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What Was Bush Thinking?


Here in Dallas, people who know Harriet Miers insist that she’s a rock-ribbed conservative, though nobody can really say what that means in practical terms. Folks here are real high on her. As for me, I am really, really disappointed in the president. As a social conservative, the main reason I voted for him was the Supreme Court.

I thought John Roberts was a stellar nominee in most respects, though not the judge I would have picked; anyway, I’m tickled that he is now the Chief Justice. I figured this second pick would be someone who was not a stealth candidate, and that Bush would finally pay his debt to the social and religious conservatives who form the bedrock of his base. It looks like cronyism wins again with this president, though at least he didn’t nominate Brownie.

That might not prove to be a fair judgment; judging from the scuttlebutt at World magazine’s blog, which Kathryn linked to over at Bench Memos, Miers could well be a stalwart social conservative. But even if she were, you really have to wonder why the president passed over Judge Luttig, Judge Owen and so many others who have clear records. In our editorial board meeting this morning, one of my colleagues, a fellow who is high on Miers and who is to the left of me, was exulting over Bush sticking a shiv in the back of social and religious conservatives with this pick. And I’m thinking that the president is so embattled on so many fronts right now, from the Iraq debacle to the Katrina mess to the GOP’s ethical scandals, that he doesn’t need to alienate his base. I think he has just alienated his base, which had every reason to expect better of him.