After much contemplation and reflection, I think that I may have discovered the very devious agenda of President Bush that caused him to pick Harriet Miers for the Court. The political calculation and strategic planning that I now believe the President has demonstrated in this case is nothing short of remarkable. Surely Karl Rove’s evil hand is buried deep into this decision and if it all plays out the way they intend, conservatives and Republican Presidential candidates in 2008 will be deeply in their debt.The key to beating Hillary in 2008 is the Republican’s ability to nominate a national figure renowned for their leadership on a large stage with name recognition that can compete with a Clinton. This is a very tall order, and potential candidates like Senators George Allen and Bill Frist, or Governor Owens of Colorado would likely be fine Presidents and would readily be nominated by the conservative base, but they do not have the name recognition to go head to head with Hillary. Meanwhile, Republicans that do have that kind of mojo like Rudy Giuliani, Senator McCain, or even Condi Rice are under suspicion for their social conservative creds (and for good reason). These nationally popular Republicans can only be nominated in an environment where the SCOTUS is firmly leaning to the right. That means a solid 5-4 majority. Assuming that Miers is confirmed and is as conservative as the President says she is; she would ostensibly be joined by Roberts, Scalia, and Thomas in a quartet of reliable conservatives. This would put Anthony Kennedy in the “swing” vote and Ginsberg, Breyer, Souter, and Stevens on the left. In order to dial in that 5-4 majority, we need at least one of the 5 to retire or die.Waiting for Justices to die is an unfulfilling and ultimately untenable strategy. So how does Bush convince one of the lefties to take a cruise and not come back? He sends the signal that he is weak, cannot trust the Senate, and is forced to nominate Souterettes or marginal conservatives to replace them. John Paul Stevens is into his eighties now, and Ginsberg looks like a stiff wind might put her on her a$$. Bush is clearly targeting Stevens for retirement, and this limp wristed nomination of Miers is a invitation to him saying, in effect, "you don’t have to carry the load anymore buddy, just step aside and I’ll put Alberto Gonzalez up there so you won’t feel like you betrayed the DNC." If Bush and Rove are really lucky, Stevens will talk Ginsberg into walking off into the sunset with him. It is statistically impossible to lose the Senate majority during the remainder of Bush’s term, so if he can pick off one more liberal he’ll be able to go back to the deep conservative bench and pluck out another Roberts and go out a hero.JRB Links: