In an article in today’s New York Times entitled “When a President is Not Spoiling for a Fight,” journalist Richard Stevenson practically called President Bush a chicken for nominating Harriet E. Miers to the Supreme Court:
“There is still much to learn about Harriet E. Miers, but in naming her to the Supreme Court, President Bush revealed something about himself: that he has no appetite, at a time when he and his party are besieged by problems, for an all-out ideological fight.”
“By instead settling on a loyalist with no experience as a judge and little substantive record on abortion, affirmative action, religion and other socially divisive issues, Mr. Bush shied away from a direct confrontation with liberals and in effect asked his base on the right to trust him on this one.”
In the Times’ view, the Miers pick is indicative of a president in dire trouble:
“‘The swagger is gone from this White House,’ said Charles E. Cook Jr., editor of The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan newsletter, citing a litany of other difficulties afflicting the administration, including high gasoline prices and the failure of Mr. Bush's push to overhaul Social Security. ‘They know they have horrible problems and they came up with the least risky move they could make.’"
Yet, maybe most curious was a departure from asking the president to make a pick that would unite rather than divide. Instead, the Times appears to be disappointed that this nomination would not start a war in Washington:
“Their conclusion is that Bush and his advisers decided he can ill afford a bruising fight and possible filibuster over his Supreme Court nominee -- that could poison the atmosphere for months to come and jeopardize his entire agenda.”