Friday, October 28, 2005

My flaming liberal ass is going to miss Harriet Miers

And no, not just because it renders Harriet Miers's Blog irrelevant or because she was going to be my Halloween costume.

Look, I won't lie, I enjoyed watching the Republican infighting. Watching Bush squirm and look off his game is one of those small victories I have learned to savor post-November 2004. It's absolutely hilarious seeing the social conservatives finally realize that maybe the neocons in the White House really don't give a fuck about Jaysus. Republican Senators gleefully kicking their President while he's down? Delightful.

Bbbbbbbbbbbut, I fear that all this is only a temporary opiate. The Bush Administration is nothing if not shrewd, and the timing of Miers' withdrawal tells me they got their shit together. The announcement was made on the morning of the day the Plamegate indictments were expected to be announced. Now it looks like Fitzmas Day will be delayed another day, but the desired result was partly achieved - much of the media focus remained on the indictments did not come down and took some of the gaze off the Miers debacle.

What's worse, at least as far as the Supreme Court nomination goes, the utter failure of the Miers nomination has made life much easier for Bush. What Bush seems to do well is to lower expectations enough that mere competence becomes a grand victory, and such will be the case for whomever he nominates next. He is no longer politically obligated to nominate a woman (though Edith Brown Clement, Priscilla Owen et al are still possibilities) or a minority. He merely has to nominate a justice with experience and does not speak in codes on the religious right's pet issues, and Democrats who dare call a wingnut a wingnut will do so at the risk of carrying the "obstructionist" label.

And whoever steps in the place of Miers will, as George F. Will told Nightline, more "intellectually muscular" and harder to dismiss.

Finally, unlike a Supreme Court justice, Plamegate will be but a footnote in history as long as both Bush and Cheney have managed to maintain plausible deniability. The next SCOTUS justice will be less Souter and more Scalia.

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