Sunday, October 09, 2005

Harry Reid needs to step down

Senator Harry Reid is unfit to hold a leadership position in the Democratic Party. Harriet Miers is precisely the worst nightmare of a Supreme Court nomination for the Democrats. Not only will she jump at the chance to overturn Roe v. Wade — even if the case is about utility taxes — there cannot be the slightest doubt that, at least for the remainder of his term as President, Harriet Miers will vote exactly the way that George W. Bush wants her to. In essence, Bush will win by 5–4 on votes that would have been 4–5 with an honest unbiased jurist in the seat.

Even if Harriet Miers has far greater intellectual gravitas than I give her credit for, the fact remains that she lacks the experience necessary to serve on the Supreme Court. The obvious way to obtain that experience is by working as an appellate judge, but there are other paths. I would gladly support John McCain for Supreme Court, if Bush wanted to keep the seat Arizonan even if not finding a woman or ethnic minority. Someone who has a long career in lawmaking, either as a Senator or Representative or governor, may have the necessary breadth and depth to leap directly to the Supreme Court. Someone who has been a glorified cleaning lady in the Bush Administration fails that test miserably.

Of course President Bush should have seen that Harriet Miers was a disastrous nominee. However, there is even less excuse for Harry Reid's failure to recognize it. In line with what I told President Bush, the only way for Harry Reid to maintain any credibility is to say, "I made a mistake, I hoped that the confirmation would be a smooth process, and I jumped the gun. On careful consideration, I see that Harriet Miers is the wrong person for the job." If he can't do that on the Sunday morning talk shows, the Democratic Senate caucus should convene on Monday to select his replacement as Minority Leader.

America has seen the results of George W. Bush's runaway cronyism. On something like a Supreme Court vacancy, playing lapdog is exactly the wrong instinct for an opposition leader.