The conservative screamers who shot down Miers can argue that they were fighting only for a "qualified" nominee, though it is plain that many of them wanted more -- a guarantee that Miers would do their bidding and overrule Roe v. Wade . But whatever the rationale, the fact is that they short-circuited the confirmation process by raising hell with Bush. Certainly there can be no greater sin in a sizable bloc of sitting senators using long-standing Senate rules to stymie a nomination than a cabal of outsiders -- a lynching squad of right-wing journalists, self-sanctified religious and moral organizations, and other frustrated power-brokers -- rolling over the president they all ostensibly support.Let's be clear about what happened with the Miers nomination. It did not collapse because of the criticism from those who wanted a committed conservative and certainly not from people who wanted someone to "do their bidding and overrule Roe v. Wade." If Bush had picked an able, well-credentialed nominee who would not clearly commit to a strongly conservative position, this group might not even have kicked and screamed. Indeed this is what Bush did in nominating John Roberts, and they did not kick and scream. But the Miers nomination did not go down not because the strong conservatives spoke up. It went down because more moderate Republicans could not support her. Her insubstantial record and her failure to present herself creditably in the one-on-one meetings ruined the nomination.
It takes some effort to read the last sentence in that Broder quote. Is Broder a terrible writer, or is he just clotting up the words right there so you won't notice the sleight of hand? In plain English, he's saying that the right-wingers who brought down Miers were so terrible that it justifies using the filibuster against Alito. But the conservatives who began the attack on Miers weren't that terrible. They weren't asking for someone to "do their bidding and overrule Roe v. Wade." Bush, pathetically, tried to defend his nomination of Miers by signaling to conservatives that she would vote against abortion rights, and conservatives let him know they wanted a justice committed to conservative jurisprudence, not just someone who would supposedly vote a certain way on one issue. And, in any event, those conservatives didn't bring down Miers.
Broder's attempt to justify filibustering Alito fails miserably.