Olson Likely AG Nominee

Does it surprise anyone that Bush is just about ready to appoint another highly partisan Attorney General? I can’t say I’m shocked. He doesn’t seem to learn much from experience. The Justice Department is in disarray, with empty management positions throughout. Monica Goodling, until recently in charge of hiring and firing, admitted to using illegal political litmus tests to choose candidates for career positions. Evidence of partisan influence has called into question a number of high-profile investigations and convictions. Bush has been urged to choose a moderate candidate, someone who can bring credibility back to the department.

So what does The Decider decide? The New York Times is reporting that he’s close to choosing Theodore Olson as Gonzales’ replacement. This is the same Theodore Olson who served on the American Spectator board during the halcyon 90′s when the magazine ran the Arkansas Project, an ongoing effort to dig up dirt in order to damage and unseat President Clinton. The same Olson who represented Bush before the Supreme Court in the 2000 election dispute.

Reports of Mr. Olson’s candidacy suggested that President Bush, in choosing the third attorney general of his presidency, might defy calls from Democrats and choose another Republican who is considered a staunch partisan to lead the Justice Department. Mr. Gonzales is departing after being repeatedly accused of allowing political loyalties to blind him to independently enforcing the law.

“Clearly if you made a list of consensus nominees, Olson wouldn’t appear on that list,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer, the New York Democrat who led the Judiciary Committee effort to remove Mr. Gonzales. “My hope is that the White House would seek some kind of candidate who would be broadly acceptable.”

I suppose there’s a miniscule chance that Sen. Schumer will get his wish. Administration officials say Bush hasn’t made a final decision yet. But given that they’re touting Olson’s name, I figure they’re at least testing the waters. And as usual they figure they can force the Democratic majority in Congress to accept Bush’s choice, no matter how questionable it may be.

Aides to Mr. Bush are calculating that Democrats, who spent months clamoring for Mr. Gonzales’s ouster, will pay a political price if they try to block confirmation of a new attorney general. The thinking inside the White House is that Democrats cannot call for new leadership at the Justice Department, then block it.

And am I the only one who fully expects Bush to counter opposition to Olson by trotting out the poor man’s wife, conservative commentator and professional Hillary hater Barbara Olson, who was killed in the 9/11 attacks? No? Didn’t think so.

9 Responses to “Olson Likely AG Nominee”

  1. Del says:

    Maybe this is like Harriet Miers – they’re tossing this name out as a kind of, what, test market campaign, then we’ll all feel relieved when he nominates somebody who appears nonpartisan only by comparison.

  2. Dan says:

    Aren’t all of Bush’s appointees partisan hacks?

  3. Anna says:

    Oh, holy hell! I’m sure his wife is the only reason he’s being considered. And that he’ll just be another Bush yes man.

  4. Songbird says:

    I thought the same thing about his wife. Sigh.

  5. Kathy says:

    Del, I wouldn’t be surprised; that possibility crossed my mind, and as you point out it wouldn’t be the first time.

    “Aren’t all of Bush’s appointees partisan hacks?”

    :) Yeah, this is SOP.

    Anna, Olson is by all accounts an effective attorney, but like you I doubt that’s the reason Bush is considering him.

    Songbird, apparently we’re not alone. I’ve seen this mentioned several other places since I posted this. It’s sad that we’ve become so accustomed to Bush exploiting tragedy that we expect it.

  6. Roy says:

    This proves once again that Bush only knows eight people and they take turns filling available jobs.

  7. mooncat says:

    I figured W would promote JoeMentum to the AG slot. He’ll be toast in the next election, but a Republican appointed to succeed him would have 5 years to establish himself as an incumbent.

    Bush has an ego the size of a supertanker — he will never appoint anyone with bipartisan support. I get the feeling that the more he feels like a powerless, lame duck, the less likely he is to compromise with Congress. He has a kind of self-destructive, “if you’re in a hole, dig faster” attitude.

  8. Kathy says:

    Roy, :lol: — and all eight are partisan hacks.

    mooncat, that would have been a Rovian move on Bush’s part. He could claim bipartisanship while getting an AG who would follow orders and pick up a Republican senate seat. I’m surprised he didn’t do it.

  9. [...] a few days ago, the New York Times was reporting that Ted Olson looked like the frontrunner to replace Alberto Gonzales. Now [...]

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