Sunday, October 09, 2005

On Harriet Miers...

The sum total of the President’s message on Harriet Miers seems to be: “Trust me.”

I’m sorry, Mr. Bush, but we simply don’t have that luxury.

We trusted your father when he said “read my lips.” He repaid our trust with new taxes and a Justice named David H. Souter.

We’ve trusted you before. We trusted you to govern this nation as a conservative.

We trusted you to support free trade and open borders for our goods. You’ve repaid us with steel tariffs and trade wars with Europe.

We trusted you to support and defend freedom of political speech. You’ve repaid us with McCain-Feingold.

We trusted you to mind the budget. You’ve repaid us with an unprecedented expansion of entitlements and overall government spending.

We trusted you to appoint qualified people to manage our government agencies. You’ve repaid us with appointments of the likes of Bernie Kerik, Michael Brown and Julie Myers.

We trusted you to secure our porous borders. You’ve repaid us with unprecedented levels of illegal immigration.

We trusted you to use the lives of our uniformed men and women wisely. You have repaid us with a war that most of us really don’t understand. So far, we have trusted you when you tell us that it is the right thing to do, but none of us really know for sure. What we do know is that there were no weapons of mass destruction and the Iraqi people did not welcome us with open arms. We don’t believe you lied to us, but it is undisputed that you were wrong on both counts.

In the 2000 election, we thought we heard you promise to be a “compassionate conservative.” In 2005, we’re wondering if we misheard you. Perhaps you meant to say “incompetent conservative,” or perhaps “capitulate conservative.” And yet, despite your track record so far--a track record that would make many a Democrat proud--we have stood by you and defended you through it all. We have stood by you and accepted your abandonment of our basic principles for one reason, Mr. Bush, and that is our reliance on your promise to appoint justices in the mold of Thomas and Scalia.

Your administration has screwed up some very fundamental things, and now we find ourselves at what may be the most important decision you make in eight years as President of this nation, and you nominate your good personal friend, Ms. Miers.

It is not just that she has had a relatively undistinguished legal career, or there are so many who are much more qualified to opine on constitutional issues. It is apparent that she can win popularity contests and apparently manage a law firm and a Lottery Commission without incurring a disaster. I’ve known many popular lawyers and many big firm partners. These are not lofty qualifications.
It is not just that she has never decided a legal case in her life.

It is not just that she is your personal lawyer, which draws an understandable charge of cronyism, particularly in the wake of Kerik, Brown, Myers and others.

It is not just that there is no way for us, the great unwashed, to evaluate Ms. Miers and her legal philosophies.

It is not just that you have missed a golden opportunity to engage this nation in a vigorous debate on just what it means to be a good judge.

It is the intersection of all of these together which make your choice a baffling one. In short, what we know of her, we don’t like, and what we don’t know of her, even under the best of circumstances, couldn’t overcome what we know.

As much as we would like to, we simply don’t have the luxury of trusting your judgment on this one. The stakes are simply too high.

Surely you understand.


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