Bench Memos

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Bush & Gonzales


From a loyal W supporter, in response to a Corner discussion yesterday:

I love NRO and read it regularly and support it financially. I also genuinely think I’d like all of you folks if I ever met you. Hope I will some day.

Still, at times you can be so self-absorbed, clueless, and pristinely impractical that it makes me shake my head in embarrassment for you. I refer to a frequent inability to dispassionately view the slightly differing perspective even of an ally (and I think you’d accept the President as an ally) when your precious and pure views face a ghost of a challenge.

Just the latest example: the President and Gonzales.

1). Is it possible that the President who has (as far as I can remember) stuck to his promises in the past, just might be planning to nominate a justice along the lines of Scalia and Thomas and has no plans whatsoever of putting forward Gonzales?

2). Is it possible that (knowing this) the President expects his supporters to trust him and is offended that they don’t?

3). Is it possible the President doesn’t understand why a loyal aid whom he has not put forward and is not planning to be put forward has to be preemptively attacked by ostensible allies? And, Jonah, I love the way you write and think, but don’t you think that defending Ashcroft from liberal attacks would have been pointless and unnecessary – a politician develops a thick skin and expects arrows from his opponents. But, getting fragged from within your own camp is much harder to take. Bush takes a constant dose of hatred and bile from the left. It must gall him from time to time when the right throws in its digs and (from his perspective) without present cause or historical basis.

Look, bottom line, attacks on Gonzales are only necessary if you fear the President will nominate him. I don’t blame the President for being piqued at the lack of faith of folks who are ostensibly in his camp. And please don’t say they aren’t attacks – that argument is at best a quibble.

Truly your friend and admirer…

Me: As I have said, I do believe Bush will name the right man (or woman). But I don’t think it is any way self-absorbed or clueless for anyone here or elsewhere to have some concerns. After all, it was an administration official who started this all in the first place–telling a reporter last week that Gonzales would be a great political legacy pick.

And as for President Bush’s comments, he’s gotta back his man. I don’t care so much that he’s his friend, which we know, but AG is W’s AG. He’s gotta have confidence in the man. The wording could’ve been different, but I’m not as freaked as I could be by them. I’m still hopeful. Because this is a president who stuck up for folks like Bill Pryor and Priscilla Owens and Janice Rogers Brown and John Bolton still. A president who sent Paul Wolfowitz to the World Bank. He gets it and can stand up to the Left, thank you very much.

But we shall see. And in the meantime, it is fair to look at and discuss who we’d like in a SCOTUS pick. Will it influence the White House at this point? Maybe, maybe not. But at least we’re (here, anyway) having honest discussions. I think that’s constructive. And what else are we do do judge-wise right now?


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