This morning, Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination for Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. However bad the withdrawal is for the President, but the circumstances of the withdrawal are even worse.
This incident shows the vacuousness of many conservatives' claim to principle. One does not, on principle, demand privileged administration documents, in violation of the Separation of Powers. One does not, on principle, ignore the difference between personal and legal opinion. One does not, on principle, claim that how a nominee would rule on abortion is irrelevant, but then turn against her when she might (maybe, possibly, speculatively, but let's not actually ask what she meant) vote for. But that is indeed what happened. I realize that we're dealing with politicians here, so my hope for principle is indeed vain. Perhaps, too, my hope for a bit of introspection and intellectual honesty among conservatives is in vain. As a conservative myself, I do try to, um, keep hope alive, but it's taken a few hits this week.
Some now claim that we must "unite", that Bush will need his "friends" in the upcoming weeks and should embrace them. But I wonder just exactly what kind of friends believe that you are either lying about Miers' legal philosophy or are too stupid to understand the concept(s) of constructionism/textualism/originalism? What kind of friends stake out their "independence" from the President – on whatever side is available at the moment – and demand privileged documents which they don't need, have no right to, and have no chance of getting, as a condition for their support? Of course they didn't really want those documents; it was a flag, a demonstration of "independence" and an excuse to vote against the nomination or at least to support a filibuster. What kind of "friends" are these? On what basis can Bush now trust them to stand behind him without stabbing him in the back?
I hope they're not expecting him to return their phone calls.
Update: Showing, once again, the general unfairness and immunity from reason in the opposition of Miers' nomination, Captain's Quarters repeats John Fund's nonsense about the vetting, and expands upon it. Fund confused "vetting" with "anticipating objections" (which aren't strictly the same thing), and now Ed is broadening the thesis a bit. The White House did indeed fail to anticipate all strains of objection (they thought the objections would come from Christian Conservatives, and they assumed that objections would be reasonable -- which the Lottery Commission stuff doesn't appear to be), but that is not the same as short-circuiting the vetting process. I have neither read nor heard anything that shows that the vetting was inadequate, only accusations based on assumptions and confused definitions.