WASHINGTON -- To the excitement of all Washington, the hullabaloo over President George W. Bush's nomination of Harriet E. (and you can be sure the Senate Judiciary Committee will get to the bottom of this mysterious "E" in due course) Miers builds, picking up wails and execrations daily. What makes the excitement so irresistible is that conservatives have now joined with liberals in fuming over the president's judicial nominee. Well, as the philosopher Samuel Goldwyn was wont to say, "include me out."
This hullabaloo is but another piece of evidence in support of my long held view that the greatest unsung force in history is boredom. Yes, the rise and fall of nations, the comings and goings of eminences and fads, can be attributed to the seven deadly sins, to mere chance, or to a potentate dallying too long over lunch. But more often than the historians would have us know mere boredom has been the yeast for great events. At some point in every president's life, especially as his presidency ages, he finds himself in a sticky wicket because the politically engaged have become bored.
I do not mean to say that there are not potential high court nominees more qualified than Miers. Moreover, for two decades the conservative movement has developed a community of fine legal minds ready and able to do as well against the haranguers of the Senate Judiciary Committee as the suddenly exalted John Roberts. One need look no farther than the Federalist Society. Yet the intensity of this row has grown out of all proportion to the president's oversights. Consider this from an overheated "news story" in the New York Times: "'Everybody is hoping that something will happen on Miers, either that the president would withdraw her or she would realize she is not up to it and pull out while she has some dignity intact,' a lawyer to a Republican committee member said." Most likely this will never happen, and most likely only a handful of shortsighted Republicans would want it to happen.