"Bush: Miers ‘Absolutely’ Would Have Made An ‘Excellent’ Justice, But ‘Man, The Lions Tore Her Up’"
As the clock winds down on his presidency, President Bush has begun sitting for valedictory interviews. He refused to reexamine his most controversial decision — to go to war in Iraq — during last week’s interview with Charlie Gibson, saying, “That is a do-over that I can’t do.” In a new interview with editors and writers for conservative magazine National Review, Bush similarly refused to rethink his choices, “saying only that a president doesn’t ‘get an opportunity to redo a decision.’”
Though Bush wouldn’t reexamine Iraq, he happily defended other failures from his presidency, including his short-lived nomination of then-White House counsel Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, whom he said “absolutely” would have made an “excellent” justice:
Asked whether he believes Harriet Miers “would have been excellent on the court,” the president quickly responded, “Absolutely. Absolutely, no question in my mind . . . and there’s no doubt in my mind that my dear friend, Harriet Miers, would have had the same judicial philosophy 20 years after I went home, and had the intellectual firepower to do the job.” [...] His regret about the Miers case, he told us, was that “this really, really good person got chucked out there and, man, the lions tore her up.”
National Review, of course, was one of those groups who “tore up” Miers’ nomination. Only 11 days after Bush nominated her, National Review demanded Miers withdraw her name, calling her “a practically unknown quality, a gamble for incredibly high stakes.”
Bush was nearly entirely alone in considering Miers qualified for the Court. Besides her evangelical faith, Mier’s main qualification appeared to be her fierce loyalty to him. Bush’s crony-laden pick was too much for even conservatives to bear:
Andrew Sullivan: “Think of her as a very capable indentured servant of the Bush family. … I think they’ve found someone whose personal loyalty to Bush exceeds even Gonzales’.”
Ramesh Ponnuru: “It’s an inspiring testament to the diversity of the president’s cronies.”
Michelle Malkin: “[S]he’s so transparently a crony/”diversity” pick while so many other vastly more qualified and impressive candidates went to waste.”
National Review: “‘The president trusts her,’ is not a good enough argument. The president has trusted a lot of people, some of whom have worked out fine, others less so. To which category will Harriet Miers belong?”
Peggy Noonan: “‘My way or the highway’ is getting old. ‘Please listen to us and try to see it our way or we’ll have to kill you,’ is getting old.”
Even after withdrawing her name in disgrace, Miers continues to demonstrate her loyalty to Bush, repeatedly defying congressional subpoenas compelling her to testify about her integral role in the U.S. Attorney scandal. She has cited a request from Bush as her reason enough to ignore Congress.