So in presenting Harriet Miers to the public in his rare press conference yesterday, the President's message was, basically, "trust me." And that was about it.
But as we now know from yesterday's New York Times, the White House had quite a bit more than that to say to right-wing fundamentalist leaders. Here are the money quotes:
Karl Rove, the president's top political adviser, started calling influential social conservatives to reassure them about the pick even before it was announced. He called James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, over the weekend, and Richard Land, a top public policy official of the Southern Baptist Convention on Monday morning.
By day's end, Dobson, one of the most influential evangelical conservatives, welcomed the nomination. "Some of what I know I am not at liberty to talk about," he said.
So if it's such good news, such positive information, why keep it a secret? Why not share it with the whole class?
And why should Dobson have more information than U.S. Senators who have, you know, a constitutionally-mandated role to play? As Senator Ken Salazar said, "if they're making information available to Dr. Dobson, whom I respect and disagree with from time to time, I believe that information should be shared equally with a U.S. Senator."
From Dobson's quote, it sounds like the information was given in confidence, so maybe he feels he can't break his promise not to tell. So here's my proposal to make things easier: since they're all the rage these days, the White House should grant a waiver of confidentiality to Dobson to put him more "at liberty" to share with the rest of us, and with the Senate, what information made him come to like Ms. Miers so much.
And just in case Dobson might have trouble believing that the waiver was genuine, we could have Judy Miller listen in on the conversation, and, by judging the timbre of Karl's or George's voice, tell us whether it was, in fact, a heartfelt waiver. After all, we know she's got the gift: ("This was a call," he said, "that lasted about 15 minutes, and Judy could measure the timbre and tone of the source's response and real feelings regarding whether or not he was being coerced and whether or not he really wanted her to testify.")