NY Times wrongly suggested only "the left" accused Bush of cronyism in Miers nomination


An October 5 New York Times article by reporters Elisabeth Bumiller and David D. Kirkpatrick wrongly suggested that President Bush's nomination of White House counsel Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court has drawn accusations of cronyism from only "the left." In fact, critics from across the political spectrum, including numerous conservative commentators and activists, have accused Bush of cronyism in nominating Miers.

According to Bumiller and Kirkpatrick, Bush's nomination of Miers has drawn "complaints on the right that she was not conservative enough and from accusations on the left that she was a White House crony unqualified for the job." The article's characterization of the partisan divide over Miers ignored comments by numerous conservative figures suggesting that Miers garnered the nomination based largely on her relationship with Bush. On October 3, Weekly Standard editor William Kristol wrote that Miers's nomination "will unavoidably be judged as reflecting a combination of cronyism and capitulation on the part of the president." MSNBC analyst and former Republican presidential candidate Pat Buchanan wrote of Miers in his October 3 nationally syndicated column: "Were she not a friend of Bush, and female, she would never have even been considered."

In his October 4 nationally syndicated column, National Review editor Rich Lowry wrote: "President Bush struck a blow for diversity on the Supreme Court by picking White House Counsel Harriet Miers as his latest nominee. Bush thus made a strong statement that the Court has room for highly distinguished justices and not-so-distinguished justices, for nominees who have made their reputations in the wider legal world and for nominees people have hardly heard of, for world-class lawyers and for lawyers he happens to know and like." In an October 3 entry on her weblog, conservative pundit Michelle Malkin opined that Miers was "so transparently a crony/'diversity' pick." In a later October 3 entry, Malkin noted that "[nationally syndicated radio host] Rush [Limbaugh] made a half-hearted attempt to frame the cronyism concern as liberal MSM [mainstream media]-generated. But the concern is as strong, if not stronger on the right than on the left."

As Media Matters for America noted, Phyllis Schlafly, founder of the conservative Eagle Forum, criticized the Miers nomination, saying: "We don't know anything about her, other than that she is a friend of Bush."

On October 5, Washington Post op-ed columnist George F. Will wrote:

It is important that Miers not be confirmed unless, in her 61st year, she suddenly and unexpectedly is found to have hitherto undisclosed interests and talents pertinent to the court's role. Otherwise the sound principle of substantial deference to a president's choice of judicial nominees will dissolve into a rationalization for senatorial abdication of the duty to hold presidents to some standards of seriousness that will prevent them from reducing the Supreme Court to a private plaything useful for fulfilling whims on behalf of friends.

Posted In
Government, Nominations & Appointments
Supreme Court Nominations, Miers Nomination
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