About two weeks ago we had politically astute friends over for dinner and the subject of Harriet Miers came up. "She’ll withdraw her nomination, they’ll make some excuse about family obligations" I prognosticated. "But she has no family!" my friends replied. "Good point, but it will be an excuse of some sort. People who insult the egos of Senators don’t get a pass, even with a note from the White House."
Howard Kurtz writes in today’s Washington Post ("Power of the Punditocracy") that it was the power of the right wing pundit class that sank Miers. I honestly think it was two branches of government and their inevitable clash that sank her. Think about it, normally there’s no trouble at all getting Republicans in the White House and Republicans on the Hill to go along.
See, they’ve got majorities, and so they can easily horse trade on things. "Give me this nominee and I’ll promise you X in the future." And since you’re in power, you can deliver on such promises.
The only way to divide the party is to let it devolve into individual egos when everyone loses sight of the greater good. Bush actually assumed he had such a rubber stamp with the Senate Republicans that he could nominate someone entirely unqualified and they would approve her. Of course, being thought of a rubber stamp isn’t good for one’s ego, and the thought that the Democrats may make them look like such to the American public caused the Republican Senators to do the obvious thing and begin exercising their usually kept-in-check claws, and behold. One nomination in tatters.
Weirdly, democracy was done well by this situation. Isn’t that a hoot?