Watching some of his "oversight" hearings yesterday, as well as his earlier confirmation hearings last fall, I have to comment on our new attorney general.
How long can they keep lowering the bar for this office? It seemed to start off at rock-bottom in the first place with the Confederate nostaligia cultist John Ashcroft. At the time, he seemed like a troubling sign of how bad things might be under the Bush administration. Who would have thought he would one day be regarded as the one bright spot, a veritable lion of civil liberties for his hospital bed defiance of the neocons? Of course, that got him fired.
Then came Alberto Gonzalez, such a two-bit family fixer, and sort of a goofball one at that, that even Bush nicknamed him "Fredo." But it finally got to the point where he could no longer "pass" -- not for white, but for a competent attorney.
So now we have Michael Mukasey, who for purely superificial reasons based entirely on personal appearance, I've dubbed Mugreasy. Whereas Gonzalez's famous last words were "I can't remember," in Mugreasy's case it's "I don't know, and if I did know I couldn't tell you, or I'd have to kill you." Three months in office and he still can't figure out if waterboarding is torture, and as he's been assured we don't do it anymore, even though we never did and never would, although we'll veto any law that says we can't, he couldn't really decide anyway, absent a specific set of facts (and then he wouldn't be able to decide either, as it would be interfering with an ongoing case).
Oh yes, and did I mention he has, apparently without irony, a picture of George Orwell hanging in his office?
I went to law school for a year, so I know about law library research, and yes, it is tedious and time-consuming, but this is ridiculous. Plus he has a staff.
On top of it all, he has all the emotional affectation of a lobotomy patient. He took so long to even start to answer some of the questions, I began to think it was a stalling technique. And I think that's why he was chosen. The man is so inherently boring, they figured the media would mostly ignore these hearings. And from what I can tell, it's pretty much working.
Each time I hear the bipartisan voices say this guy ain't so bad. Yes, he's conservative but not Neanderthal Man, and besides, he's the "best we can hope for." And at least he can't possibly be worse than his predecessor. And not having enough independent information, each time I believe them, and then he's worse, worse, worse. Why? I should have known better. What kind of man would have taken this job, knowing his only real duty would be to stonewall until the clock ran out and shred as many documents as he can in the meantime?
But I'm sure he has a cushy job at some neocon law firm waiting for him. Criminal defense work, I hear.