Like many in the media, we had a brief crush on Michael Mukasey, Bush’s pick to replace the selectively amnesiac Alberto Gonzales as attorney general. The man was a born-and-bred New Yorker, after all, and a respected judge to boot. Chuck Schumer all but endorsed him. We blushingly called him “like, a decent guy.” Hell, we thought he’d give his pal Giuliani an unfair advantage in the race! “Can this really be?” we wrote. “Has the man never worn a dress? Are there no nipple clamps in his bedside table?”
But, speaking of nipple clamps, Mukasey’s bipartisan support has been evaporating ever since the man refused to spell out his position on torture. Specifically, he’s not saying whether he considers waterboarding a form of torture. (Perhaps, like Rudy said in a recent speech, he thinks it “depends on who’s doing it.”) Now Schumer says he’s undecided about the guy, Bush is whining that Mukasey is “not being treated fairly” and “the questions he’s been asked are unfair,” and our thoughts are drifting, once again, to Giuliani’s candidacy. Is Michael Mukasey the new Bernie Kerik?
One crucial difference: With Kerik, you could play conspiracy theorist and muse on whether Karl Rove orchestrated his nomination to the top Homeland Security post to pre-smear Rudy. That was in 2004. Now, Bush’s remarks “demonstrate just how much the White House has been caught off guard by the fight over Mr. Mukasey,” writes the Times. It’s comforting, isn’t it, to know that these people truly, sincerely have no idea what they’re doing. —Michael Idov
Bush, Defending Justice Nominee, Sees Unfairness [NYT]
Earlier: Our coverage of Michael Mukasey