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Miscellaneous meanderings and philosophical ramblings. The title from a spiral notebook I used to jot down my thoughts on religion and other matters some years ago. I like to write, think and express my views on various issues. Robust discussion is welcome.

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"Lan astaslem."
I will not submit. I will not surrender.
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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

That Harriet Miers nomination

Well now, it seems the President has really stepped into it this time. One would have to be deaf to not hear the chortling from the likes of little Dick Durbin and others of that ilk.

The reaction of many conservative pundits and those in the grass-roots ranges from confused to enraged, that Bush would skip over ideological conservatives like Priscilla Owen, Janice Rogers Brown or William Pryor, just to name a few. We are after all, talking about appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court. The President's as well as the Vice President's admonition, to trust us, is falling a bit flat. This is clearly due to the President allowing government spending to increase so drastically, and to the apparent inexplicable tendency to support moderate Republican congressional candidates, who as soon as they can, vote against the President on important policy matters. This is all the more painful, when that support has been given at the expense of clearly conservative candidates.

So what gives? Is Bush scared, dealing from a weak hand, playing political jujutsu or just plain old fumbling about? One thing that needs to be considered is that while there is a Republican majority in the Senate (55), it is not a certainty due to RINOs and the general spinelessness of GOP Senators. As Rush Limbaugh has stated, Bush may not believe he can win a serious fight with this army. I can understand that type of thinking, but then what of the administration supporting RINOs in congressional races? I have a hard time understanding that one. It certainly hasn’t had much return on investment from what I have seen. If someone wants to point to Roberts being confirmed, as a dividend, I would have to say that has more to do with his stellar qualifications and abilities, rather than moderates or even Democrats acting in good will. This leaves us on shaky ground when we are asked to simply trust the President.

What about strategery? It is tempting to revel in some Machiavellian plot. To be tempted to think one has found the hidden truth that no one else knows. I have no way of reading Karl Rove's mind or the President's but there is a possibility that I haven't seen mentioned elsewhere.

Let's suppose that Harriet Miers really does believe in the same judicial philosophy as Scalia or Thomas. Yes, I know that's a shot in the dark and requires a great deal of trust, just play along. Now, let's say one were personally certain that was her view, and doubted the ability of the GOP Senate, in its current form, getting a conservative with a clear track record in; what would you do if a Liberal Democrat Senator mentioned that individual to you as someone to consider? Also, Miss Miers, by virtue of this stealth attribute, may placate more than just the normal political opposition. What if, the combination of the somewhat unknown philosophy of Chief Justice Roberts and the very much-unknown Miers, eases the mind of a Supreme Court Justice who would like to retire? What if, one was worried about whom Bush would nominate to replace them but sees this record and how conservative ideologues are not pleased? Perhaps this would result in another opening on Bush's watch and the chance to very much tilt the court away from judicial activism. Sure, a bloody fight to the death over O'Connor's replacement would be more fun. I for one would like to see an open battle, to wipe away the stain of what happened to Bork. But that would most certainly be a short-term experience and one ruefully remembered if the nomination actually failed as Bork did.

Considering the ages of those currently serving, it is possible a retirement could occur before 2008. It may be, that Bush has increased the likelihood of this happening, by not nominating obvious conservative ideologues to the court.

John Paul Stevens – 85
Anthony M. Kennedy – 69
David Hackett Souter – 66
Ruth Bader Ginsburg – 72
Steven G. Breyer – 67
Antonin Scalia – 69
Clarence Thomas - 57

It may be, that many have misunderestimated the President. Then again, this might be a case of my being too clever. I'll admit, this is probably more likely. I am after all, not paid for political analysis or for the ability as a spinmeister. But, it would be sad to ultimately find out, that because of the hyperventilating of some, that a very clever political move was derailed and with it, an opportunity is lost to further change the momentum and possibly the direction of the culture war.

That's my 2 1/2 cents, no refunds or guarantees, accept at your own risk ;-)

Related posts:

A question for Judge Roberts
Bush made a mistake
Little Dick Durbin - should pay the price
George Voinovich - Let's start a support group
About that Senate compromise
McCain for President - NOT!
GOP Senators - Still wusses!!
GOP Senators - wusses!
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