That was the vote to confirm Michael Mukasey late Thursday night as our 81st Attorney General.
So let’s see. Now Chuck Schumer will forward legislation explicitly banning waterboarding, since his good buddy Mukasey assured him that such legislation would be enforced. It’ll pass the Senate with something like 90 votes, then it’ll get through the House with similar support. The President will cheerfully sign it, with the new AG by his side, talking about the importance of the rule of law. This will be swiftly followed by the grand tradition of Bush-era bipartisanship, pictured below:
A day after the bill-signing, Charlie Savage will find, buried deep within the Federal Register, a newly written signing statement which pledges to uphold the waterboarding ban, so long as doing so doesn’t infringe upon the President’s dual role as Commander-in-Chief and head of the unitary executive branch. The story will run on page A9 of the Boston Globe, and might get a two-paragraph blurb in the Washington section of the New York Times. None of the networks will mention it.
Then, sometime in mid-February, Democrats in Congress will claim to be “troubled” and “deeply shocked” that despite AG Mukasey’s previous assurances, evidence continues to roll in that US agents are using waterboarding. There will be an angry letter from Chairman Leahy demanding that Mukasey testify on these matters before the Judiciary Committee. The White House will say no, it being inappropriate for a member of the Executive Branch to be summoned like an errand boy before Congress. The Senate will drop it in the name of compromise.
And far from Capitol Hill, at some undisclosed location, a prisoner in American custody will have water poured down his throat until he begins to drown. This will be done again and again until he tells his captors what they want to hear. To protect our freedoms.