The Right Coast

October 10, 2005
It is Time to Withdraw Miers' Nomination
By Mike Rappaport

It is now time for a group of senior Republican statesmen to travel to the White House and explain to the President that for the good of the country, for the good of the conservative movement, and for the good of his presidency, Harriet Miers' nomination must be withdrawn.

There are three possibilities at this point. Harriet Miers can be confirmed by the Senate; she can be rejected by the Senate; or her name can be withdrawn. It is clear that the last possibility is by far the best.

Confirming Harriets Miers would be a disaster for those who believed that the Republicans would attempt to promote a Supreme Court that treated the Constitution as law. The new information about Harriet Miers’ views is quite damning. Even apart from her lack of excellence, her unwillingness to fight for conservative principles makes her a time bomb waiting to explode. We have here an O’Connor or a Souter. John Fund’s report is exactly what conservatives had feared. Moreover, if Gruter disqualified Gonzalez, it also disqualifies Miers.

Rejecting Harriet Miers, while not as bad as confirming her, would also be a calamity for the Republicans and this presidency. If Senate Republicans joined in an effort to defeat Miers, this would split the Republican Party and leave the President in a seriously weakened state.

The best alternative is for Miers to withdraw or for the President to withdraw her name. The President should then replace her with someone with impeccable credentials and who has the broad support of his party – someone like Michael McConnell. If this is done soon, the President’s credibility may not take too much of a hit and the political effects will hopefully be short term.

There are times in a presidency when a tactical retreat is necessary. This is one of those times. Unfortunately, most leaders do not recognize when these retreats are necessary until too late. My guess is that President Bush is especially unlikely to see the need for such a retreat. And therefore a group of Republican statesmen need to communicate to him the proper course. The sooner, the better.

Update: David Frum has more information supporting the need for withdrawel.