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July 05, 2005

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If it weren't so serious, this would all be rather humorous. Especially your last point--if it is ok for the far right to dis and oppose Gonzales because of his ideology or lack thereof, then it should be ok for the Dems to do the same.

Bush may be appointing him because of his closeness and loyalty, but it strikes me that that is precisely the kind of person who is MOST likely to turn out in unexpected ways when he has a coveted life appointment and his patron has left his position of power.

Wingnuts who don't like Gonzales don't have to play to block Gonzales. They can express disapproval in other ways that would burden Bush and his allies. They'll signal this privately, and publicly (though most of the public noise is direct mail fundraising patter).

This will weigh against AG G. Not decisive in its own right, but could affect the overall balance.

Nominate G anyway, and wingnuts will want compensation somewhere else. That will cost somebody something, and that will weigh in the balance. That also leaves an AG confirmation on the docket, and the wings will want consideration in that process too.

Credit for that last point goes to Mark Schmitt, who points out that such opposition amounts to an unofficial filibuster against Gonzales.

And I would have to think there's probably some truth to the notion that Gonzales may one day view his lifetime appointment as a signal that his patron has outlived his usefulness to him.

I thought delay might be one of the reasons we haven't heard from Rehnquist. Presumably he is coordinating any possible retirement more closely than O'Connor did. And he might deliberately delay in order to give them opportunity to do a blitzkrieg appointment.

Since I've been thinking about Plame, though, there may be another reason to hold off on Gonzales. Recall that he waited overnight before advising White House employees not to destroy anything Plame-related. If Fitzgerald is really building an obstruction case--one that might reach deep into the White House--Abu Gonzales might not escape unscathed.

Not a single Republican Senator will vote against Gonzales because he's "not conservative enough." I hope no one is silly enough to think THAT will happen.

I thought delay might be one of the reasons we haven't heard from Rehnquist. Presumably he is coordinating any possible retirement more closely than O'Connor did. And he might deliberately delay in order to give them opportunity to do a blitzkrieg appointment.

Since I've been thinking about Plame, though, there may be another reason to hold off on Gonzales. Recall that he waited overnight before advising White House employees not to destroy anything Plame-related. If Fitzgerald is really building an obstruction case--one that might reach deep into the White House--Abu Gonzales might not escape unscathed.

Quick! Someone call Jeb Bush and see if he wants to open an investigation into why Gonzales waited so long.

Yes, that is the one thing that makes me wonder about a Gonzales appointment. Who would become AG? They really may need a reliable one.

Which reminded me of how JFK appointed his ~37-year-old brother to be AG. Can you imagine the chutzpah of that? Can you imagine someone doing that today, let alone getting away with it? Times do change.

Is Bush making a deal with Senate Democrats? Something along the lines of a 'confirm Bolton and I'll nominate Gonzales' kind of a deal?

Just wondering.

I haven't heard anything that would suggest that. Nor can I think of anyone who'd be interested in that deal.

Not only does that sound implausible, but the basic problem with such a deal is that it is impossible to do it publicly because most of the public disfavors that type of horsetrading, but also impossible to do it privately because neither party would have any way of justifying their actions to their supporters.

Kagro X

To answer your question;

Landrieu, Lieberman, both Nelsons, Pryor, and Salazar: they all voted to confirm Gonzales as AG. Initially, Reid didn't think a filibuster on Bolton was probable, so much for what we knew, right?


Steve

It's called compromise, and the general public would be quite willing to accept that kind of a deal, since that is what they suspect is going on anyway.

I don't think Bush gives a hoot about his base and certainly not the Democratic base, so by attempting this he pacifies Cheney with Bolton and rewards his good friend Gonzales.

Wait, you're asking me if anyone would strike a deal to confirm Bolton, and you're giving me the names of Senators who voted to confirm someone else?

That doesn't even reach the issue of the AG slot being considerably different (and considered differently) than a seat on the Supreme Court.

I'd add to that that it's one thing to vote to accept the president's nomination for AG, but quite another to ask the president to appoint that person to the Court. The deal you describe assumes that Gonzo is the choice of Landrieu, et al. I think they were willing to accept him, having been named. But I see nothing to suggest they're beating down the president's door, asking for this nomination to be made.

As for Reid's view of a filibuster of Bolton, I'm not so sure when you mean. By April, he was pretty clear about it being a distinct possibility.

Standards differ. The AG traditionally is a political crony of POTUS. (Janet Reno was an exception.)

Justices traditionally are not cronies (though there have been notable exceptions).

Didn't you say Nor can I think of anyone who'd be interested in that deal? I gave you the list of Dems that are OK with Gonzalez, five of the seven Dems from the 'gang' including three of them that voted for cloture on Bolton.

This isn't that far fetched.

This is getting interesting. I agree with Steve that there's no prospect of GOP senators voting against Gonzales. Moreover, I wonder if Bush's famous stubbornness might come into play here. He'd start to look like James Dobson's bitch if he *doesn't* pick Gonzales.

-- Rick Robinson

Being "OK" with Gonzales for AG is simply not the same as being OK with him for the Court. And being generally opposed to the use of the filibuster against presidential appointments is not the same as being supportive of the underlying nominee.

I doubt very much whether any of the names listed would tell you they support Bolton's nomination.

That you've given me a list of names, I can't dispute. But I don't think any one of them would be interested in making the deal you've described. And not just because they don't actually support both (or in some cases either) of the nominees. There's also the dynamic of having to sell out the caucus on Bolton, which is a very, very, very different proposition from conducting nuclear option negotiations.

The president is losing on Bolton. I can't think of any Democrat interested in helping him win that one, especially not if it's in trade for also letting him have his pick on the Supreme Court. What's supposed to be the benefit of that bargain?

I suppose if some Democrats could be convinced that he really doesn't want Gonzales at all, there might be some interest. But that's not convincingly clear. So why anyone would cut a deal to give him both of his nominees in exchange for nothing in particular, I'm not sure.

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