Dick Polman thinks that George W. Bush weakened himself by nominating Harriet Miers, and, now that the nomination has been killed by the right wing, that will weaken Bush further:

it’s likely that he will find a new nominee who will please the base – a jurist with a reliably conservative track record who would move the court rightward, as Bush has always promised.
Bush could have tapped such a person a month ago. Instead, he picked Miers and spent most of October contending that membership in a Christian evangelical church, a nonexistent paper trail on constitutional issues, a stint on the Texas Lottery Commission, and loyalty to the Bush family were sufficient experience for the highest court.
And for all that effort, he is now politically weaker.
The religious right, having witnessed the surrender on Miers, now feels more emboldened to make demands; as political analyst Morton Kondracke remarked Wednesday on Fox News: “If [Bush] were to pull her now, this would be an indication that he’s caving in to the right-wing groups.”
At the same time, Senate Democrats and liberal groups may be motivated to fight a conservative nominee with greater resolve, having seen for themselves that Bush is more vulnerable than ever.
As the conservative National Review wrote online yesterday: “Presidential mistakes have consequences that cannot be simply erased. If President Bush now nominates someone whom most conservatives can support, as he should, then Bush and conservatives may, together, win confirmation. But their chances of jointly succeeding were better [a month ago] than they are now. The Democrats will insist that the far Right has forced a nominee beholden to it on a weak president.” (Emphasis added.)

Well, “the Democrats” may insist that the weak Bush is simply being jerked around by “the far Right,” but the Miers nomination was opposed by a huge number of people. Via InstaPundit, the WSJ cites a large CNN poll:

80% of the more than 130,000 voters agree with the withdrawal of Miers’s nomination.

I find it a little tough to believe that 80% of this sampling constitutes “the far Right.”
In the editorial cited by Polman, the NRO, after belittling Bush’s apparent weakness (“Gloating would be unseemly” says it all), concludes by going out of its way to hope Bush doesn’t to do something which, if done, would be anything but weak:

We do not for a moment believe that the president will pick someone unacceptable to conservatives out of spite.

Frankly, that contrary side of me that hates to be told what to do (and admires Eugene Volokh for blogging about things because of attempts to cow him into submission) almost hopes Bush does pick an unacceptable nominee out of spite. It wouldn’t be good for either the liberal or conservative “causes” though (or for his party or, for that matter, the country), but I’d still enjoy seeing some of those unelected, self-appointed moralizers — who think they have a God-given right to run the country — get a well-deserved come-uppance. (Something I predicted as a possibility in earlier posts.)
What’s interesting about the NRO editorial is that it simply cannot be squared with what Thomas Sowell said when he contemplated the Miers nomination — in the face of a weak Senate — weeks ago:

What is weak is the Republican majority in the Senate.
When it comes to taking on a tough fight with the Senate Democrats over judicial nominations, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist doesn’t really have a majority to lead. Before the President nominated anybody, before he even took the oath of office for his second term, Senator Arlen Specter was already warning him not to nominate anyone who would rile up the Senate. Later, Senator John Warner issued a similar warning. It sounded like a familiar Republican strategy of pre-emptive surrender.
Before we can judge how the President played his hand, we have to consider what kind of hand he had to play. It was a weak hand — and the weakness was in the Republican Senators.

I thought Thomas Sowell had a good point when he concluded that Miers was “the best choice Bush could make under the[se political] circumstances.” But NRO — and Polman — would have us believe that all along the Senate was just sitting there ready willing and able to confirm, say, a Janice Rogers Brown.
I don’t think it’s that easy.
Right now, I think Bush is facing a Scylla-and-Charybdis style threat. One raging whirlpool consists of the angry right wing “base” which tastes blood, and weakness by Bush, and will demand nothing less than total, lockstep, ideological conformity to every last item (perhaps even the fringe items) in their agenda. The other monster is the accusatory left, amplified by the MSM which will cause echoes to resonate in the moderate camp. Trying to steer a course between these monsters is Bush — not a man known for meekly caving to demands or being unduly influenced by critics.
I disagree those who see Bush as a man fighting to save his “endangered presidency.” He hasn’t even completed the first year of his entire four year term, and the only thing which can force him out is impeachment (nothing but a fringe idea). (As Glenn opined yesterday, “Since Bush isn’t running in 2008 it’s not all about him any more.”)
Calling him weak does not make him weak, nor does it mean that those making the accusation are strong. But right now, Bush is going to be called weak — by both sides — no matter what he does.
It would be counterintuitive and probably dramatic to call it a test of strength, so I won’t do that.
But isn’t it sometimes a sign of weakness to call someone weak?
Bush can only nominate. Is he the only one whose weakness being tested?