Why not the best? Part Two

I wasn’t going to write anything more about President Bush’s act of preemptive surrender in declining to nominate Ted Olson for Attorney General. After all, at this point the key question is the fitness of the actual nominee, not that of indiividuals who might have been nominated. But then I read this editorial in the Washington Post which upbraids Harry Reid and his fellow Senate Dems for “usurp[ing] the president’s role in choosing a nominee who shares his. . .ideology and priorities.” Says the Post:

[N]o president should be cowed by the kind of threats lobbed by Mr. Reid. Mr. Olson is undoubtedly partisan. It’s no coincidence that he represented Mr. Bush before the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore. But if he had settled on Mr. Olson, Mr. Bush would have been nominating one of the premier lawyers of his day. Mr. Olson served honorably during the Reagan administration as head of the influential Office of Legal Counsel. His years as solicitor general under Mr. Bush proved he could serve ably and without political rancor even while adhering to a conservative view of the law. Mr. Olson would have restored to the top job at the Justice Department a level of intellectual heft and gravitas that had been absent during Mr. Gonzales’s 2 1/2 -year reign of errors.

It’s telling that the Washington Post is more protective of President Bush’s prerogative to nominate a partisan conservative than Bush himself appears to be.
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