Harriet Miers and the Meaning of Cronyism--

I want to endorse the thoughts of my co-conspirator Randy Barnett expressed in the Wall Street Journal: "Cronyism."

At the time of the Roberts appointment, I thought that one thing that endeared Roberts to Bush was his likely support for government power in the War Against Terror. That reason looks to be much more significant as an explanation for the Miers appointment.

It seems to me that there are two sorts and motivations for cronyism: one kind of cronyism is to do favors for friends and relatives to help them; the second kind of cronyism is to favor friends or relatives, not to help them, but because you think they would do a better job than others. When John Kennedy chose his brother Bobby to be Attorney General or Lyndon Johnson chose his close friend and former lawyer, the eminent Abe Fortas, to be an Associate Justice, these were not done primarily as favors to these men, but rather because Presidents Kennedy and Johnson wanted people they trusted in top government positions.

I suspect that George Bush's cronyism is of the second sort. I suspect that Bush is under no illusions that Harriet Miers is the best qualified person (or woman) for the job, but she may well be the one that he trusts most strongly to do a good job on the issue he cares most about, the War on Terror.

That said, it's still cronyism.

Unless Miers performs extraordinarily well during the Senate hearings, I am opposed to her nomination.