27 October 2005

Miers' mistake: thinking aloud

There can be no doubt that Harriet Miers was unqualified for the job. For one thing, nobody really wants a Supreme Court justice that writes cards to their boss declaring him the "best governor ever."

But what was the real reason the Republican establishment couldn't get behind her? More to the point, what was the straw that broke this camel's back? Corporate media types are already parroting the Bush administration line that it was about the Senate's demand for privileged documents from the White House. Of course, the senators argue they weren't asking for the privileged stuff. But I think that's all a smokescreen.

I ask, is it a coincidence Miers threw in the towel, either on her own volition or at Bush's request, less than a day after the Washington Post published a story on a speech she gave in Dallas 12 years ago? Within hours the neo-con and religious right bloggers made it clear that the one thing they really couldn't stand was someone who recognizes the limits of a constitutional government.

Among the more incendiary sections of the speech (PDF here) was this nugget:
Where science determines the facts, the law can effectively govern. However, when science cannot determine the facts and decisions vary based upon religious belief, then government should not act. I do not mean to make very complex, emotional issues too simplistic. But some of these issues do not need to be as complicated as they have become if people deal with each other with respect and even reverence.
That did it. Previous fence-sitters were falling like so many humpty-dumpties. See here, here and here, for a few examples.

Never mind that, as one of the bloggers rightly and correctly pointed out, "this speech is chock-full of clumsy, unskilled writing" and that "Supreme Court justices need to write with clarity and precision; they need to not only explain their decisions, but the better justices write to convince others of their wisdom as well." If Miers' inability to express herself succinctly and eloquently was really all that important to the neo-cons, they would have demanded her withdrawal weeks ago.

Some did. But the rest waited until Wednesday's revelation that Miers' isn't or, at least, wasn't 12 years ago, beholden to a fundamentalist ideology. And I'm guessing that the Bush gang feels the same way. It wasn't a lack of information about her thought processes that did her in, but the exact opposite.

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