Monday, October 03, 2005

Harriet Who?

Harriet Miers. Is that sort of like Michael Brown?

Oh the cries of cronyism are going to fly thick and furious until (and long after) these confirmation hearings are over, win or lose.

Just goes to show, when in doubt, according to the Doctrine of Bush's Brain, go with an insider, and don't tell 'em anything you don't have to. In fact, don't tell 'em much at all. Say it's their job - and of course never really help them do it. Never mind that seems to go against the very idea of "public" service; Bush isn't sure what "public service" is anyway, excepting as a pawn of private service.

Is it just me, or does Ms. Miers seem a lot more like a secretary than a Supreme Court justice? Sort of a vastly watered down Karen Hughes? (We'd probably be more impressed if Bush had nominated Hughes, who at least seems to be a force of sorts.) And funny thing is, secretary was Ms. Miers' first job at the White House. Bush wanted to bring her up to DC from Texas (where she was heading up the Texas Lottery Commission) but wasn't quite sure what to do with her. So she started out in the West Wing as a secretary. Next thing we know, Bush will be choosing Dick and Karl's hairdressers to be cabinet secretaries of some sort.

Well, Bush sure didn't want a fiesty firebrand Ferrari like Hughes or a circuit court dragon lady Lexus he didn't know "personally" since way back when, so he got a... Chevrolet? They love those C words around the WH: conservative "and proud of it," cautious, calculating, crabby, conventional, conscious (as for heaven's sakes opposed to conscientious).

Harriet Miers seems to be a bright lady and all. She's got a pretty impressive resume... for a lawyer - and a resolutely LOYAL lawyer at that. As smart as she might be, we wouldn't expect her to be any sort of loose canon, a la Scalia or Souter. And that must be the attribute Bush put at the top of his list for this, what he's been TOLD could and probably WOULD be a highly contentious round of confirmation hearings.

First, get a woman, so the enemy can't afford to come across as big bruisers - and if they want to bruise her to her face, they'll have to compromise (if not shame) themselves to do it - Democrat or Republican. Then get a woman who's got a bland or blind record. And don't release whatever records you don't want to release. All she's got to be is smart enough to know when to do two things: when to conduct herself with the utmost congeniality and when to keep her smile open and her mouth shut.

This isn't the first time a lawyer who has not been a judge has been nominated to the Supreme Court. Even the much admired William Rhenquist had not been a judge. And in a parallel to her possible successor, Sandra Day O'Connor had not been a federal judge before joining the high court.

Bush says a president should reach out, across the country and across the aisle, but really it doesn't seem like he even crosses the hall. Mentally, Bush is still just a Jett Rink wannabee, stuck wildcatting in the oilfields with a few friends. He is the most parochial of presidents.

Still, in a stubborn sort of way, Bush is a ballsy kinda guy, running his country club the way he does, even in the wake of cries of croneyism regarding the strange inappropriateness of getting muck-it-up Michael Brown to head FEMA. Bush is joining to keep on keeping on his wag-the-dog way in his wag-the-world frame of brain drain.

Let's just hope the whole country doesn't go down that same drain right along with him. Seems the only thing that can really improve this situation is let the clock run out on this guy, pre-Crawford return.

That or step up the impeachment heat.



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