Morning Report 10/25/05
The Plot to Give Miers the Bum's Rush
Don't look at me. It's the right-wingers who are being judicial activists about it.
It's kind of a horse race: Will Harriet Miers withdraw before Patrick Fitzgerald draws on her bosses?
The White House needs to clear the decks for possible Plamegate indictments, and Miers will be needed to shuffle papers for George W. Bush's handlers. My money is on the nag to pull out before Fitzgerald pulls up in front of the White House, because everyone knows she can't make the weight.
I mean, Karl Rove ran the campaigns of the Texas Supreme Court justices, and they proved that white people can jump by dutifully showing up at the Oval Office recently (see photo) to lend their support to Miers's nomination.
But that meant zero to Miers's critics on the right, left, and center. Who the fuck cares what these bought-and-paid-for judges say? Rove shouldn't call in favors like this. He might need some chits in reserve if Fitzgerald's process servers show up at the White House. And, as even readers in Malaysia are learning, Fitzgerald isn't like one of them Texas judges — he's known as incorruptible.
You think I'm a neighsayer but, where Miers is concerned, Tim Grieve pointed out yesterday afternoon from Salon's War Room that the wheels of justice were already in motion:
When George W. Bush was asked this morning [October 24] about a report that the White House is thinking through contingency plans for the withdrawal of Harriet Miers's nomination, he responded with what we thought was a non sequitur: Rather than confirming or denying the report, the president said that he will refuse to release documents reflecting the advice Miers has given him as a member of his White House staff.
It wasn't an answer to the question he was asked, but — as a War Room reader notes — maybe it wasn't quite the non sequitur we thought it was, either.
In a column last week, Charles Krauthammer laid out a face-saving exit strategy for the White House: Senators demand documents from Miers' White House tenure; the president refuses to turn over the documents on executive privilege or attorney-client privilege grounds; the senators say that, in light of her scant record elsewhere, they can't consider Miers' nomination without seeing her White House documents; Miers, faced with an irreconcilable conflict between the Senate and the president, puts the good of the nation above her own desires and graciously withdraws her nomination.
And a grateful nation, the red and blue parts having turned an apoplectic deep purple just at the thought of this cipher on the Supreme Court, is now about to join hands and give thanks.
Krauthammer's October 21 column reads like a friggin' script, so Salon reader Jeff_Smith, whom Grieve credited with putting two and two together, may be right. Who said the right and left can't work together? As Krauthammer wrote:
We need an exit strategy from this debacle. I have it.
Lindsey Graham has been a staunch and public supporter of this nominee. Yet on Wednesday he joined [Sam] Brownback in demanding privileged documents from Miers's White House tenure.
Finally, light at the end of this tunnel. A way out: irreconcilable differences over documents.
Grieve's piece is the place to go. The New York Times, which, as I noted last night, did an admirable job in reporting a Plamegate scoop yesterday, fell down in the Miers sweepstakes. Elizabeth Bumiller and David D. Kirkpatrick took the dispute over the documents at face value instead of seeing it as a face-saving out for the beleaguered Bush regime. They didn't pick up on Bush's seeming non sequitur, as Grieve did.
It's only fitting that this fight over documents is Miers's first-ever encounter with constitutional law. If by some miracle she doesn't withdraw, she could tell the Senate Judiciary Committee that, on second thought, she does have experience.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in New York, delivered to your inbox.