A conservative political consultant with ties to the White House said the president and his political team once thought Democrats would go easy on Miss Miers, a friend of Mr. Bush's and his personal counsel. The theory was that Democrats see her as the best they could expect in the way of Bush appointments to the high court.Well, I've been saying it's ideological of the Democrats not to oppose her. They opposed Roberts as much as they could, and he was sublimely qualified. How can you oppose him and not her? It must be that you think she's weak and will drift, surprise, or at least be uninfluential. This preference for a weak justice over a hyper-competent justice like Roberts is utterly political and in service of the Democrats ideological goals. Anyone who challenges Roberts and then turns around and gives Miers a pass can never credibly claim to be relying on the principles they will need to cite in the next case if they want to look like something more than purely political ideologues.
"But now Democrats smell blood in water," said the Republican, adding that he received a call from Miss Taylor seeking contingency advice on how to handle a possible decision by Miss Miers to withdraw her name or a decision by the president to withdraw the nomination.
"So there are some in the White House and some Republicans in the Senate who are worried the Democrats can now build a case that she is not competent enough or knowledgeable enough to be a justice on the Supreme Court," he said. "Really, that is the most damaging case you can build against a nominee."
The reason, he said, is that "non-ideologues would be responsive to that competence argument, and Republicans won't be able to argue that her defeat was ideological -- that the reason the Democrats beat her was that she was too conservative."
I can understand why the Democrats have not done much of anything yet. The Republicans are fighting each other. And it looks lofty to wait for the hearings. But what will happen at those hearings? The Democratic senators will need to behave in a way that is proportional to the way they treated Roberts. If not, they'll look like hypocrites (and we bloggers will point it out). If so, it will, in all likelihood, be a humiliating experience for Miers -- and Bush will deserve all the blame for his abysmal choice.
Am I too optimistic to think that relief will come today?