RUSH: Mark Levin, as you know, is the legal advisor here at the Limbaugh Institute for Advanced Conservative Studies, and he also regularly posts commentary at National Review Online. He sent me this piece and I want to share part of it with you because it’s also about the Senate Republicans, and it dovetails one of the comments I’ve been making about the Harriet Miers situation. I’ve said so much about this I don’t know how I could be misunderstood, and I’ve said it so articulately and so clearly. I’ve made it plain I have no brief against this woman, and I’ve even allowed for the possibility the president chose her because choosing a known quantity would cause such a battle that he just doesn’t trust the army of Senate Republicans that he would need to get such a candidate confirmed, such a nominee confirmed — and this piece by Levin touches on that, and this is going to be posted at National Review Online sometime soon. Sometime this afternoon it will be posted there and you’ll be able to read it on your own. But he basically mentions that there are two primary arguments for Harriet Miers by those close to the president. “The president knows her.” This is the first argument. The president knows her, believes she’s the best candidate. We should trust him because his past judicial picks have been good, excellent, and the second primary argument is that there aren’t enough Republican votes in the Senate to win an ideological fight over a nominee like Michael Luttig or Edith Jones or Janice Rogers Brown.
Now, everybody’s addressed the first point on this. But the second point, there aren’t enough Republicans. The second point is what I’ve been telling you about. The Senate army. If Bush wants to go to war we want him to go to war but look at the army he’s got, and this is what Levin touches on. The second argument about the impotence of the Senate Republicans is worth some discussion, too, and this is where this gets really interesting. The fact is that this gang of 14 moderates led by Senator McCain did make it much more difficult for the president to win an ideological battle over Supreme Court nominee. The Democrats did in fact send warnings they were prepared to filibuster the second nominee, and under such circumstances, the president would have needed 60 votes to confirm his candidate, not 51. Now, lest we forget, Majority Leader Bill Frist and the overwhelming majority of his Republican colleagues were poised to defeat this unprecedented and frequently used or threatened filibuster tactic that had been unleashed against President Bush by the Democrats to weaken his appointment power. The big media editorialized against it; George Will wrote at length against it. This is where this gets interesting, is what Levin thinks. George Will wrote against doing away with the filibuster, the big media editorialized against doing away with the filibuster or going to the nuclear option.
George Will himself wrote at length against the nuclear option and Bill Kristol’s favorite presidential candidate in 2000, John McCain, the leader of the gang of 14, was all over the media making clear that he would torpedo the nuclear option should it be triggered — and that’s exactly what he did. Now, this in no way excuses the president’s blunder in choosing Miers but the ideological confrontation with the likes of Senators Schumer and the Democrat left that many of us believe is essential, including now George Will and Bill Kristol, was made much more difficult thanks to the likes of McCain and the unwillingness to change the rule before any Supreme Court vacancy arose. The president has been poorly served by his Republican allies — the Senate army in this regard. Bush is the first president who’s had to deal with an assault of this kind on his constitutional authority, and unless and until the filibuster rule is changed, i.e., the nuclear option is triggered, a liberal minority in the Senate will have the upper hand, as they continue to have here, in the sense that they’ve intimidated an ideological choice from being made. Today, the president would have to persuade seven of the most unreliable Republican senators to trigger this nuclear option in order to clear the way for an up-or-down vote for, say, a Luttig or an Edith Jones. It’s not at all certain or even likely that Lincoln Chafee, Olympia Snowe, and/or Susan Collins, the most liberal of the seven, would have voted for the Senate rule change for the purpose of confirming a solid originalist nominee anyway, and it’s likely the Democrat leadership would have succeeded in convincing at least some, if not most of the seven Democrat moderates on this gang of 14 to oppose the rule change or is to stand up against the nuclear option being triggered.
Levin says, “I have no doubt that this was part of the White House’s political calculation, and it’s possible the president didn’t want to limp into this fight with this Senate Republican army.” Levin thinks that’s no excuse, but McCain, who wants to be president and has now endorsed Harriet Miers and his cadre must not escape scrutiny for their blunder in this, and while it’s fine and dandy for people like George Will and Bill Kristol to come along and get mad at the nomination, they’ve opposed the triggering of a nuclear option and of course Bill Kristol’s favorite presidential candidate is John McCain, so, you know, I told you at the outset here that this Senate army was a problem for the president. It’s unprecedented that a president has to deal with defections in his own party over something like this. And there’s no doubt it was part of the political calculation. So you’ll be able to read this in its entirety at National Review Online. It will be on what’s called The Corner. They’ve got a bunch of blogs there, but you’ll be able to read what’s On The Corner when it gets posted later this afternoon. Anyway, you couple that reality with the fact that four years after 9/11, the Senate, 46 Republicans, 43 Democrats’ main priority is to pass a law limiting the scope of interrogation and the type of techniques in the midst of the war on terror. It’s just unfathomable to me. This is what you get with a bunch of Ivy Leaguers, folks. It’s what you get with a bunch of elitists who think they’re all better than anybody else at determining how we do things. You combine these senators with the judges that think they all ought to be running the war on terror, and it’s a wonder that we haven’t been hit again.