Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has a way of poking his head up at regular intervals to remind me why he's on my list of five most-repellent members of the Senate—and he was just on TV to do the job for fall '05. First he denounces the Miers withdrawal as a sign of Bush's capitulation to extremists, wackos, the radical right, and so on. Now, as I suggest below, however worried some conservatives might've been about not getting their preferred outcomes, it's clear that the furor we saw couldn't have happened if it weren't for Miers' astonishingly thin qualifications. Schumer and other Dems did the strategic thing: Let the right form a circular firing squad and loot the corpses. But let's be real: If they were remotely principled, they would've been howling just as loud about the cronyism and lack of qualifications too. Indeed, part of the point of presenting this as exclusively a dust-up about whether Miers would vote the "right" way is to divert focus from their strategic silence on those important questions.
Anyway, Schumer next makes the argument that the real problem here was a lack of consultation, and urges Bush to reach out more aggressively to Senate Democrats. Now, that's not just mistaken, it's not even coherent. You can't blast Bush for capitulating to pissed-off conservatives, then suggest that the solution is to cozy up better to Democrats—unless you're acknowledging that they were waiting to mount an opposition if the conservative backlash hadn't prompted a withdrawal.