Best Line I’ve Read In Ages

From Powerline’s rough transcript of today’s Alito confirmation hearings comes the following gem of an exchange:

[…][SPECTER:] Do you agree that Casey is a super-precedent or a super stare decisis, as Judge Luttig said?
ALITO: Well, I personally would not get into categorizing precedents as super-precedents or super-duper precedents or any…
SPECTER: Did you say super-duper?
ALITO: Right.
SPECTER: Good. I like that.
ALITO: Any sort of categorization like that sort of reminds me of the size of the laundry detergent in the supermarket.

Heh. I’m really starting to like this guy.

It’s Carpet-Callin’ Time

I’ve known Andy(I) for a long, long time and so I believe he’ll forgive me when I say: Bud, you’ve done run right off the intellectual tracks. The Miers withdrawal – a timed, planned diversion from potential indictments in the Affaire de Plame? Dude, I scored two points from pure Machiavelli himself on that stupid quiz they made us take junior year of high school and even I couldn’t conceive of a situation under which such a “Wag the Dog” scenario could in any way, shape or form be viable.
Firstly, on the Plame matter: there is no, I repeat, novery little evidence that a crime was even comitted in her identity being released to the press. The crimes committed were lies, told by Libby to the FBI and the grand jury which were motivated not by a desire to avoid any criminal responsibilities, but rather to avoid uncomfortable political implications regarding his boss. It looks as if Cheney and Libby, in the process of discussing Joe Wilson’s lie-filled New York Times editorial, talked about the fact that Wilson was sent to Niger at the behest of his wife, a CIA operative at the Agency’s WMD desk. Since both Libby and Cheney are cleared to talk about classified information, this conversation was well within their purview, regardless of whether Plame’s employment status was classified (a position both Fitzgerald and the CIA seem to be trying to take, although we’ll have to see if the evidence for such ever shows up if and when Libby actually goes to trial). The White House has likely known of Libby’s legal jeopardy for a long time and has been cooperating fully with Fitzgerald’s investigation.
Secondly, on the Miers nomination: I wholeheartedly believe that Bush made what he thought was a very clever, very slick selection in Miers. Problem was, he was too clever by half. It’s my belief that Bush was fed some bad information by Senate Republicans, possibly Bill Frist, but most likely Arlen Specter, claiming that Senate GOPers were unwilling to go to the mattresses for Bush’s next pick. Bush then faced a connundrum entirely of his own construction: how could he possibly live up to his campaign promise of nominating judges “in the vein of Thomas and Scalia” while avoiding a fight in the Senate he (and his staff, I’m guessing) thought he’d lose? In his mind, Harriet Miers was the ultimate solution to this problem: he’d known her for years and she fit his definition of a judicial conservative, yet she lacked a compelling paper trail for the Democrats to criticize. He could make assuring noises to his base and get Miers onto the bench with little fuss or muss. Unfortunately, he severely misread his base on this issue.
George Bush is, at heart, an MBA through-and-through. He’s results-oriented, he cares about the end results and, most times, waves his hands at the details, preferring to delegate the actual implementation of his visions to trusted officials. His pick of Miers was a very results-oriented pick: a woman, a conservative, little-to-no chance of a fight in the Senate. What he failed to realize was that the legal conservative (as opposed to social conservative) portion of his base is very much a process-oriented constituency. They are more than willing to have a judge with a consistent judicial philosophy issue a few rulings they manifestly disagree with than to have a judge whose philosophy is shrouded issue highly favorable rulings on a few key cases. That way lies O’Connorite incoherence.
For most of his presidency, Bush has had process-oriented advisors on hand to help him out – Condi Rice readily springs to mind, as does Karl Rove. However, in the case of Miers, Bush stripped himself of that advice. He nominated the person responsible for vetting his SCoTUS picks and, in doing so, cut his own lifeline to political realities. With Karl Rove distracted by the ongoing investigations, I think Bush lacked a strong “nay” against his pick and thus plowed ahead, assured of his own flawed reading of his base.
I do not credit George Bush with nearly as much guile and talent for subterfuge as his detractors do. His presidency has largely been marked by him saying what he intends on doing and then, inasmuch as he is able, doing so. For some reason, this mystifies his critics, including Andy.
In short: a Supreme Court nomination is a very, very big stage to be playing any sort of political chicken on, particularly when the career that’s on the line is one of a career bureaucrat whose invocation causes most Americans to say “Scooter who?”. Here on planet Earth, those are mighty long odds to be playing for very little gain.
Much more commentary on Scooter Libby chronicled here and here by Jeff Goldstein.
UPDATE: Also, see Rob Port for why there’d be no indictments at all had Libby told the Feebs the truth in the first place.

A Bit Late – Opposing The Miers Nomination, Or: I AM The Base, Jive Turkey!

Well, I had a really lovely piece cooking on the Miers nomination but it looks like it won’t be necessary now.
Thanks to an IM from Brad, I was alerted to Miers’ withdrawal. I skipped over to and was greeted with this alert:
CNNs duh moment
“Reluctantly” – I’ll bet. Hooray for the conservative side of the aisle, boo for my poor timing. Things are going to get awfully interesting over the next few hours and days.
Fortunately, the news of the withdrawal has brought Patterico back off the window ledge, while Scott Ott notes the lighter side of the whole affair.
Here’s the beginnings of my opposition piece, retained for posterity’s sake:

Firstly, in order to fulfill N.Z. Bear’s requirements for his Miers nomination blog poll, let me state this in as unequivocal a fashion as possible: I oppose the Miers nomination.
Secondly, let’s establish my conservative bona fides so that you, the reader, can better know where I’m coming from. I come from what has always been an extremely doctrinaire Republican household. My father was quite a liberal in his earlier days, or so says the word on the street. Through a series of experiences in his post-college days, including a stint in the Navy and work aboard a North Sea oil rig, as well as the influence of my mother, he became a Christian and significantly altered his political leanings as well. He felt God’s calling to full-time ministry and attended seminary shortly after my birth. The net effect of this series of transformative experiences was a home that was extremely conservative in its very foundations – socially, politically and religiously. Back in the early 80’s, in those heady days of the Reagan Revolution, this meant there was only one place for our family to be, politically: the Republican party.
I vaguely remember Reagan’s ’84 victory over Mondale, primarily because my parents were so happy at the result, although they kept rather quiet about it in social circles since we lived in Minnesota at that time. I recall “rooting” for the Republican candidate in each and every election thereafter – I was crushed at Clinton’s victory in ’92, I was elated at the GOP sweep of the House in ’94 and I dutifully pulled the lever for Dole-Kemp in the first Presidential election I was eligible for. Rush Limbaugh’s statements were well-nigh unassailable in my youth, as were Chuck Colson’s and James Dobson’s. This is not to say that I was consciously brainwashed by my parents, although some might try to make that case. There simply was a way to think about things that made sense and therefore, nothing else could genuinely be seriously considered if it didn’t fit into that sense morally, intellectually or spiritually.
I greatly cherish that conservative upbringing, as it has served me well.

More Conservative Miers Reax

The conservative reactions to the President’s pick of Harriet Miers for Assoicate Justice continue to roll in, prime among which is George Will’s acerbic column from this morning, which began thusly:

Senators beginning what ought to be a protracted and exacting scrutiny of Harriet Miers should be guided by three rules. First, it is not important that she be confirmed. Second, it might be very important that she not be. Third, the presumption — perhaps rebuttable but certainly in need of rebutting — should be that her nomination is not a defensible exercise of presidential discretion to which senatorial deference is due.

Ouch. However, contra Will’s reaction we have Orin Kerr and Instapunk, the latter of whom takes Will to the proverbial rhetorical woodshed.
Funniest to my mind, though, is Patterico’s solicitation of questions from Miers supporters which, and I’m just spitballing here, will likely be the one and only time “Harriet Miers”, “David Hasselhoff” and “abundant chest hair” appear in the same article.

Positive Miers Reax

While I’ve certainly been down on the President’s selection of Harriet Miers to be the next Supreme Court Justice, there have been those on the right who are willing to view the whole affair in a more positive light. Beldar, in particular, has been verbose on the issue, rebutting the cronyism claims, spanking National Review Online commenters for their “uninformed” positions, and breaking down the Roberts v. Miers comparison. Patrick Ruffini makes the case for Miers being a true conservative while the Powerline guys come to her defense on several of the charges being leveled by conservatives in the last two days.
I remain unconvinced of her merits, though, particularly in light of the revelation of Mier’s job application. Also, dig Patterico’s roundup of further links. Plus, she shilled for Microsoft, which is always a black mark in my book.

Someone Stole My President And Replaced Him With An Alien Clone Intent On Destroying The Republican Base

Or, at the very least, that’s what I think has to have happened for him to nominate Harriet Miers to the SCoTUS. Reactions have been mixed with a decidedly negative tone, from profound disappointment to saying the White House is stuck on stupid to calling it a rope-a-dope to a real diversity play to outright anger. However, I think Patterico best sums up my initial reactions:

Is This Really The Best They Can Do?
[I]t’s based entirely on “well, Bush knows her better than we do.” Sorry, that doesn’t fly. Bush thought that Vladimir Putin had a good soul. Bush loves Vicente Fox. And on and on. I have zero trust in the President’s evaluation of the character of others, and even less in his ability to understand or evaluate the jurisprudence of candidates.
The final one is Hugh Hewitt. Full disclosure: I hate Hugh Hewitt, because he’s managed to be a bigger tool of the “Bush is Reagan Part Two!!!” crowd of the Republican Party than even such icons of that group like Sean Hannity.
His post, too, rests on the “I trust the President” foundation. I’m sorry, Hugh, but the Bush family, and Republicans in general, have shown that we cannot take them at their word when Supreme Court nominations are in play.
No thanks.

(Italics mine.)
I was thinking the exact same thing today. Utterly disappointing.