Bush Displeased With Gonzales Criticism
While traveling in Europe, President Bush was dogged with questions about events back at home. Namely, reporters wanted to know about the Supreme Court vacancy. Things got interesting when Bush was asked about the harsh criticisms of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales that have come from some hard right conservative groups.
Bush bristled at criticism of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, a longtime friend who is often mentioned as a potential nominee for the high court. Conservatives said they aren't convinced Gonzales' beliefs on affirmative action and abortion are far enough to the right for their liking.
"I don't like it when a friend gets criticized," Bush said. "I'm loyal to my friends.
"And all the sudden this fella, who is a good public servant and a really fine person, is under fire," Bush said. "And so do I like it? No, I don't like it. At all."
This is a President who has had very few disagreements with his own party. And after all he has done for the hard right wing through moral support and government initiatives, Bush is right to be irritated that a large number of conservatives would so openly and fiercely criticize Gonzales. I don’t know if he expected complete loyalty, but nor do I think he expected this level of disloyalty.
But the one thing I think we’ve learned about Bush is that unfair criticism is more likely to make him want to fight than compromise. If he’s decided Gonzales is the man, then Gonzales is going to get the nod. Interestingly, the dislike of Gonzales by the hard right will make it very hard for anyone on the left to classify the Attorney General as an “extreme” choice.
So a man who made for a rather contentious Attorney General nominee might be the one Supreme Court choice that can get through the confirmation process without a bloody fight. Even so, we’d hardly be out of the water as most observers expect Chief Justice Rehnquist to retire as well. And that opening will surely go to a justice who will make the hard right happy.