War of Terror's New Front: Mukasey
Picking Mukasey as AG should help the GOP and Rudy and should scare civil libertarians.
Mukasey's close ties to Rudy make him a simply fabulous choice as attorney general. He's practically a running mate for Giuliani during the next year of campaigning.
What about Mukasey and the rest of us? For the next year as lame-duck AG, Mukasey, who presided over the trial of the World Trade Center's 1993 bombers, will be a constant and sympathetic/heroic reminder of the "war on terror." Maybe that will stoke enough fear in us that we'll forget the war of terror we've created in Iraq.
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This is a smart move by the GOP. It smacks of Karl Rove, but he supposedly left the building.
Here's the bad news: Mukasey is potentially far more hazardous to our civil liberties than Alberto Gonzales ever was. Gonzales was a dumb-ass, and Mukasey is very sharp. Mukasey thinks so highly of the Patriot Act that he felt compelled to defend it in a 2004 Wall Street Journal op-ed, writing:
Dispensing with the name, Mukasey proceeds to write a scary analysis, particularly his sneering at librarians' concerns and his strong implication that the Bill of Rights, because it was tacked onto the Constitution, has less heft.
His argument is that we ought to give the government the benefit of the doubt in its dealings with we the people. That's the same kind of reasoning that Chief Justice John Roberts uses to give corporations the benefit of the doubt over people, as I wrote in July 2005..
Here are Mukasey's concluding paragraphs from the WSJ op-ed:
Of course, it's the government that determines what measures are required to "keep us alive." This is one scary lawyer, or as Ben Franklin said:
But concerning the really important stuff — the '08 presidential campaign — Giuliani now has a security blanket. Mukasey is, in effect, his running mate. He'll get bipartisan support from the Senate — Chuck Schumer and other Democrats love him, and Mukasey's role as a judge intimately involved with World Trade Center and other terrorism cases while he was a federal judge in New York City will guarantee him a free pass during confirmation hearings.
You'll hear the word "terror" about a million times during those brief hearings, and the horror of the attacks will be brought up again and again.
As to Mukasey's connections with Giuliani? Forget this morning's papers if you want all the details. As Ron Mills pointed out yesterday in his cleverly named blog, Ron Mills — News And Commentary, Mukasey is a really close pal of Rudy's — he administered the oath of office to newly elected Mayor Giuliani twice in 1994 — once in Mukasey's apartment.
The apartment oath and the fact that Marc Mukasey is a law partner of Rudy's somehow didn't make it into this morning's New York Times story.
But if Rudy wins the '08 election, you can be sure of one detail: Mukasey will stay on as AG.
And what a trial that was. The prosecutor won the case, and you'd think that the GOP would love to give him a top job in the Bush administration — except for the fact that the prosecutor was Patrick Fitzgerald.
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