In Ashcroft exits stage right, with a controversial successor waiting in the wings, The Carpetbagger Report spreads the rumor that the White House may be thinking of White House counsel Alberto R. Gonzales as the next Attorney General.
That would be the same Gonzales who is up to his eye teeth in not just the torture memos, but also the idea that the US can unilaterally decide that the Geneva convention doesn't apply to people we designate as 'terrorists' even if they are captured on a battlefield.
I find this rumor very plausible. From the White House's perspective it's a can't-lose proposition. It makes a great trial run for Supreme Court nominations on multiple dimensions.
If the Democrats lie down on this one, it signals they may be patsies on far-right Justices. And, it substantially inoculates Gonzales himself if he turns out to be the Hispanic appointee the White House is said to desire: after all, if he was kosher enough to be the AG, why all of a sudden object to him on the Court?
On the other hand, if the Democrats dare to act like an opposition party faced with the most ideological and extreme government in the history of this nation, then the GOP can try to tar them as anti-Hispanic. Plus, when they filibuster a future paleoconservative Supreme Court nominee, the fight over Gonzales can be cited as evidence that those poor benighted Democrats just don't like anyone and are being continually obstructionist.
The lesson for the Democrats seems clear to me: if you are going to take damage either way, better to be hung for a lion than a lamb. Not to mention that Gonzales's conduct in office has been immoral. To allow him to hold office requiring confirmation is to partake of his taint.
UPDATE: Kos says it's official. Here we go…..
White House to Geneva Conventions: DROP DEAD
It will be an opportunity to have him (as the White House legal brain) answer some direct questions as to what the heck they were thinking, no?
I guess Ashcroft’s appointment wasn’t one of those that Bush rued during the second debate, since he’s now appointing Ashcroft’s sequel. Does anyone know if Gonzales is a religious zealot, too?
I’m hearing that there’s no way Gonzalez would get a Supreme Court nomination since the conservatives hate him because of his refusal to roll over on affirmative action and other pet causes. He may be willing to bend the law for Bush in ways that would embarrass an Abu Ghraib interrogator, but he seems to be personally loyal to Bush rather than loyal to the GOP. I think they’ve learned their lesson from Blackmun, Souter, and the like so they’ll only nominate those who they can be sure won’t stray from the party line.
He does take a lot of guff for some positions, the one I read the most about is his texas supreme court ruling against a parental notification restriction on abortion. But nix nix on the direct questions, most likely, for any neocon nominee. Gonzalez was even Bush’s choice to let the A.B.A. know they don’t get to review nominees anymore….?