At his Rose Garden press conference yesterday in response to the New York Post's Deborah Orin, who noted criticism of Miers from conservative women in the legal field, Bush himself played a variation on the coffee-and-donuts theme:
She is plenty bright. As I mentioned earlier, she was a pioneer in Texas. She just didn't kind of opine about things; she actually led.
First woman of the Texas Bar Association; first woman of the Dallas Bar Association; a woman partner of her law firm; she led a major law firm. She was consistently rated as one of the top 50 women lawyers in the United States -- not just one year, but consistently rated that way, as one of the top 100 lawyers.
And secondly, I can understand people not, you know, knowing Harriet. She hasn't been, you know, one of these publicity hounds. She's been somebody who just quietly does her job. . . . And I know her. I know her heart. I know what she believes.
There's no question that Washington could use a lot more personal humility. But Bush's derision of those who "just . . . opine" is bizarre. "Opining," after all, is what Supreme Court justices do for a living. And it's precisely Miers' lack of on-the-record opinions about vital matters of constitutional law that has conservatives across the country so troubled.
Nobody is asking Bush to put a "publicity hound" on the bench. But asking conservatives to trust that the blank-slate Miers not only has well-formed views on everything from property rights, the individual right to bear arms and the proper scope of privacy rights, to the Commerce Clause, racial preferences and presidential authority in wartime -- but also has the intellectual candlepower to persuade her potential colleagues -- based on little more than her Sunday refreshment-retrieving abilities is asking way too much.