Hugh Hewitt continues his rearguard defense of the now dead Miers nomination, and writes:
Everyone can say it isn’t raining where they live, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t raining in a lot of places. Professor Adler needs to go back to The Corner’s archive, to October 3, and start reading. (I can’t find the Caligula’s horse post, but there are plenty of others that will make my point if he will simply read.) ConfirmThem.com has plenty of similar evidence. There is much in the way of responsible analysis, of course, and there is a reality that this week’s publication of speeches which is cover for a lot of the neoBorking that happened prior to their publication.
But no fair reader who actually reviews what was written, said, and done over the past three-plus weeks will deny the neoBorking that occured. It just isn’t possible to do so.
As for Matt Anderson’s question: A defeat on the Senate floor would have been painful, but also a constitutional result with many upisde as clarity about who believes what is almost always a plus in a republic.
Let’s get a couple of things straight here, before Hugh has his readers everywhere disseminating this nonsense.
1.) Harriet Miers was the least qualified nominee to the Supreme Court in decades and would, by a great deal, have been the least qualified sitting Justice had she been confirmed. She was less qualified than most in the large pool of great legal minds who could have been possible O’Connor replacements.
That doesn’t mean she isn’t a nice, fine woman, and a great attorney, but it does put her somewhere below the cream of the crop as far as qualifications. It is not sexist or elitist to note that. In a society that pretends to reward merit, wanting the best qualified and most experienced to be the nominee should be the goal.
2.) The first Caligula reference was by Richard Brookhiser, here at NRO, on Monday, 3 October 2005:
THE GOOD NEWS ON MIERS [Rick Brookhiser]
It’s not as bad as Caligula putting his horse in the Senate. Posted at 03:55 PM
Once again, Hugh is missing the point. While he chooses to pretend this comment is all about Harriet Miers, the reality is that this comment is a slap at President Bush (and given Hugh’s sycophancy, it is hard to tell which would offend him more).
The Brookhiser remark was not to compare Miers to a horse- of course that would be stupid and unfair. Miers is a distinguished and decent attorney who has had a very successful career. The point was to compare the arrogance and hubris of President Bush, who was acting like Caligula. There was deserved and real dismay about this obvious cronyism. Ask yourself- how would Hugh feel if Bill Clinton nominated Cheryl Mills?
Three weeks later, Blanton at Red State made a reference to Incitatus (Caligula’s horse):
While Hugh should be applauded for unfailingly supporting the administration, pardon the rest of us if we do not want to go along. Thus far, Hugh has managed to cast aspersions on arguments George Will, Judge Bork, and most of National Review. While I can certainly give credence to the idea that we should wait for the hearings to make up our minds, Hugh has gone beyond that and in so doing has lost credibility on the subject.
Were Hugh Hewitt in Rome, he’d have been the first in line to champion Incitatus for the Senate.
This is after three weeks of listeing to Hugh tell us to shut up and ‘trust’ Bush, to sit back and be quiet, and to not react. The comment was not designed to compare Miers to a horse, but to tweak Hugh for his sycophancy. Apparently it worked.
3.) Hugh is a bright guy, and knows what happened to Bork. His writings and positions were wildly distorted, and he was the subject of withering attacks before ultimately being defeated in a full vote in the Senate. That is not what happened to Miers.
In the Miers case, everything that was charged about Miers turned out to be TRUE. She has no experience in Con Law, she was enmeshed in a land scandal, she did write sycophantic letters to Bush, she DID give the 93 speech, she was having troubles with the murder boards, she did fill out her questionnaire to the Senate so incompletely that Senators on both sides of the aisle were demanding she re-do them (and then failed to re-do them on time), she did have no paper trail (and what trail she had, they were refusing to release), her writing was muddled and fractured, she was not impressing Senators in personal meetings, and so on and so forth.
Far from being Borked, what happened was that the real Harriett Miers was exposed- a nice woman, a fine attorney, but not of the material required to be on the Supreme Court.
4.) Hugh writes: “A defeat on the Senate floor would have been painful, but also a constitutional result with many upside as clarity about who believes what is almost always a plus in a republic.”
There was not going to be a defeat on the Senate floor. She was not going to get out of committee, and she was going to humiliate everyone in the process. And that is what Senators were relaying to the White House all week.
As to Hugh’s suggestion that this was somehow an ‘unconstitutional’ result, I would suggest Hugh doesn’t know what is in the Constitution if he thinks anything unconstitutional happened. The President nominated Miers. It became clear that she was unqualified and would not pass a vote. She withdrew her name from consideration. I will leave it to Hugh to demonstrate how this is a violation of either principle, precedence, Senate Rules, or the Constitution. Good luck with that, Hugh.
In short, Hewitt is simply lashing out at people who chose not to ‘trust’ the President to the degree that Hugh did. His charges have no merit, and his animosity is carelessly targeted. If he wants to be mad at anyone, it shouldn’t be the people who pointed out the flaws in this candidate. Perhaps after he cools down, Hugh will stop tilting at windmills and recognize that the person he should be mad at is Bush, who made this flawed nomination in the first place, putting his allies and poor Harriet Miers in an unfortunate position.