Tom Smith asks:
When Ms. Miers put her hat in the ring, who in the WH was supposed to say, "but, Mr. President, she's not qualified"? Anybody who torpedoed her would have to work with her in the future, which would not be fun. So the people closest to the process are immediately in a position of not being able to give candid advice -- a reason not to pick close cronies in the first place.As does Matthew Franck, writing on National Review:
So, to whom did [Bush] turn, if anyone, for an opinion on Miers's merits?The New York Times answers:
Ms. Miers had been a leader in the search for a nominee, and Mr. Bush had kept her in mind for the next vacancy. The president discussed the idea with the White House chief of staff, Andrew H. Card Jr., and Mr. Card then directed Ms. Miers's deputy, William K. Kelly, to vet her behind her back.That would be Bill Kelley, formerly a professor at Notre Dame Law School, and a former clerk for Ken Starr and Justice Scalia. The Washington Post elaborates:
At that point, according to another senior official close to the process, deputy White House counsel William K. Kelley suggested to Card that Miers ought to be considered for the next seat that opened. "It began to be kicked around in a small circle of people," the official said. With Bush's approval, Card and Kelley began the secret vetting, looking at Miers's public work.I wonder who is the "senior official" that told the Washington Post about that latter conversation.
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Bush sat down with Miers in the Oval Office that same day for the first of four conversations in which she was the interviewee instead of the interviewer. Miers was stunned at first.
"We said, 'Well, Harriet, look at your résumé. Is that the résumé of someone you would recommend the president consider?'" recalled the senior official. "And she said, 'Yes.'"