Wednesday, October 26, 2005

No speaka the English, I only do the math

Here is the Senate Judiciary Committee. The committee has ten Republicans and eight Democrats. Here is a list of concerned souls from a helpful site called WithdrawMiers.org.

From WithdrawMiers, we can count three Republican senators on the committee (Brownback, Graham and Sessions) who have "expressed reservations" about Miers. Brownback, I have noted, has a particular political interest in opposing her. There are at least two other Republicans on the committee--Specter and DeWine--who are self-styled moderates with no good reason for supporting the White House on this nominee.

Take Specter. He emerged from his meeting with Miers with the announcement that she acknowledged a constitutional right to privacy, an announcement he was forced to retract when a panicky White House informed him that she acknowledged no such thing. This was a face-losing political spanking for Specter, and he told reporters that he will bring up the subject in the hearings. ("My recollection of our meeting differs from what Ms. Miers's recollection is," Specter said, "...I am going to go over it with her.") Think he's an assured vote? Me neither.

And Dewine! He's staring at lousy poll numbers and a possible challenge from Iraq war veteran Paul Hackett for his seat next year. Opposing Miers would be a cost-free opportunity for DeWine to separate himself (at least symbolically) from Bush's sinking ship.

That makes five uncertain Republican votes, and from what I can see, not one easily swayed Democrat. Those who voted for Roberts (Leahy, Feingold) did so on the strength of his qualifications and intelligence; it's hard to see them being wowed by Miers' similar qualities. And it's extremely hard to see anyone who opposed Roberts (Kennedy, Schumer) deciding that Miers is more fit.

That's the math. Five wavering Republicans where two 'no' votes would potentially sink the nomination. So we're into the territory of when she is withdrawn and how the White House decides to handle it.

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