Richard Viguerie Is Kind of Right About Who Bush Should Choose for AG, But for the Wrong Reasons

My favorite right-wing punching bag Richard Viguerie has an op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Times today in which he proves once again why he’s not in George W, Bush’s cabinet. His free advice to Bush on who he should choose to replace disgraced Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has some elements that I actually agree with — but for reasons different from Viguerie’s.

Nominate someone with a record of toughness on law-and-order issues who
will not shy away from investigating government corruption.

Well, I don’t agree with everything the Goldwater conservative says:

Liberal commentators and, I’m sure, spineless Republican consultants are advising the president to attempt to make peace with such critics as Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) by naming a nonpartisan, inoffensive
fellow like Edward Levi, whom President Ford picked as AG in the wake of Watergate and of the 1974 election of a left-wing majority in Congress. Of course, Levi’s appointment did nothing to appease the liberal Democrats and deprived Ford of a legitimate political weapon against Democratic corruption. Levi wasn’t even the “moderate” he was advertised to be; he pushed Ford into appointing to the U.S. Supreme Court the radical John Paul Stevens, who remains there today.

Viguerie says the Democrats cannot be appeased, and he’s probably right, and I do agree with his next suggestion to Bush:

… nominate someone with a record of toughness on law-and-order issues who will not shy away from investigating government corruption (including vote fraud), and who will push for the nomination of highly qualified judges who faithfully follow the law rather than making it up as they go along.

That’s good, sound advice that Bush won’t take because a true law-and-order AG would have to be willing to investigate the party in power and oh, say Dick Cheney and his gang, which ain’t going to happen. But it’s still the description of the kind of AG who should always be sought out, instead of a party-line stoolie.

But then Viguerie goes off the rails back onto his familiar complaint that the Democrats want an activist judiciary — as if the Republicans don’t:

If the Democrats block the confirmation, expose them for their partisanship, for their refusal to be tough on law enforcement out of fear that they will upset their own base, and for their efforts to use the unelected judiciary to create policies that would never be enacted through a democratic process. 

That’s still good advice for Bush, however, especially the old Republican saw about partisanship, but one of my favorite parts of Viguerie’s essay is this prescient bit:

The Republican base is demoralized. It is disgusted with the buffoonery and wimpiness of Washington Republicans. In the 2006 election, enough of these activists sat out the election or even voted for moderate Democrats, such as Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) and Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.), that Democrats took control of Congress. Now, even the Democrats’ nomination for president of a divisive figure like Hillary Clinton will not be enough to prevent the left from winning both Congress and the White House — and control of the judiciary — in the 2008 election. Indeed, after the next election, Democrats and left-leaning Republicans could forge a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

Ooh yeah, baby! That sounds like my kind of government. Not only does Viguerie see into the future, he also has a pretty good grasp on what the country really needs in an attorney general:

And there is one other way in which the president’s AG nomination could take an issue away from the Democrats and strengthen the Republican base. He can select someone with a record of support for the basic liberties that are the birthright of the American people.

The administration has treated with disdain those who express concern over violation of these liberties. The president needs to bring libertarian-minded conservatives back into the GOP fold by nominating someone who has a sound grasp of constitutional freedoms, yet who can also formulate and explain necessary law-and-order policies that meet constitutional standards.

I agree with Richard on that one. What would it be like to have an AG who actually believed in the law of the land and the freedoms guaranteed (or in the Bush administration “conditionally guaranteed”) by the Constitution instead of political players like Gonzales and John Ashcroft?

Of course, like water off a duck’s butt such cogent advice will just roll off neocon George Bush. And in the end, isn’t it Bush’s rejection of the prudent, the logical and the true that has been the hallmark of his administration? Ladies and gentlemen, I give you our next AG — Jenna Bush!

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