Today's Blogs

Mukasey at the Bat

Bloggers dissect Bush’s pick for attorney general , applaud Ryan Crocker’s concern for Iraqi refugees, and chuckle over Minneapolis’ newest tourist attraction.

Mukasey at the bat: President Bush formally announced former federal judge Michael Mukasey as his pick to replace Alberto Gonzales. Though a professed fan of the Patriot Act with experience in high-profile terrorism trials, Mukasey is no Washington insider and is respected for his deference to the rule of law.

While not entirely pleased, Salon’s liberal Glenn Greenwald admires Mukasey’s willingness to stand up to the Bush administration. “[I]n presiding over the Padilla case, Mukasey … displayed a willingness to defy the President and reject assertions of lawless and unconstitutional powers, and to refuse to be intimidated by exploitative claims of the Terrorist threat. That independence and strength of conviction, displayed in 2002 and 2003, is far greater than most political figures are willing to exhibit even today.”

At the Carpetbagger Report, liberal Steve Benen thinks Mukasey will be confirmed without a drawn-out Senate battlee. “It’s hard to imagine the circumstances that would lead to a full-scale conservative revolt against a Mukasey nomination (a la Miers, Harriet), but there will likely be quite a bit of grumbling … I don’t want to mischaracterize Mukasey as some kind of reasonable moderate that Dems should embrace. He’s a conservative Republican, playing an active role in Rudy Giuliani’s nutty presidential campaign. But at first blush, he does appear to be one of the better nominees we can hope for out of this White House. Stay tuned.”

New York’s Daily Intelligencer is surprised and pleased by the nonpolarizing nomination. “Other than the almost-sketchy (but not quite) fact that he and his son are currently serving as judicial advisers to Giuliani’s presidential campaign, there doesn’t appear to be anything particularly offensive about this guy. Even Senator Chuck Schumer, who loves him some outrage, is a fan. … We’re actually not filled with total despair!”

At RedState, conservative Pejman Yousefzadeh applauds Bush for his choice: “Yes, I probably would have preferred Ted Olson. … [But] his record is admirable as a judge and a prosecutor, he has played a significant role on the legal front in the battle against terrorism and he supports the Patriot Act. Quite frankly, there is little else to be desired from the standpoint of center-right law aficionados.” But conservative Matt Lewis feels Bush is thumbing his nose at his base. “But the impression is that President Bush avoided picking conservative favorite – former solicitor general Theodore Olson – because Sen. Harry Reid vowed to block his nomination. … While I won’t be as upset over this pick as I might if it were a lifetime Supreme Court vacancy, this is just the latest in a long string of snubs directed at conservatives.”

“It’s Mew-KAY-Zee (not Moo-KAY-Zee or Moo-KAH-Zee — we heard both on TV yesterday)” is among the tidbits Peter Lattman serves up at the Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog. “When he stepped down from the bench last year to rejoin Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler, he made no bones about the fact that the move was about money. … ‘My family has been very supportive of my career as judge, and now I’m returning the favor.’ ”

Liberal Emptywheel at the Next Hurrah finds Mukasey to be middling. “Mukasey seems like someone who believes in the rule of law, but is not someone who will go to great lengths to fix existing problems. He’s also not someone with the bureaucratic experience to whip DOJ back into shape..” Liberal Matthew Yglesias draws a different conclusion. Mukasey “stands a good chance of rescuing the DOJ from its Gonzalez-era status as a cesspool of depravity and incompetence and bringing us back to the glory days of John Ashcroft when one primarily worried about the Attorney-General’s ludicrously wrongheaded ideology.”

Read more about Michael Mukasey. In Slate, Emily Bazelon writes that conservatives should be happy, and Dahlia Lithwick writes  that Mukasey’s outsider status is a good thing.

Slow path to refuge: Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker minced no words in a cable to his Washington colleagues about the plight of 10,000 Iraqi refugees seeking to enter America. Security checks mean the process can take more than 10 months after the United Nations has assigned refugee status, Crocker wrote. Though 60,000 Iraqis are leaving the country each month, the U.S. has admitted only 1,521 refugees since the war began.

“Bully for Ambassador Crocker. He may be deluded about the Iraqi government but he’s got the US government nailed,” cheers Will Kirkland at the liberal Ruth Group. Jonathan Stein at Mother Jones’MoJoBlog dubs Iraq’s refugee crisis an open secret. “So Crocker thinks a little public shaming might help remind the United States government of its responsibility to those fleeing the country it wrecked. I wish him the best of luck.”

At Human Voices, Floridian Captain Fogg dissects their plight: “We are willing to use these people to argue that we must stay there indefinitely to protect them, but we are not willing to take 10,000 of them in. There’s no oil in it for us after all and besides, like Haitians and Bahamians and Mexicans, they’re different than ‘regular’ people.”

Read more about the refugee crisis.

Craig’s toilet: The public restroom where Sen. Larry Craig was caught soliciting sex has become an unlikely tourist destination.

“Grauman’s Chinese Theatre is a famous L.A. tourist destination, featuring the footprints of famous celebrities set in cement. Perhaps the Minneapolis Airport stall can persuade Larry Craig to do the same… with an appropriately ‘Wide Stance,’” suggests the scientist at Silent 3’s Medicated Musings.

“As it happens, between the Flying Imams and the taxi drivers who refuse to take seeing-eye dogs and infidels with alcohol, Minneapolis Airport is a veritable theme-park of wild rides,” quips Mark Steyn at the National Review’s Corner. “How long before a blind senator hits on a flying imam?”

Read more about this tourist destination.