Something Nice for a Good Buddy

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), July 8, 2005 | Go to article overview

Something Nice for a Good Buddy


Byline: Wesley Pruden, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

George W. Bush is loyal to his buddies. The gooder the good ol' boy, the better. It's one of the president's most endearing traits.

He stood up for Alberto Gonzales on his way to the G-8 summit in Scotland, scolding the "extremists" on the right who are suspicious of the attorney general's credentials as a conservative nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court.

"I don't like it when a friend gets criticized," the president told reporters at a stop in Denmark. "I'm loyal to my friends. And all of a sudden this fellow, who is a good public servant and a really fine person, is under fire. And so, do I like it? No. I don't like it at all."

This may or may not mean the president intends to nominate Mr. Gonzales to the Supreme Court. George W. is known to be partial to his friends, and a lot of conservatives are afraid that's what his Valentine for Alberto is about.

Sen. Harry Reid, the leader of the Democratic minority in the Senate who ordinarily thinks the president is "a loser" and looks for opportunities to say so, swiftly endorsed Mr. Gonzales, figuring that he's the best the Democratic left is likely to get. Other Democrats, who would ordinarily throw up at the very mention of the man who wrote the Guantanamo torture memos, are falling into line.

Mr. Gonzales himself has been campaigning for something with the enthusiasm of a Democratic alderman on the south side of Chicago. He has gone courting at the Heritage Foundation, Paul Weyrich's Free Congress Foundation, Grover Norquist's tax-cut breakfast, Laura Ingraham's radio talk show, and even to Baghdad to sup with the troops. He wants the conservatives to know how much he loves them, at least for now. Naturally all this campaigning doesn't have anything to do with panting for a seat on the Supreme Court, because that wouldn't be seemly. Whoever heard of an unseemly Washington lawyer?

But the buzz is confusing. George W. said not long ago that he wants to find Supreme Court nominees like Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, but some of his most faithful friends say that he's talking like that was then, and this is now. The faithful conservatives are always suspicious that the Republican biggies, who prize moderation except in the heat of an election campaign, is about to dump them. …

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