Oprah to the Court?


I knew Harriet Miers' never-married status would get some serious attention sooner or later, but I had no idea her friends would explain her situation as "very European" and "like Oprah." Does George Bush know about this?

Miers' long relationship with Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht elicts this unconventional description from a close friend:

The Rev. Ron Key, their pastor, said God called him to preach, not to play matchmaker. He said that in his long career as a minister, theirs was the only relationship that had ever tempted him to intervene.

"It's been great to watch—and a little puzzling sometimes," Key said. "Their relationship has been such a special one. Sometimes I think they wanted to protect how special it was by not getting married."

Another former law partner of Miers claims that, "If this was a man, no one would ask [the marriage] question." Not true, the issue came up with regard to David Souter, the New England cipher Warren Rudman pawned-off on Bush I.

And one woman who has known Miers since high school put the matter this way: "It's a New Age thing. Much like Oprah. She never married either."

OK, fair enough. But this is not helping Miers on a Peggy Noonan-constructed weirdo test. Noonan, of all people, frets that as the American people get a look at Miers they'll not quite understand her and only have Bush's "trust me" to fall back on:

If the American people decide she seems like a good person–sympathetic, wise, even-keeled, knowledgeable–she'll be in; and if not, not.

What everyone forgets about the case of Robert Bork in his confirmation hearings is that regular people watched him, listened to the workings of his fabulous and exotic mind, saw the intensity, the hunger for intellectual engagement, caught the whiff of brandy and cigars and angels dancing, noticed the unusual hair, the ambivalent whiskers, and thought, "Who's this weirdo?" They did the same thing with Arthur Liman in the Oliver North hearings. I am not saying Americans are swept by the superficial. I am saying Americans pick things up, and once they've picked them up, they don't easily put them down. Anyway, public opinion moves and then senators vote "no," or not.

But Noonan assumes Miers could come across as too Church Lady for America and Church Lady is clearly the aura the White House is trying to paint around Miers in hopes of calming religious consevatives. This is where the "very European," Oprah of the Oval Office thing gums up the works. Which is it? Real live people should not have to be reduced to such false categories, but that is what snap-shot politics does.

Because Bush chose to nominate someone without any public record, the fleeting snap-shots will have to do.

NEXT: Why Do Bush Supporters and Bush Detractors Both Hate America?

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  1. only in america would the idea too churchy be mentioned.Think of it,One nation under GOD.I GOD WE TRUST.AND MS MIER IS TOO CHURCHY…..LOL

  2. If we’re going to appoint a woman with no experience and little depth, why not Paris Hilton? She wouldn’t be too churchy. And I don’t think she’s doing anything right now.

  3. Are my ambivalent whiskers keeping me off SCOTUS? Would America balk at the sight of my petulant nose hairs? My phlegmatic arm hair?

    I just don’t get how Supremes are chosen, I guess.

  4. Uh, yeah, Ben. Only in America. In deeply devout places like, say, France, England, Austrialis, Germany, Spain, Italy, Canada, or Japan, they like their top tier political figures to wear habits and whip themselves with scourges. LOL.

  5. “fabulous and exotic mind,intens[e], the hunger for intellectual engagement…”

    And the public (read Noonan) saw this a weird. I suppose when you’re the master of treacle, exotic intellectual engagement is weird, if not downright alien.

  6. I was, like, eight during the Bork nomination fight. Can one of my elders answer a question for me:

    How much of a role did Bork’s role in the “Saturday Night Massacre” play in the Democratic opposition, either as text or subtext?

  7. Speaking of Church Lady, does anyone know if her church is one of those rabid about supporting Israel in hopes of greasing the skids to the prophecies in the book of Revelation?

  8. It marked him as a “bad guy,” joe, but the oppo had much for to do with fear the Roe was in mortal danger. After all, Bork had expressed doubts about Griswold v. Conn., the privacy decision that Roe grew out of.

    Toss in Iran-Contra, Howie Baker’s clumsy stint at the White House, and black leaders declaring Bork would “roll back” civil rights (thus scaring the bejesus out of Southern white Demos who needed their votes to turnout to keep the growing GOP at bay) and you really did not need to reach back to Watergate.

  9. joe,
    I’m one of your elders, but I can’t recall what got Bork borked. As I’ve posted earlier, I can’t get excited about the qualifications of the Supremes.
    How about Bill Bennett as a nominee? That would shut him up, eh?

  10. Speaking of Revelations, could it be goddess grew tired of waiting for GWB, and sent an earthquake to crush Osama?

  11. Hey, this is completely off-topic but it’s the weekend and nothing important and Libertarian ever happens over the weekend…

    The President, for whatever silly, childish reason, likes to give people nicknames. Now, I’m extremely curious to know what would happen if someone turned around and gave him one right back. As in, if it’s not threatening, can a common serf insult the President to his face? And what would happen? Would the Secret Service drag the person away in chains? Would they vanish to a secret Gulag? Is there a law against it? Obviously, members of the military could be punished, but what about common folk?

    I would assume that over the course of our nation’s history something like this would have happened. Does anyone know of a case and its result?

    Just something I was wondering about and so far I haven’t been able to dig up anything on the web, so I figured I’d come to the source of all knowledge and wisdom.

  12. I don’t read Noonan very often, but when I do I usually find her insightful. For me the best part of her column was this:

    “the real story continues to be that the president feels so free to stiff conservatives. The White House is not full of stupid people. They knew conservatives would be disappointed that the president chose his lawyer for the high court. They knew conservatives would eventually awaken over spending. They knew someone would tag them on putting friends in high places. They knew conservatives would not like the big-government impulses revealed in the response to Hurricane Katrina. The headline is not that this White House endlessly bows to the right but that it is not at all afraid of the right. Why? This strikes me as the most interesting question.

    Here are some maybes. Maybe the president has simply concluded he has no more elections to face and no longer needs his own troops to wage the ground war and contribute money. Maybe with no more elections to face he’s indulging a desire to show them who’s boss. Maybe he has concluded he has a deep and unwavering strain of support within the party that, come what may, will stick with him no matter what. Maybe he isn’t all that conservative a fellow, or at least all that conservative in the old, usual ways, and has been waiting for someone to notice. Maybe he has decided the era of hoping for small government is over. Maybe he is a big-government Republican who has a shrewder and more deeply informed sense of the right than his father did, but who ultimately sees the right not as a thing he is of but a thing he must appease, defy, please or manipulate. Maybe after five years he is fully revealing himself. Maybe he is unveiling a new path that he has not fully articulated–he’ll call the shots from his gut and leave the commentary to the eggheads. Maybe he’s totally blowing it with his base, and in so doing endangering the present meaning and future prospects of his party.”

    It is encouraging to see that there are conservatives out there that are actually engaging in critical thinking of Bush

  13. “As in, if it’s not threatening, can a common serf insult the President to his face?…Does anyone know of a case and its result? ”

    Johnny Clarke-
    There only one I can think of off the top of my head is during Katrina, of course it only involved VPOTUS. V.P. Cheney was talking to a bunch of reporters and some guy yelled “Go F**K yourself Mr. Cheney” and other insults that invovled f-bomb.

    That’s all I got right now.

  14. Johnny Clarke-

    I almost forgot, nothing happend to the heckler, V.P. Cheney cracked a little smile during the hole thing.

  15. Peggy Noonan is a stupid c*nt

  16. It is encouraging to see that there are conservatives out there that are actually engaging in critical thinking of Bush

    “All the idiots support Bush no matter what”.

    Now this is a straw man. Where are these blind supporters? I haven’t seen one yet. Even his “loyal” base had reservations about him, even during the last election. Did you expect them to vote for Kerry just because Bush is a jerk?

    Meanwhile, it’s mildly amusing that the Democrats are now Mier’s champion.


    Not that there’s anything beyond political opportunism behind their support.

  17. Only someone as clueless Noonan could put the words “fabulous,” “exotic,” and “Bork” in the same paragraph…

  18. Speaking of nicknames: If Miers is “Aunt Harriet”, who’s “Alfred”?

  19. only in america would the idea too churchy be mentioned.Think of it,One nation under GOD.I GOD WE TRUST.AND MS MIER IS TOO CHURCHY…..LOL

    Are there really people out there who think this reasoning is appealing somehow?

    I’m sure that’s why Bush got so many votes in the last go ’round. …It’s cause America wanted him to nominate an unknown church lady to the Supreme Court! …In the last campaign, didn’t he promise to nominate an unknown church lady? …cause he knew that the idea had such a wide appeal, right?

    …I think he did it in that speech when he promised not to veto any spending bills, but I don’t know… …I can’t remember!

  20. I once worked with a guy who fucked up everything he touched. He was affectionately known as Shit For Brains. I think of Bush as Shit For Brains II.

  21. I have a bit of the hots for Condi Rice. Slender, very intelligent, fair looks, and unmarried.

  22. Peggy Noonan is a stupid c*nt


    I think it’s OK to spell out the word “cunt” here.

  23. jdog,

    Maybe Herrick meant she was a “cant”, which Webster’s defines as “the expression or repetition of conventional or trite opinions or sentiments.” Which wouldn’t be far from the truth…

  24. “I once worked with a guy who fucked up everything he touched.”

    don’t even wanna know what his johnson looks like…

  25. Hey, you can spell anything here…

  26. Re: c*nt

    I don’t know, a *little* decorum is nice. After all, the rampant swearing, even from the Reason writers, is one thing that keeps me from sending things here to certain people I know, particularly my dad. It’s really too bad to let the delivery get in the way of diseminating good ideas as widely as possible.

    In fact, I think it would be nice to see the swearing go. It would nicely illustrate the point that a libertarian community might *allow* a wide range of expression and behavior, but that doesn’t mean it *necessarily results* in the things that scare those that think humanity can’t possibly handle the freedom.

  27. I would have spelt it out, but the guy ahead turned FUCK into F**K about the Cheney heckler so me not sure. By the way, I am a homosexual.

  28. Well, thanks for sharing…

  29. repubnomore,
    Pay attention, dead/fried_elvis and he father,

    Is it “pub” no more, as in “on the wagon”?

    Or is it “rep” no more, as in “onanism anonymous”?

    Which the fuck is it?

    “The Chrome-Plated Reasonoidmobile: Not Yo Father’s Mode O’ Transportation Blog Site”

  30. only in america would the idea too churchy be mentioned.

    After the time I went round-and-round with a smug Canadian* who asserted his country’s superiority by citing a study that far more Americans go to church than Canadians (meaning, of course, that we are all rabid Christian fundies), I call stinkin’ bull-hockey. (That’s for your pa, Elvis.) A sizable number of Canadians and Europeans find American religiousity vaguely creepy.

    (*There are many very nice and thoughtful Canadians, I feel obligated to mention, if only because I have friends from yonder. I don’t count this fellow as one, though.)

  31. “David Souter, the New England cipher Warren Rudman pawned-off on Bush I.”

    I’ve never been called a cipher before. Thank you for the lovely compliment!

  32. I was pretty young when Bork was borked too, but from what I remember it was basically that he was too outspoken about his philosophy, which made it quite clear to the opposition that they were getting somebody with (gasp) an actual, predictable philosophy, and one that they didn’t like, at that. Wikipedia on Robert Bork is a decent resource on this. BTW, I recommend reading some of his writings – we libertarians won’t agree with a lot of what he says about the purpose and the basis of law, but what he says about how law needs to be interpreted and applied is right on target, IMO.

  33. Okay, now that I’ve had time to ponder and pray on it, Bork was like Adlai Stevenson:
    If he had a sense of humor, who knew? It went far over the heads of the hoi polloi.

    Recall the famous photo of the hole in the sole of Adlai’s shoe? That was a futile attempt by the commie media to make him “folksy.”
    He and Bork flat wasn’t/ain’t folksy.

  34. I dare any Senator to ask Miers if, given her long-standing single status, she choses to use a “fuck friend” for the lean times. Also, who is this friend?

    On second thought, maybe not.

  35. Bork: Yeah, I remember much the same as what JD said — his main problem was that he was pretty candid about his views. Also, he didn’t believe a right to an abortion was guaranteed by a penumbra in the Constitution. That really set a lot of people off.

    At some point I remember reading a quote from Bork that he once had a “libertarian phase” but pretty much outgrew it.

    I also remember that he had a funky chin-tuft.

    But what I remember most vividly about Bork is this: Whenever my favorite radio station at the time did the news, and they mentioned the Bork hearings, in place of saying the word “Bork” they would play this Hanna-Barbera sound effect instead.

    As in, “During today’s hearings into the confirmation of Judge Robert (sound) for the US Supreme CourtSenator Kennedy said …” etc. etc.

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