When it comes to Miers,
This account is about accurate, particularly this part:
At one point in the first of the two off-the-record sessions, according to several people in the room, White House adviser Ed Gillespie suggested that some of the unease about Miers “has a whiff of sexism and a whiff of elitism.” Irate participants erupted and demanded that he take it back. Gillespie later said he did not mean to accuse anyone in the room but “was talking more broadly” about criticism of Miers.
Gillespie got reamed in general, but people really got angry at that point, yelling about all the other perfectly qualified women they could think of. It was heated. There’s this account, too. The Corner got mad about the sexism charge.
As for me, I thought the sexism charge was unwarranted, especially when most of the folks who are mad wanted Priscilla Owen or Janice Rogers Brown, but I also thought it was uncharacteristic of Ed Gillespie to lose his cool a little bit. The professional, polished spokesman was a little rattled in front of this meeting, which I thought spoke to how this reaction from conservatives really took the White House and RNC by surprise, although I can’t figure out how. Neither can Peggy Noonan.
Here, Hugh Hewitt responds to charges leveled at this same meeting by Dick Lessner, former (I think he’s former…) head of the American Conservative Union.
I think John Dickerson is way off-base when it comes to reading the conservative reaction:
The debate within the Republican Party over Harriet Miers has quickly devolved into a simple question: Is the nominee qualified because of her religious faith, or unqualified by her lack of intellectual heft? On the one side, James Dobson, Miers’ fellow parishioners at Valley View Christian Church, and President Bush speak for her heart. On the other, George Will and William Kristol and others who swooned for John Roberts decry her unimpressive legal mind.
His first paragraph asserts that the fight is between evangelicals who are for Miers’ nomination simply because she’s “one of them,” and intellectuals who are against her–between “Bushies and bow-tied secularists.” But his last paragraph says this:
The administration says that those with the loudest voices don’t have a vote in the Senate, and they’re right. That the conservative Eagle Forum is planning to shift and openly oppose Miers isn’t a fatal blow, but it may make it easier for conservative lawmakers to defect.
Ahh yes, Eagle Forum, long-time bastion of bow-tied secularists like Phyllis Schlafly. The fact is that uncertainty about Miers is coming from many sections of conservatism, and social conservatives and evangelicals are no exception. Family Research Council, for instance, is taking a “wait-and-see” tack when they were poised to fall head-over-heels for Bush’s nominee.
Orin Kerr is with me on this.
My pal Tim Chapman wonders about another kind of split on the Miers nomination— evangelical/Catholic? He also has a lot of other good inside-the-Senate info on the Miers hearings.
PoliPundit is disappointed, but can live with the pick.
John Hawkins says “trust me” just ain’t cuttin’ it, no matter who on the pro-Miers side it’s coming from.
And another from the pro- side, Beldar offers insight on Miers in the courtroom , and chastises law professors for chastising the President.
Oh, and here’s my take on the Bush speech, in case you’re interested in that. I thought he was intentionally needling all the progressives who were in D.C. a couple weeks ago, and I loved it. There was lots of good stuff in this one. Like Lorie, I wish it had been prime-time.