Friday, March 20, 2009


There are a pair of stories on Slate on how tough it is to be a Republican these days. One has to deal with the Republican response to the AIG bonuses. Democrats have put them in a funny spot by making them vote for a tax increase to get the money back. But many Republicans voted no yesterday in the House. Never fear, for they have their own plan:

The proposal looks good on paper: Unlike the Democrats' solution, which would recoup only 90 percent of the bonuses in a year's time, Boehner says the Republican alternative would get the entire sum in two weeks. But when I asked a Republican leadership spokesman how the bill would accomplish this, the answer was simple: Tell Treasury to get the money back. No matter that Treasury had already determined it could not legally recoup the bonuses once they were paid out. It needs to try harder.
Good plan.

The other piece talks about the hypocirsy Republicans are showing now that it is Obama who is nominating judicial appointees.

See, also, Dawn Johnsen, Obama's nominee for the head of the Office of Legal Counsel. This morning, the judiciary committee approved Johnsen 11-7 in a vote down party lines. Her nomination will now head to the Senate floor. Like Kagan, professor Johnsen (who blogged for Slate's legal blog, "Convictions") answered questions at a hearing, then answered questions and more questions. Johnsen has provided more than 165 written answers to the committee's follow-up questions, including detailed information on terrorism, detainee treatment, executive power, warrantless wiretapping and electronic surveillance, the use of military force and CIA operations against al-Qaida, extraordinary rendition, guidelines for the proper operation of OLC, reproductive rights, the judicial nominations process, a "progressive agenda," voter ID laws, the Supreme Court's decision in Bush v. Gore, enforcing and defending the Constitution, obscenity and child pornography. To name a few. She answered questions about actions she had taken when she served in the Office of Legal Counsel—questions that Bushies like Jay Bybee and Stephen Bradbury, also former OLC lawyers, declined to answer at their own hearings.

What did Johnsen get for her forthrightness? Seven Republicans cast votes against her. Following years of superb legal scholarship and service at OLC, Johnsen was in fact described this morning by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, as lacking the "requisite seriousness" needed for the job.
It really is a tough time to be a Republican. Eight years of taking ridiculous positions based on the fact they were in charge have left them in an impossible situation now that they aren't anymore. If only that permanent Republican majority had come to fruition...

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