Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Only Question That Matters

Whichever cartoon supervillain Bush nominates to replace Gonzales--whether it's Skeletor or Gargamel or whoever--there's one question that should be dispositive in any confirmation hearing: will you enforce the subpoenas on Miers and Rove? Anyone who fails to give an unequivocally positive answer shouldn't make it out of the Judiciary committee.

Naturally, the Democrats have to lay the groundwork with talk about how the next AG's first job is to remove the cloud of suspicion from the DOJ, yadda yadda yadda. All of the Judiciary Committee Democrats need to go on all the Sunday bobblehead shows and hit the same basic talking point: the next AG has to be someone whose independence, integrity, and competence are absolutely unquestioned (and by 'unquestioned', read 'unquestioned by Democrats'). Even if Chertoff could fake the first two, incidentally, the last one should trip him up.

In the meantime, we've got Paul Clement running the show. I get a very mixed impression of him, but I think it's safe to say he's probably better than anyone Bush would nominate. He's also sufficiently respected that it'll be difficult for them to play the 'confrimation fight invites terrorism!' card. Not that they won't try...

But in the end, it all comes down to that one question, which is a proxy for a whole host of other questions (Is the AG the President's lawyer, or the nation's? Is the executive branch omnipotent, or accountable to Congress?). That's the line in the sand our Senators have to draw...and we need to tell them they have to draw it.