Robert Novak has a bizarre column today regarding the flagging Harriet Miers nomination.
As best as I can tell, he thinks Democrats should help out the Bush administration and save them from their own incompetence.
To wit, Novak says that conservative Republicans are back on board with the nomination, feeling that they must save their president as he threatens to slip under the political waters.
But that does not guarantee her confirmation. Ahead are hearings of unspeakable ugliness that can be prevented only if Democratic senators exercise unaccustomed restraint.
And what form will this “unspeakable ugliness” take? Democrats might ask probing questions about Miers’ background and the lobbying effort surrounding her nomination.
Will the Judiciary Committee Democrats insist on putting under oath two Texas judges who are alleged to have guaranteed during a conference call of Christian conservatives that Miers would vote to overturn Roe vs. Wade? Will the Democrats dig into Miers' alleged interference nine years ago as Texas Lottery Commission chairman intended to save then-Gov. Bush from political embarrassment?
Why should the Democrats show restraint here? Are these subjects way off-base to cover?
Officials charged with winning Miers' confirmation told me neither of these issues is troublesome, but in fact they suggest incompetence and neglect by the White House. To permit a conference call with scores of participants hearing close associates of the nominee predict her vote on abortion is incompetent. To nominate somebody implicated in a state lottery dispute in the past without carefully considering the consequences goes beyond incompetence to arrogant neglect.
So to sum up: Democratic senators should show “unaccustomed restraint” by not pursuing seemingly reasonable avenues of inquiry that were left open because of the administration’s “incompetence and arrogant neglect.” And if the Ds don’t show this restraint, “unspeakable ugliness” will ensue.