Allow me, a seasoned observer working two blocks from the White House, to advance admittedly paranoid analyses of the Miers nomination.
In brief, the entire spectacle struck me as entirely bogus.
Why would the Bushies nominate an insider's insider whom they knew perfectly well to be so underqualified and so likely to raise right-wing ideological hackles as to make cofirmation a wildly unlikely prospect? How is it that seconds after the Miers nomination was out the gate the right-wing megaphone wielders began to chant -- in perfect unison -- their Roe incantation? There are no right-wingers in the White House any more who are perfectly able to discern the response? White House staffers can't count Senate votes any more?
Odd, because the Bushies are still perfectly able to ram through a $50 billion Katrina package that gets Halliburton yet another humongous no-bid deal, get Attilla the Hun as chief justice, even manage to rig the ratification of the Iraqi constitution (albeit in the translated version), and orchestrate the implementation of two new tax cuts on the backs of the poor.
But with Miers they became all thumbs and "accidentally" hung their buddy out to dry? Think again. Something else is going on. Here come three possibilities.
Door No. 1: The nomination was an exercise to bait the base into action.
Conservatives own both houses of Congress, the White House, the Supreme Court and a substantial number of governorships and legislatures. Rove, Card & Co., feeling that the base lacked a clear-cut battle, decided purposely to goad the base out of complacency and back into fighting stance. The crowd-leading captains were in on the wink-wink, nod-nod deal.
Door No. 2: Miers was put up in an effort to push the reversal of Roe farther out into the future.
Without Roe v Wade the GOP's single most potent and emotional issue, the non-negotiable "moral" issue without peer, would vanish. Absent federally legal abortion, the pro-birth movement has nothing to do; certainly nothing that wins national elections. The right-wing doesn't really care about children (see this week's cuts into child care), the elderly (see same about Medicare). "Pro-life"? Most "pro-lifers" actually favor frying every criminal and starting as many wars as possible (so long as someone else's kid dies -- preferably some poor minority youth without an economic alternative).
Door No. 3: Miers was the smokescreen for Conan the Barbarian.
Miers was set up to fail so an energized base could then insist on some irredentist pro-birth Torquemada, whoever the White House decides fits such a bill, even to the point of a "nuclear" option in the Senate. Liberals will be off their guard, thinking the White House has gone nuts and is really frightened of whatever slap in the wrist may arise out of the inquiry into presidential staffers' outing of a CIA operative. Bush is down in the polls and there's a sense that things are going the liberal way at long last. Beware such thoughts!
Choose one (or propose another). Just remember: merely because I'm paranoid, it doesn't mean they're not after me ... um ... who's that knocking at the door?