October 16, 2005

White House to Reintroduce or Relaunch the Harriet Miers Nomination

Great. Evidently, the White House - in what can only be described as a ridiculously inept and completely misguided attempt to salvage its recent Supreme Court nomination- decided that it wants to take a mulligan on the Harriet Miers nomination. No. I know what you are thinking and, unfortunately, President Bush is not nominating someone else. Rather, the White House plans on "reintroducing" Ms. Miers to the American public and its nervous political base. Put simply, they failed to manage a somewhat basic public relations task, so they want a do-over:

Get ready for a whole new Harriet. After a disastrous two weeks, White House officials say they hope to relaunch the nomination of Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court by moving from what they call a "biographical phase" to an "accomplishment phase." In other words, stop debating her religion and personality and start focusing on her résumé as a pioneering female lawyer of the Southwest. "We got a little wrapped around the axle," an exhausted White House official said. "As the focus becomes less on who she's not and more on who she is, that's a better place to be."

So, as the White House counsel begins her formal prep sessions this week for a confirmation hearing that's likely to start in early November, President Bush will hold a photo op with former chief justices of the Texas Supreme Court who will testify to Miers' qualifications and legal mind. The White House's 20-person "confirmation team" will line up news conferences, opinion pieces and letters to the editor by professors and former colleagues who can talk about Miers' experience dealing with such real-world issues as the Voting Rights Act when she was a Dallas city council member and Native American tribal sovereignty when she was chairwoman of the Texas Lottery Commission.

After enjoying the 78-to-22 confirmation breeze for Chief Justice John Roberts, congressional Republicans are now sweating the Miers vote count and tell TIME that it could be as low as 52--embarrassing but still good enough for a lifetime appointment. Lawmakers and staff contend that during her first round of courtesy calls, Miers had anything but a commanding presence, looking more like a prom date next to the confident Senators. Republicans said she seemed unwilling or unable to answer questions about whether she viewed particular cases as important precedents and said she offered little beyond banal chatter.

This is stupid.
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