Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Presidential Infallibility

From this morning's press conference:
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Mr. President, of all the people in the United States you had to choose from, is Harriet Miers the most qualified to serve on the Supreme Court?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Otherwise I wouldn't have put her on.

To be fair to the president, after telling this whopper, he went on at some length about what he personally found to make Miers so qualified, the main thrust of which seemed to be "I've known Harriet for over a decade." What Bush really means, I think, is She's the most qualified person because I put her on. But never mind that.

But what seems strange is that until several weeks ago, Miers was ostensibly the second-most qualified person in all of America for the Supreme Court. Yet it seems that in comparing her to the first-most qualified person--John Roberts--they share almost none of the same qualities and are being judged on almost none of the same grounds. It's an enigma!

Kind of like how Michael Brown was allowed to resign even though he was doing a "heck of a job" helping the citizens of New Orleans.


Anonymous said...

One can quibble all day about who the most qualified person is for the supreme court. What it comes down to, is not about the pedigree but who can you be sure will support your point of view into the future. In that light, I'm quite sure Bush chose whom he considered to be the "most qualified". Agree with it or not, but Bush has developed a curious but effective method of leadership. Just when everyone's sure he's going to zig, he zags. I Examples include: invading Iraq, pulling the Iraqi government handover ahead a few days on the schedule without notice, John Robert's nomination was not the obvious one (his wife was quoted advocating a woman), and other instances. This allows him to set the agenda, not his competition. The best analogy is a football team preparing to play a game against Boise State and, whoops, USC shows up. You can fault the play calling, but the strategy is not without merit. As for Michael Brown, the man is already the scape goat and everyone knows it. At least, Bush has the class not to trample on the grave of the man's career.

Serenity Now said...

The best analogy is a football team preparing to play a game against Boise State and, whoops, USC shows up.

Great analogy, except Bush nominated the judicial equivalent of Boise State when he could and should have delivered USC.

Anonymous said...

As for Mr. Borwn, explain to me how Louisiana is not a dysfunctional place.

Anonymous said...

After watching USC the last few weeks, I've go tto chime in on this....

I have to admit that after Miers was nominated that I was seriously crushed but I have seen very little analysis by people, even those blessed Ivy Leaguers, as to why this choice... this from a Ppresident who renomianted all those appellate court judges and selected John Roberts.

I cannot remember any nominee in recent history that was sent up with no or shaky chances for confirmation- you pool of candidates begin with those who are confirmable. Also a president has more on their agenda than just a court nominee, though that is very important- they have to weigh the rest of their legislative agenda (social security, Iraq, ...) if they lose a nomiantion battle in their 5th year (i.e. borderline lame duck)

There's alot we don't know- maybe the Democrats were going to war on Luttig or Owens and Bush couldn't count on McCain and the northeastern Republicans to break it. Maybe Bush thought he could sneak in a stealth candidate who was a conservative and not have to potentially wreck his legislative agenda for the next year. Maybe he's too clever by half, ma ybe he didn't want to go to war and he blinked- I don't think he did it because he was a boob. It would be helpful to know what the Republican senators in that Group of 14 thought

As for Last's comments about "why not the best?" Take a look at the resumes of current justices-

Thomas and Souter were on the federal bench for less than a year- Thomas had no previous judicial experience and Souter was on the New Hampshire Supreme Court. The blessed Sandra Day O'Connor spent 4 years as a county judge and 2 years as a state appellate judge. Hardly the best minds Amer ica had to offer at the time