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Lame, lame duck: Bush’s decision not to nominate Ted Olson for AG

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By Michelle Malkin  •  September 18, 2007 10:02 AM

My expectations of the Bush administration are so low now, it’s hard to get worked up anymore when the White House abandons conservatives in its futile quest to appease Democrats. But I am moved to agree with Paul Mirengoff of Powerline that the decision to pass up Ted Olson for Attorney General in favor of Schumer-approved nominee Michael Mukasey was an especially dispiriting “act of preemptive surrender.”

Paul notes that even the Washington Post editorial board had more fight than President Bush:

Mr. Olson’s possible nomination drew howls from Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), who proclaimed last week that he would do “everything I can to prevent” Mr. Olson’s confirmation. The desire to avoid a fight over the next attorney general may, in fact, be the right thing for an already beleaguered Justice Department. But no president should be cowed by the kind of threats lobbed by Mr. Reid. Mr. Olson is undoubtedly partisan. It’s no coincidence that he represented Mr. Bush before the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore. But if he had settled on Mr. Olson, Mr. Bush would have been nominating one of the premier lawyers of his day. Mr. Olson served honorably during the Reagan administration as head of the influential Office of Legal Counsel. His years as solicitor general under Mr. Bush proved he could serve ably and without political rancor even while adhering to a conservative view of the law. Mr. Olson would have restored to the top job at the Justice Department a level of intellectual heft and gravitas that had been absent during Mr. Gonzales’s 2 1/2 -year reign of errors.

Without a doubt, Mr. Reid and the Democrats have an obligation to pry deeply into the qualifications and character of the person nominated to the top law enforcement job in the country. What they don’t have is the right to usurp the president’s role in choosing a nominee who shares his — or possibly even her — ideology and priorities.

Our lame duck president, apparently, doesn’t agree.

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