Monday, October 03, 2005

Harriet Myers Nomination: What Was Bush Thinking?

There are a number of angles from which to examine this issue. We already know that many Republicans and Democrats are upset with the nomination of Harriet Myers. It seems that few people are optimistic at this point. So what was Bush thinking!?!?

Angle 1: My initial thought was that the president would nominate a woman or a minority - a strictly conservative one - and force the Democrats to vote against another woman or minority before the 2006 election. Its always been one of Rove and Bush's power-plays to put the Democrats in the position of being obstructionists, while at the same time revealing their disgust for any minority that doesn't toe their ideological line.

But isn't it a little early to be playing that card? The elections are still a long way off, especially in the minds of voters who are more concerned right now with the recent disasters, the new school year, etc....and we haven't even hit the holiday season yet.

So if Bush is going for the obstructionist card, he'd either need a prolonged battle over this nominee - one that will last at least into the new year, or a NO vote.

Angle 2: Putting up a "dummie" nominee that is ?likely to get voted down? in the Senate would postpone the real battle until at least December; probably even until the beginning of 2006 after the court returns for its January session. That would put the REAL confirmation hearings much closer to the 2006 election, during the run-ups to them. The public, having somewhat of a short-term memory and needing a key issue to latch onto for the elections - something to fire up the base, would be much more sensitive to the "obstructionist" card then.

Not coincidentally, that would also give the President more time to get out of his current ratings slump and better position him for a tough fight. Americans have had enough tough fights for the last two or three months, and Bush will probably catch a break when they do. His ratings have already eased up to a decent 45% this week.

Besides, who better to send into battle - to "take one for the team" - than a close personal friend?

But who knows. We've got a long month ahead, and more months after that (bet ya didn't know that months come after months huh!? :).

Angle 3: Right now, Arlen Specter says he wants a vote by Thanksgiving, but this confirmation hearing could end as early as the end of the month if there's not much to find and not much opposition to voting Myers down. Then the President would be under pressure to nominate someone by Thanksgiving, and that would kinda take the bang out of the whole shabang.

Angle 4: Then again, this President has never been known for appointing people who are "ideologically unreliable" to positions of power (as Hugh Hewitt notes). Myers may not be well known, but she's been with Bush a long time, so you can be perdy darn sure she's no softy and no David Souter. In 1996, Bush called her "a bit bull in size six shoes".

Angle 5: There is still the distinct possibility that another Justice will retire during Bush's term - Kennedy is the name thrown around most often. I don't need to post a link to tell you that Bush wants to nominate his good friend Alberto Gonzales to the Supreme Court as the First Hispanic Supreme Court Justice. You can practically hear the president giggle every time its mentioned. (Did you just hear something!?)

If he is counting on being able to do that - which he very well could be, one would think that the president would appoint another rock-solid conservatives to the court this time around, given that Alberto Gonzales is not well-liked by the conservative base because he seems fairly liberal on social policies. It would make sense to do so now - before the 2006 elections - rather than to force Republicans up for re-election to vote on a moderate or unknown nominee that might discourage the party base.

So Angle 5 may give a little more weight to Angle 4 then.

Angle 6: Here's a thought: If Harriet Myers does end up being a rock-solid conservative, and if Alberto Gonzales does end up on the court in the end, then you have three very close Bush confidants on the same court. Myers and Roberts then may just be able to pull Gonzales to the right on key issues should he "go wobbly" on conservative judicial philosophy - at least maybe in the short term.

We shall see folks! Whatever happens, this going to be an interesting course of events to watch.

10 Comments:

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Hey Bugsie! What about a diversionary tactic rubbing NOW (Nat. Org. of Women)? Might take a little pressure off the House in regards to same sex marriage and abortion issues. Might even bring popularity back to 50% :).

 
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