Mukasey At The Bat

September 17th, 2007at 11:32am Posted by Eli

Huzzah. We are saved.

President Bush said this morning that he will nominate Michael B. Mukasey, a former federal judge from New York who has presided over some high-profile terrorism trials, as his next attorney general.

“Judge Mukasey is clear-eyed about the threat our nation faces,” Mr. Bush said in the Rose Garden of the White House, with Mr. Mukasey by his side. He called the retired judge “a sound manager and a strong leader.”


Unlike Mr. Gonzales, Mr. Mukasey is not a close confidant of the president. Nor is he a Washington insider. But people in both political parties say he possesses the two qualities that Mr. Bush has been looking for in a nominee: a law-and-order sensibility that dovetails with the president’s agenda for the fight against terror, and the potential to avoid a bruising confirmation battle with the Democrats who now run the Senate. With 16 months left in office, Mr. Bush can ill afford a drawn-out confirmation fight.


Mr. Mukasey… has attracted criticism, notably from civil liberties advocates, who say he has been to supportive of law enforcement while on the bench. But he has sometimes such critics, as he did with his handling of the case of Jose Padilla, an American citizen suspected of membership in Al Qaeda. Although Mr. Mukasey backed the White House by ruling that Mr. Padilla could be held as an enemy combatant – a decision overturned on appeal – he also defied the administration by saying Mr. Padilla was entitled to legal counsel.


He has spoken in support of provisions of the Patriot Act, and last month wrote an op-ed article in The Wall Street Journal on “the inadequacy of the current approach to terrorism prosecutions,” a view that the Bush administration has expressed.

And there was much rejoicing. Dubya has nominated a right-wing authoritarian, but he’s not a loyalist partisan hack. Hooray.

I know Greenwald believes this is the best we can hope for, and perhaps he’s right, but what’s truly alarming is the possibility that his nomination might be part of a deal with the Democrats:

Paul Kane: …Very interestingly, Chuck Schumer and Dianne Feinstein told myself and Jonathan Weisman in separate interviews Monday that if Bush picks a consensus AG, that the spirit and drive of the Dem investigations into the U.S. attorney firings likely would dissipate. Chuck Schumer said that! This guy’s made his political living off of this scandal.

Um, I think the only deal the Democrats should be making at this point is, “If you don’t nominate a partisan loyal Bushie hack, then we will confirm. It will have no effect on prior investigations, other than that we expect the new AG to be more cooperative.” But alas, they still have balls of jello.

Also, I found this paragraph in the NYT story to be quite remarkable:

But Mr. Mukasey is not viewed as a political partisan, which has troubled conservatives, many of whom were hoping the president would select Theodore B. Olson, the former solicitor general, as his nominee. Mr. Olson seemed to be moving to the top of the president’s short list last week until Senator Harry Reid, the Democratic leader, said Mr. Olson could not be confirmed.

Maybe it’s just Stolberg and Shenon’s interpretation, but it’s kind of surprising to see an admission that conservatives are more interested in loyalty and integrity. And since when is the Bush administration intimidated by Harry Reid? Whenever I see Reid guarantee that something won’t pass, I immediately assume that it’ll sail right through. (See: Habeas Corpus, Destruction of)

Entry Filed under: Bush,Democrats,Politics,Republicans

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