What have we learned from the Miers nomination?

Harriet Miers has withdrawn her name from consideration for the Supreme Court:

WASHINGTON (AP) – Under withering attack from conservatives, President Bush ended his push to put loyalist Harriet Miers on the Supreme Court Thursday and promised a quick replacement. Democrats accused him of bowing to the “radical right wing of the Republican Party.”

The White House said Miers had withdrawn her name because of a bipartisan effort in Congress to gain access to internal documents related to her role as counsel to the president. But politics played a larger role: Bush’s conservative backers had doubts about her ideological purity, and Democrats had little incentive to help the nominee or the embattled GOP president.

The withdrawal stunned Washington on a day when the capital was awaiting potential bad news for the administration on another front – the possible indictments of senior White House aides in the CIA leak case. Earlier in the week, the U.S. military death toll in Iraq hit 2,000

President Bush said he reluctantly accepted Miers’ decision to withdraw, after weeks of insisting that he did not want her to step down.

James Joyner of Outside the Beltway has more and a round-up of blogospheric reaction so good I don’t plan on running my own.

What have we learned from the experience of the Miers nomination? Certainly not that the Bush Administration is incredibly tone deaf—we’ve known that nearly since inauguration day in 2001.

I think we’ve learned first who the Party Republicans are and that there aren’t very many of them. Hugh Hewitt leaps to mind. We’ve also learned that a lot of current Republican support consists of social conservatives and libertarians who are, frankly, bomb-throwers and are spoiling for a fight regardless of the consequences for the party, the government, or the country. They’ve got their eyes on the prize and they will accept no substitutes.

They’re bound for disappointment. No single appointment will satisfy both the outcome-oriented and the process-oriented factions.

UPDATE: Good analysis (as always) from Noah Millman of Gideon’s Blog. Among the action alternatives that Noah lists I think that nominating John Cornyn would be the smartest (but I thought that from the start, anyway).

UPDATE: Hugh Hewitt thinks it will be Judge McConnell.

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