Tuesday, October 11, 2005

What isn't in the Miers paper trail

There is a ton o' bipartisan buzz about the sycophantic drivel disclosed in the handful of documents the White House has handed over to the Senate about their hopelessley outgunned Supreme Court nominee.

Harriet Miers, President Bush's nominee for the Supreme Court, quickly developed a deep and almost gushing admiration for her boss from her earliest days in Texas government.

"You are the best governor ever - deserving of great respect!" she wrote in 1997, in a belated birthday note that was typical of the tone she used in her correspondence with then-Gov. Bush.

The letter was one of a handful of personal notes included in more than 2,000 pages of documents released Monday by the Texas State Library - most of them routine legal memos, press releases and transcripts. The letters offer a rare glimpse into the mutual admiration that sprung up between Miers and Bush after they began working together on Bush's first campaign for Texas governor in 1994.

All the scorn and derision are appropriate and, I think, encouraging. We have reached an important inflection point in the death spiral of the Bush presidency when right and left agree that the very thing that led Bush to pick Miers -- her blind, unblinking hero worship of the intellectual dwarf who hired her -- is persuasive evidence of her unsuitability for the job.

But there is something even more troubling in the slim folio of documents from which the Senate is supposed to divine her suitability for a seat on the highest court in the land -- or, rather, something that isn't there. Where is the evidence of Miers' legal skills? Put aside abortion and other hot-button issues -- where is evidence of the analytical ability, language facility and basic judgment we expect of a state court trial court judge?

When a fiftyish woman gushes "You are the best governor ever - deserving of great respect!" like a schoolgirl writing in a high school yearbook, and there is no countervailing record of gravitas, the evidence compels the conclusion that the author, like her sponsor, is an intellecual lightweight.


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