Let fighting idiots lie
Practically the first words out of Will's pen betray the very quality of discrimination that has served him so admirably for so long... until now, in his dotage. Which "Miers' advocates" would those be? Anyone in particular? In this case, a careful study of the record reveals that these advocates consist of Ed Gillespie -- assuming one is willing to look at a cap gun and call it a Howitzer. Will bravely shoulders that duty: so Gillespie said (according to Will) not only that "her critics" (all of them?) were "sexist" but that they were "snobs" as well.Since this writer--who thinks he can chastise my white whale--acts like Will hasn't done his homework, let's see who has said "snobs" and "sexism".
Did Gillespie say "snobs?" Did anyone? I'm certain someone must have... and in the new world of Will's rhetorical cannonade, that is enough; what was said by one was said by all.
"Ed Gillespie, the former RNC chair with the uneviable task of shepherding Miers through confirmation, told a gathering of conservatives last week his sensitive nostrils had also picked up a 'whiff of sexism and a whiff of elitism' among them." - Pat Buchanan, "Who's the sexist?" Pittsburg Tribune Review, 10/15/05Well, hell, there's Gillespie suggesting snobbery and sexism right there. You want more? OK. Here's an extended quote from the October 5 edition of the Fox Special Report:
"I think there's also snobbery here. I think the fact she went to SMU instead of Harvard like John Roberts, has these conservatives who have always been supposedly anti-intellectual and anti-elite, have them concerned that she may not have the intellectual heft to move the court to the right." - Joe Scarborough on "Today," 10/05/05
Some observations on whether there is in all of this a whiff of elitism in the air from Fred Barnes, a graduate of the University of Virginia, as indeed I am, Mort Kondracke, a graduate, I'm afraid to say, of Dartmouth, and Mara Liasson, a graduate, dare I say it, of Brown University.And there's Richard Land, as pointed out by Ken Herman of the Austin American-Statesman:
All right, folks. What about it? Is there a bit of elitism in all of this?
FRED BARNES, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": Well, there may be snobbery even.
HUME: Snobbery even? Snobbery even? Go ahead, Fred.
BARNES: When you read -- look, and all of those people you mentioned are all friends of mine. They're people who I admire, who I always read their columns. But David Frum says, for instance, that she's not good enough for the job -- that's Harriet Miers -- and she will remain not good enough even if she votes the right way.
Well, I think, for most conservatives, if she votes the right way, she will be exactly the person who they want on the court. But somehow they've gotten all tied up in this idea that she doesn't have the right credentials, she hasn't written a lot of dazzlingly intellectual opinions. And therefore, the president should have picked -- now, there is a list, I'll have to say -- and David Frum writes about this -- about 20 conservatives on the appeals courts or in jobs in the administration or somewhere who really do have dazzling credentials.
And President Bush didn't pick from that list. He picked Harriet Miers. And they're mad about that, because she doesn't measure up credential-wise, you know, SMU Law School.
Despite the hometown pride, some Miers backers, confronted by opposition from some conservatives, perceive an academic snobbery being trained on the nominee's lack of an elite education.And, finally, Thomas Oliphant.
On "Meet the Press" this week, Miers backer Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, said some of the conservative trepidation about Miers "has the scent and whiff of elitism about it."
"I'm a graduate of Princeton, and I just want to say you don't have to go to an Ivy League school to be on the Supreme Court," Land said.
Land's "whiff of elitism" comment echoed a phrase reportedly used by Ed Gillespie, the former GOP national chairman named by the White House to help shepherd Miers' nomination through the Senate, in a meeting with conservatives upset about the selection.
(O)n this latest occasion (Bush) appears to have received strong advice from several Democrats most notably Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada, that the choice of Miers would be viewed as a positive gesture. This will make opposition to her extremely difficult to mobilize on purely political grounds.Do I think Miers is a bad choice? You bet. The woman has proven herself poorly prepared for one of the most important positions available to an American citizen. However, it must be pointed out (as John does here) that, if Miers' nomination is withdrawn as is being predicted, Democrats have been more than kind to Bush's nominee and do not bear responsibility for this failure.
That leaves snobbery and charges of cronyism.
Miers's absence of judicial experience is easily ignored. The White House spin is correct in its historical reference to the 38 justices who arrived without having worn robes previously. To the White House citations of Rehnquist and the late Byron White (appointed by President Kennedy direct from the Justice Department), I would add the courtly big-time attorney from Richmond, Lewis Powell, whom Richard Nixon also put on the court. The fact is, qualifications are not an obstacle for her.
Neither is cronyism. Harriet Myers is no Michael Brown. She played major league ball as a lawyer in Dallas, and her service with Bush is a plus in terms of advertising her strengths, not a weakness.
The White House will undoubtedly try to keep much of her White House record from inspection, and the Democrats will undoubtedly try to get their hands on as much of it as possible. May the best side win. Meanwhile, Bush has appointed a sensible, loyal person whose nomination has deeply disturbed conservatives. These days, that's as good as it gets.
I'm not the only one to wonder what happened to Frist's call for "a fair, up-or-down vote on every judicial nominee?"
Interruption over, guys, continue to fight amongst yourselves.