Are Senate Dems Playing Mind Games With GOP, Or Being Duped Again?
Well, there are alternate views on the Harriet Miers pick for the Supreme Court, aside from my knee-jerk “oppose her” position. It appears that there is something nuanced going on as far as the Democratic reaction to Miers. The initial comments from Harry Reid, Pat Leahy, and Charles Schumer signal that Miers’ selection is welcome because she isn’t a preferred choice of the American Taliban. And that may be nothing more than an effort to drive the right wing crazy. What may be really at play here is an effort by Democrats to show Bush’s base that he has ditched them by the road when the biggest prize they have wanted was in reach.
I’d like to think that Reid, Leahy, and Schumer are that clever. I’d like to think that Senate Democrats are only interested in watching the Sam Brownbacks, the Rick Santorums, the Tom Coburns, and the George Allens squirm over the coming weeks, as well as watching James Dobson’s head explode at the realization that Bush ditched him and his followers with both the Roberts and Miers picks.
What may really be happening, as evidenced by the spin that Reid and others are putting out, is that the Democrats are establishing the meme that Bush was told to avoid nominating a far right-winger, and now Bush is accommodating the Democrats. It is irrelevant whether or not that is true; all that matters is for Bush’s far right base to think that Bush is capitulating to the Democrats, at a moment when the wingers had their ultimate prize, a generational opportunity to control the courts, in their grasp. Reid and the Senate Democrats may simply want Bush’s base to see, in advance of the 2006 midterms, that Bush has abandoned them for good old Texas cronyism. Even Bill Frist is making it clear that Bush is making this pick as a result of a bipartisan, inclusive process, which will drive the right wing to distraction.
Let’s see how many pictures with Miers Harry Reid can get into the media, and how many more flattering things he can say about her. It is a huge gamble, but we have several weeks to gauge how this will go down inside the American Taliban and the Senate GOP caucus.