Sunday, October 09, 2005

MIERS ENDGAME It now seems increasingly likely that a handful of conservative senators will oppose the Miers nomination. And the number of Miers opponents within Republican ranks may very well grow larger.

I've taken a pretty clear position on the Miers issue: Unless she demonstrates an easy familiarity with constitutional law and a sophisticated, mainstream judicial philosophy, she should not be confirmed.

But for those of us who yearn for a Return to Seriousness in government--and understand that a climate of seriousness is impossible without Democratic control of Congress (or at least one of its chambers)--the political calculus offered by the Miers nomination is not so clearcut.

Because if Miers is defeated, and conservatives play a central role in her defeat, the right wing of the Republican party will emerge emboldened and empowered.

On the other hand, if Miers squeaks through with the support of a slim majority of Republicans joined by a minority of Democrats, the Republican base will be demoralized. They'll likely spend 2006 on the sidelines.

And that would set the stage for a Democratic rout in the mid-terms.

So what's a serious-minded Democrat to do? As I've said, I hope Miers gets voted down unless she proves that she deserves to be on the court.

But I also hope Harry Reid and friends are looking a few moves ahead on the chess board.

CONTRAPOSITIVE is edited by Dan Aibel. Dan's a playwright. He lives in New York City.