October 28, 2005

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize -- The O'Connor Seat

I find it interesting how the dominant, radical right segment of the Republican Party, along with their American Taliban religious allies, can defend Bush's integrity and honesty when it comes to the invasion of Iraq, but when he says "trust me" about his nomination of Harriet Miers, they all believe he is lying or they simply don't trust him. Their attacks on Ms. Miers (and on Bush himself) have resulted in what they wanted - Miers withdrawal.

If I was a conspiracy theorist, I might conclude that this is exactly what Bush and his aides planned all along. Here's how it goes:

Bush and a small cadre of his closest advisors are all sitting around having ginger ale, talking about how they can get someone on the Supreme Court who will legislate their corporate, and religious, agenda on the Court. "Let's sacrifice a woman. Let's find someone that the religious right will oppose, the radical conservatives in the Senate and House will oppose, and, of course, the Democrats will oppose. A woman who has absolutely no judicial record or experience at all would fit the bill. Hmmmm Hey, let's nominate Harriet!! When she goes down in flames, we can say we tried with a woman, a woman we believe would not legislate from the bench, and we gave it our best shot. Then we can nominate a dyed-in-the-wool believer who will kick ass up there. We'll appeal to the American people when the Democrats try to stop the nomination. We have to replace O'Connor with a known quantity and someone who will support us."

Of course, this is all fantasy, and perhaps it gives too much credit to the Bush gang for some brilliant Machiavellian thinking. But it's really hard to imagine why Bush nominated Miers in the first place without knowing that there would be such a huge backlash within his own party. If the Bush team really did not see this coming, then perhaps they really are as utterly incompetent and oblivious as many people have suspected they are.

Either way, we are now faced with the prospect of a seriously conservative jurist being nominated, someone clearly to the right of John Roberts. The O'Connor seat has been the swing seat. Come hell or high water, Bush wants that seat to swing his way all the time.

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