I have kept silence on Harriet Miers, largely agnostic but increasingly skeptical as the weeks wore on. I was startled that the withdrawal of her nomination came so suddenly, and I can’t say I’m as disappointed as Mr. Hewitt is. One of his linchpin arguments in support of Miers has been that most of the party’s base in Red State America supported her – primarily the Beltway elites were leading the anti-Miers charge. Today he writes:
There is a deeply disturbed and disappointed group of GOP voters dismayed by the treatment of Miers. I don’t know how big it is –it isn’t small– and I don’t know which would have been the less bitter result, but there is no denying the political damage done to the GOP, and in the hands of competent propagandists of the left, this debacle could be costly indeed.
Despite dwelling too much in the concerns of what sort of Leftist propaganda attacks will emanate from a major political decision (they’ll make their attacks no matter what), Hugh’s assertion that a sizable number of the GOP base is upset and disheartened by the “attacks” on Miers and her subsequent withdrawal should be called into question.
GOPUSA’s The Loft surveyed 1,000 conservative Republican voters and found the following:
The overnight survey conducted by GOPUSA of over 1,000 primarily conservative Republicans shows that 72% believe Miss Miers did the right thing by withdrawing her nomination. Only 12% felt that the withdrawal was not the right thing to do, while 16% were not sure. The sentiment was stronger among men than women, but both groups strongly favored the Miers decision: Men — 75%; Women — 66%.
When asked what the primary reason was for opposition to the Miers nomination, 35% of the respondents indicated that opposition was due to an inability to demonstrate a judicial philosophy. 33% felt that opposition was due to Miss Miers being an unknown among conservative activists.
I was not able to find the survey’s specific data on questions asked, responses tallied, and methodology used. But numbers like these at least bear a closer look.
Incidentally, the largest number of survey respondents (46%) by far chose Janice Rogers Brown as their first choice as Bush’s judicial replacement, with Priscilla Owen, Michael Luttig, and Ted Olson back in the pack. Strangely, Mike McConnell’s name did not show up on the list.