Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Well, at least Gonzalez is better than Giuliani

About erstwhile White House counsel and new Attorney-General designate Alberto Gonzales, Bob Novak wrote the following almost two years ago:

"Gonzalez' views on affirmative action became widely known in Washington last year when, at a meeting of the conservative Federalist Society, he announced his support of preferences....

"[When he served on the Texas Supreme Court, he] had pulled the Texas court leftward, including decisions favorable to trial lawyers on tort cases. What most disturbed conservatives was his majority opinion invalidating a statute requiring parental notification of abortion by a minor. Democratic senators who last year blocked confirmation of Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen as a federal appellate judge repeatedly cited Gonzales's attack on her minority opinion as an 'unconscionable act of judicial activism.'

"That alone led prominent Catholic conservatives and other foes of abortion to inform the White House that Gonzales is unacceptable for the high court."

Now you know - aside from GDub's preference for close friends and associates as his lieutenants - why he picked Gonzales to succeed the departing John Ashcroft. At Justice, he'll be carrying out White House policy, unlike the freelancing in which he could engage (and "growth" he would undergo) if elevated to Olympus.

Captain Ed had the nutty idea of nominating the social liberal extremist Rudy Giuliani to the post, on the ostensible grounds that his star power and his being, in essence, the anti-Ashcroft would make for an easy confirmation. As Ah-nuld said at the convention, "Don't you believe it." Senate Dems are going to obstruct every nominee for every post George W. Bush submits. They'd have pissed all over Giuliani the moment he defended the Patriot Act, just as they'll piss all over Gonzalez for the alleged Abu Ghraib memos and would have pissed all over Larry Thompson for being Ashcroft's "Uncle Tom."

There will be no such thing as a smooth confirmation for the Bush White House in the next four years, just as there is no such thing as a Bush A-G who won't be a "lightning rod." But that's where owning the majority comes in handy, both to ram through the President's Executive and Judicial appointments and to change Senate rules, if it proves necessary (the so-called "nuclear option"), to outlaw filibusters.

Just as Dubya wasn't re-elected to put Souter-class judges on the federal bench, he wasn't given a second term to install homofiles and defenders of infanticide at DOJ. (Besides, in case it escaped everybody's notice, Rudy said a full week ago that he's not interested in the A-G job, which suggests that he has designs on Hillary's Senate seat - a "blue" state race for which he would be uniquely well suited.)

Gonzalez isn't much better - on abortion, affirmative action, or tort reform - but if it keeps him off the SCOTUS, so be it.