Monday, September 17, 2007


Bush has picked Michael Mukasey to be the next attorney general, and now the left blogosphere is going to prattle on endlessly for days and days about the confirmation hearings, in the utterly absurd expectation that something of value will happen in those hearings. Here's Matthew Yglesias:

...a confirmation hearing isn't just about the nominee, it's also an opportunity to really force a would-be high official to sit in a chair and give some reasonable answers to questions from the Senate. Once someone has a job, it turns out to be remarkably easy to show up, say a bunch of stuff that's not really true, and then apologize a couple of days later.... Given what's gone down over the past few years, any appointee to this job deserves to be asked some tough questions about his views on whether torture is illegal, whether US Attorneys should be sacked for failing to mount partisan prosecutions, etc., etc., etc., and the confirmation issue shouldn't be prejudged until one sees whether or not satisfactory answers are forthcoming....

Oh, give me a break. When we last time any of these clowns made a misstep in a confirmation hearing? Post-Bork Republicans may not know bugger-all about on-the-job integrity, competence, or respect for the Constitution and the rule of law, but they sure as hell know how to say whatever they have to say to get confirmed. It's actually remarkably easy to show up at the hearings, say a bunch of stuff that's not really true, and then apologize (or not apologize) after you have the job.

Sure, Democrats should (with a minimum of posturing and bloviation) get Mukasey on the record so there's a soundbite when, inevitably, he becomes a good Bush soldier and does (or defends) the indefensible. But they should recognize that confirmation hearings are empty theater, that the public knows they're empty theater, and that they're utterly irrelevant to the real work of vetting nominees. What the Senate needs to know about Mukasey is already known, or knowable -- it's in the available record of his life and career. It's not going to spring from his lips in a Perry Mason moment on C-SPAN.

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