Thursday, October 06, 2005

Miers Reaction

The Moderate Voice has a pretty excellent run down on the various reactions to the latest SCOTUS nomination. It certainly has been interesting watching the GOP fight among themselves for a change. I don't expect this to last for long, unless Bush has truly lost the right wing, which I don't think he has yet. But this certainly doesn't help what is becoming a growing rift, or at least growing concern by some on the right that Bush may not be a great as they once thought.

My thoughts are that all in all Miers is a pretty mediocre pick. Bush picked someone he knew, probably because unlike many of the other possibilities, he has a pretty good guess on how she will vote on something like overturning Roe. And my prediction is that she will vote to do just that. It certainly appears that the White House is trying to tell social conservatives, trust us. (This certainly explains why James Dobson is so quick to jump on board in support -- he is being told by the WH that she is a vote against Roe, although apparently even Dobson is having some second thoughts.)

But in someways that shows that even the WH doesn't understand the social conservative movement. Roe is important, undoubtedly the most important thing, but it isn't the only thing, and on other issues important to the movement, particularly gay rights, Miers’ records is much less favorable. And her mixed record (what little there is), rightfully worries many social conservatives, because the most important issue that will face the Supreme Court in the next 15 years is something that we don't even realize right now. A nominee with no track record could go either way on that issue.

In addition, the social conservative wing was itching for a fight. They see that they are in some trouble in DC right now and a fight about abortion and gay rights is always popular. In addition, they would love to get rid of the judicial filibuster (which I think is short sighted) and this pick would have been the great chance to do so. For now the social conservative wing is leery, but willing to support because of the "trust me" message.

On the other hand, financial conservatives and libertarians have finally given up on Bush's "trust me" line, so Miers nomination has nothing to support it. Many may ultimately come around, because that is what the Establishment ultimately does, but some will see at this as just another reason to give the Democrats another look.

Democrats, on the other hand, are in a bit of a quandary. They are certain they could have ended up with a worse nominee, but without any track record, it is natural to assume that she will be with the more conservative members of the Court. (Of course, this was also the assumption with Souter, back when the last President Bush put forth his stealth nominee.) I think it is also fair to assume that she will be a vote against Roe. (But in private, I think that a growing number of Democrats don't think that Roe is as untouchable as it once was. Indeed some believe that overturning Roe might just be the thing that brings middle class women back to the Party.) And, of course, since Bush is having a tough time of it right now, it is indeed tempting to try and kick him when he is down. So the Democrats will ultimately go with the Devil they know.

The most interesting point to watch is Bush himself. He is under siege from his right, which has not happened to him before. But he is not one to re-think one of his choices, so despite the hopes of many on the right, I would think there is very little chance that he would withdraw the nomination. And even if he did, the next nominee would be trouble for moderate Republicans because it would look as though the right wing zealots are in complete control. It certainly is going to be fun to watch.
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