"Washington... is such a mean and tough place, and this process has gotten so ugly that good people simply decide they don't want to pursue it anymore and that's a shame."
— Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, on the withdrawal of Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers
Trick-or-treat came early in Washington. For conservatives, who were growing increasingly uneasy about the nomination of Harriet Miers (search) — a treat. The nomination was withdrawn following a tricky pseudo-fight over whether President Bush would release documents regarding Miers' time as White House counsel.
Everyone knew that the White House would not release those documents. Harriet Miers used the document dust-up as an excuse to bow out. That ruse was ghost-like — vaporous — easy to see through. Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy (search) observed accurately that the White House refused to release documents about John Roberts and he was easily confirmed.
Most political observers believe Miers was losing ground fast and had not made a favorable impression during her Senate courtesy calls. It would have taken a miracle performance before the Senate Judiciary Committee (search) to recover. Harriet Miers may be a competent lawyer and an effective White House counsel, but most who met her had a hard time imagining that she could dazzle the committee in confirmation hearings.
Now conservatives are hoping that the president will fill their plastic Halloween pumpkins with the good stuff (you know, high quality candy — no Smarties or candy corn). More than anything they want a verifiable conservative nominee who will change the balance of the court.
The trick here is to find a nominee who will satisfy the right without scaring the ba-jeebers out of the left. No easy feat.
Since I have already worn out my Halloween analogy — let me make a spirited lunge into the season. If you click on the video box to the right, you will receive a spooky treat from me: my holiday rendition of “Ghost Riders in the Sky.” See you all you ghouls and goblins Sunday afternoon.
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Brian Wilson is a congressional correspondent for FOX News and anchor of the Sunday edition of "Weekend Live."