Just spoke with a staffer for a conservative member of the Judiciary Committee whose boss is extremely unhappy about the nomination of Harriet Miers.
"We heard her name. We made it clear that she was unacceptable as a nominee on the basis of qualifications and her views, which we simply don't know anything about," says the staffer. "We worked with her on policy issues, though, before she was elevated to White House counsel and let's just say we were underwhelmed."
There is now talk of among some conservatives about a filibuster of the Miers nomination. Never mind the Al Gore donations or the money that was floated to the DNC when Miers was a managing partner in a law firm, those can be explained away as "good for the business of the firm."
Unfortunately, given the level of support Miers appears to be generating among Democrats, such a move appears impossible, though admirable.
According to several White House sources, few inside the building took the possibility of a Miers nomination seriously. Now that it's a reality, they are stunned. "We passed up Gonzales for this?" was one conservative staffer's reaction. "I don't know much about Gonzales, but I think I know enough that he's more of a conservative than Harriet is."
Conservatives staffers inside the White House were pushing a number of names early last week, but said they felt frustrated by lack of traction on any of them. "It became clear on Wednesday that he had a nominee in place and he was just waiting on timing," says another White House staffer.
According to this staffer the fact that it was Miers was one reason the President chose not to put the name out last Friday as some had hoped. "Between Frist's problems and DeLay's problems, we were concerned that the Miers nomination would have so many conservatives pissed at us that it would just be awful. I can't tell you how unhappy some of us insider here are right now. We go from the high of John Roberts to this."