Everybody On Your Feet, It's The Nomination Polka
Well, it's that time again. Time for a massive, horrible, future-threatening political crisis to loom, and for the Democrats to don their crash helmets and assume the cave position. They're giving us ample warning this time, too.
Today's lead story in the NYT tells of how the bruited nomination of recently-anointed Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has the right Riven with Conflict, as Christian groups in particular reportedly consider him 'not conservative enough'. (And dear christ let's just take a moment to ponder that, as a concept.)
So ostensibly this is a story telling us that, even though they're coming at it from the other side, some of their side don't want the bad guy either, so we should be a bit hopeful, right? Nuh-unh.
What this is, is a(n uncharacteristically foresightful) piece of pre-cave ground preparation by the Dems. Chuck Schumer gives the game away in what is, please note, the only quote from a Democratic lawmaker in the entire article (and in fact, as far as I can work out, in the entire paper on this subject):
Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York and a member of the Judiciary Committee, declined to say on Saturday how Senate Democrats might respond to a Gonzales nomination. "It's too early to tell - we're not talking about any specific judge," Mr. Schumer said.See what he's done? Right there. He's paved the way for the (now more or less inevitable) nomination and confirmation of Gonzales to be claimed as a victory of the dogged Democrat resistance against the 'hard, hard right'. Gonzales is being transformed before our disbelieving eyes, from a psychotic, torture-promoting, Geneva-scoffing right-wing ideologue too extreme for the AG post, into a compromise candidate. Thank you, New York Ass-licking Times.
He described the situation with Mr. Gonzales as "a real Rubicon for this president. The hard, hard right wants a true believer."
The Repubs are mounting Classic Negotiation Offensive #1: demand twice what you want, and eventually 'settle' for exactly what you were after to begin with, thus gaining not only your objective but the appearance of tractability and compromise. That's what all this carefully-crafted PR noise is about far-right groups opposing his nomination, and it's not surprising in the least.
What does (even after all this time) surprise a little, though only really in the sheer magnitude of its depraved indifference, is how the Dems are champing at the bit to help them do it. They're gagging to do the running on this, to preemptively make Gonzales the compromise choice so they can make themselves out to be less utterly shit when they let him waltz onto the bench. They just keep pulling up the markers of relative acceptability, and planting them further and further to the right.
Legend has it that somewhere in the secret vaults of the DNC was once enshrined a sign reading 'You must be to the left of this line to call yourself a Democrat'. That sign is on wheels, my friends, last seen on the Beltway heading west at speed.