Wednesday, October 12, 2005

bad arguments by Hugh Hewitt

I really hate to pick on Hugh Hewitt, but he is letting his politics triumph over his good sense. First he says
I asked Justice Hecht if there is any chance of Harriet Miers withdrawing her nomination. "None," replied the justice with absolute certainty. He repeated the point. He has talked at length with her since the nomination, and she's not for turning.
So the question is, "What is the advantage of carrying on the attack from the right?" Answer: None.
But this clearly doesn't follow. We don't have to defeat Miers by getting her to withdraw. We could get the president to withdraw the nomination or we could get the Senate to reject her. And we don't have to defeat her at all to make the fight worthwhile. I think it would be a positive good if Bush were as timid about picking fights with conservatives as he is about picking fights with liberals. When he angers liberals, he gets trashed in the entire MSM for weeks. There are calls for impeachment. He is said to hate black people or want to starve old people and bomb children. And it keeps coming back to haunt him for years.

When Bush angers conservatives, there is some muted criticism, quickly smothered by respected conservatives like Hewitt. A few weeks later, all is forgotten, and Bush is the conservative president again.

Why in the world would Bush do anything to anger the liberals when it is so much less dangerous to anger their opponents? We need to change this dynamic, and if the Miers nomination serves in any small way to do that, then it will be worth it whether it succeeds or not.

Then Hewitt says
I also have to note that the demand for a paper trail proving Miers' acceptability on matters of judicial philosophy --a demand most vocally and repeatedly made by Mark Levin, as recently as yesterday on this show-- opens the door to demands by Democrats for contrary assurances. If the Democrats retreat to filibuster over future nominees, and the debate over the constitutional option unfolds before a national audience, be prepared to hear thrown back at opponents of the filibuster the Democrats charge that the GOP wants to manipulate the confirmation process so it gets the answers it must have but that Democrats may not have the answers they demand.
In general, Hewitt is arguing that anything Republicans criticize Miers for will become fair game for the Democrats to criticize future picks. But that is ridiculous. We aren't saying "Miers does not have a paper trail to confirm her judicial philosophy, therefore she is not qualified to serve on the Supreme Court." We are saying "Miers does not have a paper trail to confirm her judicial philosophy, therefore we do not believe that you, George Bush, are keeping your promise to us."

If George Bush promised the Democrats not to nominate anyone who might rule against Roe, then they would have good reason to complain about a lack of a paper trail --not because such a paper trail is required on principle, but because they need some way to verify that Bush is keeping his promise.

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