The nomination of Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court gets stranger by the minute. I take it for granted that the Bush Administration is incapable of acting in good faith. But when right-wing activists are making that call with the vigor of contributors to The Nation, my mind does a triple lutz and falls on its ass:
Every White House effort to cool conservative opposition to Miers seems to backfire, including Bush's explanation of why the White House is stressing Miers' evangelical Christianity.It's enough to make the hardiest soul undergo a metamorphosis. Of course, if Miers is already of non-normative persuasion -- and the vitriol being directed at her from the Right suggests to me that someone knows something that hasn't yet gone public -- that conversion would turn her into the ideal mate for the President. Not that he's interested in mating or anything. Remind me to tell you that story about former California Governor Pete Wilson the next time we're together in meatspace. . .
"People are interested to know why I picked Harriet Miers," Bush said Wednesday. "They want to know Harriet Miers' background ... And part of Harriet Miers' life is her religion."
On Thursday, Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council, called the administration's efforts to woo religious conservatives by stressing Miers' religion "out of bounds."
"We are the last people on Earth to object to the news that she is a committed Christian," Perkins said in a statement. "By the same token, this fact is not grounds for certifying her to us or to the public. ... Inferences drawn from an individual's religious affiliation have no place in decisions to nominate or confirm a judicial appointee."
Jan LaRue, chief counsel of the conservative Concerned Women for America, issued an extensive position statement Monday, saying, "We find it patronizing and hypocritical to focus on her faith in order to gain support for Miss Miers."
LaRue also presented a list of 17 questions that may offer a preview of the questioning Miers will undergo -- from Republicans -- in her confirmation hearings, which have not yet been scheduled.
"Was Miss Miers' corporate practice primarily transactions (contract writing and negotiations), or was it primarily litigation? How many of her cases involved constitutional issues? What were the issues? Did Miss Miers do most of the research and writing herself? Has she argued constitutional issues before a court? How many times? In what courts? In how many did she prevail? Are there any published opinions?"
White House efforts to sell Miers to conservatives by emphasizing her religion and her loyalty to Bush only provide ammunition to Democrats when they choose to use it, Miranda warned.
"So let's say they want to attack," he asked. "Who will defend her?"