Jed is so right. I've read George Will's hotly hyped Sunday column several times now, and it's worse than a dud. Maybe it's the drippy, rainy weather we've had here, but I can't cut through the foggy posturing to figure out what his larger point really is. Let me get my towel out and dry his text off.
The Spectacle Blog
Official Washington buzzes with the prediction Karl Rove will be indicted this week. Now is a good time to buck the buzz and predict he will not.
MSNBC, Chris Matthews, and other MSM outlets have been having way too much fun at the expense of Karl Rove and others enmeshed in the mess brought on by the lies of former ambassador Joe Wilson.
On Friday, "Hardball" featured a breathless report about the possible huge shakeups at the White House were Rove and others forced to step aside to clear their good names. But in reality, Rove and others have been looking for a major shakeup before much of what is spinning out right now began to really take shape.
"There has been a sense now for more than six weeks that things have hit a wall," says an outside consultant who works with the White House. "The Roberts nomination put a lot of those thoughts on the backburner, but Rove has studied enough history to understand the pitfalls of a second-term President, and many of them are unavoidable. I think he believed some staff rollover would help with some of that."
We're hearing the next big story to drop will do to Miers' reputation for competency what today's Post piece does in raising questions about her stand on important issues.
There has been much talk across the blogosphere today about the Washington Times report that the White House has begun laying out contingency plans should the Miers nomination be pulled back. We're getting major pushback on that report from our sources inside the White House.
"Miers was in meetings late Friday and made it clear that she's ready to move ahead," says a White House source. "She knew the Washington Post story was coming and is prepared to discuss it with Senators should the one-on-one meetings begin again."
Another White House source says that if there is chatter about withdrawing the nomination, it's chatter among mid-level staffers who are just feeling the pressure from outside forces like the media and their conservative friends.
There has been a lot of talk about how poorly SCOTUS nominee Harriet Miers performed in her private meetings. One U.S. Senator who met with her early in the process says he asked her what he considered to be the easiest question she will get throughout the whole confirmation process: "Why do you want to serve on the United States Supreme Court?"
Miers' response was what the Senator called, "Something you'd expect from a Miss America contestant." The poor performance prompted the Senator to meet with Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, who passed along the Senator's concerns to the White House.
The Washington Post report on SCOTUS nominee Harriet Miers' apparently shifting position on diversity issues is but the first of what we are hearing are several stories to break on various issues in the coming days.
Another one popped earlier today regarding any lack of clarity on what Miers' original denomination of faith might have been.
In and of itself, that is not a big thing, but the discrepencies and new questions are now piling up at a quick clip. "What is now clear is that that she simply was not vetted properly," says a Judiciary Committee staffer on the Democratic side. "We've been quiet, but Senator Leahy took out muzzle off on Thursday. We're getting into this now."
Problem is, and this may be a bigger problem for the White House to explain, multiple White House sources insist that Miers was vetted. "What you're seeing are writings and short articles that slipped through the process. That happens all the time," a White House staffer told us earlier today. "Miers told us she was raised a Catholic. What do you want us to do? It's not the kind of thing you put a person through the ringer over."
George Will's Sunday column on the Miers nomination -- hyped as a disapproval of Miers in the manner that Sitting Bull disapproved of Custer -- is, of course, out a day early. Though Will scores a number of points, the column won't damage Miers as much as it will damage the debate on her. Though his points are compelling, they are stated before conclusions that are, in turn, petulant, condescending and threatening. And the solution Will proposes -- though theoretically sound -- is stated in terms that can be used by the Dems to destroy one of the most important limits on the confirmation process.
As president of the State Bar of Texas, Harriet Miers wrote that "our legal community must reflect our population as a whole," and under her leadership the organization embraced racial and gender set-asides and set numerical targets to achieve that goal...
Miers was a believer in mentoring programs, but during her tenure she and the board of directors went further, passing a resolution urging Texas law firms to set a goal of hiring one qualified minority lawyer for every 10 new associates. The directors also reiterated support for a policy of setting aside a specific number of seats on the board for women and minorities.
Although Miers was not the author of either policy, she never objected to them, according to tapes of the meetings, and numerous board members who served with her said she fully supported both efforts.
Word late Friday is that Paul McNulty, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, is going to be President Bush's new nominee for Deputy Attorney General.
This isn't necessarily bad news for conservatives...but it isn't good news, either. The White House apparently passed up a good opportunity to place a solid, professional woman in the slot, Karen Tandy, who heads the DEA and is considered a capable and reliable prosecutor and administrator. Instead, they went with someone cut from the same political cloth as former DAG James Comey.
McNulty is believed to be political, but in a bad way, looking for the spotlight, but with little interest in taking one for the team, whether it is conservatives or Republicans. He has been a tough prosecutor, but also a huge self-promoter, and DOJ insiders predict this will be trouble for the current Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales.
Earlier in the week, the Ibero-American summit in Spain adopted a resolution criticizing the U.S. embargo, or "blockade," on Cuba. Prime Minister Zapatero did his best to explain it away as no big deal, but Cuba has painted it as support for the regime. And World Markets Research Center reports that Hugo Chavez didn't do so badly either, especially now that Jacques Chirac has embraced him with an effort to identify "areas of transnational collaboration."