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All the President's Men and Women

   Is Cheney next? Let's just throw that out there and see if it sticks to anything.

  Let's say Fitzgerald alleges a full-blown conspiracy centered on the Vice President's office. It's not about a leak to the press, it's about the manipulation of classified information in a long-running campaign to sell the war. Cheney may be the most powerful Veep in history, and unlike Miers, he's popular with the Right, but ultimately he is politically expendable. He's never running for president. So: Indictments come down tomorrow, they appear to have long tentacles, and we start to hear a drumbeat from Congress and the pundits and the secret government types that Cheney has to go. He quits, Bush pardons him. Bush will pardon all these folks, the same way Reagan pardoned Cap Weinberger [Oops. Correction: Bush 41 pardoned him--JA]. I think we should rush this story into print right now, even though technically it is a product of the coffee I just drank.

    The withdrawal of Harriet Miers probably shouldn't be surprising, given the hammering she's taken ever since we learned that the president had nominated his secretary to the highest court in the land. Harry Reid and Ralph Neas are furious with Bush for what Neas called a "complete capitulation to the far-right interest groups." Arlen Specter is the Far Right? More likely, Bush had to cut his losses as his White House goes up in flames. Rove may have told him: Boss, you're on your own this time, I got my own problems. Score one for Krauthammer, who outlined the Miers withdrawal strategy last Friday. Krauthammer said the White House could cite the inherent conflict between the Senate's demand for White House documents and the Executive Branch's need for independence. Miers echoed that: "Protection of the prerogatives of the Executive Branch and continued pursuit of my confirmation are in tension." Krauthammer's prediction: "Miers withdraws out of respect for both the Senate and the executive's prerogatives."

  Checking other reack:

   A trio of Slate smarties: Miers was failing to win over senators in her meetings with them. She was reportedly doing badly on her murder boards as she prepared for her confirmation hearings. And it's no accident she went down the day after she gave Democrats a reason to support her--in a speech from 1993 in which she appeared wary of government regulation of "the individual women's right to decide for herself whether she will have an abortion," as she put it.

   Andrew Sullivan gives kudos to Krauthammer too, and writes: "This is a big coup for the Washington conservative intellectual establishment and the counter-intelligentsia that has been deliberately built to tackle the left's academic monopoly these last couple of decades. They wanted one of their own on the Court, and they'll get one." [Maybe that's why Neas is so upset: He knows that Miers will be replaced by someone with a long judicial record that will scorch the eyeballs of every liberal who reads it.]

    A Well-Placed Democratic Source: "The public has caught on to [Bush]. The public has figured out his game and they're not amused anymore. He convinced people for a long time that he was a straight shooting, blunt-talking guy who you could count on. Now they realize that he's a bullshitter like every other politician. On the biggest question of all, the decision to go to war, he wasn't being forthright either. That's what the Plame case is all about." [I apologize for the extreme vulgarity of my source.] 

    Mark Leibovich, who sits 15 feet away, on the Miers withdrawal: "They should be able to confine this to a few news cycles if they can get a good, confirmable replacement."

    Let me be the first to say: Harriet who???

  And now this from "bc", who posted it this morning in the Boodle:

   First draft of Miers withdrawal letter:

   Dear Mr. President-

   I'm out. Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to be publicly dissected while still alive. At least I know what my own funeral's going to be like. Good luck to you and Turd Blossom on finding another patsy to run the Supreme Gantlet.

   I want to turn this country back to the way it was 50 or 100 years as badly as you do, but I just can't take this anymore. I think we need to be apart for awhile, so I'm going to my Mother's house to think about things by myself.

   The flowers were very nice of you, but I don't want you to call, email, or message me anymore. Yes, we're done. You remember the line from the Led Zeppelin song, "When I whispered in her ear, I lost another friend."? Well, you did.

   You won't hear me say, "It's not you, it's me.", because that's not true.

    It IS you, not me.

   Good luck with the rest of this week, the rest of your term, and the rest of your life.



   PS: I want my records back.

By Joel Achenbach  |  October 27, 2005; 10:40 AM ET
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