Monday, October 10, 2005

Perplexing a Professor

Dan Solove, a former colleague during my D.C. days and now a hard[ly!]-working professor of law at GW has this to say on the Miers nomination:

The reactions about Miers certainly couldn't have come as a surprise to the White House. I'm trying to imagine Karl Rove's strategy. There must be, after all, some kind of strategy, unless Rove was taking a lunch break when Bush made the nomination. Could it just be cronyism? Or perhaps there's something more. Here's a nominee who has about as short a paper trail as a nominee can have, yet who is very well known to President Bush and others in the Administration.

After spending years cultivating the far Right, would the Administration suddenly abandon them? Or just make a really big blunder? I don't see it. In the last presidential election, it became clear that Rove was not to be underestimated. I don't totally understand what the Administration is doing here, but there must be a strategy to it. It's hard for me to believe that this appointment was just a thoughtless bout of cronyism.

When you have Dan perplexed on the strategery of the thing, it's likely that there just might not be any. For my part, I think Bush should have understood the limited scope of Roberts's written record as establishing a floor on what he could get away with in terms of so-called stealth nominations (and, foreshadowing the current climate, there were several commentators that demanded the floor be much higher, e.g., Coulter). In the end, conservative acceptance of Roberts's nomination decidedly was not a general endorsement of stealth nominations. The President appears to have mistaken it for such. Dan is perplexed because he seeks a coherent strategy in a nomination that was premised on faulty assumptions.

And it's not just (or even primarily) the so-called "far [r]ight" (which I understand to mean dyed-in-the-wool social conservatives) that is deeply disappointed with the Miers nomination.

More: Undermining Dan's thesis, John Fund today reveals that the Miers nomination was an Andy Card deal. Apparently, Rove had nothing to do with it.