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O'Reilly Mum on Who's to Blame for Miers' Withdrawal

Reported by Judy - October 27, 2005

From listening to Bill O'Reilly Thursday night (October 27, 2005), you'd never know it was the radical right that made George Bush pull the plug on Harriet Miers' nomination to replace Sandra Day O'Connor on the U.S. Supreme Court. The reason is obvious: O'Reilly does not want to admit that the radical right rejected Miers because of her stand on abortion.

In his Talking Points Memo, O'Reilly said Miers was "thrown over board" by George Bush and never given a chance to explain her positions. The excuse of not wanting to turn over documents about her work as his lawyer was "bogus," O'Reilly said. The real reason Bush dumped her, he said, was that "Miss Miers had become a big problem." O'Reilly, however, never explained what made Miers a "big problem" or for whom she was a big problem.

In fact, O'Reilly tried to make it sound like somehow Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts was to blame. He ridiculed Kennedy's comment that Republicans were "mean" to Miers and that they had imposed a "litmus test" on her. "This is extra special as Kennedy is the crown price of litmus tests," O'Reilly said.

One of O'Reilly's guests, Ann Coulter, in at least her second appearance on Fox News today, also tried to shift the blame to Democrats, noting that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada had recommended her to Bush.

O'Reilly allowed both Fox News analyst Juan Williams to weigh in on the issue. Williams said Republicans were unfair to Miers and that the fiasco was becoming "a far-right Donner Party. They're eating their young." He noted that even Republicans like John Warner and Arlen Specter complained about her treatment.

In a follow-up segment, pollster Dick Morris called the withdrawal of Miers "a relief" because it was based on the issue of competence rather than ideology. "It wasn't that she was to left or to right, but that she was not experienced enough in constitutional law," he said. Morris recommended that Bush make his next pick from the list of cirrcuit court judges already confirmed by the Senate to lower courts.

The whole episode was an exercise in deluding the public. Miers was not dumped because someone thought she was incompetent. She was dumped because far-right groups feared she was pro-choice. In other words, they imposed a litmus test on her, after attacking Democrats for years for rejecting judges who were anti-abortion.

O'Reilly can try to avoid the truth, but there is too much evidence to the contrary. A website formed to pressure Miers to withdraw listed these quotes from Republican senators who were unhappy with her pick:

Senator Jeff Session: "I am uneasy about where we are."

Senator Norm Coleman: "I certainly go into this with concerns."

Senator Trent Lott: "I do have difficulty with this nominee.''

Senator John Thune: "There is an awful lot of Republican senators who are saying we are going to wait and see."

Among the organizers of the website were Phyllis Schlafly and Concerned Women for America, whose leader, Jan LaRue, complained that "Miss Miers' record, as reflected in her speeches, is of promoting a leftist agenda that relies upon the courts to impose their views…We’d prefer to have someone fond of quoting Margaret Thatcher or Antonin Scalia rather than Barbra Streisand and Gloria Steinem. Some of Miss Miers’ own comments border on male-bashing.” Wendy Wright of the same group also complained about Miers, “…Though she attends an Evangelical church known for its pro-life position, during the same time period she advanced radical feminists and organizations that promote agendas that undermine respect for life and family…”

The right-wing has its own litmus test -- opposition to abortion -- and Miers failed it. If the far-right can reject a nominee because of his or her ideology, it's fair for the left to do so as well. Her nomination was sunk as soon as evidence of her pro-Roe speech surfaced. It's also obvious that all the Republican chatter about nominees deserving "an up or down vote" no longer mattered when it was their radical right base that did not like the nominee.

It's clear that Bush is so badly weakened by the numerous scandals in his administration that he cannot afford any unhappiness in his base so he had to dump Miers. His next nominee will be picked to please the radical right and no one else. Democrats have ever right to oppose and filibuster a nominee from the political fringes since Republicans have shown their own willingness to deny nominees their precious "up or down vote" if they don't like their ideology.

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