I've been reading all of the pro and con commentary in the Blogosphere and the MSM from fellow members of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy and, while I sympathize mainly with those who believe Bush has missed an historic opportunity by not nominating a Brown, McConnell or Luttig, it appears to me most everybody is missing the fundamental point.
That point is this: As long as the Senate GOP leadership refuses to confront head-on the Democrats' abuse of the filibuster and end it, the Democrats have a veto if they choose to use it. And choose it they will for any nominee short of one with an undeniably perfect record - John Roberts - or one with no record at all, Harriet Miers.
Bush knows all hell would break loose politically if he nominated a candidate from the Old Guard wing of the GOP who would satisfy the Senate Democrats. Such a move would likely spark a revolt among the GOP's conservative infrastructure (note, it's not just "the base"). The resulting Senate GOP majority of one or two and a paltry five or six in the House would mean Bush would twiddle his thumbs for the last two years of his White House residency.
So faced with a certain filibuster, which would quickly become bitter and impassable so long as the Senate GOP continued to shake in its boots and be terrified at the prospect of actually confronting the Democrats, Bush has only two choices.
Nobody expects the GOP majority on the Senate Judiciary Committee to vote the Miers nomination down and barring a miracle, her utter lack of written commentary anywhere in the known world deprives the Democrats of the usual ideological reasons to vote no. About all they have left is arguing that she lacks the appropriate "judicial temprament" or that she is another Abe Fortas presidential crony. Those last two dogs just won't hunt, as Slick Willie might say.
Put simply, with Frist and the Senate GOP leadership, we get a Roberts or a Miers. There is no in-between.
Cross-posted at Tapscott's Copy Desk.