August 27, 2007

Bound for Glory - INSTANT UPDATE!

Hatched by Dafydd

Now that so many conservative Republicans (especially bloggers of the Right) have got their wish, and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is out the door, I eagerly await the rest of their promised scenario: I now wait with bated breath for the strong, conservative, take-no-prisoners Attorney General nominee who will take firm control and start enforcing the conservatives' favorite laws with vigor and enthusiasm!

Yes sir, I'm ready for that change. Conservative pundits and bloggers have argued that if only President Bush would dump Gonzales, we could get someone really, really good in his place: we will get an Attorney General who will:

  • Sail through confirmation hearings on the strength of his or her personal honesty, loyalty, and solid conservative credentials (not just some interim, acting Attorney General who is crippled by his inability to be confirmed);
  • Strongly oppose all "affirmative action," racial preferences on principle;
  • Crack down hard on employers who hire illegals and swift deport any illegals who commit crimes in this country;
  • Go after anyone who commits voter fraud or accepts bribes, even if he happens to be a Democratic congressman;
  • Defend the presidential prerogative to fire employees who have their own, more liberal agenda than the administration;
  • Run the Department of Justice with a firm and stalwart hand;
  • Use the office of the Attorney General and all Justice Department resources to thoroughly investigate and track radical Moslems in this country via the FBI, CIA, NSA, with warrantless eavesdropping and surveillance of radical mosques as necessary;
  • And especially strongly enforces the new ban on partial-birth abortion.

So let's see it; let's see the next John Ashcroft who will be easily confirmed by the Democrats in the Senate... because he's so darned good, even Majority Leader Harry "Pinky" Reid (D-Caesar's Palace, 90%) and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY, 100%) cannot deny him.

I'm sure the Democrats will cooperate. They would never demand that the president pick from a short list prepared by Sens. Schumer, Ted Kennedy (D-MA, 100%), Carl Levin (D-MI, 100%), and Russell Feingold (D-WI, 100%). Now we're sure to get someone who will make it his priority to round up all the illegals and deport them, clean up Democratic corruption, press forward strongly with updating and defending the Patriot Act, strongly enforce the ban on partial-birth abortion, land on voter fraud like a ton of bowling balls, and authorize all current and future intelligence operations against terrorists. After all, the Democrats only want what's best for the country, too.

Surely the Democrats will not see this resignation as encouragement of their thuggish tactics against Gonzales. Rather, I'm convinced they will now feel guilt and remorse over the way they hounded an innocent man out of office. Democrats are human too; I cannot imagine them crowing in triumph, having driven both Karl Rove and Alberto Gonzales out of office in the same month.

Not only that, but the departure of Gonzales will assuredly lead to a big jump in President Bush's approval ratings. America has been desperately waiting for him to get rid of Gonzales and appoint a much more conservative fellow; and they will react to the nomination and confirmation process by showing strong, new support for the president.

I wouldn't want to insult our friends across the aisle. I'm sure they will no longer seek to interrogate Gonzales about any of the ginned-up "scandals" they have tried to hang around his neck. And while it might appear to partisans that President Bush is now on the ropes -- having had to throw two of his most trusted Texas friends to the howling Democratic dog pack -- I'm sure Democrats such as Squeaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Haight-Ashbury, 95%), Reps. Henry Waxman (D-CA, 95%) and John Conyers (D-MI, 100%), and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT, 95%) will accept the resignation in the spirit in which it's given: They will urge the president to nominate the best man or woman for the job, without regard to ideology, and promise to quickly confirm any strong, principled, conservative leader sent to the Hill.

I'm equally morally certain that the conservatives are right: The Democrats will not use the resignation of Gonazles as "vindication" of their wild accusations against Gonzales, will not take this opportunity to demand the reinstatement of those fired U.S. Attorneys, will not demand that any AG nominee agree to give Congress veto power over the firing of future U.S. Attorneys or presidential aides, and won't insist that the president's advisors, such as Harriett Miers and Karl Rove, testify under oath whenever Congress summons them.

I'm sure they will be more than willing to confirm an Attorney General who promises to continue to fight all these battles against the Legislative branch on behalf of the Executive, because deep down, Democrats in Congress yearn for the strong constitutional separation of powers that prevents them from running all policy from Capitol Hill.

So thank goodness Gonzales resigned to clear the decks for a powerful, competent, thoroughgoing conservative Attorney General to rescue the administration from its drift towards comprehensive solutions to bipartisan problems and back to the principled, uncompromising, man-the-barricades domestic policy that we are assured will flow from the resignation of the mushy Alberto Gonzales.

I can hardly wait for the triumphant confirmation hearings to see the chastened, humbled Democrats!

UPDATE: In particular, I have full confidence that if the president nominates Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff to be the new Attorney General, that the Democrats would never take political advantage of the confirmation hearings to, in addition to everything else...

  • Renew their demands that waterboarding, stress positions, temperature changes, the belly slap, the attention grab, and all other forms of "torture" be expressly forbidden in all cases of captured terrorists, no matter what the circumstances; they would never dream of arguing that Chertoff, as head of DHS, has violated the rights of radical Islamists;
  • Reinvigorate their insistance that the Patriot Act -- which Chertoff co-authored, and which the Democrats have been trying to repeal ever since they voted for it -- be substantially rewritten to remove, on "civil liberties" concerns, all provisions that allow government to investigate potential domestic terrorists;
  • Relive their bestselling rewrite of the history of FEMA's response to Hurricane Katrina;
  • Make fun of his skeletal appearance;
  • Allow Sen. Clinton to vent her spleen on Chertoff's role in investigating Whitewater.

I'm sure he'll just cruise to confirmation, being so beloved on the Hill.

UPDATE²: Heck, even Sen. Schumer himself said “Democrats will not obstruct or impede a nominee who we are confident will put the rule of law above political considerations.” If you can't trust the word of Chuck Schumer, who can you trust?

And of course, the confirmation hearing that would have to be held for whomever Bush nominates to replace Chertoff as Secretary of Homeland Security won't pose any problems of its own. Again, the Democrats, realizing the seriousness of the situation and being foursquare behind President Bush's response to 9/11, will swiftly confirm any serious-minded war-fighter Bush nominates.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, August 27, 2007, at the time of 11:24 AM

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The following hissed in response by: wtanksleyjr

Although I agree with you on the foolishness of conservatives demanding that Gonzalez quit, I also think we're _already_ paying for his mistakes in most of the ways you identify; we're not paying because he resigned, but because he screwed up in the first place. (I.e. all the things you say will happen because he resigned, were already happening before he resigned.)

This way, instead of having the AG spend all his time defending himself (mostly ineptly), Congress will have to spend its time harassing a former AG, giving the real AG that much more time to work.

And we do have a real AG -- Bush already named the interim. I don't have any reason to suppose he'd be confirmed. In fact, I suspect he won't even be nominated (why not nominate someone else, and let congress fight over that, while the interim guy does the real job?).

Hmm, I think you violated two of your principles:

1. Never first always final; and
2. Always optimistic.

Just because you were right before (conservatives shouldn't storm for a resignation) doesn't mean Bush/Gonzalez is wrong now. Think about the actual situation now.

And think about how to pull something better out of what we've got. In this case, it's to name an interim AG (avoiding the words "recess appointment") and start nominating candidates for the Senate to look foolish rejecting. Repeat until successful.

The above hissed in response by: wtanksleyjr [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 27, 2007 2:05 PM

The following hissed in response by: Terrye

Gonzales screwed up?? Oh please, I have been listening to back stabbing self serving conservatives whine about this man from the word go.

As if they are perfect. As if they never screw up. Hey, I have an idea, let's give the job to Michelle Malkin. I am sure that aside from running her mouth she could run the Justice Department like a champ. After all she knows everything. And then there is Laura and Charles Krauthammer and Rich Lowry and all the conservatives who went after Gonzales for the same reason they went after Miers, he was not one of them.

The above hissed in response by: Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 27, 2007 2:35 PM

The following hissed in response by: Terrye

The only reason he was defending himself all the time was because the Democrats knew they could get away with it. They never even bothered to bring in Ashcroft for the same reason they did not bring any real charges against Gonzales, there is nothting there. They also knew that conservatives would be more than willing to stab Bush in the back so they took advantage of that and went after someone they did not like.

Democrats I can understand doing this, but without the help of several prominent people on the right they would not have been able to pull it off. Shame on them.

The above hissed in response by: Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 27, 2007 2:40 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


And think about how to pull something better out of what we've got. In this case, it's to name an interim AG (avoiding the words "recess appointment") and start nominating candidates for the Senate to look foolish rejecting. Repeat until successful.

W, I think you're barking up the wrong dog here. First of all, let's look at the mechanics: All the Democrats have to do to reject nominees is vote them down in committee. It never even comes to the Senate floor, nobody gets to make any speeches... and the chairman -- Pat Leahy, by the way, since the AG nominee is heard by the J-Com -- can rule that the hearings will be closed-door, if they think the nominee is good and will make the Dems look foolish.

You must understand this: There will be no Oliver North style Senate grilling that we can turn to our advantage with the right candidate. The Democrats can, if they choose, simply reject a candidate in committee and in secret.

Second, while Bush can appoint an interim AG or recess-appoint an AG, the lack of confirmation -- and the certain knowledge that he could not be confirmed -- will emasculate the nominee. This job, like any other, depends upon hegemony... "perceived fitness to rule."

The biggest complaint about Gonzales is that he isn't "running" the Justice Department well enough; in other words, his deputies and assistants and assistant deputies and junior subalterns down the chain are not following his orders, not stepping up to the plate with their own suggestions, not paying much attention to his existence.

That is exactly what happens with the situation we're in now:

  • A department whose rank and file are much more liberal than the administration;
  • Congressional oversight that is much more liberal than the administration;
  • Democrats on a tear;
  • And, as soon as Gonzales leaves, a person sitting in the big chair who was not even, could not even be, confirmed.

The situation post-Gonzales is likely to be significantly worse for us that it has been since Gonzales was confirmed.

And again, Gonzales did not do anything to earn your ire; it's just a gift from the conservatives because he's more liberal than they. Everything Gonzales did, he did at the orders of the president: Blame Bush for the firings, blame Bush for the comprehensive immigration reform bill, credit Bush (or blame him) both for what is being done to stop terrorism in this country and also what isn't being done that should be.

It's not Condoleezza Rice's decision how to approach the Palestinians; she implements the president's policy. It's not Rumsfeld's fault that we didn't initiate a counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq until this year; the Commander in Chief listened to a number of generals and made that call himself. And it's not Alberto Gonzales' doing that we haven't had the DoJ policies that Ann Coulter would have designed; it's the fault of Gonzales' boss, who sets the priorities, the theme, and the direction.

W., this is not a good thing or even a neutral thing: I'm very angry at Gonzales for punking out, leaving the president surrounded and undefended. In that sense, this one element is certainly Gonzales' doing; but he was surely helped out the door by a bunch of angry conservatives who cannot see beyond the end of their noses.

As for what we can do, there are times when the best one can offer is damage control. I believe we're in that situation today. Conservatives crowing now will be howling in outrage in a couple weeks, when Bush doesn't try to nominate Ed Meese or Priscilla Owen for the job.

I think what we need is for Bush to try a few conservatives, let the Democrats reject them, then make a recess appointment of a simple DoJ "soldier" who won't give us anything new... but is enough of a drone not to let the Democrats profit too greatly from this resignation.


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 27, 2007 6:01 PM

The following hissed in response by: The Yell

I don't camp out on the conservative dial, but I haven't heard any conservatives calling for Gonzales to quit because he's not implementing a hard-right ideology. Nor do I hear any conservatives "crowing" today; the furthest I've heard in that direction is "too bad but serves him right."

I don't see an ideological split here. The Republicans who wanted him gone, from what I heard, were more in line with Ed Morrissey: Gonzales was embarrassingly unable to provide a straight narrative that stopped the Democrats from running a witch hunt. (Hah, sez I).

If I'm missing something let me know.

We know full well why the BUSH administration has liberal policies.

BTW I wanted him to stand fast. There's no benefit to the United States to have falsely accused officials "spare the country" a knock-down fight with slanderers.

The above hissed in response by: The Yell [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 28, 2007 1:47 AM

The following hissed in response by: Terrye


Oh please, conservatives from Gingrich to Rich Lowry to Malkin to Krauthammer have been agitating for this for weeks and for one reason, they don't think the guy is one of them. It is obvious. And what is more, it is not the first time they have gone after another Republican, in fact going after other Republicans it is a regular thing with these people.

They seem to think that Gonzales was supposed to spend all his time playing their little games and covering his butt and kissing theirs instead of spending on some unimportant Attorney General stuff.

The above hissed in response by: Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 28, 2007 2:47 AM

The following hissed in response by: wtanksleyjr

Everything Gonzales did, he did at the orders of the president: Blame Bush for the firings,

That's fine -- I don't have a problem with anything Gonzalez did _except_ for his frequent "misstatements" about the firings. Claiming publicly to have fired someone for lack of performance is _really_ serious; not being able to back it up at all is jaw-dropping.

The bloggers I read didn't call for his resignation because he isn't conservative; they called for it because NOT asking for a resignation indicates some kind of approval for what he did.

And no, I didn't support calling for his resignation -- mainly because I knew the liberals would do a sufficient job of the asking, and I think it looks ugly to have that kind of headhunting. Well, also because I agree with you that finding an effective replacement will be (probably) impossible.

But I repeat -- Gonzalez is DOWN. He gunned himself down a while ago, and all your arguments of what might happen now that he's resigned simply describe what was already the case before he resigned. The resignation changes nothing -- except now the Senate has to fight a battle on ground that the president gets to choose. Yes, they can hold closed hearings -- but they can't force the president to keep the nominations secret, or to not advertise them. Do that a few times and see how popular the Senate is.

And meanwhile, we have someone running the Justice Department who's no less effective than Gonzalez (I hope), and who, unlike Gonzalez, will deserve no criticism.

The above hissed in response by: wtanksleyjr [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 28, 2007 7:46 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


I didn't mean the hearings would be secret; just closed. That is, the Democrats will happily announce that the vote went against so-and-so in committee... but there will be no Oliver North moment, where the American people can see the great nominee knocking the Democrats about like ninepins.

And of course Bush will extoll his great nominee. So what? If you think it will hurt the Democrats -- most of whom live in safe, Democratic districts that also hate Bush -- to bump off Bush's nominees, no matter who they are... then you don't remember recent history: recall the Democrats knocking off Clinton's Attorney-General nominees Zoë Baird and Kimba Wood?

I think you also don't understand the depths of partisanship in which America is now mired. This is mostly the fault of the Democrats, who fell into BDS even before Bush was elected (I have a long memory, and I recall what was said about Bush by lefties I know back in 1999). Nevertheless, it's there.

An Oliver North can change that; North's great contribution during the Iran-Contra hearings was that people like Sachi, who started out watching the hearing hating Reagan and hating North, were so captivated, moved, and persuaded by North of the essential rightness of selling arms to Hashemi Rafsanjani in order to fund the Contras (even when Sachi was a liberal, she always had a visceral hatred of Communists)... that they turned around and found themselves on Reagan's and North's side.

Alas, the Democrats are not utter fools; they learned from their mistake, and they will never again allow someone like North to get face time on national TV, being grilled by Leahy, Levin, Schumer, Clinton, and that lot. (Even the newsies have learned; they actually thought that their allies in the Senate were wiping the floor with North -- until the polls started coming out; by then, it was too late.)

So the scenario is this: Bush nominates someone really good and conservative (I hope he won't just kow-tow to Ted Kennedy and Pinky Reid); he announces with much fanfare, but the drive-by media gives him only a five-second soundbite.

After a month or so, the Senate convenes hearings. The hearings are not televised live; instead, the Senate -- at direction of the chairman -- gives the networks only a couple of snippets, each showing the nominee fumbling some question.

Then the committee votes the nominee down in a party-line vote. There is brief mention on the news shows and in the newspaper. Talk radio fulminates that this was a wonderful nominee and the Democrats turned him down purely to hurt Bush. The anchors on TV say he was irredeemably tainted by his connection with (fill in the blank).

Those on the Right support him; those on the Left denounce him. To the big bulk in the middle, it's he said/he said, and they don't know who is right (because they're deliberately not given enough information by the conspiracy between the Democrats and the elite media).

Those in the middle shrug and move on; Bush's respect among Republicans on the Hill drops (because they see him being bearded in the Senate); and more Republicans begin to defect to what they see as the winning side -- not switching parties but trying to get in good with the Democrats so the latter can toss them some crumbs in the form of earmarks.

Eventually, enough Republicans defect on the war that the Democrats are able to pull off another Vietnam.

George W. Bush must find a way to break this cycle, or that is how it's going to end: not with a bang but with the whimper of whipped GOP dogs. Bush needs someone who knows how to work the Senate, the news cycle, new media (particularly YouTube), and who can spin a counter-meme: that the Democrats are imperiling the nation by playing reindeer games with the office of Attorney General, a vital link in our ability to fight global terrorism.

I don't know that he has any such person, but he'd better get one quick -- or else he's going to be pecked to death by ducks.


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 28, 2007 1:35 PM

The following hissed in response by: wtanksleyjr

If you think it will hurt the Democrats -- most of whom live in safe, Democratic districts that also hate Bush -- to bump off Bush's nominees, no matter who they are...

No, it won't hurt the safe ones to bump off a nominee or ten. They'll be in strong with their base. It'll hurt the ones who aren't in a safe district -- the Democrat's new majority.

George W. Bush must find a way to break this cycle, or that is how it's going to end

That's my point: he's just done the first thing to break the cycle. As long as Gonzalez was in all the things you were describing had to continue; nobody could speak in favor of Gonzalez essentially committing slander by falsely accusing the USAs of incompetence, so the Democrats insane obsession couldn't be refuted. Now the insanity will become public, since they'll have to show the same devotion to destroying some good nominees.

Bush needs someone who knows how to work the Senate, the news cycle, new media (particularly YouTube), and who can spin a counter-meme

Here you're 100% right. I don't know who that is, but I can tell you for sure that it's not Gonzalez. Getting rid of Gonzalez will not obstruct his search for such competent people. (BTW, I assume you've sent your resume in? The White House could use a little cold blood.)

The above hissed in response by: wtanksleyjr [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 28, 2007 3:14 PM

The following hissed in response by: eliXelx

Two questions advocating for the Devil!

1) Isn't John Bolton a lawyer?

2) What happens if Mr. Bush (bless his Democrat-baiting soul!) puts forward a string of nominees unacceptable to the Dems? (Bolton, Bork, Gingrich...)

Ah! what a happy happy time awaits us boy scouts who will attempt to unknot those twisted Democrats!

The above hissed in response by: eliXelx [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 2, 2007 8:03 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


2) What happens if Mr. Bush (bless his Democrat-baiting soul!) puts forward a string of nominees unacceptable to the Dems? (Bolton, Bork, Gingrich...)

Then we would have no Attorney General for the remainder of Bush's term; just an acting AG who may or may not be able to run the Department of Justice. And depending on the quality of the nominees, it may actually hurt Republican chances in 2008.

Bush must nominate people whose qualifications are absolutely gold-standard, people who can (and should) be hotly defended by the entire administration and the entire GOP caucus in the Senate.

That creates the biggest dilemma for the Democrats... who probably will still bounce them, demanding Bush pick from Chuck Schumer's short list; but it will be harder for them to justify their actions if the nominees they reject in committee are incredibly well qualified... which does not include Bolton, Gingrich, or Bork (those simply look like juvenile provocations that will exasperate the electorate).

Ted Olson is good, but you know he's going to get rejected:

  • He was the top guy in the "Arkansas Project," which dug up lots of dirt on Bill Clinton during the 1990s (Pat Leahy tried to spike Olson's nomination as Soliciter General over this);
  • He was one of the attorneys representing President Bush in Bush v. Gore.

This is a good example, but it may be the only one, of a potential AG nominee who would provoke mindless rage from Democrats -- but a rage that cannot be justified to voters, thus making the Democrats look petulant and vindictive.


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 2, 2007 2:10 PM

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