Wednesday, November 10, 2004
That didn't take long
White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, Bush's nominee for Attorney General
The White House announced this afternoon that Alberto Gonzales will be Bush's nominee to the post of Attorney General. The move elevates Gonzales, already the highest-placed Hispanic in the administration, to a much more public job.
Illustrating how much Senate Democrats disliked Ashcroft, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said : "We will have to review his record very carefully, but I can tell you already he's a better candidate than John Ashcroft," according to the Associated Press.
The good news is that Bush is continuing to acknowledge that running a multicultural country requires nominating multicultural officials. But Gonzales is a close Bush confidant, having worked side-by-side with him in the White House (think Josh and Toby in The West Wing) so it's unlikely he's going to operate independently.
Gonzales' job will be to push through judicial nominations, work to renew expiring portions of the Patriot Act, and to fight terror and protect our borders (a tricky task for a Latino from Texas) here at home. In many ways, Gonzales will have a much easier job than did Ashcroft: with 54 Republicans in the Senate, he has the majority on his side. But the trick with the Senate is that any one member can put an indefinite and anonymous hold on any thing he or she wants, including nominations. A 60-member supermajority can overturn that hold, but it's rarely invoked.
Gonzales has an interesting background - he was one of eight children and his parents were poor immigrants. He's been working for George Bush for more than ten years, and was one of Bush's key counsels way back in the Texas Governor's Mansion. So cronyism prevails once more in the Bush White House (OK, in all White Houses really. OK, in all places of business).
Let's see what happens next ...