John Podhoretz gets it half right:
IS THIS BUSH'S HIDDEN AGENDA?
A friend, one of the wisest analysts of politics I know, asks the following fascinating questions: Did the president pick Harriet Miers because she is an evangelical Christian? Is this the real meaning of the "trust me" message -- and are her religious beliefs the reason that James Dobson, Chuck Colson, Marvin Olasky and others have given her the big thumbs-up? They were clearly given an early preview of the Miers nomination and were told things about her or told things by her that made her right with them.
So far, spot on.
Has the president decided, in effect, that just as there has been a Jewish seat and an African-American seat and a female seat on the court, there will now be a born-again seat? And that, therefore, the Miers selection is indeed a reward for the people who turned out in such force for him last November -- but he can't quite say it aloud and hopes people will figure it out over time?
If so, this wasn't cronyism, but rather a new form of conservative tokenism....
No, it isn't. Bush would like nine Christian conservatives on the Court. So would everyone on the religious right, the people whose approval is required before Bush will make any move. (What Bush stupidly failed to grasp this time was that Christian conservatism wasn't all these people were looking for in his Supreme Court nominees.)
Bush doesn't make a distinction between a far-right Catholic such as John Roberts and an evangelical Protestant. As a rule, most of his base doesn't make that distinction either -- members of both groups can generally be relied upon to hate abortion, gay people, embryonic stem-cell research, non-abstinence-based sex education, separation of church and state, and government social spending. Bush's screw-up was to pick an evangelical who's been traveling in Republican circles for years and still hasn't bothered to assimilate that political agenda.