Buchanan: Miers Withdrawal Saved Bush Presidency

Pat Buchanan believes that by withdrawing from the brewing battle over her confirmation to the Supreme Court, Harriet Miers May Have Helped Save Bush’s Presidency by (Human Events).

By withdrawing her nomination, Harriet Miers spared herself an agonizing inquisition and probable rejection by the Senate and did George W. Bush the greatest service of her career. She may just have helped him save his presidency.

Like a school marm indulging a teacher̢۪s pet, Miss Miers just gave George Bush permission to retake the final exam he booted badly. She has given him a second chance to succeed where Nixon, Ford, Reagan and his father all failed: To become the president who rang down the curtain on 50 years of judicial tyranny and reshaped the Supreme Court into the great constitutionalist body the Founding Fathers intended.

George Bush is a lucky man to have a friend like Harriet Miers.

Had her nomination been pursued through the judiciary committee to the full Senate, it would have meant civil war inside the party. President Bush would have been forced to watch members of his Congressional party and conservatives publicly call for rejection and defeat of the woman who had given him a decade of devoted service. The fallout from this fratricidal war could have lasted for years. By standing down, Miers called off the family fight about to erupt inside the president̢۪s own household.


Given Miers̢۪ absence of a judicial record or a deeply embedded philosophy of judicial restraint, her expressed sympathy for jurists who order legislators to act, her sympathy for feminist causes, it is hard to see how a conservative senator could vote to make her the decisive voice on the Supreme Court for the next generation. If they voted her down they would split the party and enrage the president. If they voted her onto the court, they would betray the voters to whom they had pledged to support only strict constructionists and constitutionalists of proven merit and ability. It was lose, lose. The president, his party and the Right were all marching grimly toward First Manassas when Sister Harriet saved us all.

Sens. Kennedy, Leahy and Boxer are urging President Bush to “show strength,†by appointing a moderate. But, if I am not mistaken, didn’t Bush just do that? And how did the nominee that made Harry Reid a happy man turn out?

President Bush just survived a barrel ride over Niagara Falls. A man of reasonable intelligence would not risk it a second time.

With the nominations of John Roberts and Bernard Bernanke, Bush appointed men of experience and proven capacity who shared his beliefs. Given this heaven-sent second chance, he should do the same with the Supreme Court: Pick a justice whose credentials are unimpeachable and whose judicial philosophy reads likes an excerpt from The Collected Works of Antonin Scalia.

While I only occasionally agree with Buchanan these days, he’s right on the money here. The president should avoid appointing someone who has a reputation for stridency and activism. Even in his weakened state, however, he can easily get a John Roberts-type nominee confirmed.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Boyd says:

    …he can easily get a John Roberts-type nominee confirmed.

    Well yeah, but it’s not like there’s a “John Roberts Orchard” where the President can just go pick one off the tree. Finding someone with the Chief Justice’s qualifications will be hard enough, but after he or she is identified, they have to be willing to go through the whole confirmation process and serve on the Supreme Court. Finding all of that at the same time may require a Perfect Storm.

  2. DaveD says:

    Well, it may have saved his Presidency in the eyes of the pundits. But I am guessing that- of the current issues – if the average American makes any judgement on the success/failure of the Bush Presidency then it will hinge more on the sense of corruption. This is not any slight to anyone, but I am not sure the guy on the street has a clear understanding of what to the “knowledgeable elite” passes as someone worthy of interpreting the Constitution. But the current Plame-gate outcome and other items like the news today that oil companies are doing very, very, very well in the profit column while the average American is stretching his/her budget to pay for energy does not sit well. I just think that the priorities of the average American may at times differ from those of folks like, well, Pat Buchanan.

  3. Hens says:

    are you joyner from tsu?

  4. DaveD says:

    No I’m not. I guess my observation comes from talking to neighbors and people at work. In all honesty, the Miers story never was very much a part of anyone’s political conversation. Even when it was brought up it didn’t create strong feelings one way or another and the talk about that particular issue tended to die out quickly.