"Trust me," says President Bush in defense of his nomination of the virtually unknown Harriet Miers to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Those two words are cause for a quick mental accounting when almost anyone says them. When said by someone from the federal government, the proper response is a spit-take.
"I know her," were the President's actual words. "I know her heart. I know what she believes. . . . She knows exactly the kind of judge I'm looking for. And I know exactly the kind of judge she'll be, which is an excellent judge." The theme of the President's talk in support of Ms. Miers has been "trust" from the beginning. The actual words, "Trust me," came from the VP, however, on Rush Limbaugh's show: "You'll be proud of Harriet's record Rush, uh, trust me." Apparently, assertion is nine tenths of the law.
Most rational people are careful about trusting. There are people I've come to trust enough that from them these words would not be so disconcerting: my wife and parents, siblings, close friends, longtime business partners, these are all on my list. Add my daughter, too — surely she's right to say that a penguin is not a mammal and a bat is.
Notice that President Bush is nowhere on that list. I've checked it twice.
Let's give George W his due, though. He has indeed picked better judges than a President Gore or a President Kerry would have. (Boy, just the thought kick-starts your heart rate, eh?) In fact, W's federal judges have been, on average, far better in their constitutional interpretation than Mr. Bush himself.
Which is why his "trust me" falls so flat. We don't want a Supreme Court justice just like George W. Bush. We can do better.
Take the incredible federal spending spree by the President — with ample help from the Republican Congress. No, it is not specifically unconstitutional to spend the country into bankruptcy. But it is flat-out wrong.
(I have this recurring nightmare wherein my wife, looking strikingly like W, leaves for the mall with a wink, whispering "Trust me.")