My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Harriet Miers and Sun Tzu

Over the last two-and-a-half days I have had a great deal of time (some of it while sitting in a dentist's chair) to consider the Harriet Miers nomination. And, after some time, I think I have an idea what the President was thinking.

Then, achieving victory in every battle is not absolute perfection: neutralizing an adversary's forces without battle is absolute perfection.

--The Art of War

I sense, in much of the conservative criticism of the Miers nomination, a distinct disappointment at not getting to fight a battle. And, to a degree, I understand that inclination: a very public debate over the role of the Court in American life is long overdue, and is very likely one which conservatives could win with the American people. But that also seems like it could easily turn into a Sisyphaean adventure: the argument would never get a fair representation in the media, the other side would capitalize to raise money and the stakes for 2006, and conservatives' inevitable befuddlement before the intellectual heft of Chris Mathews and Tim Russert would distract from the real debate. Not to mention that the person who should be leading just such a debate is, well, perhaps, not our most articulate spokesperson.

On the other hand, I give the President a great deal of credit due to his track record on judicial nominations, a function of his office for which Harriet Miers was intimately involved. I suspect he knows very well what her view of the world and of the Court is, and he nominated a person who he thought could carry his legacy for twenty years.

And, given that Harry Reid put her on his own short list, and that she meets the criteria of possessing a uterus and a functioning cardiovascular system, I would say that it will be very difficult for Democrats to mount a tremendously credible offensive against her. In fact, the very fact of conservative opposition might make this the shrewdest move of the second term so far--the "vast middle" of the American electorate can look at such opposition and see in her a person that could mitigate the great fears of a RightWing takeover (I'm not talking for myself here--I'm simply pointing to the obvious politics).

In the end, the President may get through most important battles number two and three (after the GWOT) of his entire administration without drawing blood; in effect, neutralizing his enemies without battle.

I will admit to wanting to know more about Meirs before giving full-throated support, but nothing I've heard so far gives me pause. And if she goes to the Court and votes as I would expect this President's nominee to vote, then this would be a great victory for the President.

Perhaps, even, a perfect victory.

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