1. Harriet Miers was, from the start, a sacrificial lamb, intended to show the Jesus-loving base that Bush "gets it." Hence the sloppy defense of her that amounted to religious-flavored nudges and winks. In other words, Bush had someone else in mind, but first he had to say "Well, I tried" to the theocrats. (Sidenote: Bush has always been portrayed as a "strong Christian," but I think a lot of it is show for the invisible friend crowd. He's certainly religious, probably more so than his pop or Reagan, but he's certainly not been a crusader againt abortion or gay rights. One sensed, when he spoke about a marriage amendment, that he was halfhearted. Note, too, the lack of follow through on that issue.) The next nominee will show what the headfake was about.
2. This really was a dropped ball. What with the Plame investigation and the constitutional referendum in Iraq, the administration fumbled and, stupidly, didn't fall on the ball. Bush, distracted, heard some mutterings from the other side that the chick he picked to vet his nominees might be acceptible to Harry Reid, so he jumped at it. He'd hit a home run with Roberts, so he might as well bunt on this one.
Beats me which scenario is closer to the truth. The left wing that thinks of Rove as an evil genius might just buy into the first. I might agree this time, though I generally think of Rove as a poor man's Lee Atwater, and without the good musical taste. But, as I've said before, since Roberts sailed through untouched, the Dems were out for blood. It's as good a time as any to throw a headfake. I mean, surely a candidate with as big a glass jaw as Miers couldn't really get past Rove, Cheney, and Andy Card, right? Again, the next nominee should give us at least some clue what this sad intermezzo was all about.