Thursday, October 27, 2005

White House Climate Change: Miers Melts

And so what even the Weather Channel could have predicted with ninety-nine percent accuracy within days of her nomination has, a bit late, happened. The Texas cheerleader can now go back to doing smiley-faced Q&As on the White House web site. The president's whimperish statement accepting the withdrawal isn't worth a thought, but Chris Matthews on MSNBC just wondered who could possibly have so disastrously advised the president to nominate Harriet Miers, and whether that (or those) advisers will still be there advising the president in the future. If So, Matthews said, the country is in trouble.

The sum-up misses two crucial points. First, the Miers nomination was Bush’s, who insisted on her over and above the objections of his advisers. Bush went with his self-celebrated (and more dangerously for the country, self-indulged) instinct on this one, as he does on too many issues for the same reason: “I’m the commander—see, I don't need to explain why I say things,” he once told Bob Woodward (see pp. 145-6 of Bush at War). “That’s the interesting thing about being the president. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don’t feel I owe anybody an explanation.” An attitude like this is cynical, small-minded, sophomoric, and given the small matter of democratic expectations that go with the job, entirely erroneous. But Our Lord and Savior President, speaking it like the true hibernating lion he’s become, has at least been consistent.

Second, the disastrous advice, whether self-indulged or heard from his inner circle of Roves and Cheneys and Basmatis — on taxes in 2001, on Iraq in 2002 and since, on dozing on Osama since 2002, on Social Security in 2004, on energy all along — has already done its job: The country is in serious trouble, has been in serious trouble for several years, and more disturbingly, has three more years to go on this Cassandra Crossing Presidency. Miers’s is the least of the belated withdrawals we need, and Fitzpatrick’s Danny-Boy indictments aside, probably the last we’re about to get for a while. Not even Osama could have dreamed of such promise of mass destruction.