the “i should be sleeping but here’s my fucking harriet miers post, so please stop asking me” post

In the hours after Bush made it public that he was nominating Harriet Miers for the seat on the Supreme Court vacated by Sandra Day O’Connor, the right wing blogosphere went absolutely ape-shit. Everyone, it seemed, was pissed that she wasn’t radical enough. Or at least that she wasn’t publicly radical enough, on-the-record. (Some folks were also pissed that she was a woman, and that she wasn’t young enough to stay on the bench for more than 20-some years, but you heard those criticisms a bit less.) The angry right wanted someone who had spent time chained to a Ten Commandments monument, and Bush, in typical form, delivered up a personal friend with very little pertinent experience. (Miers had been Bush’s personal attorney in Texas, and, although quite experienced with things like hiding claims of draft-dodging and instances of drunk driving, has never served even a day as a judge. (For all I know, she’s never even worn a robe.))

Now, in a desperate gambit to win back the support of the evangelical right, the White House message machine is working overtime to crank out reams and reams of documentation as to how much Miers detests abortion, personal accounts of her acceptance of Jesus Christ as her personal savior, and evidence of what a loyal “follower” she is. (She has been quoted as saying that Bush is the “most brilliant” man she has ever met.) Essentially they’re saying, this woman will do what we want — don’t worry.

Here are almost identical clips from today’s New York Times and Washington Post.

The Times:

…”She decided that she wanted faith to be a bigger part of her life,” Justice Hecht, who now serves on the Texas Supreme Court, said in an interview. “One evening she called me to her office and said she was ready to make a commitment” to accept Jesus Christ as her savior and be born again, he said. He walked down the hallway from his office to hers, and there amid the legal briefs and court papers, Ms. Miers and Justice Hecht “prayed and talked,” he said….

Ms. Miers, born Roman Catholic, became an evangelical Christian and began identifying more with Republicans than with the Democrats who had long held sway over Texas politics. She joined the missions committee of her church, which is against legalized abortion, and friends and colleagues say she rarely looked back at her past as a Democrat…

The Post:

…One evening in the 1980s, several years after Harriet Miers dedicated her life to Jesus Christ, she attended a lecture at her Dallas evangelical church with Nathan Hecht, a colleague at her law firm and her on-again, off-again boyfriend. The speaker was Paul Brand, a surgeon and the author of “Fearfully and Wonderfully Made,” a best-selling exploration of God and the human body.

When the lecture was over, Miers said words Hecht had never heard from her before. “I’m convinced that life begins at conception,” Hecht recalled her saying. According to Hecht, now a Texas Supreme Court justice, Miers has believed ever since that abortion is “taking a life.”

Evangelical leader James “I’m Focusing on Your Family” Dobson has come out in support of the Miers nomination, but his support has been somewhat tentative (as he waits to see how the political winds are blowing). According to a radio address given earlier today, he’s now left the decision “in God’s hands,” asking the big CEO in the sky for a sign if he shouldn’t be supporting Miers, who would be the first evangelical Christian to take the bench since well before World War II. Here’s a clip from the analysis of the radio address that ran on the Daily Kos site:

…(Dobson) went on the claim that “I’m getting calls from members of Congress saying ‘tell us your take on this, we’re not sure what we think of Harriet Miers.'” He then admitted “It was leaked to the media that I’ve had conversations with Karl Rove and the White House, which is true.”

He said “There is so much in the balance [with this nominee], there is no way to put it into words . . . Because of that, Dobson is begging the Lord: “If this is not the person you want on that Supreme Court, all you have to do is tell me so, and do it through any means you want to.”

He finally then discussed why he is supporting Miers, saying “I can’t reveal it all, because I do know things that I’m privy to that I can’t describe, because of confidentiality.” He then states that Miers “is a deeply committed Christian” and that people who know her have all told him that “she will not be a disappointment.”

“I believe in trusting this president and this time because of the stand that he has taken and the way he has implemented it consistently for four and a half years. When you put that with all the other information that I have been able to gather – and you’ll have to trust me on this one – when you know some of the things that I know, that I probably shouldn’t know, that take me in this direction, you will understand why I have said, with fear and trepidation, why I have said why I believe that Harriet Miers will be a good justice.”

He then states that “if I have made a mistake here … the blood of those babies that will die will be on my hands, to some degree. And that’s why is has weighed so heavily on me” before telling the right wing to let the confirmation process play out and not undermine Miers before the hearings.

So, are you following all of this? Bush picks one of his cronies, someone who’s stood by him in the past and helped him out of a few jams, for a job that she’s not terribly qualified for. Unfortunately, said crony was once – audible gasp – a Catholic Democrat, and, what’s more, she’s never publicly condemned the New Deal, or even championed legislation that would have FDR’s head sand-blasted down to a shiny nub on Mt. Rushmore… She did, however, see the error of her spiritual and political ways at some point and become an evangelical Republican Christian. And now, given all these variables, no one quite knows what to do. The left, happy as clams to see the right attacking one another for a change, is just sitting back and enjoying themselves, when they should, in my opinion, be more actively opposing her. The fact that some Republicans are stepping up to lead the charge against her doesn’t change the fact that she’s ill-qualified for the job. The bottom line is that we shouldn’t have experts on Arabian Horses running FEMA and we shouldn’t have Bush’s personal attorney on the Supreme Court. Croniyism is cancer to democracy, and the Democrats should stand firm on that.

Back to the quote from Dobson… one wonders what this “information” is that he says he has. If I were on the Judiciary Committee I’d be calling him to testify at her confirmation hearing. (I’d also ask Miers whether or not she believes that men once rode on the backs of large, loveable dinosaurs. And, while we’re at it, whether she, as a 60 year old woman who most likely has never had sex, feels qualified to decide on cases involving issues like abortion.)

And how smart was that of Dobson to say, “Yeah, I support her because I have secret information as to how she’ll vote on the topics we care about, but, I’m giving God the opportunity to step in at any point and tell me I’m wrong”? That, I think, is fucking brilliant. Not taking responsibility is an art form and this guy’s a master. (There’s nothing better, in my book, than the, “Honey, God didn’t tell me not to fuck your sister” defense.)

Oh, if you think that one more vote on the Supreme Court doesn’t matter much, just consider yesterday’s federal court decision in New York in favor of the Salvation Army’s exclusionary hiring practices based upon religious preference. That case will almost certainly make it to the Supreme Court, and I have very little doubt as to how Justice Miers would cast her vote… Just so we’re all clear on this, the Salvation Army case was brought because, under the president’s so-called “Faith-based” initiative, the organization has received millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars. Now, given this decision, they’re being told that they can, with our money, put in place systems which descreminate based upon religion and sexual orientation, a clear violation, one would think, of the separation between Church and State.

So, assuming things keep going the way they are, and Church and State eventually merge, which do you like better – CHATE or STURCH? I can’t make up my mind.

So, the government will take the tax dollars of gays and non-Christians, and then, instead of funding government-run assistance programs, they’ll divert these funds to religious organizations which are free to hire or not hire anyone they choose based on the religious/lifestyle preference of that individual.

It’s time for me to go to bed now and dream about the faith-based prisons awaiting all of us. Sorry for the rant. (Oh, and as a reader by the name of Kathleen just pointed out to me, Miers is also a straight-up crook.)

update: There’s an absolutely brilliant video montage on the Bush-Miers relationship, to the theme of the “Golden Girls,” courtesy of American Progress. You need to check it out.

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18 Comments

  1. Posted October 6, 2005 at 3:26 am | Permalink

    I think the link speaks for itself.

  2. Posted October 6, 2005 at 3:31 am | Permalink

    That second link might be of some real help.

  3. ChelseaL
    Posted October 6, 2005 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Brrr.

  4. Teddy Glass
    Posted October 6, 2005 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    I for one am completely comfortable having a 60 year old woman who has never been laid making decisions on issues involving privacy and human sexuality. I think her take on such things will be “refreshing.”

  5. DefCon
    Posted October 6, 2005 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Greetings,

    Your help is needed today to defend our Constitution.

    As you may know, the President has nominated Harriet Miers to
    replace Sandra Day O’Connor on the United States Supreme Court.
    As the pivotal swing vote on a divided Court, Justice O’Connor’s
    views were often decisive in establishing the law of the land –
    particularly on church/state issues.

    For years, the religious right has sought to tip the balance of
    power on the Court. Their goal remains a fusion of religious and
    political power that runs directly counter to the vision of the
    nation’s founders and the protections in our Constitution.

    They are now one vote away from success – a vote the President
    proposes to hand to Harriet Miers. We must stop them. Click here
    to take action:
    http://ga3.org/ct/Pdzhfy61Hmde/

    Leaders of the religious right have made it clear that they
    expect a nominee who will carry out their agenda onto the Court.

    We intend to make it clear that this must not happen. Write your
    Senators today and ask them to protect separation of church and
    state by examining Ms. Miers’ views in more depth. Click here to
    take action:
    http://ga3.org/ct/Pdzhfy61Hmde/

    Since Ms. Miers has no judicial record and little is yet known
    of her personal views on critical issues, the stakes couldn’t be
    higher.

    Here are some examples of issues that have been raised before
    the Court. Ms.Miers’ views on these matters would help us
    understand if she will maintain the wall separating church and
    state or intends to further erode it:

    :: Should the government be allowed to put religious symbols
    anywhere on government property? Four Justices (Rehnquist,
    Scalia, Kennedy, and Thomas) have essentially said yes. Their
    view is that the First Amendment only prohibits government
    actions that coerce religious participation. Is this the
    nominee’s view?

    :: Should the government be allowed to give aid to parochial
    schools – even when it is to be used for religious
    indoctrination? The same four Justices have said yes, as long as
    all religions are treated alike. Is this the nominee’s view?

    :: Justice Thomas has expressed the view that the Establishment
    Clause does not apply to state and local governments at all. Is
    this the nominee’s view?

    :: Justice Scalia goes so far as to believe that the majority
    should be able to advance its religion, through prayers in
    schools or its religious symbols on government property. Is this
    the nominee’s view?

    Act now. Write to your Senator and tell them to ask the tough
    questions.
    http://ga3.org/ct/Pdzhfy61Hmde/

    We must defend the Constitution from the urgent threat posed by
    the religious right. Our Senators are the last line of defense.

    Sincerely,

    DefCon
    Campaign to Defend the Constitution

  6. Lee
    Posted October 6, 2005 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    here’s my opinion of her: she’s so ugly.

  7. john galt
    Posted October 6, 2005 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    and Sandra Day was a looker?

  8. mark
    Posted October 6, 2005 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps that’s what would bring Republicans and Democrats together – a really, really hot justice. No one comes to mind right now, but I’m sure there are people out there who are so attractive that they transcend partisan politics….

    I hear that Kate Moss is looking for work, but I don’t think her particular look is all that popular right now.

    How about the Olsen Twins? I know they’re not hot, but people seem to like them. And there might be advantages to having two justices filling one seat. If one of them started to cry, or get crabby, we could just rotate in a fresh one, like they did on the set of “Full House.”

    And just think of all the product tie-ins. We could make the Supreme Court a real profit center for the United States.

  9. john galt
    Posted October 6, 2005 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    lets follow this example of tolerance..

    No dancing and no gays if Hamas gets its way
    By Stephen Farrell
    A VISION of an Islamic society that bans mixed dancing and sternly disapproves of homosexuality has been given by Mahmoud Zahar, the most senior leader of Hamas in Gaza.

    After controversies when a Hamas-led council halted a dance festival and Islamist gunmen stopped a rap band performing in Gaza, Dr Zahar defended the enforcement of a strict interpretation of Islam.

  10. chris
    Posted October 8, 2005 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    Any fellow paranoids out there think that maybe the republican right outcry out there is really a trap for the democrats?

  11. Shanster
    Posted October 9, 2005 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    I think you’re right Chris. How could anyone, even on the far right, doubt that Harriet is basically a neocon? The questions they present are probably just a front, so that they appear skeptical and rational, and push Harriet’s image toward the center.

  12. Jim
    Posted October 9, 2005 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    I’d agree with you, Chris and Shanster, if people on the right were criticizing Miers for being too moderate. However, their main criticisms of Miers are that she is unqualified and a Bush crony. These attacks on the President’s competence are too politically damaging to be a ruse coordinated by the White House.

  13. mark
    Posted October 9, 2005 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    I’ve heard it suggested that he’s just covering his ass by putting his own private attorney on the Supreme Court, in case there are ever charges against him or others in his administration.

  14. Jim
    Posted October 9, 2005 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Miers must promise to recuse herself from any cases involving the Bush administration. If she won’t, she has to be rejected, by filibuster if necessary.

  15. Posted October 9, 2005 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    I’m not getting the FDR joke, as TR is the only Roosevelt on Rushmore. If your joke is that she might be so dumb as to THINK FDR is there AND that the best way to condemn New Deal policy would be to sandblast it, bravo. That truly is a multi-layer scoff.

  16. mark
    Posted October 9, 2005 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    As Teddy is quite an intellectual, I think it’s safe to assume that it was, as you suggest, a “multi-layer scoff.” And a brilliant one at that!

  17. mark
    Posted October 10, 2005 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    Arlen Specter and others have gone on the record saying that they want to know what Dobson heard that made him change his mind on Miers.

  18. another Mark
    Posted October 11, 2005 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    CALL ME A CONSPIRACY THEORIST – Could the radical right noise machine be trying out some kind of reverse psychology? “Hey, maybe if WE protest, the libs will shut-up and let us slide our gal in there.”

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