David Frum has some interesting points to make about Miers at NRO.
I supply my commentary beneath each of the bullet points he makes.
1) Conservatives have argued for years that it is utterly improper for senators to probe nominees' personal views on religion and abortion. With this stunt, the White House has not only invited but legitimated a line of questioning that conservatives have opposed for almost two decades.
AR: Conservatives have opposed the questions about religious beliefs for two decades (since Bork was Borked) because they wanted to insulate themselves against similar revelations of intent for future nominees. Bush reverses that trend by making her religious beliefs the ONLY reason he has for placing her on the court.
2) If Fund is right, the White House was acting in such a way as to persuade a group of religious leaders that they were being given more information on a nomination than would be given to the US Senate. Congress - and yes Republicans in Congress - already feel that the White House treats them with contempt. Now congressional-executive relations have been damaged even further, with potentially lethal consequences for everything that remains of the president's legislative agenda.
AR: Shock! Surprise! The GOP talks more with their religious advisors/backers than their own congressmen? Say it isn't so! The fact that unelected people like Dobson have more influence over policy and supreme court nominees than republicans themselves shows how far off the rails the GOP has gone under this administration.
3) The stunt also threatens Republican relations with religious conservatives. The assurances offered to the Arlington Group were almost certainly empty. Newsweek is reporting that the White House has also recruited New Hampshire politico Tom Rath to threaten to oppose the presidential bids of any senator who opposes Harriet Miers. But Rath is as responsible as anyone for putting David Souter on the court. What on earth did they say to him? And if those assurances were contradictory, why should anybody believe either?
AR: If this is true, then I say 'Great'. Disconnecting the GOP from the wingnut right wing religious element would go a long way to restoring a healthy intellectual and political climate to the GOP. It would also reflect in a lower GOP voter turnout (especially if they can't get anti-gay initiatives onto swing state slates this time round), and could lead directly to the Dems recapturing seats in Congress and the Senate.
What remains to be seen, is what the Democrats should do re; Miers. She is clearly way underqualified, totally an enigma with regards her personal beliefs (outside of assurances from Bush that he 'knows her heart'), and a crony pick to boot. She'd be ripe for a fillibuster - except that the alternatives are likely far worse for the Dems. Bush could simply renominate her (which I wouldn't put past him), offer up Gonzales (who he wanted anyway), or worst of all, turn to a Luttig or McConnell for a more powerful and dangerous selection.
She's bad, but is she so bad the Dems can't live with her?