« I'm not wild about Harriet | Main | They just don't get it »

October 11, 2005

Responding to Mike

Major Mike, of MOOSEMUSS fame, continues to bang the drum for Harriet Miers. I've been responding to his arguments in his comments section, but then I thought, hey, I want traffic too. So I'll respond to his latest, Quixote Rides Again, right here. Mike makes four main points, which I'll answer in turn:

His first argument is that nominating a moderate might persuade some of the liberals on the bench to retire, convinced that their seats will not be taken over by conservatives. (Mike uses Kennedy and Ginsburg as examples, but I'm pretty sure he meant 85-year-old John Paul Stevens. To the best of my knowledge, Anthony Kennedy is in good health, and more-or-less a moderate to boot.) In the first place, it's interesting that this argument concedes that Miers is a "moderate", contrary to the assurances of many of her supporters that she'll be a conservative loyalist. In the second place, if preserving the seat for an ideological comrade is a priority to these Justices, it's unclear that the prospect of being replaced by a moderate would be more attractive than the prospect of being replaced by a conservative. Or, more precisely, would it be enough more attractive to convince them to retire now rather than wait three years in hopes of a Democratic President? Speaking of which, to the extent that the Miers nomination weakens the GOP, it makes a Democratic President in 2008 more likely, giving the liberals less incentive to retire rather than wait. And finally, retiring Justices do not retire en masse. Suppose Ginsburg, lulled into security by the Miers nomination, retires. The President appoints a conservative attack dog to replace her. What then of Stevens's incentive to retire? The only way to encourage him to retire as well would be to nominate yet another moderate to succeed the first retiree. Before long, we've got a court filled with "moderates", rather than the conservatives we want, need, and deserve.

Mike's second point asks who we trust more: President Bush, or "a million-and-one so-called judicial experts." The problem with that is that those of us who oppose the Miers nomination are not asking you to trust us. We're laying out specific and compelling reasons why Miers should never have been nominated. We do not demand to be taken on faith -- as the President does. I'd take the word of Howard Dean over an ordained Jesuit priest, if Dean gives me reasons to believe him while the Jesuit just says, "trust me."

The third point is a claim that moderate appointees are actually superior to conservative appointees, because the former are less likely to shift leftwards than the latter... an interesting allegation that's unsupported by any evidence. Souter and O'Connor shifted leftwards almost immediately. Earl Warren and William Brennan both revealed their true colors quickly enough for Eisenhower to describe their appointments as the worst mistakes he made. Byron White had been on the Court for ten years when he wrote the dissent in Roe, joined by William Rehnquist, who was still a solid conservative 33 years later when he died. Even if a conservative shifted leftwards more than a moderate, the conservative would have to shift much further to be worse than the moderate. And even if that happened, it would probably be preferable to trade several decades of good solid conservatism for a few end-of-life years of moderation than to endure an entire lifetime of moderation.

Mike's fourth point isn't really a "point" as much as an observation, which I will quote in full:

The attacks that GWB has suffered over the past week are the equivalent of a boxer, returning to his corner between the 5th and 6th round, and getting knocked out by his cut man because the cut man didn’t like the way the fight was going.

Exactly. The cut man works for the boxer. He's the boxer's employee, he has a duty to support the boxer, to do what the boxer needs. I am not George W. Bush's cut man. I don't work for him, he doesn't pay me. Or at least, to the extent that I do work for him (by voting for him, by supporting him, by convincing others to support him, by sending money to GOP candidates), I expect to be paid. My price is the furtherance of my interests. My wages have not been paid, and I may resign because of it.

The attacks that GWB has suffered over the past week are the equivalent of a boxer going out for five rounds and being stupid -- punching the air, failing to block, letting his mind wander, staring at the large-breasted woman in the stands while his opponent delivers a solid uppercut to his jaw. When he returns to his corner, his cut man tells him, "You stop being such an idiot out there, you get your mind in the fight, you block his attacks and attack him in return, or I'm leaving here and finding a worthy boxer to train."

October 11, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Responding to Mike:


You are correct with Stevens...sorry I had a busy day during the drafting...I'll correct.

Posted by: Major Mike | Oct 11, 2005 2:53:08 PM

I saw an interesting bumper sticker last week. It said, If you choose to live your live like there is no God, you had better be right.

Resign over this if you choose. But, you had better be sure your are right.

One word... "Arnold!"

Posted by: Mr. Atos | Oct 11, 2005 7:10:18 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.