could have nominated Miers-or someone equally forgettable and unimpressive-and been none the worse for it.
"If this is strategery, then conservatives protesting the choice help him."
Of course it helps him. I am going to say Miers is a Conservative. Fair assumption? Ok. If the right protests her nomination and the left wants her on the bench, Bush wins.
If the right agrees with Bush, which they haven't and the left protest the nomination what reasons can they give? They cannot say she is too conservative. All they can say is she is too inexperienced. Bush tosses her, nominates an experienced constructionist like Luttig, Bush wins.
If she goes up for a vote, whether she gets on or not, Bush wins because the up or down process took place. Bush then puts up someone else and requests that the same up or down process which works takes place. Bush wins.
The only losers here are the RATS. Either way, Bush gets a conservative on the bench and we still have a pick if Stevens leaves before 08.
"Of course the Dems would join with the far right in crushing the nomination. "
What reason would the RATS give? That she isn't far enough to the right to be on the bench? Or that she is too inexperienced?
Either way, if Miers getting an up or down vote, whether she wins or not, is reason enough for Bush to go on TV and tell the nation that the Constitution prevailed in advise and consent, that the senate did its job and that he would like to introduce Miers replacement Janice Rogers Brown for the high court.
No. twas the other senator from Oregon, Packwood, and the former pubbie Jim Jeffords.
I have stated many times, my choice would have been Miguel Estrada. What I consistently see is no thought given to how this nomination came about. It wasn't simply pulled from a hat. Put on your logic hat for a second, set aside your current position and ask these questions:
Was Miers on his original list ?
My opinion is no, if only because of a cronyism charge.
Was Bush surprised to see her name on the democrat list ?
Undoubtedly so, and because he knew her so well, she was added to the original list.
Why did he add her to the list ?
Because of the democrats putting her on the list, the cronyism charge no longer held water.
Why would the democrats put a pro-life evangelical Christian conservative who is devotedly loyal to Bush on their list and who would obviously anger their feminist base ?
Because they did not think Bush would nominate her, she was a token conservative they could point to in the future to say they had given him conservative options.
I disagree with Bush on some issues, but I those issues are irrelevant ot his performance and track record of nominating judges, which has been outstanding. All the above said, I am still not committing my support to Miers until after the hearings, because I want to see her intellect on display and how she reacts under pressure. I do not expect litmus test answers, but I do expect to get an insight into her thought process. If she falls on her face or blows up, I will support defeating her nomination. I do reject the charges of mediocrity levelled at her as character assassination. One does not rise to being a high powered litigator and head of a major law firm by being mediocre.
Thanks for the clarification.
"They are going to sneak Miers in under the radar then hit the RATS with a Luttig when Stevens leaves."
If the Luttig scenario happens, at least all of us at FR will be able to turn our fire on the true enemy....
There's a difference between counting "sure" noses, and counting the noses of those you think you can arm-twist into supporting a nominee.
I think Bush counted the "sure and easy" noses and decided on Miers. I personally believe that Bush could have arm-twisted a more proven conservative jurist onto the bench.
That said, I have wondered from the beginning if this was all a dangerous but sly strategery to force the Dems into exactly this choice: be the ones to put a Bush "crony" with no experience onto the court and hurt themselves with their base -- or on the other hand to reject her and allow Bush to come back with a strong conservative that pleased his base.
It is a gambit that if "lost" puts his friend on the court, and if "won" ends up with a stronger conservative than he could have nominated in the first place without a firestorm from the left...
The Gamesters of Triskelion.
Bush didn't want a fight. He thought he could get conservatives to go along with the Miers pick because she's a Christian and arguably pro-life. He thought he could get it through without a filibuster because of Reid suggesting her. She was a friend of his and he knew he could trust her with WOT decisions for the next 3 years. So.. he nominated her.
He was not prepared for the uprising among his base at his administrations own admission. His base being this upset does him no favors no matter how you spin it. He blew this one and took some people who have taken bullets for him for granted.
I think you are basically right.
But I do hope that the "coast to coast" explanation is the right one.
One thing is sure, he most certainly did take people for granted that he shouldn't have.
Bushbots like to say that the Dems would rally behind anyone a Dem would put up, and only we nasty conservatives are foolish and evil enough not to trust our own president.
To that, I say: HOGWASH!
The truth of the matter is that no Democrat would nominate anyone but a hard-core liberal -- so this is an untestable proposition. On the other hand, GOP presidents have been pulling this "but we can't get a good one through the confirmation process" (insert whining voice) since Eisenhauer.
One party has the balls to demand what it wants and believes in when it holds the presidency -- the other doesn't.