Miers Is Miss Jane Hathaway to Bush’s Mr. Drysdale

Harriet Miers is George Bush’s Miss Jane Hathaway. Miss Hathaway, archeologists will recall, was Mr. Drysdale’s prim, devoted secretary on the Beverly Hillbillies. When not bailing her boss out of jams, Miss Hathaway’s hobby was birdwatching, which in those unenlightened days was considered the solitary pastime of harmless eccentrics. But infused with the infectious stylized foolery of Nancy Culp, Miss Hathaway was more than a spinsterish stick figure; a subversive imp amid all those load-bearing hillbillies and lacquered Beverly Hills matrons, Miss Hathaway was sitcom’s first lesbian heroine. She wasn’t “out,” of course; like Rock Hudson’s penthouse seducers in the Doris Day comedies, her true sexuality was coded in gay irony. Those who were in on the joke embraced her then and now as a camp icon.

Unfortunately for President Bush, Mr. Drysdale is no one’s idea of a model executive and conservatives aren’t longing for a Supreme Court nominee who reminds the nation subliminally of that nice schoolmarm who never married. Conservatives are less entranced by playful psychosexual archetypes than you or I, and tend to abjure ambiguity when there are blunt objects available…

What I don’t understand is why Harriet Miers didn’t have the modesty and self-knowledge to say no to Bush’s overture. She must know that her training and experience have unprepared her for a seat on the highest court in the land; it is an honor she does not deserve, and a job for which she is overmatched. Yet she assented. Is it because so deep is her deference to Bush that she couldn’t imagine saying no to his proposal? Or is it because her evangelical faith have groomed her to believe that being on the Supreme Court manifests God’s mission for her, that it is the task for which she has been chosen, the reward for her conversion? Is she an instrument Bush’s will, God’s will, or both? Or does she have a mind and a will of her own? That’s what worries conservatives, a will and intelligence that may travel wayward against their interests. To them, all that eyeliner may signify David Souter in drag.

James Wolcott

One comment

  • October 12, 2005 - 9:09 am | Permalink

    Today’s Borowitz: Still smarting from criticism of his nomination of Harriet Miers to the United States Supreme Court, President George W. Bush today nominated a man he described as “a guy I met at the mall” to succeed Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan…

    But Davis Logsdon, a political science professor at the University of Minnesota, has a different theory about Mr. Bush’s recent appointments: “He may be surrounding himself with lousy people in the hopes that he’ll be graded on a curve.

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *