"They Can't Figure Me Out":
John Fund has a very interesting piece over at Opinion Journal about interviews he had with people who know Harriett Miers:
  I have changed my mind about Harriet Miers. Last Thursday, I wrote in OpinionJournal's Political Diary that "while skepticism of Ms. Miers is justified, the time is fast approaching when such expressions should be muted until the Senate hearings begin. At that point, Ms. Miers will finally be able to speak for herself."
  But that was before I interviewed more than a dozen of her friends and colleagues along with political players in Texas. I came away convinced that questions about Ms. Miers should be raised now--and loudly--because she has spent her entire life avoiding giving a clear picture of herself. "She is unrevealing to the point that it's an obsession," says one of her close colleagues at her law firm.
  White House aides who have worked with her for five years report she zealously advocated the president's views, but never gave any hint of her own. Indeed, when the Dallas Morning News once asked Ms. Miers to finish the sentence, "Behind my back, people say . . .," she responded, ". . . they can't figure me out."
  Thanks to for the link.
alkali (mail) (www):
Fund writes:
After leaving office, Dwight Eisenhower was asked by a reporter if he had made any mistakes as president. "Two," Ike replied. "They are both on the Supreme Court." He referred to Earl Warren and William Brennan, both of whom became liberal icons.
Can anyone provide an authoritative source for this anecdote? This has the smell of an urban legend to it. (FWIW, I tend to doubt Eisenhower would have said anything like this, but maybe I'm wrong.)
10.10.2005 2:50pm
Wow. Someone who works so hard to make herself an enigma that a writer whom I generally respect thinks it should be a confirmation issue. The money, quote, for my money:

Harriet Miers is unquestionably a fine lawyer and a woman of great character. But her record on constitutional issues is nil, and it is therefore understandable that conservatives, having been burned at least seven times in the past 50 years, would be hesitant about supporting her nomination.

It's hard to disagree with this sentiment. Even though I have supported the Miers nomination and advocate patience, it is easy to understand why others have so much trouble with it.

I don't think Fund really makes his case that Miers is going out of her way to make her views enigmatic, but I wouldn't be inclined to rule it out completly. And if it turns out that Fund is right, it would certainly beg some questions...
10.10.2005 2:55pm
Been There, Done That:

google "brennan biggest damn fool mistake"
10.10.2005 3:50pm
alkali (mail) (www):
BTDT: That's another version of the story — Eisenhower calling his appointment of Earl Warren (in some versions, William Brennan; in other versions, both Warren and Brennan) the "biggest damn fool mistake I ever made." Both versions can be found in many places online. But I haven't been able to find any authoritative source for the story (e.g., a contemporaneous news story, a reference to a memoir by a member of the Eisenhower administration, etc.).

Here is one article that disputes the story:
The "damn-fool mistake" comment has been traced to an unreliable source, a political enemy of Warren's. Sherman Adams, Eisenhower's chief of staff, and Brownell, his closest adviser on civil rights, insist they never heard Eisenhower say anything of the sort. Adams said that Eisenhower knew Warren was "liberal" and, on racial issues, would tend "to be more in accord with Eisenhower's views than would a justice picked from the South." Brother Milton Eisenhower said the president was "very fond of Gov. Warren."
Unfortunately there's no source given in this article either.
10.10.2005 4:09pm
DJ (mail):
Like alkali, I'd like this Ike "damn fool mistake" business cleared up once and for all. Stephen Ambrose's biography says nothing to this effect (and, for those of you who are familiar with Ambrose's work, he was unlikely to ignore sexy quotes like that). In fact, according to Ambrose, Eisenhower seriously considered endorsing Warren as his own successor as President!

I've always doubted the truthfulness of the Ike quote because, at the end of the day, Eisenhower was, like Earl Warren, a liberal Republican who, I don't think, strongly disagreed with the Warren Court's rulings. (To be sure, he wasn't enthusiastic about Brown, but that was only because he feared the social upheaval of desegregrating public schools; indeed, he supported court-mandated desegregation in education, but preferred that it begin incrementally with state graduate programs.)

Conservatives, of course, have many reasons to regret Republican appointments to the Supreme Court. Just don't count Ike among the conservatives.
10.10.2005 5:50pm
Scipio (mail) (www):
Here's a word:

10.10.2005 8:42pm