Supremes: White House evacuating for Hurricane Patrick?

class=img_thumbleft>The emerging conventional wisdom about the Harriet Miers nomination--ratified today by the Big Three dailies (






)--is that it's a safe compromise pick by a weakened Bush administration. Richard Stevenson of the NYT writes that in picking Miers, "President Bush revealed something about himself: that he has no appetite, at a time when he and his party are besieged by problems, for an all-out ideological fight." Dan Balz joins him in the echo chamber: "The nomination appeared designed primarily to avoid a major fight in the Senate and, said skeptics on the left and right, was made out of a position of political weakness, not strength."

What's so safe about Harriet Miers? You can be sure the Bush gang recognized her appointment would draw cries of cronyism, coming so soon on the heels of Katrina and the Mike Brown saga. It's likewise plain that they saw the conservative reaction coming: Dick Cheney got on the line with Rush Limbaugh just a few hours later as part of the Miers media rollout.

Meanwhile no one, the major pro-Dem bloggers included, is paying attention to what may prove to be the biggest elephant in the room: the looming conclusion of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's year-and-a-half-long investigation of the Plame/CIA leak. On Sunday, the WashPost's CIA love slave, Walter Pincus--who has been a steady and reliable source of stories damaging to Bush--reiterated that Fitzgerald is trying to establish a conspiracy involving Karl Rove and Scooter Libby, the president's and vice-president's right hand men. On ABC's This Week, George Stephanopoulos dropped this teaser: "A source close to this [investigation] told me this week that President Bush and Vice President Cheney were actually involved in some of these discussions."

Play this out. Discount what Stephanopoulos said if you like. We are still left with a multiplicity of grand jury leaks since this summer indicating that Fitzgerald is angling for criminal conspiracy charges against two of the most senior officials in the Bush White House. If this happens, it's sure to elicit legal challenges on grounds of executive privilege and--this being the Bush crew--national security. Against this backdrop, the president appoints to the Supreme Court his White House counsel and former personal lawyer, a woman repeatedly described in the past 24 hours as a "Bush loyalist" and "a pit bull in size 6 shoes." See anything remotely suspicious?

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