Maryland Blogger Alliance

Alliance FAQs

Latest MBA Posts

October 21, 2005

Miers in Vietnam?

Latest weird analogy: The Miers nomination as Vietnam. Charles Krauthammer has an "exit strategy."

Yes, I know. Krauthammer never mentions Vietnam, but we all know where the idea of "exit strategy" comes from.

The Krauthammer "exit strategy" is that when senators demand privileged documents from the White House about Miers's tenure there, the White House refuses to turn them over, and the nomination effectively can't go forward. As Krauthammer puts it:

For a nominee who, unlike John Roberts, has practically no record on constitutional issues, such documentation is essential for the Senate to judge her thinking and legal acumen. But there is no way that any president would release this kind of information -- "policy documents" and "legal analysis" -- from such a close confidante. It would forever undermine the ability of any president to get unguarded advice.

That creates a classic conflict, not of personality, not of competence, not of ideology, but of simple constitutional prerogatives: The Senate cannot confirm her unless it has this information. And the White House cannot allow release of this information lest it jeopardize executive privilege.

Hence the perfectly honorable way to solve the conundrum: Miers withdraws out of respect for both the Senate and the executive's prerogatives, the Senate expresses appreciation for this gracious acknowledgment of its needs and responsibilities, and the White House accepts her decision with the deepest regret and with gratitude for Miers's putting preservation of executive prerogative above personal ambition.

Faces saved. And we start again.
This is not a totally unlikely scenario, after all. Previous fights (Estrada, Roberts) have involved documents from the nominee's tenure in the Solicitor General's office. Those documents involve internal deliberations on legal positions to be taken by the government. With possible rare exceptions, they are far less sensitive than White House documents, which potentially may involve terrorism, national security, and broader confidential presidential strategery.

As my grandmother would say, "This all should have been discussed earlier." Still, it seems quite possible that this is the road we are traveling down. If it is, I sure hope we reach the end of the road before the hearings begin. Because, given what we've seen already from the nominee, the hearings can only be worse.