My first instincts about political weirdness are usually pretty close to correct, regardless of the inevitable logic that plays out afterwards. For example, the now infamous Colin Powell presentation to the UN regarding evidence about weapons of mass destruction. We -- my staff assistant, Russki (godless communist) girlfriend and I all watched that grand slam on satellite TV in Crimea.
I was pumped up, sure that Powell was one person in Bush's admin who would likely play straight, or close to it. After it was over, I was thinking "WTF was that??!!" My girlfriend promptly headed off the kitchen and began chopping vegetables, harshly, aggressively, with prejudice. I wanted to believe that I'd missed some nuance in the "evidence" presented by Powell, and feebly suggested that was the case. Ms. Russki endured patiently for a few hours, seething, and finally blew her cork. "How can you possibly believe it?" she asked in her special way. "Our government lies to us all the time, but at least most of us are able to figure it out and know it! And you see this kuchka [roughly equivalent to bullshit--ed.] and think it might be true? It's absurd. Even I could see it!" Yet my logical side labored furiously to square what I saw with what I needed to believe because we were going to war. She never really trusted me again, on grounds that if I couldn't distinguish between truth and obvious lies, or had so much trouble doing it, that how could she trust me to know if I was ever telling her the truth about whatever?
It taught me a lesson that comes into play again now: listen to my first instinct about these things. My first instinct when reading about Harriet Miers' SC nomination was "She is a throwdown." That's someone tossed into the ring so both sides can get the pent-up fight about a nominee out of their system. She doesn't pass muster, as expected, and then the real nominee is named. And BushCo gets a timely, much-needed distraction. Or, if by some chance she does get through to the SCOTUS bench, so much the better for Bush. He gets an obedient sycophant and lapdog into the Supreme Court -- but that's not the objective.
That's about all there is to this nomination. BushCo don't really think it will fly, it vents a lot of piss and vinegar, and if it does fly, that's just an unexpected bonus. She's red meat to hungry dogs on both sides, thrown down to allow some exercise and chowing down, after which both sides will be more spent and pliable for the real nominee.