All the prayer in the world could not save the nomination of Harriet Miers to the United States Supreme Court. Just moments ago, the president "reluctantly" accepted her decision to withdraw her nomination.
There was never really any question in my mind that she was offered up as road kill, and I predicted on this site the day she was nominated that she would never be confirmed. See, Harriet Who? October 3, 2005. So, satisfied as I am at having just this once gotten something right, I remain concerned about the meaning of these events.
Harriet Miers was not offered as a candidate because of her credentials. This woman without qualities has no contitutional philosophy, no discernable commitment to text, structure, history or any particular cannon of interpretation. She is a member of the president's prayer club, that was her sole qualification, call her a praying lap dog.
Well, not quite. She was also willing to take a hit for the team.
The meaning of her nomination? She was offered as cannon fodder. My hunch is that strategists knew she couldn't cut it, but that they could turn opposition to her to their long-term advantage? How?
The confirmation of Chief Justice John Roberts went surprisngly easy. There was no bipartisan war; no need to "go nuclear." In the Miers case, the president was able to draw off some of the steam of his opponents. Offer a cipher and let people vent. No one would really go nuclear over such a candidate; a mere fly swatter would do. Harriet Miers was the warm-up show.
The next nominee will be someone with views more easily ascertained, and more controversial. My hunch is the president wanted some breathing room. Oh, he'd have been happy with Miers, were she confirmed. But I suspect he expected to win her confirmation about as much as he hopes to win the next Power Ball lottery.
Next move by the White House? Appointment of a pedigreed conservative, and then fingerpointing at opponents who are trying to obstruct yet another nominee. Remember: You heard it here first.