Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Conservatives Confront Bush Aides - Anger boils over

Discussion in 'Legal' started by rick_reno, Oct 6, 2005.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. rick_reno

    rick_reno member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2002
    Messages:
    3,027
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/05/AR2005100502200_pf.html

    The conservative uprising against President Bush escalated yesterday as Republican activists angry over his nomination of White House counsel Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court confronted the president's envoys during a pair of tense closed-door meetings.

    A day after Bush publicly beseeched skeptical supporters to trust his judgment on Miers, a succession of prominent conservative leaders told his representatives that they did not. Over the course of several hours of sometimes testy exchanges, the dissenters complained that Miers was an unknown quantity with a thin résumé and that her selection -- Bush called her "the best person I could find" -- was a betrayal of years of struggle to move the court to the right.

    At one point in the first of the two off-the-record sessions, according to several people in the room, White House adviser Ed Gillespie suggested that some of the unease about Miers "has a whiff of sexism and a whiff of elitism." Irate participants erupted and demanded that he take it back. Gillespie later said he did not mean to accuse anyone in the room but "was talking more broadly" about criticism of Miers.

    The tenor of the two meetings suggested that Bush has yet to rally his own party behind Miers and underscores that he risks the biggest rupture with the Republican base of his presidency. While conservatives at times have assailed some Bush policy decisions, rarely have they been so openly distrustful of the president himself.

    Leaders of such groups as Paul M. Weyrich's Free Congress Foundation and the Eagle Forum yesterday declared they could not support Miers at this point, while columnist George Will decried the choice as a diversity pick without any evidence that Miers has the expertise and intellectual firepower necessary for the high court.

    As the nominee continued to work the halls of the Senate, the White House took comfort from the more measured response of the Senate Republican caucus and remained confident that most if not all of its members ultimately will support her. Yet even some GOP senators continued to voice skepticism of Miers, including Trent Lott (R-Miss.), who pronounced himself "not comfortable."

    "Is she the most qualified person? Clearly, the answer to that is 'no,' " Lott said on MSNBC's "Hardball," contradicting Bush's assertion. "There are a lot more people -- men, women and minorities -- that are more qualified, in my opinion, by their experience than she is. Now, that doesn't mean she's not qualified, but you have to weigh that. And then you have to also look at what has been her level of decisiveness and competence, and I don't have enough information on that yet."

    The persistent criticism has put the White House on the defensive ever since Bush announced Monday his decision to nominate Miers to succeed the retiring Sandra Day O'Connor. While Miers has a long career as a commercial lawyer, Texas political figure and personal attorney to Bush before joining him at the White House, she has never been a judge or dealt extensively with the sorts of constitutional issues that occupy the Supreme Court.

    Bush tried to defuse the smoldering conservative revolt with a Rose Garden news conference Tuesday, and the White House followed up yesterday by dispatching Gillespie, Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman and presidential aide Tim Goeglein to meetings that regularly bring together the city's most influential fiscal, religious and business conservatives.

    "The message of the meetings was the president consulted with 80 United States senators but didn't consult with the people who elected him," said Manuel A. Miranda, a former nominations counsel for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), who attended both private meetings.

    Weyrich, who hosted one of the meetings, said afterward that he had rarely seen the level of passion at one of his weekly sessions. "This kind of emotional thing will not happen" often, Weyrich said. But he feared the White House advisers did not really grasp the seriousness of the conservative grievance. "I don't know if they got the message. I didn't sense that they really understand where people were coming from."

    Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform and host of the other meeting, declined to comment on the discussion because of its presumption of confidentiality but said there is widespread concern given the experience with the nomination of Justice David H. Souter, who proved more liberal once on the bench. "There's a great deal of frustration because of the Souter experience," Norquist said. "The problem is there's no fixing, there's no allaying those fears. For the president to say 'Trust me,' it's what he needs to say and has to say, but it doesn't calm the waters."

    In interviews afterward, Gillespie and Mehlman acknowledged they faced skeptical questions but assured their usual allies that Miers would earn their respect. "People have questions," said Gillespie, who bore the brunt of the criticism at the Norquist meeting. "If you don't know Harriet and don't know her background, it's understandable that people have questions."

    While much of the consternation was voiced by social conservatives, the White House has trumpeted the support of such prominent figures as James C. Dobson, head of Focus on the Family, and the National Right to Life Committee. And in the end, White House advisers emphasized, only the Senate gets a vote. "This is about getting senators, both Republicans and Democrats, to support her," said one administration ally working on the confirmation effort. "There's no real concern about Republican senators now."

    The main complaints cited at the Norquist and Weyrich sessions yesterday, according to several accounts, centered on Miers's lack of track record and the charge of cronyism. "It was very tough and people were very unhappy," said one person who attended. Another said much of the anger resulted from the fact that "everyone prepared to go to the mat" to support a strong, controversial nominee and Miers was a letdown. As a result, a third attendee observed, Gillespie and Mehlman came in for rough treatment: "They got pummeled. I've never seen anything like it."

    The 90-minute Norquist session, where Gillespie appeared before 100 activists, was the more fiery encounter, according to participants. Among those speaking out was Jessica Echard, executive director of the Eagle Forum, founded by Phyllis Schlafly. Although she declined to give a full account later because of the meeting ground rules, Echard said in an interview that her group could not for now support Miers: "We feel this is a disappointment in President Bush. If it's going to be a woman, we expected an equal heavyweight to Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her liberal stance, and we did not get that in Miss Miers."

    Another conservative captured the mood, according to a witness, by scorning Miers. "She's the president's nominee," he said. "She's not ours."

    At Weyrich's two-hour luncheon featuring Mehlman and Goeglein addressing 85 activists, the host opened the discussion by rejecting Bush's call to trust him. "I told Mehlman that I had had five 'trust-mes' in my long history here . . . and I said, 'I'm sorry, but the president saying he knows her heart is insufficient," Weyrich said, referring to Republican court appointments that resulted in disappointment for conservatives.

    In a later interview, Mehlman said he retorted that Bush's decade-long friendship with Miers set this nomination apart: "What's different about this trust-me moment as opposed to the other ones is this president's knowledge of this nominee."

    Staff writer Thomas B. Edsall contributed to this report
     
  2. RealGun

    RealGun Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2004
    Messages:
    7,257
    Location:
    Upstate SC
    I have yet to read or hear a good reason why Harriet Miers shouldn't serve on the Court. The argument about qualifications is kind of comical, because those with such hotshot resumes have collectively made the wrong decisions. I am not remotely qualified in the normal sense nor are most critics of the Court's decisions, yet we all know where the problems lie and what needs to be fixed. Harriet Miers is obviously a competent attorney. Getting up to speed on Constitutional law is not rocket science if stare decisis is not approached as a sacred house of cards. That's a bit like having to work hard to be consistent with a trail of lies. Objectively viewing the case before the Court with a copy of the Constitution in front of you can't be that tough.
     
  3. longeyes

    longeyes member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2002
    Messages:
    7,227
    Location:
    True West...Hotel California
    This is about a lot more than Miers. It's been fermenting for a while, and for reasons familiar to many of us on this board. A lot of people just said, "Basta!"
     
  4. Headless Thompson Gunner

    Headless Thompson Gunner Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2003
    Messages:
    1,255
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Huh...

    Maybe there's hope yet. Would it be possible for the conservative base to sink this nomination?
     
  5. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    24,041
    Location:
    Idahohoho, the jolliest state
    Yep, although some of us said it quite awhile ago.
     
  6. RealGun

    RealGun Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2004
    Messages:
    7,257
    Location:
    Upstate SC
    Basta! No comprende.

    You are being just as indirect as the riled up conservatives. I don't hear many being straightforward about what is really on their minds. I could guess but would dare them to say so.
     
  7. longeyes

    longeyes member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2002
    Messages:
    7,227
    Location:
    True West...Hotel California
    That's right, about the same time we said "More Chianti!" :D
     
  8. CAnnoneer

    CAnnoneer Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2005
    Messages:
    1,838
    Location:
    Los Angeles County, CA
    At least, it is becoming more and more clear to everyone whom the Bushahidin really serve...
     
  9. Nehemiah Scudder

    Nehemiah Scudder Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Messages:
    391
    I'm totally shocked that conservatives are angry.




    :D
     
  10. davec

    davec Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2004
    Messages:
    302
    Location:
    Bayonne, NJ
    Because we all know what happens when a Bush says "trust me" and appoints a person no-one has ever heard of and with no significant legal track record...

    http://bushlibrary.tamu.edu/research/papers/1990/90072302.html
     
  11. longeyes

    longeyes member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2002
    Messages:
    7,227
    Location:
    True West...Hotel California
    Non capisci?

    Conservatives have figured out that Bush isn't a conservative, he's a globalist-corporatist who bounces between commercialism and compassion. He never saw a spending bill he didn't like. He sat back and let McCain-Feingold shred the First Amendment. His vision of America is, well, Mexamerica, with himself or one of his clan as Moctezuma Redux. His war strategy looks befogged, compromised by unfathomable inhibitions. As for the High Court, the bases are loaded, he's thrown a fat one down the middle of the plate--and he bunts.

    That's why.
     
  12. Desertdog

    Desertdog Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Messages:
    1,980
    Location:
    Ridgecrest Ca
    Don't be shocked. Look at the SCOTUS and see how many activist judges were appointed by Republicans that had no good conservative paper trail on their judicial philosophy. Souter, Kennedy, O'Conner and others. They were palmed off as conservative judges and look at what they have done to this country.
     
  13. Hawkmoon

    Hawkmoon Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2004
    Messages:
    3,454
    Location:
    Terra
    Actually, what we really need is someone who isn't an attorney but who can read the Constitution and decide cases based on what the Constitution says.

    Might not hurt if that person also read the Federalist Papers as well.
     
  14. Nehemiah Scudder

    Nehemiah Scudder Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Messages:
    391
    Actually, that was a joke. I'm not a conservative. However, to really respond seriously. I think that the job has a lot of pressure that forces justices to move to the center. To be honest, I'm content to have moderates on the bench.
     
  15. Desertdog

    Desertdog Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Messages:
    1,980
    Location:
    Ridgecrest Ca
    That is why they have lifetime appointments, so nobody can put pressure on them.

    If a moderate rules by the constitution, fine. If a conservative doesn't rule by the constitution, time for him to go.
     
  16. Kurush

    Kurush Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2005
    Messages:
    1,078
    Bush is a much better judge of character than his father though, I mean remember how W looked into Vladimir Putin's soul and saw that he was a man of faith who embraced freedom? :rolleyes:

    I trust Bush on this just like I trust him that Saddam Hussein "is addicted to weapons of mass destruction", that the Iraqi people would shower us with flowers, that the war would cost only 1 billion dollars, that "Brownie is doing a heck of a job"... I'd go on but it's making me ill :barf:
     
  17. FireBreather01

    FireBreather01 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2004
    Messages:
    235
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    The crux of the problem is that Bush was elected, in large part, because of his promise to appoint Supremes in the mold of "Scalia & Thomas". I didn't vote for him so that I could wait 10 years to decide if his picks were good. Meiers MAY be a very pro-constitution justice but I KNOW that Janice Rogers Brown, Edith Jones, or Pricilla Owen are very conservative judges that are ardent supporters of the constitution and do not legislate from the bench.

    Add to that that the liberals are just on the verge of imploding and a strong nominee may have provoked a fight that would have pushed them over the edge and you have conservatives that are, IMO, justifiably upset. It would have been fun to watch fat, old, liberal, misogynist Teddy K trying to explain how Janice Rogers Brown isn't fit to serve on the SC.

    The republicans control every branch of government and Bush was elected to represent the conservatives that put him in office. That power is to be used to forcefully represent the views of those that put you in power. That is why this is a slap in the face. The conservative movement has waited 25 years for this moment - to return the Supreme Court to it's intended role of upholding, not interpreting, the constitution, and now many feel that a giant opportunity has been p*ssed away.

    Republicans acquiesced when Clinton nominated a left-wing nut, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, because he was the president, faithfully elected by the voters - albeit with a plurality. In this case, Bush was elected with a majority, has control of the Senate, the support of the people, the dems can't do a thing about it, and he blinked.
     
  18. rick_reno

    rick_reno member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2002
    Messages:
    3,027
    Realgun,

    I'm sure she is qualified to serve on the court. But is she really the "best" ychoice? Not even you can possibly believe that crap.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2005
  19. davec

    davec Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2004
    Messages:
    302
    Location:
    Bayonne, NJ
  20. Kurush

    Kurush Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2005
    Messages:
    1,078
    He didn't blink, he just doesn't care. Bush values his desire to appoint people personally loyal to him so far above anything else that he didn't give a second thought to picking a former lottery commissioner over the field of qualified candidates. He was completely taken off guard by all the criticism because he either can't comprehend or finds boring the long term effects of his choice of nominee.
     
  21. RealGun

    RealGun Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2004
    Messages:
    7,257
    Location:
    Upstate SC
    The best choice to do what? What are the criteria? There is a desired result here that folks seem to want to guarantee but they are not being forthcoming in articulating exactly what their objections to Miers are. Conservatives who are upset are not forthcoming about what their beef is. "Betrayed" in what respect?

    She is likely to have personal sentiments against the idea of abortion. Not what I would want, but "conservatives" may be better off than they think. Any nominee who would guarantee their voting position on abortion is not what I would call one of "judicial temperament".

    She is likely to be state oriented on questions about interstate commerce.

    She is not one-of-them, a child of the federal court system, inclined to be protective of how they operate, decide cases, and defend prior rulings. If I wanted an agent for change, it wouldn't be someone from the Court of Appeals with lots of issues to make coonfirmation a circus. It wouldn't be someone who had a hard time being confirmed previously unless there was a commitment to make the Senate rule change (nuclear option). Either dribble or slam dunk. The problem is, the slam dunk is not good for "harmony". Shying from that was probably a bad call. This probably won't be over until we see another nominee and the nuclear option.

    Let's also look at why "the best" of nominees don't get votes from obstructionist Democrats (Kennedy, Kerry, Clinton, Feinstein, Schumer, Durbin, et al). Anyone nominated by Bush must be bad. No chance of a smooth confirmation. The best is never good enough.

    Many seem to have decided that there are rigid criteria for SCOTUS justices, but show me where it says that.
     
  22. Walt Rauch

    Walt Rauch Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2004
    Messages:
    126
    What everyone is missing is that Ms. Miers has practical experience; something sorely lacking in the other judges. She will be the little peasant boy who points out the emperor has no clothes.

    In other words, rather than joining in and being part of the debate of the perceived nuances of words she is well equipped, based on real courtroom applications as well as back room negotiations regarding the law, to explain real world consequences of their sophistry.
     
  23. BigG

    BigG Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    7,081
    Location:
    Dixieland
    I think Lion in Winter has a good point. I also wonder how somebody who posts here can say why did they pick Miers when there are a whole list of qualified candidates to choose from and then name 3 women/minorities. Are those qualifications to you?

    The constitution just says they are to be of good behavior. All the other criteria are what people have read into those simple words. [shakes head] :rolleyes:
     
  24. GunGoBoom

    GunGoBoom member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2004
    Messages:
    1,645
    Well said, Longeyes! You are quite the wordsmith.
     
  25. seeker_two

    seeker_two Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Messages:
    3,616
    Location:
    Deep in the Heart of the Lone Star State (TX)
    Now THAT'S the response I'd expect from a liberal administration. Too bad Bush didn't nominate Judge Brown. Gillespie could have called conservatives "racist", too... :banghead:


    ...and the President who signed Campaign Finance Reform, Medicaid Prescription Drug Benefits, The Patriot Act, every liberal spending bill that reached his desk, and promised to sign a new Assault Weapons Ban wants us to trust him to find a CONSERVATIVE for SCOTUS?.... :scrutiny:


    Bush just put a shotgun to the head of the Republican's election chances in 2006 & 2008 and pulled the trigger...

    ...and his next three years will consist of keeping the seat warm for President Hillary's arrival. :cuss:
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page