"The obsequious instrument
of his pleasure."
Last week Randy Barnett, writing in the Wall Street Journal, pointed out a contradiction in the GOP's position on strict adherence to what our Founding Fathers meant when they wrote the U.S. Constitution. Republicans put that alleged reverence for original intent on full display when they argued that President Bill Clinton deserved impeachment by quoting Founding Father Alexander Hamilton's Federalist essay No. 65, which defined the intent and grounds for, impeachment of a sitting President.
But not a word have these GOP constitutional "scholars" whispered about Hamilton's Federalist essay No. 76, dealing with why the Founders thought it was critical the U.S. Senate approve Presidential appointments, like Supreme Court Justices. This silence is particularly strange since you cannot read Hamilton's words without immediately thinking, "Oh, Harriet Miers!"
"To what purpose then require the co-operation of the Senate? I answer, that the necessity of their concurrence would have a powerful, though in general, a silent operation. It would be an excellent check upon a spirit of favoritism in the President, and would then greatly prevent the appointment of unfit characters from State prejudice, from family connection, from personal attachment, or from a view to popularity.... He would be both ashamed and afraid to bring forward, for the most distinguished or lucrative stations, candidates who had no other merit than that of coming from the same State to which he (the President) particularly belonged, or of being in some way or other personally allied to him, or of possessing the necessary insignificance and pliancy to render him (the appointee) the obsequious instrument of his pleasure."
Federalist No. 76
The only part of that quote that does not apply here is the part that says, "he (the President) would be ashamed.." Shame requires recognition and acceptance of wrong doing. George W. Bush's entire life is a monument to successfully avoiding both. He just creates messes and moves on, like a dog that poops on the sidewalk. If some behind him steps in it, well that's their fault, as far as George is concerned. They should look where they're stepping.
So, the Harriet Miers flap flaps on. What on earth was he thinking? How could an administration that had displayed such Orwellian skill in the past, get this one so bollixed up? I mean, they've gotten away with some real whoppers in the past; Saddam = 9/11, pretend WMD in Iraq, tax cuts for the rich will raise the working poor out of poverty, the Clear Skies Act... to name just a few flat out lies they've pulled off.
How did they let this Miers problem happen in the first place, and then let it get worse and worse?
I have theory -- maybe a crackpot theory -- but here it is: Karl "Turd Blossom" Rove was too busy lately to keep an eye on Junior. I imagine it started something like this. George picks up the phone and buzzes Rove's office.
"Hello, Mabel, tell Turd Blossom to get over here. We need another Supreme."
"I'm sorry Mr. President, but Mr. Rove is with his attorney all day today."
"Attorney? Why? Is he checking his blind trust again?"
"No Mr. President, it's that Valarie Plame business again, I'm afraid. He said he is going to be tied up preparing his Grand Jury testimony for the rest of this month."
"Can't I just pardon him and get this behind us?
"I don't know Mr. President. I'm just a secretary, but I doubt it. I think you can only pardon someone after they've been convicted of something."
"Damn. That's inefficient. Typical. The lawyers want their cut first. Okay. Not a problemo. Tell Karl not to worry. If he's convicted I''ll pardon him. I can do that cause I'm President, you know. And tell him I'll just pick someone for the court myself. Faster that way anyhow. Karl thinks too long. It's not that complicated. Enny, meany, miney, moe.... "
Just then George spies Harriet Miers wandering through the Rose Garden reading her bible. He runs to the door.
"Hey, Moe!... I mean Harriet.... come here. You wanna be a judge? I need a judge. You interested? Supreme Court. Big job. Big raise. You get to wear slimming black every day to work. You're woman too, right? That's good. Diversity. Women will like that. You read the bible over lunch, you hate abortion. Home run. Easy as that. Now, to lunch and a nap."
And so we got Harriet Miers for the highest court in the land.
Which should not be a surprise, considering that, if I am right about how this unfolded, George made the choice alone. When things get complicated George's first instinct is to further tighten the circle of wagons, narrowing even further the already tight clutch of trusted sycophants. And things have gotten complicated of late. Disloyalty may even be afoot. Who knows, Karl might talk, so it's just as well he be left out of this.
And it wasn't just Karl who was tied up. His two congressional generals, Bill Frist and Tom DeLay, were huddled with their attorney's as well. And his father-figure Vice President was laid up from knee surgery.
So we got to see the real George W. Bush, stripped of his handlers, free, free, free at last to be himself. Surrounded now only by lower-ranking, pet-named sycophants who won their tenure by finding new and ever more enthusiastic ways of saying things like, "Brilliant sir!," and "I like it, sir." or "That'll show-em, sir."
There he was, in pig heaven, encouraged by the truest of true-blue GWB Moonies who honestly believe he is "the most brilliant person" they've ever met – and regularly assure him so. And, having been raised by an overly critical, dominating mother, adoring, masculine affirming, Stepford women are his particular favorites.
So he chose one of them -- Harriet Miers.
Governance – simple as that!
Simple is as simple does.