Should I say something more about the Miers withdrawal? I keep thinking I should, but somehow I feel so calm about it all. I'm glad that the difficulties are over. But we shouldn't be complacent, because the new struggle is about to begin. I haven't been monitoring the news that much today, but from what little I saw, I got the impression that the hardcore conservatives who led the way, undermining the nomination, are spinning the withdrawal as their own personal victory that entitles them to have their demands served the next time around.
Is it true that they brought down the nomination? I don't for one minute believe the cover story, that the impasse over document production required the withdrawal. And I recognize that the strong and articulate opposition of conservatives unsettled the nomination and raised the threshold much higher than it would have been if Republicans had just closed ranks with the President. Remember when Lindsey Graham advised everyone to "shut up" and wait for the hearings? But it was Graham yesterday who was saying Miers needed to "step it up a notch." The nomination collapsed right after that. I think it was the loss of support among more moderate Republicans that really destroyed hopes that Miers could make it. So we shouldn't accept exaggerated claims by the far right. Bush should not have to respond to the Miers debacle with one of their very favorite nominees.
Or is everything different now? Now that the right wing of the Republican party has experienced its independence and power, perhaps it will never get back in the party box again.
I would think Bush could nominate someone just about exactly like Roberts -- if such a person exists. (It's hard to be impeccably qualified, spotlessly clean, just conservative enough, with a paper trial and without a paper trail, and willing to put up with all the crap that looks even crappier than it did a month ago.)
But maybe the newly fired up right won't swallow even a Roberts now. Yet if Bush gives them what they want, it will light a fire under the Democrats, and that fire could easily spread to the moderate Republicans. Some folks love the idea of that hot, hot fight. It might be very distracting at a time when Bush needs to create a distraction, but somehow I don't think Bush wants a big fight.
At this point, it may be too late to avoid one. The attempt to avoid a fight by choosing Miers was a spectacular failure.