Social conservatives in the Senate are not likely to make common cause with liberals in opposing Miers, at least not in sufficient numbers to endanger her confirmation. Several key Democrats made friendly noises the day she was announced, while loyalty to Bush will bring most of the GOP to heel as well. White House calculations are that Miers will have the votes, even if she has to endure some discomfiting days in the hearings.
Ultimately, that calculus may have been the final factor in the president's selection process. He knows his autumn agenda is already fraught with divisive issues that will strain his coalitions in the House and Senate, as well as in the country. While his own job approval polls are better this week than last, the latest Newsweek
poll has 62 percent disapproving of his handling of the war in Iraq. That's a record.
So this administration does not need or want a donnybrook over a judicial nomination -- even a Supreme Court vacancy -- no matter how much Pat Buchanan would like one.