That would be John Fund, Laura Ingraham, George Will, and Charles Krauthammer, as well as many others.
Harriet Miers has withdrawn. What I will be watching for now:
- Will so-called "movement conservatives" re-join the fold and work with the White House, or will they demand even greater fealty from President Bush?
- Will this victory encourage them in their view of the presidency as simply a cog in machinery they set up and which is somehow beholden to them?
- Are they interested in healing the rift that has occurred, or will they simply charge ahead?
- Will they be gracious about this? Do people like Ingraham and will have that kind of graciousness in them?
- For answers to the above, watch the comments of Ingraham, Fund, Krauthammer, and the bow-tied one.
- Will the left now be able to paint the next nominee as an extremist whom President Bush was forced to nominate by the right ring of his party, which controls him? Chuck Shumer was already saying last night that if Miers withdraws, that will show how much "sway" the right has on Bush. Expect this attack to intensify.
- Will President Bush, who deserves to be mightily annoyed at the hard right intelligentsia and commentariat, nominate someone totally acceptable to them, or will he try to stuff an Alberto Gonzalez down their throats? I would love to see Michael McConnell, but unlike many of my conservative brethren, I am still willing to recognize that the White House has access to information about confirmability that I don't have. I hope Bush acts with more grace and responsibility than his conservative opponents have shown.
- Perhaps most important: Has the anti-Miers attack legitimized "borking?" Make no mistake, the right borked Miers, big-time. Has the NRO Corner crowd and their followers now made ideology a legitimate basis for opposing a nominee? For more thoughts on this see Hugh Hewitt's post, which he put up prior to news of Miers' withdrawal.
I will now tune in Laura Ingraham to listen to her congratulate the president on having the wisdom and courage to recognize his mistake and do her bidding. I will try not to gag.
More seriously, I hope center-right Republicans (and the hard right, who sometimes are willing to call themselves Republicans) can put this behind us. The keys to success in that effort are held primarily by those who so ardently (and foolishly, I believe) mounted this unprecedented campaign to stop Miers before she could even have hearings.
What a mess.
UPDATE: I'm just back from my morning run, during which I listened to Laura Ingraham. (Well, I did have to switch to a music station a couple of times when she got insufferable.) She met my very low expectations. Lots of self-congratulation. David Frum and Robert Bork were both on. Frum, who certainly does have a smarmy way about him, sees this as a great day. Laura happily speculated that Bork was probably doing a "Snoopy dance" on his bed when he heard the news.
I was especially taken by Laura's expression of puzzlement that Arlen Specter would say the conservatives' attacks on Miers were "disgraceful." Laura thinks she has been very proper in her treatment of Miers. Well, I sure have heard a lot of laughter an ridicule coming from that show over the last three weeks.
When I stopped listening, Laura was launching into a fairly stentorian rant about how "the people" stopped this nomination. "The people" are smarter than all those silly commentators who thought this nomination would actually get to hearings. Laura, George Will, David Frum, Charles Krauthammer: the oracles of "the people." That's Dartmouth, Princeton, Harvard, and Harvard. Yup. Oracles of the people.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Okie on the Lam (still my favorite blog title of all time) has a fine collection of thinking on this development. My favorite is this one from the Anchoress, who was actually undecided about Miers:
Believe me, whatever President Bush did “to himself,” however he has hurt his presidency by daring to nominate someone outside the pre-approved list - whatever misstep he has made - the chatterers on the right have also done plenty to hurt themselves. Their behavior over this nomination often strayed too far into personal invective and high-school sneering, and for some of us watching from the sidelines, some conservative “lights” have dimmed remarkably in our regard. While the defensive “we are NOT elitists” continued to ring out, one only had to read George Will, or a few others, to understand how very, very well some of these folks regard themselves. They regard themselves so well (and regard the rest of us too stupid to fall in line with them) that they literally made my flesh crawl. (”She’s not one of us…“)
Read her entire post. It takes the cake.