Thursday, October 27, 2005

Exeunt Miers, Hannibal Ante Portas, Finis Astros

Lots of news this morning. By letter to the President dated this morning, Harriet Miers requested that her nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court be withdrawn. Ms. Miers attributed her decision to probable demands by the Senate for documents concerning her tenure as Counsel to the President which would be protected by executive privilege. The President’s statement accepting her decision states that Ms. Miers will remain as White House Counsel.

Ms. Miers’s decision to withdraw her nomination extracts the President from a political jam, and is welcome. Given the lack of support for Ms. Miers among Republican Senators and interest groups; and the President’s other problems at the moment, her withdrawal was a political necessity. Her graceful exit should be remembered, and rewarded by the President at the proper time.

As readers of this blog may remember, I have said before that Ms. Miers would not have been my own choice, but I believe, and continue to believe, that the President’s choice was entitled to consideration by the Senate, and to support from the President’s party and supporters unless and until hearings showed her unworthy. Criticism and skepticism about the choice is one thing, but the degree of piling-on by certain persons who ought to have known better has been shameful. To preserve his own position, the President will need to, eventually, retaliate politically against those most obnoxious in this business.

In all probability, however, this will have to wait awhile, because Hannibal is at the gates. The Justice Department Special Counsel looking into the Plame business, Patrick Fitzgerald, has stated that there will be no announcement from his office today. The term of his Grand Jury expires tomorrow unless extended. One interpretation of Mr. Fitzgerald’s Delphic “no announcement” statement” would be that that indictments, possibly of persons in the White House or in the Vice-President’s office – will be forthcoming on the marrow. The President, and those under threat, are being given a day to get their affairs in order.

The Plame matter is completely ludicrous, but the President will need the united support of all conservatives and Republicans. Consequently, prepare for a solidly conservative nominee, and a titanic fight in the Senate. On the other hand, if Mr. Fitzgerald’s Grand Jury expires without indictments, at least of administration personnel, issuing, the President is in a much stronger position to pay back persons who have recently made themselves odious.

On the local front, the Chicago White Sox swept the World Series last night, sinking the poor Astros in Houston. El Jefe is not a huge baseball fan, but he commiserates with his fellow disappointed Houstonians this morning, and longtime Astros fans everywhere (including the Heir and SWMBO), who so wanted a winner. In truth, the Astros did magnificently to even get to the World Series, and that feat alone is worth congratulations. Maybe next year.

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