Michael Mukasey was confirmed by the Senate in a 53-40 vote with 7 not voting, for the job of Attorney General. (Roll call here)
A few of the earlier reactions as well as a list of yeahs and nays and who didn't vote are here.
I wrote that late last night and I promised more reactions would be screeching in by morning, and sure enough, over at memeorandum we see my prediction was correct.
First lets look at who Michael Mukasey is:
Mukasey served for 18 years as a judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, six of those years as Chief Judge. He has received several awards, most notably the Learned Hand Medal of the Federal Bar Council.
During his tenure on the bench, Mukasey presided over the criminal prosecution of Omar Abdel Rahman and El Sayyid Nosair, whom he sentenced to life in prison for a plot to blow up the United Nations and other Manhattan landmarks uncovered during an investigation into the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. During that case, Mukasey spoke out against leaks by law enforcement officials regarding the facts of the case allegedly aimed at prejudicing potential jurors against the defendants.
Mukasey also heard the trial of Jose Padilla, ruling that the U.S. citizen and alleged terrorist could be held as an enemy combatant but was entitled to see his lawyers. Mukasey also was the judge in the litigation between developer Larry Silverstein and several insurance companies arising from the destruction of the World Trade Center.In a 2003 suit, he issued a preliminary injunction preventing the Motion Picture Association of America from enforcing its ban against the distribution of screener copies of films during awards season, ruling that the ban was likely an unlawful restraint of trade unfair to independent filmmakers.
In June 2003, Democratic New York Senator Charles Schumer submitted Mukasey's name, along with four other Republicans or Republican appointees, as a suggestion for Bush to consider for nomination to the Supreme Court
Here are more facts about AG Mukasey from the White House site.
In September he was being called the "consensus pick":
The choice of Mukasey, who isn't well known in Washington and who was recommended by leading Democrats, shows Bush is trying to bolster relations with lawmakers and tamp down scandals at the department. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced his resignation Aug. 27 after months of accusations that he misled Congress about the firing of nine U.S. attorneys and the handling of an anti-terrorist eavesdropping program.
From my piece yesterday:
Back on the 6th of November we told you that Michael Mukasey won an 11-8 Senate Judiciary Committee vote to send his nomination to the full Senate, that was despite the efforts from the far left to influence the decision and have him voted down.Despite concentrated efforts by the nutty roots of the Democratic supporters and many democratic politicians themselves, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 11-8 in favor to send the nomination of Michael Mukasey as attorney general to the full chamber for a confirmation vote, once again putting the netroots in their place..
Democrats Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Schumer, two key committee Democrats who said last week they would vote for confirmation, gave him the majority vote needed to advance his nomination. Every panel Republican voted for Mukasey and every other Democrat opposed the nomination.
In the end, Mukasey was confirmed as the nation's 81st attorney general by a 53-40 vote. Six Democrats and one independent joined Republicans in sealing his confirmation.
Which brings us to this morning and the outrage from the left.
Greenwald is throwing his traditional hissy fit, which he is so good at, asking why the Democrats didn't filibuster the confirmation.
Every time Congressional Democrats failed this year to stop the Bush administration (i.e., every time they "tried"), the excuse they gave was that they "need 60 votes in the Senate" in order to get anything done. Each time Senate Republicans blocked Democratic legislation, the media helpfully explained not that Republicans were obstructing via filibuster, but rather that, in the Senate, there is a general "60-vote requirement" for everything.
How, then, can this be explained?
The so-called "60-vote requirement" applies only when it is time to do something to limit the Bush administration. It is merely the excuse Senate Democrats use to explain away their chronic failure/unwillingness to limit the President, and it is what the media uses to depict the GOP filibuster as something normal and benign. There obviously is no "60-vote requirement" when it comes to having the Senate comply with the President's demands, as the 53-vote confirmation of Michael Mukasey amply demonstrates. But as Mukasey is sworn in as the highest law enforcement officer in America, the Democrats want you to know that they most certainly did stand firm and "registered their displeasure."
I don't read Greenwald because I rarely find him ever writing anything that even resembles the truth, but his reaction illustrates most of what I am seeing on the left today and he is amusing because you can almost "hear" the nasally whining in his words about this.
Kagro X from Daily Kos has the most laughable line:
What standard does this set? What practices, if any, are and will forever be out of bounds?
Chuck Schumer's logic is just another step toward the day when campaign ads of the future will deliver as a straight line the news that the opposition is, "Wrong on cannibalism. Wrong for America."
They are the biggest drama queens.
At Largely brings up a point I want to address also:
But there is something else in all of this that bothers me. Those "elected officials" who are also presidential candidates failed to even vote:"All five senators who are running for president -- Joseph R. Biden Jr., Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Christopher J. Dodd, all Democrats, and John McCain -- did not cast votes. The four Democrats had said they would not support Mr. Mukasey because of his equivocation during the confirmation hearings over whether waterboarding is torture. Mr. McCain has also denounced the interrogation method but he issued a statement last week saying he would vote to approve the nomination." (same NYT article).
How can one truly denounce something and yet stand idly by and watch it happen anyway?
The point here is what the Democrats have to choose from in the next election.
4 Democratic Presidential candidates that could not stand by a "principle", if, indeed, they even know the meaning of the word, claiming they wouldn't not vote for Michael Mukasey, citing some sort of "principle", so instead of taking a stand (even the wrong one) and voting against Mukasey, they did nothing.
And they want to run this country?
(Note to Democratic supporters: You have some real cowardly, spineless, winners to choose from!!!)
I had one brief moment of shining hope last night, but once again the Democratic 'leadership' utterly failed to fulfil the mandate of the people to stand up for the constitution and stand against the excesses of our Madman in Chief.
These guys just don't get it. "Registering their displeasure" doesn't mean squat unless they use their votes and their procedural advantage to fight the ongoing destruction of everything it means to be an American. There will be much "registering of displeasure" today against this latest boneheaded capitulation to the president and his loyalists, but unlike our spineless Beltway bozos, I have a feeling a whole of us will be registering that displeasure at the ballot box in 08 with our votes.
The lack of a filibuster suggests that there are some serious institutional/leadership issues here. I haven’t had a chance to review the proposed primary challengers in the thread on that topic, but given the institutional nature of the problem my inclination is to give money to whoever is opposing Pelosi in the primary. For that matter, I don’t get Leahy. Yes, I know, he voted against Mukasey, but I recall that in the 1990’s the Republican committee chairs and majority leader discovered all sorts of arcane procedures and rules to pretty much block anything that they wanted. But under Democrats the leadership is unable to block, well, anything. Yes, I know, there are some good Democrats in there, and the Republicans are even worse. That’s not the issue. The issue is that the leadership is inadequate to maintain opposition....
The reactions are coming out faster than I can list them, so keep up over at memeorandum.
I saved one very level headed reaction for last because it makes a point that I am writing about in my next post. [WRITTEN AND LINKED]
The incompetent and incapable Democratic leadership.
From Marc Moore over at The Van Der Galiën Gazette:
Glen Greenwald laid into Senate Democrats for confirming Michael Mukasey’s nomination as Attorney General:
[...]The Post said the vote “reflected an effort by Democrats to register their displeasure with Bush administration policies on torture and the boundaries of presidential power.” Apparently, they wanted to oh-so-meaningfully “register their displeasure” but not actually stop confirmation.
He links to the Greenwald post I linked to above and he ends with this:
Yes, I’d say that’s exactly right. The Democrats who in 2006 were going to change the way that the nation does the business of politics have accomplished absolutely nothing toward that goal. Why is anyone surprised? It’s not like these folks haven’t been in charge of Congress before. Nothing’s changed.
Why? Democrats over-promised in ‘06 in their fervor to get elected. Did they actually intend to keep the promises they made? Most of them probably did. Funny thing about the weight of responsibility, though. Once they had to be accountable for their actions it became a lot harder to be radical change agents.
In the case of Mukasey, it’s clear that the torture issue was political rather than practical.
He makes a couple excellent points.
The promises made before the 2006 elections were never meant to be kept, they were simply said to con the Democratic supporters into voting for them.
Secondly and more importantly, this Mukasey situation highlights the fact that everything is political and right and wrong do not even enter the picture for the Democratic politicians.
This wasn't about torture, this was about being against anything and anybody Bush is for.
That is what they have based this whole last year on, with no regard for what is best for this country, no regard to trying to work in a bipartisan manner and they can piss and moan all they want about the Republicans filibustering in the Senate, but if they were working in a bipartisan manner instead of deliberately trying to write bills that they knew there would be a fight about, deliberately making everything political, there wouldn't be filibusters by the Republicans.
There wouldn't be a need.
The parliamentary rules are there in the Senate and the House to prevent exactly what the Democrats have been trying to do... railroad and steam roll everything they want through the two houses without input from the minority party.
The can cry all they want about the nasty Republicans "blocking" everything they want to do, but as the majority, their strength, if they had any, would be in working with the minority so that filibusters wouldn't be necessary.... they choose not to do so because it would make their far left, liberal faction of their party unhappy.
Instead, they make a conscious choice to make the independents and their moderate base unhappy which is the whole reason their approval ratings are the lowest in Congressional history.
The Democrats, by being the majority, control the agenda and they deliberately pick the fights and then whine when the Republicans fight back using the methods in place for that very reason.
Suggestion: Stop picking fights deliberately unless you really want to fight.
The people notice.