Monday, October 24, 2005

Harriet Miers is Tony Womack

Thinking about the Harriet Miers nomination has given me some insight into my own political leanings. But not in a substantive sense, but rather on an emotional level. During the weeks since the White House announced the nomination the questions, gaffes and missteps have continued to accumulate. The inadequate Senate questionnaire, appeals to her religious background to indicate conservative bona fides, concerns about her dealings with Ben Barnes (the source of the National Guard memos last year) while head of the Texas Lottery Commission. All on top of the obvious questions about her qualifications and charges of cronyism. I've become increasingly frustrated both with the choice of Miers and the way the White House has gone about defending her. As this has gone on I've had the urge to tune the story out, just to avoid the frustration.

I realize the reaction is very much akin to the one I have when my baseball team goes through a bad stretch. Even though I'm a huge baseball fan, when the team goes through a period where nothing seems to go right it's just not as much fun to turn on the ballgame. Even more so when the reason for the losing is the fact that they're pitching Kevin Brown every fifth day or hitting left fielder Tony Womack in the lead off spot - choices that anyone paying attention could have predicted would turn out poorly.

Make no mistake - Harriet Miers is a Tony Womack. Womack is a lousy hitter and a merely adequate fielder whose only redeeming attribute was basestealing ability. Miers has only moderate professional credentials, minimal government service, no judicial or meaningful appellate experience and her only "redeeming" quality is how well the President knows her. This season Womack played as well as one would have expected given his record - he was one of the worst everyday players in the league (87 out of 994 according to VORP). The Miers nomination is similarly going in a way that someone (or more specifically the White House) could have predicted. According to VORP, Womack was rated 9 runs worse than a replacement left fielder, with replacement meaning the generic player that any team could find in the minors. Miers appears to be a worse SCOTUS nominee than a generic appeals court judge nominated by a Republican president.

The question is what happens next? The Yankees saw the error of their ways mid-season and relegated Womack to the bench for pinch hitting duties. This was one reason (out of many) that the Yankees turned their season around and ended up finishing atop the American League East (well, tied anyway). Will President Bush see the error of his ways and withdraw this nomination in time to save it? Is the George in the White House more or less stubborn than the George who is the Boss in the Bronx?

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