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'Bloggers' Weigh In on Miers' Withdrawal

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

The online writers known as bloggers had some of the earliest and strongest reactions to Harriet Miers' nomination. Now that she has withdrawn, NPR's Ari Shapiro checked the blogs once again.

ARI SHAPIRO reporting:

Among liberal political blogs, Daily Kos is one of the most widely read. Yesterday's headline:

Mr. ARMANDO LLORENS (Daily Kos): `Wingnuts win: Miers withdraws.'

SHAPIRO: That's wingnuts as in right-wing advocates who opposed the nomination. Armando Llorens is an attorney who blogs for Daily Kos.

Mr. LLORENS: And we believe she should have been given the opportunity to make her case, through the document release and through her testimony at the hearings.

SHAPIRO: Daily Kos and other liberal blogs echoed Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid by spinning the Miers announcement as a victory of the far right. Those on the right saw it differently.

Mr. ERIC ERICKSON (RedState.org): The left constantly has James Dobson as their boogeyman, and he was supporting Miers.

SHAPIRO: Eric Erickson blogs for the conservative site RedState.org. He points out that there were some on the right who supported the Miers' nomination, although Erickson was not among them. Now RedState and other conservative blogs are waiting to see who the president nominates next.

Mr. ERICKSON: And I'm already getting chatter through e-mail and on the blogs that if the president leaves Miers and goes to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, that we will have been left with no game, but if the president now goes with a conservative pick, he will have completely resolved all qualms that some conservatives had with him.

SHAPIRO: There were two major threats in the opposition to Miers. One was political, from people who said she didn't have enough of a conservative track record. The other was intellectual, from people who said she didn't know enough about constitutional law to serve on the Supreme Court. Tom Goldstein believes the fact that Miers didn't have strong advocates on either side may have been her downfall. Goldstein runs the Web site SCOTUSblog.com, about all things Supreme Court-related.

Mr. TOM GOLDSTEIN (SCOTUSblog.com): In other cases, conservative nominees of the president, for example, Michael McConnell, get a bunch of respect from even much more liberal law professors who say, `Look, I'm not going to agree with him, but I really do admire his intellect and the way he has a coherent way of approaching legal problems.' And part of the issue here, I think, was that everything was so one-sided.

SHAPIRO: Michael Cornfield studies the Internet at The Pew Research Center. He says in the Miers case, the blogs largely echoed other public voices. That said, Cornfield believes legal affairs get more representation in the blogosphere than other issues do.

Mr. MICHAEL CORNFIELD (The Pew Research Center): Lawyers seem to have an affinity for blogging, and there were a lot of legal bloggers on the right who joined the big-foot pundits like George Will and Charles Krauthammer and joined the religious conservatives in assessing Harriet Miers' nomination in a negative way.

SHAPIRO: Cornfield believes the most influential blog in this whole nomination process was not a traditional blog at all.

Mr. CORNFIELD: It's somewhat bizarre to say this, but I think the one real stand-out performance in the blogosphere was the literary satire. When you're ridiculed, it's awfully hard to look serious.

SHAPIRO: He's referring to the Harriet Miers blog. It's a parody that an anonymous writer or writers set up the day Miers was nominated. Since the nomination, every day has brought new blog postings from the fictitious Harriet Miers. The voice combines the Miers persona with that of an airhead teen-age blogger. For example, last week she wrote, `Honestly, if I hear Roe V. Wade one more time, I'm going to announce that I'll just recuse myself. Just kidding. It's important, obviously.' Yesterday's headline was: `WIP, Withdraw In Peace.' Ari Shapiro, NPR News, Washington.

INSKEEP: If you'd like to find links to a sampling of blogs representing different political views, go to npr.org.

You're listening to MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Ari Shapiro has been one of the hosts of All Things Considered, NPR's award-winning afternoon newsmagazine, since 2015. During his first two years on the program, listenership to All Things Considered grew at an unprecedented rate, with more people tuning in during a typical quarter-hour than any other program on the radio.