On Withdrawing Miers
Peggy Noonan has called for President Bush to withdraw his nomination of Harriet Miers (or for Ms. Miers to withdraw herself). While she believes such a move doubtful, she does offer a forecast of what would happen next.
The White House, after the Miers withdrawal/removal/disappearance, would be well advised to call in leaders of the fractious base–with heavy initial emphasis on the Washington conservative establishment–and have some long talks about the future. It’s time for the administration to reach out to wise men and women, time for Roosevelt Room gatherings of the conservative clans. Much old affection remains, and respect lingers, but a lot of damage has been done. The president has three years yet to serve. That, I think, is the subtext of recent battles: Conservatives want to modify and, frankly, correct certain administration policies now, while there’s time. The White House can think of this–and should think of it–as an unanticipated gift. A good fight can clear the air; a great battle can result in resolution and recommitment. No one wants George W. Bush turned into Jimmy Carter, or nobody should. The world is a dangerous place, and someone has to lead America.
The fear among conservatives (at least this one) is that in an attempt to avert a partisan political fight over a conservative judge with a paper-trail, he has instead instigated a political fight between he and his base and may have broken the last, crucial bit of the covenant he had with conservatives. Without this political base, how will George Bush accomplish the rest of his agenda for his final term?