The withdrawal of Harriet Miers today sends a signal that President Bush’s agenda and political power are in a state of increasing weakness:
“Despite an outcry among some conservatives over the nomination, Specter said yesterday that he doubted Miers would withdraw from consideration or that Bush would ask her to. ‘It would be seen as a tremendous sign of weakness to have her withdraw,’ Specter said.” [Philadelphia Inquirer, 10/18/05]
“For her part, Totenberg does not believe the chatter that Miers might withdraw, saying that ‘it would make the president look weak,’ she said.” [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 10/19/05]
“Either Miers will be confirmed to the Supreme Court with some conservative votes against her and a general feeling of distaste, or conservative opposition will cause Miers to withdraw or be defeated, further weakening the president.” [The Hill, 10/12/05]
“[T]he main argument against a Miers’ withdrawal is that President Bush is probably determined to see it through. It would seem to be out of character for him to surrender to the critics. … It would be out of character for him to withdraw her name, and he probably has calculated that a withdrawal would be widely interpreted as a sign of political weakness, and that by itself would make it more difficult for him to deal with an increasingly skeptical Congress.” [Dick Polman, Philadelphia Inquirer, 10/13/05]
Mort Kondracke: “If [Bush] were to pull her now, this would be an indication that he’s caving into the right-wing groups.” [Fox News, 10/26/05]
UPDATE: Bush, 10/7/05
Q So are you ruling it out, any withdrawal?
PRESIDENT BUSH: No, she is going to be on the bench, she’ll be confirmed — and when she’s on the bench people will see a fantastic woman who is honest, open, humble and capable of being a great Supreme Court Judge.