Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Miers nomination was Bush's personal failure

According to a New York Daily News article by Thomas M. DeFrank, “Bush jettisoned contrary advice from his advisers and appointed his longtime personal lawyer. ‘He must know that the way he did that, relying on his own judgment and instinct, was not good,’ [a] key adviser said."

But Bush expected Congress to be able to learn enough about Miers to be able to confirm her. "He's confident that she will be confirmed because, as senators come to know her like the president knows her, we're confident that they will recognize she will make an outstanding Supreme Court justice," Whitehouse spokesperson Scott McClellan said.

"People are interested to know why I picked Harriet Miers. They want to know Harriet Miers's background. They want to know as much as they possibly can before they form opinions” Bush said on October 12, 2005.

But as Terry M. Neal wrote in the Washington Post:
“In nominating his long-time friend, the president gambled that her lack of a paper trail would focus the debate on her qualifications, rather than her views on hot-button issues such as abortion. But the lack of a paper trail only amplified the focus on her qualifications, which conservatives and liberals alike agreed were underwhelming.”

Bush would have obviously known that he would refuse to release documents relating to her work as his chief lawyer. So how did he expect Congress to ‘get to know’ her, when she has never been a judge and has had little experience with constitutional law? And certainly, how would Bush expect them to know her like he does, when he wouldn’t release their shared history?

Apparently, he expected Congress to have blind faith in their ‘War President’s’ ability to choose.

''I know her heart. I know her character" was how Bush explained her qualifications.

But this expression of support was reminiscent of how Bush has characterized his trust in Russian President Putin: “The more I get to know President Putin, the more I get to see his heart and soul, and the more I know we can work together in a positive way.”

It is now clear that Bush’s familiarity with Miers’ heart was not an adequate qualification for sitting on the Supreme Court of the United States of America.

And why wouldn’t Bush release her Whitehouse record? “We are not going to destroy this business about people being able to walk into the Oval Office to say, Mr. President, this is my advice," Bush said.

This has long been a common Bush Administration reason for unprecedented secrecy, including the withholding of details concerning Cheney’s Energy Taskforce.

I have always wondered about this argument. Who would choose not to advise the President of the United States unless it was secret, and why? And is this the kind of advice we want in our democracy?


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