Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Judicial Quagmiers-- or --
Curious George hears a "WHO?"

One of my husband's lawyer colleagues, of the flaming lefty type as only Canada can produce them, passed him in the office corridor yesterday and said (with no small satisfaction), "Well, the Bush era ended today."

Somewhere out there is an optimist or two who will say, "Nah--
he's got three more years-- just watch." It is definitely too early for the end of an era, but Mr. Bush seems determined to start rushing for the exits anyway. Many seem to think that Katrina blew the stuffings out of him, but I suspect his tone-deafness to the need to appear instantly engaged during that crisis is the signal that his stuffings were already in disarray. Anyone who is closely following the progress of the War on Terrorism has been looking in vain for those stuffings for quite some time.

The appointment of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, where she is likely to sit doing whatever it is she will do for at least another ten or fifteen years, is precisely what David Frum described as an "unforced error."

In John Roberts, Bush managed to pick someone who was impermeable to the slings and arrows of Democratic carping (the best they could manage was something on the order of Monty Python's "I fart in your general direction"), and there were well-deserved high-fives all 'round.

That was all the necessary proof that it can be done. All we needed was another hand-picked all-American jam-packed lawyer-brain and with an unflappable temperament, and there's no reason to think that John Roberts is unique in all the world for these qualities. The Democrats could promise a fight, and strategize to save it for the second nominee, but pick the right person and they would be as helpless as they were in the face of Roberts.

Probably the most revealing aspect of this development is that so many Democrats urged the nomination of Ms. Miers, and have openly claimed to be favorable towards her. This signals one of two things: either the Dems themselves have lost the stomach for another fight (since they so badly embarrass themselves in front of all sensible segments of the electorate when they get a head of steam going), or they are setting the world's biggest bear-trap for the President by appearing conciliatory at this stage, holding their fire till they see the whites of Harriet's eyes. (And considering how much the radical fringe of the left has been pulling the Democrats' strings in recent times, one has to question the authenticity of the sudden spirit of compromise. Will their Moveon.org base really permit them to give Ms. Miers a pass without a fight?)

If the Dems are tiring of the partisan battle, what better time to put another sterling conservative nominee before them? If they are plotting a sneak attack, what has been gained by not putting another sterling conservative before them? Either way, this nomination was a waste.

The President blinked. Usually that's the act of one party to a stand-off. But in the arena of judicial nominations, the administration has been in something much stronger than a stand-off position -- it wasn't time for anyone to blink yet. There was the scent of a fight, and the President ran from it before it started. Not an acceptable strategy for war, whether it be in the hunt for terrorists or the battle for the culture. This is the guy who looked into the lens and addressed Al Qaeda, saying, "Bring it on." If he can't look into the wide, vacant eyes of Nancy Pelosi and say the same thing, somebody needs to bring in the paddles and yell "Clear!"

President Bush's stature is now in free fall. He has been a punching bag for the most vile and extremist charges for five years, and he has never really understood either the need or the technique for effective counter-measures. Now he is under well-deserved fire from those who have bent over backwards to persevere in their support for him through every crisis. He is on the ropes.

The wacko protestors who got themselves photographed on September 24 (complete with fudging) hold the fundamental belief that George W. Bush is evil. This is not only manifestly untrue, it is illogical -- true evil breeds boldness, and feeds on self-interest. No one with his own self-interest uppermost in mind would be piling up the political miscalculations this president has since that day, shortly after the 2004 election, when he announced, with much naïveté and very little class, that he had earned some political capital and he intended to spend it. Like darn near everything else in the federal treasury, it's spent.

Mr. President, you be Nicholas Cage and I'll be Cher (Moonstruck, her best work ever) -- here we go:

[WHACK!!!!] "Snap out of it!"