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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Miers Critics "Far Right," Says Miers's Ex-White House Officemate

Adding to the sexism, elitism, faith, and threat cards in the White House arsenal, comes the "far right" card.

Speaking in support of Harriet Miers on Tucker Carlson's MSNBC show last night was Brad Blakeman, described by Carlson as "a former deputy assistant to President Bush [who] shared an office with Harriet Miers for three years."

I'm posting the entire transcript of the Blakeman interview below. Go to the parts in bold to see the "far right" business.
CARLSON: ...today one of the many questions regarding Harriet Miers has been answered, in part, anyway, in a questionnaire Miers filled out while running for the Dallas city council in 1989. She clearly indicated, or seemed to, that she's opposed to abortion, unless the mother's life was in danger.

Some conservatives are not satisfied with that, but one who appears to be, joins us now from Washington. He is Brad Blakeman. He's a former deputy assistant to President Bush. He shared an office with Harriet Miers for three years.

Mr. Blakeman, thanks for coming on.

BRAD BLAKEMAN, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT BUSH: Thanks for having me, Tucker.

CARLSON: So what does this mean? Does this mean Harriet Miers is opposed to Roe vs. Wade?

BLAKEMAN: Not at all. I think that judges every day have to put aside their personal beliefs and rule on the law as given.

In this case, with Harriet Miers as a justice of the Supreme Court, Harriet will be called upon to interpret the Constitution. You're supposed to set aside your personal feelings or values and rule as the Constitution dictates. And Harriet will do that.

CARLSON: But how does she feel about Roe vs. Wade?

BLAKEMAN: I don't know. I never had a conversation with her, and as the president has said, neither has he. And as Harriet has told a senator she's met with on the Hill, that "nobody knows how I feel on that issue."

CARLSON: How about other constitutional issues? We've been talking about this almost every day for the last couple of weeks. I've been kind of, you know, a little harsh about Harriet Miers.

BLAKEMAN: A little?

CARLSON: Yes, a little, and I feel that way, and I feel frustrated, because I don't really know what she believes about anything, constitutionally. Can you give me a couple of her opinions on constitutional issues that might help our viewers understand who she is and what she might do if she's confirmed?

BLAKEMAN: Well, Harriet Miers is the first to tell you, she's not a constitutional lawyer, but our Founding Fathers put forth in the Constitution that-if they thought the smartest people on the planet were judges, then they would have set forth in the Constitution, "Mr. President, you have to pick from the judiciary."

It's quite the contrary. Our Founding Fathers wanted a diverse Supreme Court, and Harriet Miers, if confirmed, will be the only justice of the Supreme Court, as it presently exists, that is not a judge. You don't have to be a constitutional scholar.

CARLSON: I couldn't agree more. I don't have a problem with that at all. Some of the smartest people I know didn't graduate from high school, including some people I'm related to. So look, that doesn't bother me. I just-I think it's fair to ask, what are her opinions on the Constitution? I mean, don't you think it's a fair question?

BLAKEMAN: I think it's a fair question, and I think Harriet Miers is going to answer those questions before the Senate, and both Republicans and Democrats will have a crack at it. And quite frankly, Harriet Miers will rise and fall on her own testimony.

And I submit to you that don't underestimate Harriet Miers. I worked with her for three years. She's able. She's...

CARLSON: I believe that. Sure.

BLAKEMAN: She's affable. And she's going to do a great job.

CARLSON: She'll do better than people think. I don't think there's any question about that.

Now, as just a political question, quickly, this information we got today, that she checked a box in '89, saying she was opposed to abortion except when the mother's life was at risk, this is the kind of information that would have made evangelical critics of the president feel a lot better, had it come out two weeks ago, two and a half weeks ago, before her nomination was announced.

Is the White House P.R. operation-outreach operation so screwed up that nobody thought to send this to allies of the White House?

BLAKEMAN: No. I think, Tucker, the president could have put forth Mother Teresa, and there were some on the far right that said, "Well, you know, she's not really religious enough for me."

CARLSON: That's totally not true. You know that that's not true.

BLAKEMAN: No, it is true. The fact of the matter is, the far right...

CARLSON: Hold on. Wait. Hold on. Slow down.

BLAKEMAN: The far right thinks that...

CARLSON: What do you mean, the far right? What is it with the name calling? Why is it every time you talk to somebody from the White House, the far right, the sexist, the elitist? Why are you calling names? Why don't you make an argument that makes sense, rather than calling people names?

BLAKEMAN: You have to call it as you see it. Our critics come from the far right and the fringe of our party. And what they want is they think the Constitution should read, "for special interest groups (ph)."

CARLSON: I don't respect that at all. I think that's totally unfair thing to say. I've asked you totally fair, direct questions about what this woman believes. That's a legitimate concern. And to marginalize my opinions or those of any of the...

BLAKEMAN: I didn't single you out, Tucker. I just...

CARLSON: I know a lot of the-I'm offended by your characterization of the critics of her nomination, because many of those critics, many of whom I know very well and have worked with and eaten dinner with, aren't on the fringe of anything. They're totally mainstream, thoughtful, really smart people who have legitimate concerns. They're not name calling.

BLAKEMAN: Well, don't take it personally. All I'm saying is that the critics have said that the president should have sought more advice and consent of them. And quite frankly, had the president done that, those-those people would have deep-sixed the nomination of Harriet before the president had an opportunity to nominate her.

CARLSON: I think you're right. I think that's a good point. And some of those people whine a lot. I agree with you, too. I understand the president's frustration with his allies, because they always want everything to be perfect. I get it. I've seen it a million times.

But you haven't answered my question I just asked you, which is what is it with this sexist, elitist, far right stuff? Why-why attack people, A, who support you politically, pretty reliably, and B, who have legitimate concerns? That's what the left does. That's an unfair, sleazy, and might I add, stupid tactic, because it doesn't address the real issues.

BLAKEMAN: It isn't. And again, please don't take it personally. I'm not directing it towards you.

CARLSON: It's not just you. The president's wife said it. She accused it of being sexist.

BLAKEMAN: Like the Democrats, we have a fringe to our party.

CARLSON: Like who?

BLAKEMAN: You don't think that there's a fringe to the Republican Party?

CARLSON: I don't know. Maybe I'm on it. Tell me. Who's on the Republican fringe?

BLAKEMAN: The most severe critics of Harriet Miers. I'm not going to single anybody out.

CARLSON: Just single out a group. Give me a sense. Who's on the fringe?

BLAKEMAN: Have unfairly attacked the president for exercising his constitutional responsibility. I think it's unfair. Many-many have called for her to resign, outrageous.

CARLSON: Well, hold on. You may not agree with it.

BLAKEMAN: They ought to give her an opportunity to appear before the Senate, and then have the Senate give her an up or down vote. Don't you think that's fair?

CARLSON: I think it's fair, but I also think it's completely fair for people who pay close attention to politics, who know-including some people who used to work at the White House, some you know, David Frum, who was a speech writer at the White House. I'm certain he's one of the people you're talking about.

BLAKEMAN: I don't think he was on the senior staff. David Frum was a speech writer.

CARLSON: As I just said, David Frum was a speech writer at the White House.
Are you saying that he's on the fringe of something? No, he's not. He's completely. He's a supporter of Bush. He voted for him. He's a supporter of the war in Iraq. Right? So I guess that's my point, when you don't have an argument, you attack your opponent...

BLAKEMAN: I do have an argument.

CARLSON: ... By calling names.

BLAKEMAN: No, I do have an argument. The argument is, let the process work as intended. The president has the right to send up his nominee to the advice and consent of the Senate.

CARLSON: Of course.

BLAKEMAN: And not the advice and dissent of a Senate committee. She deserves a full vote of the Senate, and she also deserves the ability to sit in the witness chair and answer your tough questions and other people's questions.

CARLSON: Well, and I hope the name calling will stop when she finally does.
And just for the record, I haven't seen anybody contest the president's right to appoint someone to the Supreme Court.

CARLSON: To nominate somebody.

BLAKEMAN: Sure, they do. A lot of folks have called for her to step down. That's outrageous.

[APPARENTLY CARLSON:] They don't like her. They think she is unqualified. "New York Times" last week three printed columns she wrote, the Texas Bar Association, frankly were moronic. I am sure you read it. I think you read them. I think it's fair to read that. It's not an attack on her personally. I'm sure she's s delightful. But to read those, I think an honest person can say, boy, I have concerns. Maybe she should step down. I think it's a fair conclusion to reach. Just my opinion.

Anyway, Brad Blakeman, thanks for joining us.
So, why was a fellow who considers the conservative movement to be "far right" a deputy assistant to President Bush?

Last night on MSNBC, was he speaking for the White House?

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:38 PM

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