Monday, November 12, 2007


I read all over the news and the liberal blogs that the Democrats surrendered again by allowing Mukasey to be Attorney General. See Sunday's Frank Rich, and the NYTimes editorials. Schumer, especially, is criticized for capitulating and blah blah blah.

Alas, this is another case of poor analysis and poor priorities. Read Schumer's op-ed on why he voted for Mukasey. Everything he says is plausible and reasonable. Here's the summary:

1. Chuck Schumer (CS) sympathizes with those who want to reject Mukasey over his bad answers.

2. But Bush has threatened that if Mukasey is rejected, there won't be another nominee. Rather a low-level staffer, who has not gone though Senate review, would be acting attorney general until Bush leaves office:
Should we reject Judge Mukasey, President Bush has said he would install an acting, caretaker attorney general who could serve for the rest of his term without the advice and consent of the Senate. To accept such an unaccountable attorney general, I believe, would be to surrender the department to the extreme ideology of Vice President Dick Cheney and his chief of staff, David Addington. All the work we did to pressure Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to resign would be undone in a moment.
3. Mukasey has said that if the Senate passes a law to clarify the waterboarding issue, Makesey will abide by it, even against the Unitary Executive horse-manure shoveled by Bush & Co.:
On Friday, he personally made clear to me that if the law were in place, the president would have no legal authority to ignore it — not even under some theory of inherent authority granted by Article II of the Constitution, as Vice President Cheney might argue. Nor would the president be able to evade a clear pronouncement on the subject from the courts. Judge Mukasey also pledged to enforce such a law.
4. Schumer felt that rebuilding the Justice department was far more of a serious issue than the ambiguity about waterboarding, especially given the Senate's ability to clarify issues with an actual law.

Yes, it's terribly disturbing that Mukasey isn't up-front about waterboarding as torture, but is the Senate's job to (a) prevent an otherwise important cabinet officer over that issue or (b) to actually make a law saying that waterboarding is torture. Just to remind you viewers at home, the Senate is part of Congress which - until the GOP took both houses over - is the body that makes the laws that govern the executive branch.

Schumer's points are correct: while torture needs to be rejected (and it's unbelievable that we're even talking about it as ambiguous - thank you Bush voters!) it's WAAAAAAY more important to actually clean up the Justice Department. Why? Because of (a) warrant-less wiretaps and (b) the vote-suppression tactics perpetrated by Karl Christian Rove and Alberto Gonzales.

In fact, any partisan Democrat should want Mukasey over some DOJ hack because until the DOJ is cleaned up, there's no way we can trust our own US elections to be held safely... yet another think we need to thank Bush voters for.

Oh, and why was the vote done so swiftly (midnight Thursday)? According to the TPM it's because Sen. Reid made a deal with the GOP:
According to sources inside and outside the Democratic leadership, Harry Reid allowed a vote on Mukasey because in exchange the Republican leadership agreed to allow a vote on the big Defense Appropriations Bill, which contains $459 billion in military spending but doesn't fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
And because the Times and other mush-heads don't understand what Reid did, I'll explain. Mukasey was supposed to be a cake-walk for the GOP. Because of Democratic opposition - which still wasn't enough to prevent his confirmation - Reid was able to pass a bill that funded the military WITHOUT FUNDING THE CRAZY WAR.

Reid triumphed; Schumer chose the lesser of the two evils that have been forced upon us by the scumbag Bush crew. And, yet, the Democrats are blamed for rolling over and playing dead.

Why doesn't the GOP get such bad press for all the crap they do? To be honest, because of the liberal bias in newspapers: the journalists *expect* the GOP to be scumbags.

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