Harriet Miers has withdrawn herself from consideration as an associate justice of the Supreme Court, saying that the controversy over her nomination was causing too much trouble for President Bush.
When previous defenders of her last night became opponents because of her 1993 speech, it was clear the end was near.
I don’t feel any sense of vindication. The end of this nomination does not signify the accomplishment of anything positive, but merely the removal of a ridiculous annoyance that should never have been. However, as I wrote in one of my anti-Miers pieces, “The End,” the nomination and the controversy surrounding it did accomplish something very worthwhile : the end of many conservatives’ foolish support for and identification with President Bush, opening the possibility of a renewed conservative movement. As I wrote in “W’s ‘malaise’ moment?”, many Bush supporters
have had it with Bush. It is quite amazing. It is as though all the discrete gripes they had had with him over the years, from his expansion of government handouts to his open-borders policy to his legitimation of Clinton, all those things that they had put on hold in the interests of party loyalty, have suddenly, in a true paradigm shift, come together into the picture of a man who is, they now realize, not on their side….The question now is, will Bush recognize his mistakes and seek to repair the breach he has created with his conservative supporters (though it can never be repaired completely), or will he continue as before? Which raises a second question that I have previously discussed: is it desirable that the relationship be repaired? I don’t see a complete repair as a likelihood, because at this point only a complete conversion by Bush to conservatism would do it. A partial repair may occur, if Bush picks a good conservative nominee, but his other liberal tendencies will most likely remain in operation. It therefore remains the case that the most important thing for the political health of the country is that there be a strong conservative movement standing against Bush’s leftward politics.
At the same time, there are many Bush supporters who are really angry about the role conservatives, including those at National Review, have played in bringing down the nomination. Several such e-mails are posted now at The Corner.