October 03, 2005

Well, well, well.

We were doing a little poking around in databases to see what we could find about Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers' history, and we came up with the following from a July 17, 2000 Newsweek article by Michael Isikoff and Martha Brant, 'A Bush Mystery in Alabama: The three missing months of W's National Guard service':

As he barnstormed through Alabama in late June, Texas Gov. George W. Bush wanted the press to pick up on his issue du jour, soaring gasoline prices. But in Tuscaloosa he was blindsided by reporters asking picky questions about a little-known chapter in his past--three months of reserve duty with an Air National Guard unit in Montgomery, Ala., in 1972. The crux of the matter was that no one could find any record that Lieutenant Bush had reported for duty. On the defensive, Bush insisted he was "proud of my service in the National Guard" but stumbled when pressed for details. "I can't remember what I did," he said. "I just--I fulfilled my obligation."

Bush's advisers had anticipated that his military record would be scrutinized closely, but they didn't foresee this curve ball. More than two years ago the Bush camp launched a secretive research operation designed to scour all records relating to his Vietnam-era service as a pilot in the 111th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron of the Texas Air National Guard. The goal was to identify potential vulnerabilities early on and deflect any charges that Bush got favorable treatment. Until recently, the campaign was confident that this worked. But as the latest flap shows, questions about Bush's military service haven't entirely disappeared.

The Bushies' concern began while he was running for a second term as governor. A hard-nosed Dallas lawyer named Harriet Miers was retained to investigate the issue; state records show Miers was paid $19,000 by the Bush gubernatorial campaign. She and other aides quickly identified a problem — rumors that Bush had help from his father in getting into the National Guard back in 1968. Ben Barnes, a prominent Texas Democrat and a former speaker of the House in the state legislature, told friends he used his influence to get George W a guard slot after receiving a request from Houston oilman Sid Adger. Barnes said Adger told him he was calling on behalf of the elder George Bush, then a Texas congressman. Both Bushes deny seeking any help from Barnes or Adger, who has since passed away. Concerned that Barnes might go public with his allegations, the Bush campaign sent Don Evans, a friend of W's, to hear Barnes's story. Barnes acknowledged that he hadn't actually spoken directly to Bush Sr. and had no documents to back up his story. As the Bush campaign saw it, that let both Bushes off the hook. And the National Guard question seemed under control. [Emphasis added]

It looks like Dubya has plenty of reasons to hand a Supreme Court plum to Miers.

Research note: The article isn't available for free unless you have access to a magazine database. [We used eLibrary via our local library.] Otherwise, you can get a free trial at Keepmedia, which gives you 30 days access to their database; the link to the Newsweek story is here.

Posted by Magpie at October 3, 2005 01:52 PM | US News | Technorati links |

...ah, good find! Incredibly patient these Sith are.

...crap. Only in America can I understand our politics except through the lens of my entertainment!

Posted by: Darryl Pearce at October 3, 2005 03:09 PM

I was initially angry that Reid had suggested this woman, but now I'm pretty happy about it, for most of the reasons that so many right-wingers are furious. Check out Kevin Drum's list of quotes from RW bloggers -- surprisingly severe.

Some other blogger pointed out that she's a perfect crony, and will happily retire whenever it's convenient for her "most brilliant man in the world". This cronyism also indicates that she would not likely vote to overturn RvW unless it were politically safe for the Brilliant One's patootie. I may be too optimistic, but it's possible that Reid could work what's left of the Busho-Christians into a frenzied filibuster against her, simply by "co-operating" with Bush in the "spirit of bi-partisanship" in a sufficiently provocative way. Jean Cocteau would have loved that!

I think Reid sees himself in a strong position, and getting stronger, while Bush sees himself in a weak position, and getting weaker. Reid surely knows this woman, and thinks she's sufficiently less ideological and more pragmatic than the likely alternatives. So both sides agree to let Miers "stand in" for a while, at least until after the 2006 elections, when each side hopes it will be in a better position than it is now.

Actually, one side is deluding itself that they can "turn things around" with another lame-o speech, but that's another topic. There's nowhere but down for these guys now, and I think the contracts for Haliburton and pals are their only real concern. They will let the Christians go, they'll let small business go, they'll let the veterans go (or already have!), they'll let big business go, they'll let everything go, in order to save the hoses pumping money from the Treasury to Haliburton and Blackwater, etc.

Posted by: PhilK at October 3, 2005 08:01 PM