Friday, October 28, 2005

The Next Nominee

Indictments may come today; the Times says that Libby will be indicted (and maybe others) but that Fitzgerald will ask for more time to investigate Rove. Could be true. I don't know. One thing I do know is that the president now has an important choice to make on the SCOTUS front: his nominee to replace the mired Miers.

The Washington Post has a decent editorial on the subject this morning, which concludes this way:

"In looking for a new nominee, Mr. Bush may be tempted - particularly at a time of political weakness - to mollify his base with a nominee more 'reliable' than Ms. Miers. If that means a nominee with a history of pounding the tables on behalf of conservative causes, he should resist the temptation and instead nominate someone whose approach, modesty and views command respect across the political spectrum.

It is important to remember that in nominating Ms. Miers, Mr. Bush was not simply attempting to put a loyalist on the bench. He was also nominating, rightly in our view, someone not obviously offensive to the opposition party and without evident radical ambitions to remake society. He should now pursue this approach with a nominee whose professional credentials stand above dispute

I think that's about right. Bush is under intense (that's not a strong enough word) from the right wing to nominate someone whose views may be less than acceptable to the rest of the country, and he should indeed fight the urge to take that route out of this mess. He should listen to former senator and former UN ambassador John Danforth (who would, by the way, make an amazing Supreme Court nominee). Danforth was on "Newsnight" last night, and here's some of what he had to say:

"DANFORTH: Well, I - I am very concerned about the ascendancy of the political right, particularly in the Republican Party.

I mean, it's - it's very obvious that nobody can do enough to please them. The president certainly can't. All this business about appealing to the political base, pandering to the political base, telling the political base that they're wonderful, doing one thing after another to - to try to make the political base happy, look what it got the president. They gave him a kick in the teeth. ...

BROWN: Tell me if you agree with this, that - everybody talks about, the other guy wants a litmus test, and we don't want a litmus test. But the fact is that both sides want litmus tests.

DANFORTH: They sure do.

BROWN: They want to know absolutely, 100 percent, that that judge will overturn Roe vs. Wade.

DANFORTH: That's correct. They - they want a political judge. They want a judicial activist. This business about judicial conservatism and somebody who decides the law, that's baloney. I mean, that's what they should want. That - that is what the judge should be, somebody who interprets the law and not makes it. But forget about that. I mean, these people are just as activist as the People For the American Way and all those organizations."

John Danforth is a conservative. He's also sensible, and he is willing to speak his mind and call out the kind of irrational nonsense that many on the right (and the left) seem content to sit around and spew. He is the kind of leader that we need more of in Washington and around the country, and I could not be more delighted that he's making the rounds and talking sense during these rough days. The president could certainly do worse than to listen to his counsel.

The next nominee could come any day now, according to reports - and then things start to get really interesting.


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