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Miers, Reconsidered

Cap'n Ed has a postmortem:

What Hugh sees as a Borking, however, was the natural reaction from a conservative base that has seen Souter after Kennedy after Stevens, "trust me" candidates that later turned into lifetime-appointment nightmares -- and who still comprise a third of the Supreme Court. Even O'Connor has mostly disappointed those who believe, as Hugh does, in originalist thinking. Republicans have named seven of the nine sitting justices on the Court, and four of them have proven themselves to be superlegislators.

If Hugh wants to debate the meaning of the 1993 speech to the Executive Women of Dallas, a speech he repeatedly admitted on the air was "terrible" and not just "ambiguous" as he writes here, he knows he loses. That speech turns out to be the only documentary evidence of Miers' judicial philosophy that emerged from this candidate. The White House never bothered to produce anything, or more likely had nothing to produce, to counter it, other than George Bush's "trust me" based on a nonexistent vetting process.

Republicans made clear after David Souter turned south in a hurry what it expected the next time a Republican nominated a Supreme Court justice. We wanted someone who we could see -- through experience, writing, and erudition -- had the proper philosophy and temperament to not just cast a vote but to reverse decades of overreaching by the Court, turning themselves into an American version of the Iranian Guardian Council. Originalists, and most Republicans, don't want the Supreme Court making abortion illegal any more than they want the Supreme Court making abortions legal. They want the Supreme Court to stop making law altogether and focus on the strict meaning of the Constitution -- allowing the people's representatives, the Legislature, to make those decisions.

Instead, the Bush administration gave us the biggest cipher possible, one whose meager public record reflected quite a bit of sympathy for abortion rights at one point, and asked us to believe that she had the requisite philosophical viewpoint and would never change it from this point forward. The White House should have known better than to make that argument.

This is simply the best analysis of the Miers confirmation fight I have seen to date. Ed absolutely nails it.

My gut tells me the biggest loser in this battle will prove to be The Blogfather himself, who professed the virtues of loyalty and gentlemanly conduct while throwing mud at his fellow conservatives---(one might call this "Hughrony"). I admire and respect Hugh Hewitt, who inspired and supported this and many another righty blog, but I think he took this fight too personally, and went for the jugular in a friendly wrestling match. When The New York Times rings you up for an op-ed, you've got to know you're off the conservative reservation.

Come back to the fold soon, Hugh---we need you. The newfound admiration you've garnered from Pinch Sulzberger and Gail Collins will evaporate even more swiftly than hard feelings over this nomination. Jonah Goldberg might even let you sit on his Couch.


Blogger The Hedgehog said...

Hey, Molten Thinkers, you're on my blogroll so you know I love you, but I think you should lay off Hugh Hewitt. There was jello flying in both directions in this food fight, and to accuse of Hugh of "throwing mud" just is not credible. He stuck to the arguments throughout. I was on Hugh's side, and I saw stuff coming out of the anti-Miers conservaitve blogs that was starling and disappointing.

But let's stop going there. Frum and Co. will survive, and so will the blogfather.

Chris Cox is my man!

3:43 PM  
Blogger Teflon said...


I have no doubt that Hugh Hewitt will survive and thrive---he's a brilliant politico and probably the single best political organizer on the Right.

That NYT op-ed piece is going to haunt him for some time with conservatives, I'm afraid. I read everything Hugh posted on Miers and don't share your opinion regarding the ad hominems---Hugh called out a number of conservatives during this debate and said some not-so-flattering things about them. If comparing the appointment of Miers to Caligula wanting to make his horse a Roman senator was out of bounds, what do you make of his calling Jonah Goldberg a hypocrite (he used the cuter phrase "Mierony", but his point was clear) for supporting McConnell against an unfair charge? Or his accusing the lot of Miers opponents as being disloyal, unfair, and ungentlemanly?

Was there an argument in all the name-calling somewhere that eluded me?

I agree that the fight's over and it's time to move on. It will be much easier to do so when Hugh and yourself put down the poison pens. We disagreed on Miers. No great sin, that.

When Hugh led the charge to make Arlen Specter judiciary chair over the reservations of conservatives, those of us who had to see the RINO take that important chairman's gavel in hand felt every bit as disappointed as you do today. We didn't lash out at those Republicans who favored party over principle yet again. We moved on and hoped they would prove to have been right in the end.

If party loyalty's so important, maybe the loyalists ought to show us how it's done instead of handing Pinch Sulzberger another delightful example of a Republican willing to provide talking points to Democrats.

And while not my first choice, Chris Cox would be a fine pick.

7:53 PM  

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