“The Math”

FWIW, I think this morning’s NYT article naming Olson as Bush’s nominee to be AG was just a plant floated by conservatives pushing the Administration to make this nomination into a confrontation. David Johnston is very susceptible to this kind of planted leak. And Mike Allen, who has better ties to the White House than Johnston, names Olson as just one candidate among five (though the one favored by conservatives)–and he quotes an SAO saying there is "no clear frontrunner" (Laura Jakes Jordan says precisely the same thing).

But now that Harry Reid has thrown down the gauntlet, saying "I intend to do everything I can to prevent him from being confirmed as the next attorney general," lets do a little quick math, shall we?

Ted Olson was confirmed in 2001 with a 51-47 vote, after having been technically defeated in SJC with a 9-9 vote. But because this occurred during the 50-50 split in the Senate, Trent Lott was able to get Olson a vote on the Senate floor. The only two Democrats who voted for Olson were Zell Miller and Ben Nelson. That means Pat Leahy, Ted Kennedy, Joe Biden, Herb Kohl, DiFi, Russ Feingold, Chuck Schumer, and Dick Durbin–all members of the Senate Judiciary Committe–have already voted against confirming this guy, and that for a post back when DOJ was just a business as usual nomination. Ben Cardin and Sheldon Whitehouse now have a vote, too–but I’m not expecting Sheldon Whitehouse to lead a campaign in favor of Ted Olson.

In other words, an Olson nomination would not even get to the floor of the Senate if everyone voted as they already have–or would be expected to–on Olson.

The one question mark is DiFi, who on the Southwick vote got royally played. Or rather, Pat Leahy got royally played and DiFi got seduced, bigtime. I don’t think she’s as liable to be seduced, particularly not if Reid is going to babysit things so Leahy doesn’t get played. But just in case–if you’re a DiFi constitutent, it might be nice to have her opposition to Ted Olson on the record (her phone number is (202) 224-3841, if you were wondering).

That said, given the math, I’m more convinced all this Olson stuff is just hot air coming from the far right, hoping to pick a fight with the Democrats.

  1. radiofreewill says:

    Okay, so Olson’s a partisan-hack pinata with no chance of getting out of committee.

    Terwilliger, like Olson, worked on Bush’s 2000 Campaign – he’s out on the same grounds.

    Silberman has no track record of independent Judicial Review – he’s a Bush fixer. He’ll never gain concensus.

    Mukasey is favored by the Dems, so the Goopers will never get behind him.

    Thompson doesn’t come across as having broad enough shoulders to carry the DoJ back to respectability, but he’d be worth a look in committee. I just don’t think the Goopers believe he’s a strong enough (ideologically speaking) guy for the job, and ultimately won’t nominate him.

    My guess is Bush will stonewall as long as he can with these five, griping all the way, but not worried about Clement doing anything to upset the boat in the meantime.

    Then, reluctantly, Bush will reach into his bag of ’compromised’ Goopers and ceremoniously pull out his nominee for the savior of Justice – the would-be General Orrin Hatch.

  2. Neil says:

    EW thanks for your read on the Olson nomination.

    radio.. Does Hatch want out of the Senate? January 2009 is so close. Why would he give up his seat for that?

  3. radiofreewill says:

    Neil, check it out:

    From the AP (Senate Democrats Warn Against Olson Pick

    â€Hatch is another name mentioned. Several Senate colleagues have said they have spoken with Hatch about the prospect and predicted that the White House could turn to him if Bush can’t convince anyone else acceptable to Democrats to take the job.â€


  4. Ishmael says:

    EW – Lanny Davis was touting Olson as AG in an article on the HuffPo a couple of weeks ago. This could have been freelance useful idiocy on Davis’s part, or perhaps the Liebercrats put him up to it. I’m amazed at how someone who worked for Clinton during the Arkansas Project inquisition could support Olsen, he may as well as been promoting Ken Starr.

  5. masaccio says:

    Ishmael, Davis did support Olson on HuffPost, and subsequently was contacted by someone who posted the exchange on FDL. Davis said he things Olson is the best of the people the administration might nominate, and as I recall, thinks he is independent. If you want to express an opinion directly to Davis, he works for a lawfirm named Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, which is on the web under http://www.orrick.com, and his e-mail is provided by them. I’m sure you will be about as polite as possible….

  6. drational says:

    Is Olson a straw-man?
    Reid has been de-balled politically in failing to show spine to the administration with FISA etc.

    Is the Administration giving him the opportunity to be the pugnacious boxer, win the â€fight†over Olson, and then presumably be magnanimous with the WHO’s â€second choiceâ€.

    Certainly after squashing Meirs, Dems were â€softer†with Alito and Roberts. I would not put it past them to leak names for planned defeats when it is essentially meaningless, in order to shore up victory with the real nominee when it actually reaches committee.

    I would not be surprised if they ultimately put forward a name that has not yet been heard- oppo research has been focused on the leaked names.

  7. KLynn says:

    I think we are going to see many actions like this in an effort to boost Preznet’s poll ratings. He’s going to announce a limited troop withdrawl plan in hopes of a bounce. So lets make a shiney object of negative press making Dems look partisan. There will be more before November…

  8. Anonymous says:

    I’m more convinced all this Olson stuff is just hot air coming from the far right, hoping to pick a fight with the Democrats.

    Or hoping to make the real nominee look acceptable by comparison — which is a much greater danger.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I see my point has been made more effectively above by drational. The Judiciary Committee has to be prepared to reject just about any nominee. There has to a commitment, under oath, that the nominee will move the subpoenas and be the country’s chief law enforcement officer, not Bush’s lawyer.