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Monday, October 24, 2005

Blogging Harriet to Death? Or, Why the President Should Be Nicer to His Aides.

Dan Solove at Concurring Opinions has a new post up on the effect of the blogosphere on Harriet Miers' nomination.  That post, along with many others, are collected by David Schraub in a must-read post.  Solove is particularly strong for the power of blawgs:

The fact that Bush still stands behind Miers is not an indication of the blogosphere's failure. The blogospheric reaction certainly has the Administration reeling. The blogosphere has registered the dislike for the nomination in a much more potent and articulate way than a mere poll.

I don't really believe this claim, although it sure is tempting to think that posts here at Prawfs and elsewhere are partly responsible for a really bad mood at the White House:

"He's like the lion in winter," observed a political friend of Bush. "He's frustrated. He remains quite confident in the decisions he has made. But this is a guy who wanted to do big things in a second term. Given his nature, there's no way he'd be happy about the way things have gone."

Bush usually reserves his celebrated temper for senior aides because he knows they can take it. Lately, however, some junior staffers have also faced the boss' wrath.

But really, I tend to think that Internet or no, Miers' nomination was fated for trouble.  All of the ingredients were present: (1) nominee close to a politically weak president; (2) with more-vulnerable-than-average paper credentials; (3) beset by possible ethical problems back home; (4) with no constitutional paper trail; and (5) no real base of support in D.C. or regionally.  The internet-effect goes to the timing of the trouble - now rather than at the hearings - and, perversely, this is probably good for the President. 

At least in today's world, there is a chance that Miers will withdraw prior to the hearings, preventing political pain before most Americans begin paying attention to the nomination.  And let's not forget: most Americans have learned very little about the nomination thus far, because most Americans have better things to do than read her judiciary questionnaire, read any of the ten thousand and one posts on that and other topics, or surf the electronic futures market predicting her chances.  For example, there are still hundreds of thousands of Americans displaced by hurricane katrina, some of whom recently faced the agonizing decision of whether and how to declare personal bankruptcy ahead of changes caused by the new legislation.

If none of this information had come out until the hearing, under the krieg lights and before the American people, then the President could be faced with problems similar to those his father was forced to confront during the Thomas nomination.  (Imagine, by the way, what that process would have looked like today.  Would Justice Thomas have withdrawn under blawgospheric fire?  Would there have been attacks like those directed at Miers?)  So, even though the President may be cranky, it could be (and could get) a whole lot worse.

Posted by Dave Hoffman on October 24, 2005 at 10:00 PM in Blogging, Constitutional thoughts, Corporate, Current Affairs, Daniel Solove, Law and Politics | Permalink


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» Blog Round-up - Tuesday, October 25th from SCOTUSblog
On the Miers nomination: TaxProf Blog discusses the tax shelter opinions issued by the Locke, Liddell & Sapp while Miers was managing partner here. Concurring Opinions has this post on whether or not blogs are influencing the Miers nomination. Debate... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 25, 2005 3:22:56 PM


Plainsman: Ha. You are right. I'm going to leave the error up as a self-caution not to be too tough on the nominee for typos.

Posted by: Dave Hoffman | Oct 25, 2005 2:48:55 PM

Klieg lights, I believe. Though krieg lights (Kriegslichten?) is likely to be rather appropriate, too.

Posted by: Plainsman | Oct 25, 2005 12:06:41 PM

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