As I said earlier, I would probably have voted to confirm John Roberts, on the grounds that almost anyone this President nominated to the Supreme Court would probably be worse. Unfortunately, today we see what worse would look like: Harriet Miers. Conservatives are, for the most part, upset. Bill Kristol is "disappointed, depressed, and demoralized". David Frum:
"In the White House that hero worshipped the president, Miers was distinguished by the intensity of her zeal: She once told me that the president was the most brilliant man she had ever met. She served Bush well, but she is not the person to lead the court in new directions - or to stand up under the criticism that a conservative justice must expect."
"Think of her as a very capable indentured servant of the Bush family. (...) I think they've found someone whose personal loyalty to Bush exceeds even Gonzales'. And in some ways, I see this very personal, very crony appointment to be a response to being told he couldn't pick his main man, Alberto."
John Podhoretz (before the pick was announced):
"I am going to assume that this is a classic Bush head-fake gambit. If I'm wrong, I will spend the weekend banging my head against a concrete wall. This is the Supreme Court we're talking about! It's not a job for a political functionary!"
"But, in truth, we already know what's going on here, and that the president, despite a magnificent farm team from which to choose a solid nominee, chose otherwise. Miers was chosen for two reasons and two reasons alone: 1. she's a she; 2. she's a long-time Bush friend. Otherwise, there's nothing to distinguish her from thousands of other lawyers."
"At the time, of course, I had assumed that some minimum degree of luminescence would be required, in addition to Presidential trust. Little did I know that being close to the President would turn out to be the sole criteria for nomination to the Supreme Court. (...) I haven't double-checked the transcript from the press conference, but is everyone sure that he said "Supreme Court" and not "Secretary of Transportation"? The latter certainly seems somewhat more plausible..."
"Mr. President, you've got some explaining to do. And please remember - we've been defending you these five years because of this moment."
"Me, the sources, everyone it seems was wrong. We've all heard the rumors, but not a one could believe the President would do that. (...) I think I'll let the President fight this battle himself, for now."
And just check out the comments on ConfirmThem.com. "Howls of anguish" doesn't begin to describe it.
(The always reliable Hugh Hewitt, by contrast, writes: "The president is a poker player in a long game. He's decided to take a sure win with a good sized pot. I trust him. So should his supporters." But even he has, essentially, to rely on faith.)
Reaction from the left is best summarized by Matt Yglesias at TAPPED:
"it's tempting to conclude that anyone whom the wingnuts dislike must be a good thing on some level. But au contraire! One of Bush's truly unique abilities is to undertake major initiatives (farm bill, medicare reform, steel tariffs) that conservatives don't like but which simultaneously don't do anything to please liberals. This may be another such case."
Yep. This is a nomination that shows us, once again, how little Bush cares about little things like a person's qualifications to hold a job, and his lack of respect for the Supreme Court. That should not please anyone, and apparently it hasn't.