An inexplicable lack of interest
Back on October 3, Bush announced Harriet Miers as his pick to replace Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the Supreme Court. On the day the BBC website carried two stories on it, one announcing the pick and another discussing the lack of public knowledge about Miers. The following day, it added two more stories, one summing up the immediate press reaction to the pick, and another noting Bush’s defense of Miers at a press conference. Since then, the BBC has done exactly zero stories on the Miers nomination.
But in that time, Bush has come under increasing, and probably unprecedented, criticism for his pick, and, perhaps most notably, not from the usual suspects. Republicans in general and conservatives in particular are seemingly aghast at his nomination of Miers. Listen to some of the things that are being said, in conservative circles:
Miers was Bush's consigliere in Dallas during [the early 90's]. There can be no doubt that Bush is now seeking some kind of protection-- perhaps against decisions that revisit his torture policy-- for his admin in future cases. The appointment stinks to heaven, and must be withdrawn as soon as possible. - Former Bush speechwriter, David Frum
During his nomination process, there were signs that Roberts was pro-life. But the White House didn't want any of that discussed — his personal views were deemed irrelevant. Now White House aides whisper to conservatives that Miers is personally pro-life, as if it is a clinching argument in her favor. - Editor of National Review, Rich Lowry
George W. Bush's nomination of White House Counsel Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court was at best an error, at worst a disaster. There is no need now to elaborate on Bush's error. He has put up an unknown and undistinguished figure for an opening that conservatives worked for a generation to see filled with a jurist of high distinction. There is a gaping disproportion between the stakes associated with this vacancy and the stature of the person nominated to fill it. - Editor of The Weekly Standard Bill Kristol
[Bush] has neither the inclination nor the ability to make sophisticated judgments about competing approaches to construing the Constitution. Few presidents acquire such abilities in the course of their pre-presidential careers, and this president particularly is not disposed to such reflections. Furthermore, there is no reason to believe that Miers's nomination resulted from the president's careful consultation with people capable of such judgments. If 100 such people had been asked to list 100 individuals who have given evidence of the reflectiveness and excellence requisite in a justice, Miers's name probably would not have appeared in any of the 10,000 places on those lists. - Conservative columnist George Will
And these are the more temperate criticisms. Charges of cronyism, arrogance, and a lack of seriousness are rampant among well-regarded and serious conservatives, all strong supporters of Bush. A random look at almost any hour over the past week on National Review's The Corner, for example, will provide ample grist for the anti-Miers mill. It strikes me that Bush's loss of the intellectual core of his conservative base over his Supreme Court nomination, and the vehemence with which opposition to it are being expressed, is a big story, with potentially big consequences. Certainly it would seem an irresistable story to an organization that usually seems to be searching for reasons to report that Bush is in trouble. Yet the Beeb has not written a single word on this story, at least not on its website. Why?
(Conspiracy theories are welcome.)