Thursday, October 27, 2005

On Miers Pulling Out ...

Although our general impression of Harriet Miers (as a high court pick) wasn't all that favorable, recent revelations concerning her past stands on affirmative action and diversity gave us reason to pause and, at least, consider what that would mean for the court, the country and African Americans.

Based on chatter both on and off the media board, we're inclined to suspect that much conservative opposition to her nomination was quietly influenced by that uncomfortably non-conservative item, and therefore may have served as more of a primary influence in Miers' demise than many (both left and right) are leading us to believe. Even though, in our assessment, the Black political establishment and electorate should re-evaluate placing so much stock in affirmative action as a major policy issue since we are seeing its gradual erosion, it still doesn't negate the fact that many White conservatives equate an affirmative action gain as a Black political win = potential re-generation of the Democratic base considering current electoral demographics. Most "old boy network" Southern Republicans (which do not represent the GOP as a whole, but certainly have a dominant grip on it) simply oppose even the faintest scent of a Black public policy gain and are irritated by the growth of Black elected officials.

Once again, that analysis would be considerably different if the African American political establishment learned to exercise leverage (and fundraising might) in both parties, rather than hanging on so zealously to one.

And, yes, timing is everything. How odd this drops on the heels of possible indictments in the CIA leak case. Which is why we raised a brow on this point raised by an unidentified Republican operative close to the White House in Chris Cillizza's latest The Fix blog:

Miers's departure comes 24 hours before special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is expected to announce the results of his investigation into the 2003 leak of a CIA operative's name to the news media -- with the potential that one of several high-ranking White House officials could be indicted ... That coincidence of timing led Republican operatives to wonder whether White House insiders know something about the outcome of the leak investigation. "It wouldn't surprise me if the White House timed this to overshadow -- or at least compete with -- indictments today," said one high-level Republican consultant, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the delicateness of the matter. "Even if the indictments come tomorrow, it's still smart timing because it divides the chattering class, weekend talk show focus between the open Supreme Court seat and the indictments, rather than spending all Sunday morning on the indictments."

The reaction from Democrats and advocates on the left is one of excessively premature elation. We'd be very concerned about who is picked by the administration next and whether the Senate will be forced to accept the nomination of someone so strictly conservative (lacking any sense of judicial moderation) that ideological gain is placed ahead of responsible jurisprudence. That wouldn't be acceptable if it were someone fervently liberal, either. Regardless, Bush will stubbornly stick with his next pick given his reputation for digging in.