The Times has an analysis
today of Bush's choice of Meirs that might as well be called disinformation. As I see it, anyway. The whole 'Bush is a conservative' line is just bullshit. His allegiance isn't to a philosophy, but to a group of loyalists.
But it's the mark of the sophisticated MSM analyst to make complex what's actually simple, thus obfuscating the pattern by reporting on it. The Times can't simply say: Bush Nominates Another Crony - though they can't entirely avoid the obvious. So, they embed the obvious in a bunch of political mythology about Bush the competent, Bush the conservative, Bush the chastened.
It's all summed up in the title: When a President Is Not Spoiling for a Fight
more on the flip...
"The swagger is gone from this White House," said Charles E. Cook Jr., editor of The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan newsletter, citing a litany of other difficulties afflicting the administration, including high gasoline prices and the failure of Mr. Bush's push to overhaul Social Security. "They know they have horrible problems and they came up with the least risky move they could make."
Ooooh... sounds serious. A chastened Bush plays it cautious and follows the same pattern he's always followed.
Looked at another way, the choice is much harder to explain. In selecting Ms. Miers, Mr. Bush stepped deeper into a political thicket that had already scratched up his well-tended image of competence, the criticism that he is prone to stocking the government with cronies rather than people selected solely for their qualifications.
Yeah, it's a big mystery. Why would an incompetent lame duck President risk his well-tended image appointing a crony to the Supreme Court? For life.
A few months and a political epoch ago, Mr. Bush was willing to go to the mat for a controversial conservative nominee, pressing the Senate repeatedly to confirm John R. Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations and then giving Mr. Bolton a recess appointment when Democrats blocked him.
Bush didn't "go to the mat" for Bolton because he liked his conservative outlook, but because he's John Bolton and he's here to stop the recount.
But there is no clear public evidence that she meets another test that Mr. Bush long ago suggested he would apply to his nominees: that they fit the mold of Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, who have aggressively sought to move the court rightward, becoming heroes to many conservatives in the process.
Oh my god! Could Bush not live up to his word? It makes no sense.
Ok, we can't entirely ignore the truth, so let's throw it out there:
What Ms. Miers does bring to the court is a long record of loyalty to Mr. Bush, a trait that some scholars said would be attractive to the White House ...
Foremost among them, said William P. Marshall, a former deputy White House counsel in the Clinton administration, are executive power and government secrecy.
In this area, Mr. Bush might be better able to count on a loyalist than on an ideologue, said Mr. Marshall...
It helps to remember here Bush's joke, way back when, about being fine with dictatorship just so long as he was the dictator. That's what this is about: loyalty, secrecy and control. Fuck the conservative base.
Of course the analyst can't leave the obvious fact that Meirs is a crony just hanging out there. He wraps it up in some fuzzy character issues:
Beyond politics, ideology and Mr. Bush's thinking about the issues on the court's plate, there is another way of assessing his selection. Mr. Bush has always prided himself on his ability to judge character and putting into high-ranking or sensitive jobs people with whom he feels comfortable...
well, you've got to respect a man who has his pride.
Mr. Bush also seems to relish challenging, from time to time, conventional political wisdom, and detaching himself from the day-to-day scrums in Washington to take the long view.
hmmm... i wonder how this crony can help me once i'm out of office?
And he has always taken delight in surrounding himself with strong women - a trait publicly reinforced in this case by Laura Bush, who has expressed more than once a hope that he would nominate a woman to the court.
i feel so warm inside just thinking of how strong a man he must be to actually like surrounding himself with strong women.
and the coup de grace
"There's a point at which as president you can't game out everything," said Charles O. Jones, an emeritus professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin. "You've got to go to the core of your own way of doing things..."
well that's W for ya. damn the politics, i'm going with my heart on this one. and my heart says: nominate a crony.