Relentless Pursuit of Wisdom and Liberty

The weblog companion of, dedicated to pondering, "If Patrick Henry could see us now..."

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Miers, Bush, and ... Charlie Weis???

First, let me get this part out of the way: I don't know enough about Harriet Miers to have an opinion on whether she'll be a great judge who will bring an originalist interpretation to the SCOTUS or the complete opposite. So in that respect, I don't oppose the nomination. But I do know enough about Janice Rogers Brown to know that she absolutely would have brought that interpretation to the Court, so in that respect, I'm a little disappointed.

A few of the more common points being made regarding this nomination are (from those who are disappointed) that we should have gotten the Scalia/Thomas disciple like the President said he would appoint and (from those who trust the President and his nomination) that with the President's back against the wall with low approval ratings due to Iraq, Katrina/FEMA/Mike Brown, etc. this was the best (read: pragmatic) nominee we could hope for without a protracted, potentially damaging knock-down drag-out confirmation fight and we should just trust him that he knows what he's doing. National Review's Jonah Goldberg made a stellar point today (and I'm sure others have made it but they've been lost in the landslide of op-eds and blog posts the last few days):
But President Bush has put himself in the awkward position of asking his base to trust him at precisely the moment the base was expecting Bush to demonstrate their trust was well-founded in the first place.
What in the world does this have to do with Notre Dame football coach Charlie Weis, you say? Simple. Charlie Weis also made a promise, to someone who would have trusted him with their own life and happiness. He promised a dying 10-year-old ND fan that he'd run Joe Montana's pass play on the first offensive play two Saturdays ago. He also found himself with his back to the wall, where keeping his promise meant risking changing a very bad situation into a potentially very damaging one. His team was on their own 1-yard-line, a situation you never pass from, especially on first down. The difference is, where Coach Weis said, "Damn the torpedoes, we're keeping our promise come hell or high water," the President essentially said, "Trust me, even though it looks like I'm breaking my word."

Now it may turn out that Miers will turn out to be a justice in the Scalia/Thomas mold, and say what you will about the difference in stakes between a football game and a SCOTUS nomination (Luke 16:10 comes to mind here) but at this point in time it's very easy to see the practical effect of the two different responses: Weis's fanbase was energized, and he gained newfound respect from loads of people outside of his normal channels of influence, while Bush's base is disillusioned and disappointed, some even vocally railing against him.


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