President Bush is not stupid. At the very least the people who pull his strings are certainly not stupid. This has been the most scripted presidency in history, as every move is calculated and designed for maximum plausible deniability and ease of spinability. Given these common facts, one may be left scratching their head at the recent nomination of Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court.
While Miers may seem likable enough, there is little doubt that her nomination would be met with howls of treason from the core of Bush's base and at best utter confusion from the usually critical left in this country. One has to wonder if Miers actually has any real chance of being confirmed. With the plethora of true conservative choices available for Bush to reward his hardcore base it is near-baffling to consider why he would go with someone who has actually never even been a judge. In the wake of the criminally-negligent cronyism appointment of Mike Brown, it makes even less sense. Brown's fudging of his resume not withstanding, the former Commissioner of the Arabian Horse Association, is comparable to Miers preparation for Supreme Court Justice as the head of the Texas State Lottery. This is not a normal career progression under any circumstances. Head up a state lottery and then become a Supreme Court Justice? It almost makes no sense, until you realize the near brilliance of the selection. It is a win-win for the Bush machine.
Let us assume for a moment that sanity will prevail and this clearly under-qualified candidate does not get confirmed. What is the benefit of the nomination? Already it is the only news story being reported on. Entire news broadcasts are being devoted to this faux-nomination, replete with both sides denouncing her nomination. It is great drama and great TV, but the question then becomes, what is the distraction for? For the uniformed, this is the month that the term expires for Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald in the Valerie Plamegate saga. Given the fact that Judith Miller was just released from jail after finally testifying before Fitzgerald, the end of this theater appears near. Add to that the recent revelation from George Stephanopoulos that Bush and Cheney themselves may have been privy to some of the illegal conversations involving the felonious outing of then CIA operative Plame, and the smell of indictments are in the air. As many as 21 administration officials are intertwined in this scandal which threatens to bring down the most corrupt presidency in modern times. There is speculation that Fitzgerald will announce very soon, possible this week, the charges he intends to file. What better distraction to have then a battle over a cronyistic Supreme Court appointment in the wake of the Brown fiasco?
Miers also distracts from the continuing decline of the economy and the ongoing disaster in Iraq. Today it was reported that New Orleans will lay off 3,000 city employees. This in light of the fact that less than 10% of the contracts awarded so far for the rebuilding of the hurricane ravaged areas have gone to workers from the three affected states. More cronyism gone wild, as companies that have spent all of their Iraq allowance, are now reaping and raping more billions in the storm-torn south. On the Iraq front we saw this weekend that the generals cannot even get their story straight with their commander in chief. Bush had stated in his weekly radio address to the nation that the Iraq police have seen increases in the readiness of their battalions. The Generals in charge however painted a much bleaker picture as they stated that the amount of prepared battalions has actually decreased from three to one.
You of course will not hear any of these stories as everyone trips over themselves to discuss the abhorrent nomination of a woman with absolutely no qualifications to the Supreme Court, the ultimate distraction. The other side of the win-win for Bush is even more frightening though. Given the climate in Washington, the democrats may be hard pressed to actually stand in the way of this nomination. Harry Reid has already stated his support for the Miers nomination.
What would a Miers confirmation mean for Bush? Considering impending indictments against key people in his administration, possibly including Bush himself, Miers provides the key to ensuring his defeating any charges. Thomas and Scalia already illegally appointed him President, so their votes are bought and new Chief Justice Roberts owes everything he currently has to King George. That would leave Miers who already has gushed about her benefactor Bush at every turn to cement a possible overturn of any conviction in the Plame case.
History has seen opportunities for presidents to pack the court with their ideology. The truth is that Bush has never really had an ideology, other than business rights at the expense of individual rights. He has done a masterful job of convincing us he is a conservative, while he has been the most fiscally reckless president in history. He has been a genius of convincing us that he believes in a "culture of life", while doing absolutely nothing about life issues. No, the truth is that the only ideology George Bush ascribes to when it is all said and done is the ideology of George Bush.
Harriet Miers guarantees the protection of that ideology at all costs. At best, she provides an immediate distraction from the impending scandal which can tear down this house of corrupt cards that is the Bush presidency. She provides cover for the indictment of a sitting Majority leader, a collapsing economy and rampant cronyism, and the ongoing disaster in Iraq. Newshounds and pundits will fall backwards over themselves to pick apart Miers while the other disgraces walk by unmolested. At worst though, she may get confirmed, ensuring that for the first time in US history the sitting Supreme Court will be packed for an individual, not an ideology. We may misunderestimate him greatly, but George Bush is not nearly as stupid as he would like us to think he is.