The Miers conundrum

What does James Dobson know:


By day's end, Mr. Dobson, one of the most influential evangelical conservatives, welcomed the nomination. "Some of what I know I am not at liberty to talk about," he said in an interview, explaining his decision to speak out in support of Ms. Miers. He declined to discuss his conversations with the White House. [LINK]
The quote is both alarming and infuriating since it arrogantly points to the dubious assumption of the Bush administration that Dobson -- unlike the American public -- has the right to know the views of a potential Supreme Court Justice. A point made rather tactfully by Ken Salazar: "It seems to me, all of the (information) the White House knows about Harriet Miers should be made available to the Senate and the American people. If they're making information available to Dr. Dobson - whom I respect and disagree with from time to time - I believe that information should be shared equally with a U.S. senator."

And then there's the travesty of nominating a seeming lightweight to the highest court in the land.

Having acknowledged the obvious, I am intrigued by the parallels to the O'Connor nomination. Here are some news reports as excerpted by Eschaton (for more text plus attributions, check out Duncan's entry):
AP: Asked about Mrs. O'Connor's position on the extremely sensitive abortion issue, Reagan, who said he had interviewed the intended nominee, told reporters as he left the press room: "I am completely satisfied." At her press conference, Mrs. O'Connor declined questions over that issue, the ERA and others, saying "I'm sorry. I cannot address myself to substantive issues pending my confirmation."
But deputy White House press secretary Larry Speakes said she had told the president "she is personally opposed to abortion and that it was especially abhorent to her. She also feels the subject of the regulation of abortion is a legitimate subject for the legislative area."The James Dobson-type endorsement:
UPI: Television evangelist James Robison, taking the opposite position of many of his conservative colleagues, Wednesday said he supports the nomination of Sandra O'Connor to the Supreme Court. In a statement, Robison said he based his support for Mrs. O'Connor on a conversation Tuesday with presidential counselor Edwin Meese.
Though Richard Viguerie was just as mad then as he is now:
A major conservative fund-raiser -- declaring the New Right is not ''a paper tiger'' -- vowed Wednesday to enter the fray to keep Sandra O'Connor from winning Senate confirmation as a Supreme Court justice.
The declaration by direct-mail wizard Richard Viguerie came as fundamentalist opponents to Mrs. O'Connor opened a new First Amendment front and other foes of the Arizona judge continued to attack her record on abortion.
Perhaps all this is just a red herring -- a lot of noise that distracts from Miers' very real failings as a nominee. And as one of my very smart readers points out, there aren't any good options on the table right now: "The problem is that we'll probably learn even less about Miers views than we did about Roberts and have to 'trust' Bush or the lack of public ideological zeal that they've demonstrated."

Maybe that's why I still can't seem to find a clear, well-defined position on this one. Or perhaps the Bush administration has set the bar so low that a little voice in my head keeps saying, "Incompetence isn't that bad."

Now that's bad.

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