If the Miers nomination is saved, Matthew Scully’s N.Y. Times op-ed today in defense of her, his former boss when he was a Bush speechwriter, will be seen as the turning point. It turns the tables on such critics as David Frum, Scully’s former junior colleague on the Bush speechwriting team, by noting while they were out cashing in she was dutifully, selflessly advancing this administration’s commitments, utterly indifferent to the blandishments even conservatives now routinely succumb to. “[A]ll of us who leave our White House jobs and go on to write and trade on our service to the president could stand to learn more from Harriet Miers about service to a president,” he writes.
Frum, it might be remembered, parlayed a brief White House stint into a hot memoir, The Right Man, whose every catty aside (“Missed you at Bible study”) has been used against Bush. It was exactly the sort of experience that left the White House operation wary of outsiders whose primary loyalties weren’t necessarily to the President.
Scully wrote a book too, Dominion, but it was a defense of animals, not a purported insider look at the Bush presidency. Now he defends Miers in the strongest personal terms, because too much of the criticism aimed at her has been ego-driven and ad hominem. The final anecdote — in the op-ed’s penultimate paragraph, which for full impact you best read for yourself — should put to rest a great deal of the overheated talk regarding Miers.
But of course it won’t.