October 3, 2005
My first reaction to the nomination of Harriet Miers as associate Supreme Court justice was wondering about her lack of judicial experience. On NBC's Today show, George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley -- who is not one of Bush's liberal critics -- cited that reason to call this an "extraordinarily bad" choice. Is she a conservative? Probably, but her record on policy issues is pretty thin. Her current position as White House counsel also raises questions about judicial independence from political leaders. Coming so soon after the Hurricane Katrina disaster shed bad light on the Bush administrtion's fondness for old pals and cronies (i.e., Michael Brown at FEMA), it does seem to be a strange choice. The Washington Post has her dossier, and MSNBC has some initial reactions from key senators and assorted experts.
Forget about all this scandal-mongering; the ethical lapses of Rove, DeLay, and (possibly*) Frist are not at the heart of the Republicans' troubles, complacency is. John Fund writes in the Wall Street Journal that the Republicans may lose the 2006 midterm elections if they don't wake up to voter discontent immediately. He quotes Newt Gingrich as saying the Party now stands at a crossroads and must decide whether to pursue fundamental reforms or merely preside over the status quo. (via Instapundit) An analogy from the sports world is appropriate here: You don't win games by playing it safe and avoiding defeat, you win by playing with guts and accepting the risk of failure.
* According to Saturday's Washington Post, Sen. Frist began thinking about selling stock in the HCA hospital chain in April, months before the price started to slide. This lessens the likelihood that he was pulling out based on insider information, a la Martha Stewart.