Q&A Friday #31: What About Gonzales For Another Opening?

Question: John, what do you think of the idea of “saving” a nomination of Alberto Gonzales as Supreme Court Justice for a possible open seat after a theoretical Democratic victory in the ’06 elections?

If the Democrats were to take over the Senate or (in a more realistic scenario) trim the GOP margin, it would be hard to push a nominee between the obstructionists and the RINOs. In that case, a maybe-conservative already called “acceptable” by Democratic leaders might seem more palatable.

Would you agree with the politics and would you support the choice in that more difficult scenario?” — hitnrun_1

Remember this from Dr. Seuss?

“i could not, would not, on a boat.
i will not, will not, with a goat.
i will not eat them in the rain.
i will not eat them on a train.
not in the dark! not in a tree!
not in a car! you let me be!
i do not like them in a box.
i do not like them with a fox.
i will not eat them in a house.
i do not like them with a mouse.
i do not like them here or there.
i do not like them ANYWHERE!
i do not like green eggs and ham!
i do not like them, sam-i-am.”

The way he feels about green eggs and ham is how I feel about Gonzales, except I’m going to change my mind at the end of the story. There will never, ever be a good time to nominate Gonzales to the Supreme Court and that’s doubly true after the brouhaha Bush caused by nominating Harriet Miers.

Plus, at this point, the chances are better that the GOP will add seats in the Senate or at least break even rather than lose any. The Democrats are definitely not going to take back the Senate and even if a nightmare scenario were to take place for the GOP, the Dems still couldn’t take more than 2-3 seats. That means the GOP would have a majority (with enough arm twisting) capable of killing the nuclear option and voting through a strong conservative nominee.

But even if the GOP didn’t have a majority, the President would be better off trying to force through a conservative nominee. In my view, it’s better to risk having your top candidates voted down than to just put up a 3rd stringer right off the bat. If the Democrats vote your candidate down just because he/she’s conservative it makes them appear unreasonable, gives Republicans a great excuse to do the same thing to a Democrat one day, and even if the 2nd or 3rd choice turns out to be a Souter or a Kennedy, at least the President has a defense (Well, I couldn’t get my #1 choice).

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