Saturday, October 15, 2005

Crawford Dreams

The White House is probably very grateful for the weekend; it means a few hours of relative peace. The president couldn’t wait to get the hell out of town; he left for Camp David at 2 p.m. Meanwhile, the troops in the trenches are bracing themselves for Monday. Not that anything specific is expected except that it’s another week, and the way things are going, they probably wish it was August and they could go back to the 110-degree heat and dust of Crawford and the only annoyance was Cindy Sheehan and Katrina was the first name of the editor at The Nation.

So Monday will require a fresh start. What to do to keep an even keel and the base happy?

Acknowledging that the campaign for Miers had slipped out of their control, the advisers said they will seek to validate her credentials for the high court through a series of media appearances, newspaper opinion pieces and letters of support from various people who have known the White House counsel during her previous career as a corporate lawyer and bar association leader in Texas.


White House officials mapped out a strategy to regroup for the next week. Miers, who has already visited 16 senators, will return to Capitol Hill while surrogates fan out to vouch for her. “We have a plan to emphasize her experience, her integrity . . . and her qualifications for the Supreme Court and getting something out there pretty much every day on that,” said the White House official.

It would be a very sexist thing to say that the White House is trying to put lipstick on a pig and call it a Justice, but whatever analogy you come up with, they have their work cut out for them.

The White House is still catching flack from the righties on a variety of issues, and while there’s always the entertaining Pat Robertson, the Republicans are finding out that you take their support for granted at your peril, and the backfire from the Miers nomination and the criminal probes into the White House staff has emboldened some to openly defy the president on other things too, such as the reluctance to spend more money on hurricane relief. The Iraq war has gone from a quagmire to a fetid swamp as American battle deaths approach 2,000, and even if the new constitution is accepted by the Iraqi voters, there is no guarantee that it will bring peace.

And the hits just keep on coming. Tom DeLay is trading subpeonas with Ronnie Earle, and now Bill Frist is getting in on the act. Karl Rove’s fourth visit to the grand jury has whiff of doom, and even one of those great staged teleconferences comes off like a bad SNL skit.

I’ll bet that more than one person in the West Wing is musing that it must be really nice in Crawford this time of year.