Graceful Way Out for Miers?
Charles Krauthammer and Ed Morrissey both hit on an interesting strategy for letting Harriet Miers gracefully bow out from the confirmation nightmare while she and the president save face.
Miers: The Only Exit Strategy (WaPo, A23)
Sen. Lindsey Graham has been a staunch and public supporter of this nominee. Yet on Wednesday he joined Brownback in demanding privileged documents from Miers’s White House tenure.
Finally, a way out: irreconcilable differences over documents.
For a nominee who, unlike John Roberts, has practically no record on constitutional issues, such documentation is essential for the Senate to judge her thinking and legal acumen. But there is no way that any president would release this kind of information — “policy documents” and “legal analysis” — from such a close confidante. It would forever undermine the ability of any president to get unguarded advice.
That creates a classic conflict, not of personality, not of competence, not of ideology, but of simple constitutional prerogatives: The Senate cannot confirm her unless it has this information. And the White House cannot allow release of this information lest it jeopardize executive privilege.
Morrissey came to the same conclusion independently and adds,
It even allows the President to work up a little righteous anger over the treatment that Miers received by critics and call for more decorum and patience the next time around. And the next time around, the president can pick someone who gets vetted by someone other than his or her employee, if he wants to avoid this kind of experience in the future.
It might work. I can’t imagine Bush or Miers is anxious to go through several more weeks of lambasting with confirmation hardly assured at the end.
Like Krauthammer, I don’t have any desire to see Miers humiliated. She is, by all accounts, a decent woman of significant accomplishment. The fact that she’s not up to the standards for confirmation to the Supreme Court is hardly disgraceful.