In the real world (i.e., not in wignuttia), reaction to Harriet Miers' withdrawl ranges from despair ("Be careful what we wish for. This is terrible news.") to joy ("Bush was defeated on the Miers nomination by his own people. That makes the loss more devastating. And, it verifies that there is no room for compromise with the theocrats.") to nonplussed ("So they pull Harriet's name just in time to be ready to announce a new pick to suck the oxygen out of the media coverage of Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation.") to snarky ("We understand, though, that the official explanaition will be that she wants to devote more time to pursuing her strange, asexual relationship with Judge Hecht.")
I just feel relief. It's one thing to have a right-wing conservative justice, but quite another to have a not-quite-up-on-the-Constitution, secretive, born-again crony in the Supreme Court. Could someone who didn't even seem to know what Griswold was about prove to be a good justice? Maybe, but unlikely.
So the question everyone is asking now -- that is, if they're not demanding -- is whether Bush will pander to his radical right-wing base, which is a minority but very vocal, especially within the GOP, or go for a unifying candidate in the face of the legal meltdown of his White House staff ... or simply nominate another crony like Gonzales.
I'm sure the temptation in the GOP is to push right. That's what they've done in the past, to great success. That's where much of their fundraising and get-out-the-vote base has been corralled. With an election coming up, they probably will want to circle the wagons, as is their wont, and start attacking Americans who disagree with them as being un-American.
But there's a flip-side here: Most Americans want Roe upheld. Most Americans are pro-choice. In fact, when you get behind the rhetoric, a large number of "pro-life" folks are pro-choice in every way but in name. (The parade of self-identified "pro-life" patients who have abortions, saying, "But for me this is an exception," is endless. Seems even "pro-life" women apply concepts of "the ownership society" to their own wombs. Surprise!)
A radical appointment now could end up motivating the progressive silent majority into large turnouts in the upcoming mid-term elections. Disgust for the GOP already is high, and the only thing saving the GOP right now is that the Democrats as a party are so incompetent. Push hard on a justice who would make women into breeder slaves of the state and establish wombs as government property, in the context of Republican corruption in the White House and both houses of Congress, and the electoral brooms could come out in force next November.
However, that is only the logical analysis, and I wouldn't expect logic from the radical right, especially when it comes to abortion. Like other wild-eyed religious zealots, reason has no place in their worldview, and they will stop at nothing to establish and hold onto their power.
So while there's no telling what Bush will do -- he's pretty bent these days -- you can expect the reinvigorated dominionist right to keep pushing for a nominee who holds the Constitution in contempt, an historical document to be interpreted according to fantasies of what the framers wanted in 1789, and who would strive ideologically to make time stand still.
What's different now from just a few months ago is that more people are paying attention, and the rhetoric of the neo-Joe McCarthys of the right wing is wearing a little thin.