It is not very often that right-wing leaders offer up op-eds setting out their blatantly partisan agenda for all the world to see. But today, right-wing direct mail pioneer Richard Viguerie did just that in the Los Angeles Times, urging President Bush to nominate someone to replace disgraced Attorney General Alberto Gonzales – someone whose primary qualification appears to be the ability to start a fight with Democrats:
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.
If they don’t confirm the first nominee, send up another, making sure that he or she is “worse” (from the Democrats’ perspective) than the first one. If they block that one, do it again.
If the Republican Party is to fight its way back, the president must fight his way out of the low 30s in his approval ratings and back into the 50s. Much depends on the course of the war in Iraq, but the beginning of political recovery will come with a take-no-prisoners nominee for attorney general.
The time to change course is now, or never. If the president picks a fight over this nomination by appointing a qualified conservative, the GOP base will stand with him. If he tries conciliation again, expecting a different result, he will become the lamest of lame ducks.
“If he tries conciliation again”? When exactly was the last time Bush tried that? Has he ever tried it?
You also have to love Viguerie’s logic that Bush should nominate someone explicitly for the purpose of angering Democrats and thus gaining partisan advantage while claiming that, if Democrats oppose the nominee, Republicans will be able to “expose them for their partisanship.”
But given that Bush has recently signaled that he is, like always, more than willing to pick a fight purely for political gain, it will not come as much of a surprise if he takes Viguerie’s advice when it comes to naming his next Attorney General.