Monday, October 03, 2005

A Consummate Toady

Nancy Benac, whose sad calling in life is to prostrate herself before Bush's judicial nominees, is plying her gruesome trade once again. Her profile of Harriet Miers is typical; it's yet another nauseating, saccharine puff piece intended to glorify, humanize, or inspire pity for an unconscionable BushCo stooge. Get a load of the first paragraph:

Among a host of qualities that White House counsel Harriet Ellan Miers shares with new Supreme Court chief justice John Roberts is the apparent lack of any personal legal agenda. Known for an exacting, no-nonsense style, Miers — like Roberts — tends to avoid the limelight.
She shares "a host of qualities" with Roberts; that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know. Ask not what these qualities may be, nor why they make her fit to sit on the Supreme Court. Benac said it, you believe it, that settles it.
She was Bush's personal lawyer in Texas, took on the thankless job of cleaning up the Texas Lottery when he was governor, and followed him to Washington to serve as staff secretary, the person who controls every piece of paper that crosses the president's desk.
Assuming that she really cleaned up the Texas Lottery - and some people seem to feel that there's a bit more to that story than meets the eye - I'm not sure how the job qualifies as "thankless," given that she's currently being handed a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land, simply because she's one of Bush's cronies.
{Andrew] Card, in a 2003 interview with the publication Texas Lawyer, said Bush's affinity for Miers is clear in the frequent invitations she receives to visit the presidential retreat at Camp David, "a privilege that is not enjoyed by a lot of staff."

"She's a quiet, highly respected force and someone who is seen as not having any agenda other than the president's," he said.
See, that's how come Benac can claim that Miers has no personal legal agenda: she's a slavish loyalist who'll do whatever she's told! Don't tell me you have a problem with that? Sure, it's possible that this woman will remain in utter thrall to Bush even after he's left the White House...but at least she doesn't have a personal agenda.

Which is not to say that Miers lacks gravitas:
[S]he showed her readiness to take on difficult questions. "Lawyers by nature are involved in controversy," she said. "We expect difficult issues and are prepared to deal with them."
I know of no better summing-up of centuries of legal theory than this remark. Carl Schmitt couldn't have said it better.

With foreplay this langorous and attentive, one naturally expects an earth-shattering climax, and Benac doesn't disappoint:
Miers reveals little of her own emotions or ideological persuasions, but has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Bush administration on a broad of initiatives including tax cuts,
Social Security reforms, restrictions on federal spending on embryonic stem cell research, national security, education reforms and fighting terrorism.
How about them apples? Benac invites us to comprehend that Ms. Miers' dreary years of robotic - and, quite frankly, unwholesome - devotion to George W. Bush's idiot whims do not reveal "her own emotions or ideological persuasions." Miers may have sought out, and zealously defended, her connection with the Little King - and she may even have aided and abetted his illegal pursuit of redundant wealth, his imperious anti-Constitutional manueverings, and his vicious personal and political score-settling - but this says nothing about her personal agenda. She may be little more than a tabula rasa on which the president can inscribe any forlorn thought that wanders into his fool head, but her motivations must remain obscure to all really fair-minded people. In Benac's interesting worldview, to be a consummate toady to ideologues is to become ideologically opaque.

Again, this profile is no aberration. Benac is, in my view, one of the shrillest partisan hacks in "respectable" print journalism. Her emotional palette is generally limited to dewy-eyed flattery of BushCo's army of golems, and disingenuous handwringing over "unfair attacks" on these worthies. For an especially noxious example of the latter tactic, check out her earlier article on Michael Brown:
He's been called an idiot, an incompetent and worse. The vilification of federal disaster chief Michael Brown, emerging as chief scapegoat for whatever went wrong in the government's response to Hurricane Katrina, has ratcheted into the stratosphere. Democratic members of Congress are taking numbers to call for his head.
Oh, the humanity! Politics can be very cruel indeed, and I'm sure that BushCo's monsters of greed and vanity appreciate the grateful balm that Benac so lovingly slathers over their wounded hides.


NYMary said...

Maybe whoring yourself is more fun that we know, Phila. Personally, I've never tried it.

Phila said...

Maybe whoring yourself is more fun that we know, Phila.

Or easier to adjust to and accept than we might think.

Anonymous said...

Not only does Benac say it, but so does Mier's patron: "Neener neener neener - Executive Privilege!"