Monday, November 13, 2006

Did Miers Opposition Lose Congress?

At the time that NRO led the charge to bork Harriet Miers, I noted that none of the borkers seemed to have bothered doing a cost-benefit analysis before going after her scalp. I wrote:
I am really shocked and appalled at the failure of the anti-Miers bloggers to appreciate the costs of killing her nomination. All they seem to focus on is the benefit they perceive. Surely, they can't be so blind to the potential costs?
The anti-Miers forces saw a Supreme Court nominee who failed to meet their standards. They hammered and hammered the president until Ms. Miers' nomination was withdrawn. And now, everything is all better.

At what cost? Is it possible that some damage might have been incurred somewhere? Doesn't anyone have any interest in exploring what that damage might be? Or even admit that it exists. In fact, wouldn't it have been a good idea to think about the cost side a little before the borking commenced?

The most important cost I focused on dealt with the war. And I still think that the biggest negative impact from borking Miers was the damage done to our war effort. But I pointed out potential political costs, as well:
There are, of course, many other potential costs. For example, political initiatives which conservatives favor are likely to be damaged because the president has been weakened. And the perception of weakness cannot be helpful for GOP election efforts in 2006.

I don't have the numbers at hand, but my recollection is that President Bush's approval ratings took a serious hit as a result of the Miers borking and basically never really recovered. More importantly, the self-inflicted damage to the GOP served to really energize Democrats. It was at that point a little over a year ago, that the Democrats really started to believe they could make serious headway in the 2006 mid-terms.

And now we know what happened on election day. Anyone looking for reasons can find a lot more than the Miers borking upon which to blame the GOP losses. But given how close some of the elections were and how closely the Senate is split, any single one could have been a difference maker.

I have no doubt that the borkers are still adamant that their opposition to Miers was the right thing to do. Alito will likely be a more conservative vote on the Court than Miers would have been. I just want history to hold them fully accountable for the costs, as well as the benefits, which resulted from their actions.


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