Thursday, October 27, 2005

Kicking Her While She's Down

I'll do it!

Sorry that Mrs. Miers was roughed up a bit by this confirmation battle, but she just wasn't the right demonstrated by her withdrawal letter. See it here.

As noted elsewhere, what a Justice Miers writes would have been used as the basis for future decisions for - I hope - several hundreds of years. However, that first paragraph sounds horrible and the rest of the letter doesn't fair much better.

How about this passage:
"Protection of the prerogatives of the Executive Branch and continued pursuit of my confirmation are in tension. I have decided that seeking my confirmation should yield." Huh?
You have to work to write that bad. More natural and effective would be:
"My confirmation and my former duties serving the Executive Branch are in conflict. I have decided to withdraw my nomination."
This doesn't mean that she's stupid. She's just tone deaf to our language. I'm no Shakespeare and I do get paid (a pitence) to write, but I even have The Divine Mrs. M. do a once over on the smallest article before submission.

Wouldn't you have someone read for style and conflict a letter of this importance and will be discussed for at least a few national news cycles? Oh, I forgot about that Senate questionnaire.

And piling on, a good writer could have used the occasion to instruct a few people on what the Court means. Bad events can deliver good lessons and, if delivered well, can be timeless (see Gettysburg Address, Reagan's Challenger address, or his Pointe de Hoc speech). I know a withdrawn nomination isn't a death, but it can be used and it is wasted. How many Court decisions would have been wasted in a miasma of obtuse verbiage?

Eating my own and loving the taste.

Stay You.
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