Thursday, January 26, 2006

Harriet Miers Redux

Ah, Harriet, Harriet. Wherefore art thou Harriet? As rumours of impeachment ripple through cyberspace over wire-tapping allegations and Executive privilege-friendly Samuel Alito awaits confirmation to the Supreme Court bench, it's hard not to reflect back on our Commander in Chief's failed nomination of his secretary. Um, I mean, Executive Secretary cum General Counsel.

A sad state, literally, when the first time in memory you could unequivocally agree with your own country's leadership was the day a Supreme Court nominee withdraws and the administration doesn't say, "Oh, no Harry, please don't go!".

I mean, let's be frank. Arguments that Miers was just a straw woman put out there to be knocked down in the end and provide the administration with PR cover fall short when you consider how much Bush & Co. had to gain by having her there. Does anyone doubt that the entire "cabal" would have loved to have her there on the bench affirming the sanctity of privileged Presidential information, documents and delibrations? Even recusing herself from any case that might come before the Court, her presence on the bench could have created a 4 to 4 deadlock.

But then there was the evangelical Dobson assuring the base that Miers was good people. Oops. Guess he has a special security clearance from God entitling him to special information not due the rest of us? Good luck justifying that one to the American People and its Congress. Of course Bush now understands that "it is clear that senators would not be satisfied until they gained access to internal documents concerning advice provided during her tenure at the White House"!

And, so, having undone their own Supreme Court nominee the same way they may well undo their ratonale for going into Iraq, the same way they undid their carefully cultivated pre-Rita image of competency, via leak, perhaps Bush realizes Ms. Miers can do much more for him back at the White House if not distracted from her general counsel duties by remedial Constitutional law instruction.

After all, they read the papers don't they? Don't they? Oh, wait, scratch that, they just try to write the stories the rest of us read... But surely they know this is the calm before a very big storm and the entire ship of state is athreatening to take on water? Bush is going to need every legally inclined friend he's got back at the Washington ranch doing a "heckuvva" job denying public access to documents that might reveal what he knew and when he knew it regarding G. Scooter Liddy (oops, meant to say, I. Scooter Libby...), Rove, Cheney and others.

After all, this Administration is going to have a hard time justifying the safeguarding of classified information related to Administration misconduct when it so willingly divulges classified information in direct opposition to national security interests and is suspected of selectively revealing information regarding the ideological purity of a life time the nation's judicial branch.

A distracted General Counsel, questions regarding Dobson, a split base -- all for a failed nominee in a leaky administration -- these were the last things Bush needs. For my money, that was the real reason Ms. Miers was so readily hung out to dry.