October 10, 2005


GOP rank and file back Miers (Donald Lambro, October 10, 2005, THE WASHINGTON TIMES)

The Republican base across the country looks more favorably on President Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court than the cluster of conservative critics who are opposing her inside the Beltway, according to a Washington Times survey of state party chairmen.

Most Republican chairmen interviewed expressed confidence in Mr. Bush's choice and said they were picking up little, if any, criticism from their rank and file, though some said they wanted to know more about Miss Miers and expected to learn more once the Senate confirmation process gets under way. [...]

In Washington state, party Chairman Chris Vance said he e-mailed information about Miss Miers, provided by the Republican National Committee, to a statewide list of 10,000 Republican officials and grass-roots activists. "The next day, I got less than 10 e-mails out of 10,000 from people who were upset with the nomination," Mr. Vance said.

He said the critical e-mails "were basically parroting what they heard on talk radio from conservative opinion leaders. So it's been comparatively mild. The attitude of the overwhelming majority of Republicans out here is that we trust the president and let's see how the hearings go." [...]

In Vermont, Republican state Chairman Jim Barnett says he has "heard nothing but support" from the party's base.

"From my perspective, the skepticism and criticism [from conservative groups] is an inside-the-Beltway phenomenon," Mr. Barnett said.

"I don't hear a lot of second-guessing. I have not received a single phone call on this. I think there's an appreciation in the role she's played in breaking the glass ceiling in her profession and the president's personal history with Miss Miers. I think that goes a long way with our grass roots," he said.

You've basically got a bunch of guys who don't know anyone who supported W over McCain in 2000 but think they represent the core of the Party.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 10, 2005 10:28 AM

That's basically horsecrap. I've read Donald Lambro's stuff before and he's little more than a GOP party hack. I have friends and relatives scattered throughout the Red States, most of whom are evangelicals, who do not listen to Talk Radio at all, are not bloggers and generally don't even have Email accounts, and have been consistent GOP voters and contributors before, and the opinions were virtually unanimous 1. AGAINST Harriet Miers, 2. ENRAGED at this fundamental betrayal by the Republican Party, and 3. DETERMINED not to donate another dime or vote in another election for the Republican Party.

Most of us at least were originally of the support Miers or wait-and-see variety-- at least, until it came out that Miers was a big supporter of affirmative action during Bush's Presidency and even one of the major figures in drafting the memos supporting racial and gender preferences in the recent cases dealing with the University of Michigan. That is a direct attack on the Constitution and it's totally unacceptable. How can a nominee support overt discrimination by the state and still be regarded as a Constitutionalist? The answer is, you can't-- if you defend the Constitution then you oppose this abomination known as affirmative action, which is steadily tearing this country apart.

Harriet Miers is totally, utterly unacceptable. Other than a run by Hillary Clinton in 2008, nothing, and I mean nothing will bring us back into the Republican fold. We are out for good. No more votes for or contributions to GOP candidates-- unless they explicitly vote against Miers. The Republican Party is finished as a viable political entity for good, unless Bush corrects this mistake soon. There are countless reliably conservative, experienced judges, everyone from Janice Rogers Brown, Michael Luttig, Karen Williams, Miguel Estrada, Edith Jones, Michael McConnell-- the list is incredibly long, strong and capable. Bush could avert this disaster in an instant merely by picking one of those people, but if he forges forth with this idiocy, we will never, ever forget and we will never, ever forgive. We have burned for 5 decades by Republicans who promised to appoint conservatives, only to screw up repeatedly-- Earl Warren, Lewis Powell, Blackmun, Sandra Day O'Connor, David Souter. Now with a 55-44 GOP Senate majority, and Bush picks an avowed supporter of affirmative action, the most atrocious government policy on the books? Forget it, no more excuses.

If the Dems threaten a filibuster, you *fight* them with your foot soldiers and you stare down the Dems, much easier to do before since we hold all the cards. And if they continue to filibuster, you humiliate them in the eyes of the public, show them to be the losers that they are. You do not chicken out and crap in your pants in the first round. (Don't even think about starting on the RINO's-- they all supported Clarence Thomas, including McCain and Specter. Reagan had countless RINO's when he got Scalia on.) If Bush continues with this, it will be goodbye GOP, and good riddance. The GOP will not survive this fiasco if Bush does not reconsider.

Posted by: Mark at October 10, 2005 11:08 AM

Mark - thank you for parroting all of the conservative GOP blogger talking points.

If Miers is so unacceptable to the evangicals why are Dobson, Leo, and other leaders of the evangicals strongly supportive? If she is so incompetent why are Gingrich and others supporting her?

NRO, Weekly Standard, etc have shown repeatedly over the past 5 years that while generally good they have the tendency to bananas over every issue. This is the inside-the-beltway mentality where every issue, no matter how small or insignificant to the general populace, is going to shake the world to the core. The Corner at NRO in particular has to have come up with at least 15 issues that were going to destroy Bush that haven't even made a ripple.

Posted by: AWW at October 10, 2005 11:34 AM

I smell a libertarian

Posted by: Shelton at October 10, 2005 11:37 AM

Keep up the good work, Mark. You may block Miers yet. And that's the only way to preserve Roe v Wade.

Of course, I know you guys don't really want Roe gone, becuase it would make political life tougher for you. But I'll take all the help I can get.

Because if Miers gets onto the court, Roe is outright reversed within five years, after the precedent is gradually whittled down.

Posted by: Casey Abell at October 10, 2005 11:38 AM

Oh, by the way, if you think there's the slightest chance that Hillary WON'T run in 2008, you're really living in an alternative universe.

Posted by: Casey Abell at October 10, 2005 11:40 AM

Affirmative Action is a dead giveaway. That's the only social issue neocons ever cared about, because it took up slots at the Ivies. It doesn't effect anyone else in practice.

Posted by: oj at October 10, 2005 11:54 AM

Republican state chairmen are happy with this? The state chairmen?

That a nickel will earn us a warm cup of jack squat.

Posted by: Paul Cella at October 10, 2005 12:05 PM

Disagree that neocons don't care about abortion. They want to keep it legal - or a lot of them do, anyway. That's why Miers scares them.

Posted by: Casey Abell at October 10, 2005 12:05 PM


Yes, they still think it controls "inner-city" populations.

Posted by: oj at October 10, 2005 12:09 PM


They know the base better than the NRO editorial offices do.

Posted by: oj at October 10, 2005 12:09 PM


No reason to impute a nasty motive. Many neocons like Krauthammer and Podhoretz are pro-choice on principle, regardless of the racial implications.

They correctly see Miers as the most potent threat to Roe that Bush could have selected. One of their exalted favorites - Luttig, McConnell, etc. - might well have followed stare decisis and let the decision stand. In fact, Roberts might do the same, if he can find enough courage to face the Missus.

But they know that pro-life zealot Miers won't give a flying flip about stare decisis. And she's got the persuasive charm that none of the law-prof types have. So she really might get Kennedy and Roberts to go along, for a 5-4 overturn of Roe.

Posted by: Casey Abell at October 10, 2005 12:17 PM


Just two things drive neoconservatism: fear of blacks in America and fear for Israel.

Posted by: oj at October 10, 2005 12:21 PM


Agree on Israel. Disagree on blacks. I don't think Podhoretz and Krauthammer are living in fear of black people.

Now Derbyshire...

But he's a paleocon, or at least he's getting there.

Posted by: Csey Abell at October 10, 2005 12:26 PM

By the way, Derbyshire IS pro-choice for the second of Orrin's reasons. So I expected him to join in the Corner's dump on Miers. But he's nowhere to be found. Maybe he's tired of Rich Lowry slapping him around.

Posted by: Casey Abell at October 10, 2005 12:28 PM

Casey: Derb hasn't been around for a while. I suspect his pretty open anti-Catholic bigotry induced someone to "suggest" he lower his profile.

Posted by: b at October 10, 2005 12:31 PM

Norman and Irving did and their kids inherited the movement.

Posted by: oj at October 10, 2005 12:34 PM

Oh, got my reasons reversed. Derbyshire is pro-choice (at least in part) out of fear of blacks in America.

Posted by: Casey Abel at October 10, 2005 12:36 PM

Oh, I'm imputing nasty motives myself. Although Derbyshire has gladly identified himself as a racist, it was wrong of me to impute bad motives to him. My apologies.

Posted by: Casey Abell at October 10, 2005 12:38 PM

No one is Darwinist, nativist, and pro-abortion unless they're racist.

Posted by: oj at October 10, 2005 12:45 PM

Derbyshire's also the only one over there who openly rooted for Michael Schiavo, and he thinks there's nothing objectively wrong with Michael Jackson. Not quite paleocon, more like libertine alternate-newspaper Democrat.

Posted by: Mike Morley at October 10, 2005 1:06 PM

When are the hearings?

Posted by: Jana at October 10, 2005 1:28 PM

I find this entire thread between OJ and Casey to be ad hominem and wrong headed. My problem with Harriet Souter is not that she is against abortion or for affirmative action or vice versa. My problem is that like her brother David she is a pig in a poke.

What we need to deal with is that there are 9 justices on the supreme court right now and 7 of them were nominated by Republican Presidents, but only two of them have a correct understanding of the Constitution as a dead legal document. That is not a good batting average.

Harriet Souter might vote down the line with Thomas or she might decide to join her brother David in the penumbras and emanations camp. I don't know, you don't know and none of the talking heads knows.

One thing I am sure of is that Bush could have nominated a known quantity with a well articulated view of the constitution, but he didn't and he must pay the price in carping from me and others like me.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at October 10, 2005 3:57 PM

"My problem is that like her brother David she is a pig in a poke"

"I don't know, you don't know, none of the talking heads know"

This reflects the problem. The pundits claim they know exactly how Miers will vote and then turn around and complain that there isn't enough evidence to figure out how she'll vote. And they claim they know exactly how other nominees would vote (Luttig, Brown, etc) when there was a large disagreement among pundits about how a particular nominee would vote.

Let' see what she says at the hearings. Those who have already pre-judged against or for her will then have their position supported or rebutted. And I place more money on Miers being a "dead letter constitution" type than some of the supposed legal eagles everyone was pining for.

Posted by: AWW at October 10, 2005 4:11 PM

The Pauline Kael moment for some of America's most well-known pundits moves closer and closer.

Posted by: John at October 10, 2005 4:21 PM

How many judges with a well-articulated view that the Constitution doesn't guarantee privacy have ever ruled that way?

Posted by: oj at October 10, 2005 4:30 PM

Mr. Schwartz: Which is a pretty small price, indeed.

Posted by: Buttercup at October 10, 2005 4:34 PM

Ditto to Schwartz..and OJ..and AWW...and Buttercup. As long as I get what I want, then Bush and Miers can keep quiet. (matter of fact they can lie if they want to)

Posted by: h-man at October 10, 2005 4:52 PM


What makes you think future Justice Miers wasn't a known quantity to Bush when he nominated her? I guess what Bush is really "paying for” is not consulting you (and the NRO crowd) before making the nomination.

And of course no one is a completely known quantity. Justices Scalia and Thomas even disagree on 25% of their decisions. So even if we knew everything possible about (future) Justice Miers we still couldn't take for granted any decisions she might make. If you want her to vote down the line with one of your conservative justices then she will inevitably be voting against one of the others. There is no consensus among the conservative justices on the SCOTUS.

Posted by: Shelton at October 10, 2005 5:27 PM

So you thought that Harriet Miers, George W. Bush's new Supreme Court pick has no paper trail. You were wrong. One of Miers only qualifications for the high court -- as she hasn't an ounce of judicial experience -- is that she was the head of Locke, Liddell & Sapp; a sleazy corporate law firm based in Dallas, Texas.

According to the InterNet Bankruptcy Library (IBL), Locke Liddell & Sapp paid $22 million in a suit alleging it aided a client in defrauding investors. The Dallas-based firm agreed in April of 2000 to settle a suit stemming from its representation of Russell Erxleben, a former University of Texas football star whose foreign currency trading company, Austin Forex International, was a pyramid get-rich Ponzi scheme.

Erxleben later pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy and securities-fraud charges. "It's a very simple legal proposition: a lawyer can't help people steal money," George, of George & Donaldson told reporters at the time. George's firm had represented investors who lost close to $34 million in Erxleben's company.

All this was going on while Harriet Miers was co-managing partner of the law firm at the time. Miers denied that settling the suit indicted that they her firm was somehow complicit in Erxleben's criminal activities. "Obviously, we evaluated that this was the right time to settle and to resolve this matter and that it was in the best interest of the firm to do so," Miers said.

The Miers scandal laden past goes deeper than her ties to corporate crooks in Texas. According to Newsweek, she's also played a role in maintaining Bush's National Guard credibility. As Michael Isikoff wrote in July of 2000:

"The Bushies' concern began while he was running for a second term as governor. A hard-nosed Dallas lawyer named Harriet Miers was retained to investigate the issue; state records show Miers was paid $19,000 by the Bush gubernatorial campaign. She and other aides quickly identified a problem--rumors that Bush had help from his father in getting into the National Guard back in 1968. Ben Barnes, a prominent Texas Democrat and a former speaker of the House in the state legislature, told friends he used his influence to get George W a guard slot after receiving a request from Houston oilman Sid Adger. Barnes said Adger told him he was calling on behalf of the elder George Bush, then a Texas congressman. Both Bushes deny seeking any help from Barnes or Adger, who has since passed away. Concerned that Barnes might go public with his allegations, the Bush campaign sent Don Evans, a friend of W's, to hear Barnes's story. Barnes acknowledged that he hadn't actually spoken directly to Bush Sr. and had no documents to back up his story. As the Bush campaign saw it, that [sic] let both Bushes off the hook. And the National Guard question seemed under control."

It gets better, if not dirtier. At roughly the same time Miers was helping Bush dodge National Guard questions; Bush had named her chair of the Texas Lottery Commission, which had been scandal-plagued for years. The chief issue before Miers and the commission was whether to retain lottery operator Gtech, which had been implicated in a huge Texas bribery scandal.

According to the Philadelphia Daily News, Gtech's main lobbyist in Texas in the mid-1990s was none other than Benjamin Barnes, who just happened to have the low-down on how Bush got into the National Guard to avoid going over to Vietnam.

Gtech fired Barnes, in 1997. A short time after Barnes was fired, Gtech had its lottery contract renewed even though two companies had bid-lower than Gtech had.

Former Texas lottery director Lawrence Littwin filed suit, as he thought the whole charade smelled of scandal. Littwin's lawyers suggested in court filings that Gtech was allowed to keep the lottery contract, which Littwin wanted to open up to competitive bidding, in return for Benjamin Barnes's silence about Bush's entry into the National Guard.

Barnes and his lawyers denounced Littwin's theory as "favor-repaid" theory in court pleadings as "preposterous ... fantastic [and] fanciful." According to the Philadelphia Daily News, Littwin was "fired after ordering a review of the campaign finance reports of various Texas politicians for any links to Gtech or other lottery contractors. But Littwin wasn't hired, or fired, until months after Barnes had severed his relationship with Gtech."

Littwin later settled with Gtech for a hefty $300,000.

And here we have Republicans more upset about Bush's Supreme Court choice than Democrats. Well, they have a reason to be skeptical, if not upset. As William Kristol recently noted that Bush's pick "will unavoidably be judged as reflecting a combination of cronyism and capitulation on the part of the president."

Posted by: Fred at October 10, 2005 6:00 PM

Judicial experience isn't required, nor desirable. Bad enough they're all lawyers.

Posted by: oj at October 10, 2005 6:13 PM


"What makes you think future Justice Miers wasn't a known quantity to Bush when he nominated her? "

I do not know if Bush knows or understands the relevant issues.

"I guess what Bush is really "paying for” is not consulting you (and the NRO crowd) before making the nomination."

He did not consult on the Roberts nomination and you did not hear these complaints.

"If you want her to vote down the line with one of your conservative justices then she will inevitably be voting against one of the others."

She can use Roberts as the tie breaker.

Fred: That is a truly obnoxious post. I have worked with the Locke firm from time to time over the past 30 years and I have found them to be ethical and competent lawyers. If I were a partner in the firm, I would track you down and cane you.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at October 10, 2005 6:18 PM

Fred: You missed the most important part--Harriet Miers IS Lucy Ramirez!!!

Posted by: b at October 10, 2005 6:40 PM

When people on the Left start approvingly quoting "neocons" like William Kristol, you know that the latter's position has to be suspect.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at October 10, 2005 7:26 PM

Beldar has already treated Fred's malicious charges in detail at his blog:


Posted by: Jim in Chicago at October 10, 2005 8:11 PM

Raoul - when not appearing on Fox or other political pundit shows Kristol is busy shining McCain's shoes and running errands for him. So of course it is a huge shock that Kristol is against Bush on this (and on almost everything else).

Posted by: AWW at October 10, 2005 8:53 PM

"Kristol is busy shining McCain's shoes"

Which makes him different than OJ?

Posted by: Robert schwartz at October 10, 2005 10:27 PM

OJ's not looking for a Chief of Staff appointment in 2009.

Posted by: John at October 10, 2005 11:19 PM

If McCain ever appointed a talking head as Chief of Staff, he would deserve every leak that follows. How stupid can he be?

Kristol needs a good on-camera dressing down, from someone like Brit Hume.

Posted by: jim hamlen at October 11, 2005 10:20 AM