Face it, the Miers nomination is …

Toast btIn a city that is already buzzing with gossip, it takes a really hot story to crank the chatter up another notch. Well, the latest Washington Post twist in the saga of Harriet Miers and God certainly did that. Here’s the bottom line in reporter Jo Becker’s fine story (which deserved much better headlines): Bush’s legal sidekick, while serving as president of the Texas Bar Association, told elite female audiences that she backed what is essentially a libertarian position on abortion.

That will be very hard to spin in Colorado Springs. Thus, Becker reports:

Activists on both sides of the abortion debate said that Miers’s speech … appears to contradict a position she took just four years earlier, when she was running for the Dallas City Council. Then, she told activists at the Texans for Life Coalition she personally believed that abortion was murder and filled out a questionnaire for an antiabortion group in which she checked a box pledging to “actively support” a constitutional amendment banning abortions except to save a woman’s life.

Former NARAL Pro-Choice America president Kate Michelman said the right to self-determination is at the heart of the case law granting a woman’s right to an abortion.

“If you take what she said at face value, you would conclude that she recognizes the right of a woman to choose an abortion as a matter of self-determination,” Michelman said. “She seems to be a woman who over time is pulled in different directions, as many of us are, as she searched for answers.”

Journalists will want to note that the website package includes links to the two key speech texts, both in PDF, here and here. I would imagine that many, many copies of these texts are being printed out in several Christian right offices today, and we can expect MSM stories tomorrow on reactions from all of the usual zip codes.

Unless, of course, somebody you know where leaks you know what about you know who.

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About tmatt

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He writes a weekly column for the Universal Syndicate.

  • http://www.dailycontentions.com Lucas Sayre

    It is disappointing that Miers appears to have led a life of deception on her constitutional beliefs. She has made a history out of being inconsistent and vague.

  • Stephen A.

    I agree with your choice of logo, she (at least her nomination to the S.C.) is burnt toast.

    I say this with a great deal of respect for “W,” and as a two-time “W” voter, but he needs to simply let this nominee bow out gracefully at this point. She’s been a disaster.

    Whoever originally thought it would be a good idea, for example, to make an issue about her evangelical roots was giving bad and contradictory advice, given the correct view in the Roberts case that it can’t be a test for a secular government job. (Perhaps Karl was distracted that day.)

    Her conflict over abortion is one more piece of evidence that the normal “vetting” process was not done, instead relying on some twisted Texas version of loyalty to one’s own state-mates. That loyalty is keeping Bush locked onto this mistake, and it will bury him if he doesn’t let go, and very soon.

  • brian

    That piece of bread isn’t burned in the least, it’s perfectly toasted. (the image in the post, not Miers)

  • http://www.physicsgeekjesusfreak.blogspot.com Matthew M.

    I echo what Stephen A. said right down the line. It was worrisome to me as a Christian that administration’s first move was to whisper loudly to Dobson and Sekulow “It’s OK, she’s one of us.” It seemed to me that if she really were a solid conservative, that would have become obvious during the nomination process and they wouldn’t have felt the need to “leak” it. Surely the Godbeat reporters would have kicked her religious views around at some point, as they did with Roberts.

  • http://www.physicsgeekjesusfreak.blogspot.com Matthew M.

    And, of course, now it really is toast.

  • Stephen A.

    She was Gone in 60 Days, or less. Now sit back and enjoy the fun after Bush nominates Janice Rogers Brown or some other woman of *impeccable* conservative credentials.

    Note: That image really is of a nice piece of toast. I stand corrected.

  • http://parablemania.ektopos.com Jeremy Pierce

    I read the whole speech, and I don’t see anything in there indicating what her approach to the constitutionality of abortion might be. It’s possible that she was making a policy recommendation, that people passing laws on the matter should favor self-determination on abortion. Even that’s not clear. The only thing I can be sure of based on what she says is that she is beginning to move toward favoring self-determination over legislation in many cases where religious views might offer reasons to want to prohibit individual choice on moral issues. She doesn’t say she would apply this absolutely, and she doesn’t say she would apply it to all the issues she’s dealing with. I can understand why someone might want to ask her further questions for clarification.

    I can understand why the unclarity might leave some thinking she’s not wanting to take a stand (though perhaps the audience of people from various political backgrounds united for one purpose would explain that). What seems to me to be thoroughly unwarranted is any claim that she backed what is essentially a libertarian position on abortion, particularly because this is only within a very short time of when she flat-out said that she would support a constitutional amendment banning abortion in almost all cases and that she would support laws banning abortion if Roe v. Wade were overturned.