ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Monday, October 03, 2005

Let's Play Some Poker

There's a lot of fretting going on in the conservative blogosphere regarding the nomination of Miers by President Bush today. ARC:Brian and I discussed this at length today as we headed back from our secret location over the weekend. Bush and Rove love poker and are great at bluffing and getting opponents to misunderestimate their abilities.

We both think that this is the case with Miers. Our thought is that Reid likely said "Pick someone that's mainstream and not a knuckle-dragging conservative, George. Heck, your counsel Miers was great to work with and she'd be an excellent nominee."

Bush, knowing that Miers is in fact a staunch conservative and strict constructionist gave Reid exactly what he wanted. Who do you think knows Miers' opinions better: Bush or Reid?

Frankly, I know that the "base" is upset that Bush did not appoint someone who is easily identified as a strict constructionist jurist. However, I think that this is more out of the fact that people want to have the fight and see the Dems attempt a fillibuster - followed by the nuclear option by the GOP in the Senate. While this might make great political theater and give the pundits (in the media and in the blogosphere) some interesting topics to cover, the net effect is that such a nominee would not be confirmed. Heck, I don't even think that the GOP would have the required votes for the nuclear option. So, from a politics standpoint, it would be great. From a transformation of the court standpoint, it would be a serious mistake.

Now, back to poker... what's the best situation to be in when you're playing poker? For only you to know what cards are in your hand - and to make sure you don't give divulge any information about that hand. What many of the pundits were wishing Bush to do in this high stakes game of poker was to play the game with his cards face up. While this may be disappointing to many social conservatives to have yet another "stealth" candidate, the resume that a nominee brings to the table (in the form of previously published opinions on matters) is of less importance than the decisions they make on the court. Clearly, Bush (and perhaps more importantly, Cheney) firmly believe that the conservative base will appreciate Miers in the years to come. Unfortunately, only time will tell if they are correct.

Does anyone really believe that Miers is going to be in the O'Connor or Souter model? Would Bush nominate someone to be a "moderate' without that nominee having a "moderate" track record that can be pointed to by the White House, highlighted to the press (etc) so the appropriate applause from the MSM and the Dems could be given?

I think not... based on some of the things I'm hearing, I think we have a situation similar to Roberts. A strict constructionist with a very limited papertrail. And the only people that truly know that she's a strict constructionist are the inner circle at the White House - as it should be.

I frankly do not understand the cronyism angle that many on the Left and Right are throwing around. That's just ridiculous. You don't appoint your friends to the Supreme Court as a cronyism appointment. You make them the ambassador to a Carribbean nation. Seriously... drop it.

Good to see that Hewitt shares this opinion.

The first President Bush didn't know David Souter, but trusted Chief of Staff Sunnunu and Senator Rudman. The first President Bush got burned badly because he trusted the enthusiams of others.

The second President Bush knows Harriet Miers, and knows her well. The White House Counsel is an unknown to most SCOTUS observors, but not to the president, who has seen her at work for great lengths of years and in very different situations, including as an advisor in wartime. Leonard Leo is very happy with the choice, which ought to be enough for most conservatices

All in all, the Right doesn't get to have the knock-down, drag out fight over Judicial Activism vs Constructionist/Original Intent that many wanted. However, winning that debate is secondary when compared to actually getting your nominees on the Court, and Bush seems to have focused on this primary goal.

These posts by BeldarBlog and Volokh are great as well.

Another issue that some of the Conspirators here were discussing was the fact that Bush is likely to get a 3rd appointment. John Paul Stevens turned 85 in April of this year. Perhaps these nominees are intended to assure him that it's okay to retire sometime in the next 3 years.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler