President Bush has taken on too many tough fights -- Social Security being a classic example -- to be regarded as a man who is personally weak. What is weak is the Republican majority in the Senate.
When it comes to taking on a tough fight with the Senate Democrats over judicial nominations, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist doesn't really have a majority to lead. Before the President nominated anybody, before he even took the oath of office for his second term, Senator Arlen Specter was already warning him not to nominate anyone who would rile up the Senate. Later, Senator John Warner issued a similar warning. It sounded like a familiar Republican strategy of pre-emptive surrender.
Before we can judge how the President played his hand, we have to consider what kind of hand he had to play. It was a weak hand -- and the weakness was in the Republican Senators.
Does this mean that Harriet Miers will not be a good Supreme Court justice if she is confirmed? It is hard to imagine her being worse than Sandra Day O'Connor -- or even as bad.
The very fact that Harriet Miers is a member of an evangelical church suggests that she is not dying to be accepted by the beautiful people, and is unlikely to sell out the Constitution of the United States in order to be the toast of Georgetown cocktail parties or praised in the New York Times. Considering some of the turkeys that Republicans have put on the Supreme Court in the past, she could be a big improvement.
We don't know. But President Bush says he has known Harriet Miers long enough that he feels sure.George W. Bush is a practical man. As a Harvard MBA and former CEO, he keeps his eye on the bottom line.
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