Harriet Miers: Good Joke or Bad Joke?
That Harriet Miers is a joke, we have no reason to doubt. David Frum reports that Miers “once told me that the president was the most brilliant man she had ever met.” David — whatever you may think about his views; he’s a very swift guy — must have choked. I mean, it’s one thing to argue that Bush is the Right man, but I can’t imagine that David seriously considers him a Bright man. Either Miers doesn’t get out much, or — more likely — she’s a besotted groupie, and an intellectual lightweight. In fact, when David first floated her name, he admits, “I have to confess that at the time, I was mostly joking.”
Can anybody be thrilled with this nomination? The right wing is weeping into its collective beer. The liberal center is scratching its collective head, feeling that it may have dodged a bullet, only to be slapped in the face with a wet fish. Come on folks: this is funny. The woman is not second-rate; she’s not third-rate; she doesn’t even rate. Harriet Miers is a nice woman, who graduated from an obscure law school, and “rose” through the Texas ranks (in other words drifted sideways and slightly downward). Here we have a candidate only marginally more impressive than the president himself. I suspect this is the problem: Bush, who has managed to convince himself that overcoming alcoholism is sufficient reason to deserve the presidency, has no concept of mediocrity. He just doesn’t get it. The Roberts appointment was not about excellence (and I do believe, as I have argued below, that he is a truly impressive man): Bush accidentally chose a man with demonstrable virtues, while doing an entirely incidental calculus.One huge supporter of Ms. Miers is none other than Joseph Allbaugh, that towering figure of competence and objectivity, who installed his good buddy at the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. So, Michael Brown bagged FEMA, and Harriet’s off to the Supreme Court. We may even witness the odd sight of Democratic senators filling out the majority in support of this nomination, in the absence of full support from the right. I’m wondering, in fact, whether we’ll see this appointment deep-sixed by Republicans.
So, where does this leave those of us who don’t want to see the court turned into a playground for hillbilly activists in constructionist drag? Well, for one thing, I’m not too happy about becoming a cheerleader for the bozocracy. And let’s not get too comfortable here: the last mediocrity appointed by the right was Clarence Thomas. It’s not entirely clear that liberals should be celebrating.
On the other hand, she’s sixty years old. So we’re only stuck with Harriet Miers for a while, and there’s a good chance the president who chooses her replacement will be a Democrat. (Republicans look as if they’re not likely to have a lock on power in the foreseeable future: I never would have expected it, but Americans seem to have at last overwhelmingly recognized their shameful error in voting for this administration.)
My advice? Let the GOP hang itself. This is hardly worth wasting a filibuster on: if Republicans choose to approve this non-entity, then that’s their funeral — further proof that this clan is about little more than cronyism and myopic allegiance. If they choose not to let his choice pass, then we can sit back and watch the right wing shoot their own buffoon in the foot: the last thing George needs is to be abandoned by his loony core at this precise moment in his decline.