[Note- I've had this post in mind for about 5 days, but wanted to wait until I had time to do it justice. I'm not going to get the time, so I'm just throwing it out there in rough form.]
Everything I think I know about President Bush tells me there is no possible way he will withdraw the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. First, his sense of honor, character and loyalty would not let him do it. Miers has given up a tremendous amount of income at the height of her career to serve Bush. Since her nomination, she has been slandered and belittled. I imagine that the White House has been shocked at the brutality with which she has been knifed in the back. If the public does not get to see her testify at hearings, all that will ever be known about her are the claims that she is "third-rate", incompetent and unqualified. Her reputation and future career as a top-notch lawyer, built over a lifetime of hard work, will be completely trashed. I don't see how she could be anywhere near as effective in securing the top drawer clientele she attracted in the past, if she doesn't get to testify. No matter how politically expedient some might argue it would be for Bush to get rid of her now, I just can't see him doing that to her.
Second, the President understands that the real end game is the vote of the Senate. All the gnashing of teeth and hissy fits by pundits and bloggers is ultimately meaningless. Clarence Thomas has survived a far more devastating personal assault for many years. He has risen above it all and continues to do good work on the Court. I imagine Miers and Bush are prepared to put up with the personal attacks against her, comfortable in the knowledge that, once confirmed, she can be a productive justice, too. And Bush has a far better feel for who is holding the cards in this poker game than the pundits screaming for her scalp. This hand will be won privately, one senator at a time, not in the court of public opinion. In the end, Bush knows that few in the GOP want to go on record with their constituents back home as having rejected his nominee. I don't think he will let them sink his friend behind closed doors. They will have to stand up and cast their votes on the record. I think and Bush likely knows that few will vote no.
Third, withdrawing the nomination without a hearing would vindicate the backstabbing Chicken Littles. For many of the conservatives who have joined the assault on Miers, the real target is Bush. I don't think it would be wise for W to allow those attacking him to claim a victory over him without cost. Obviously, the White House is convinced that Miers will do well when the nation tunes in to hear her. Even if the nomination is not confirmed, I suspect (and Bush likely believes) that her performance will put the lie to much of criticism and many of her critics will be revealed as having been harsh and mean-spirited. Many viewers will probably conclude that the anti-Miers forces were wrong in their descriptions of her. What else are they wrong about? It can only help Bush to have his critics cut down to size as a result of having their credibility placed in question.
Liberals have been misunderestimating W for his entire political career. I find it remarkable to see so many conservatives now making the same mistake. George W. Bush is the anti-Clinton. He doesn't bend with the prevailing wind. We have seen him persevere against the conventional wisdom on issue after issue for five years. I fully expect that he will stand strong and tough on the Miers nomination and see it through to her confirmation.
Given his record, only a fool would bet against him.
Finally, is it really politically advantageous to Bush to cut her loose now? How does it help him? The confirmation process may very well be contentious, but I'm not convinced that he doesn't benefit from it all. Can he get hurt more than he is right now? I think withdrawing now would be selling at the bottom of a bear market.
UPDATE (Wed morning):
Welcome to Powerline, Hugh Hewitt, Hedgehog and Red State readers (and thanks for the links). I appreciate the commenters and e-mailers who express their agreement and disagreement with thought and courtesy.
Later today I'm planning a post to respond to the points of disagreement and outline where I think the right side of the political spectrum diverged onto alternative paths. Hope you can check back this afternoon.
Again, thanks for your responses, both pro and con. Those who point out my errors help me improve and I certainly need to do a lot of improving (just ask my wife).
NOTE: Everyone needs to check out D J Drummond's take which I referenced here
2nd UPDATE -- and hello to those from Betsy, Memeorandum, and Alexandra (and a big thank you to them).