Scoundrels, to Your Refuges!


Desparate for a win on something, anything, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid preemptively said he'd block fomer Solicitor General Ted Olson if Bush nominated him to replace Alberto Gonzales.

Reason's been tough on Olson in the past. Jacob Sullum caught him fibbing about sex offender stats, Julian Sanchez caught him playing dumb on copyright law. Yesterday Bill Sammon, the Washington Examiner White House reporter and author of such scathing critiques of presidential power as Misunderestimated: The President Battles Terrorism, Media Bias and the Bush Haters and Strategery: How George W. Bush Is Defeating Terrorists, Outwitting Democrats, and Confounding the Mainstream Media appeared on Fox's Special Report with Brit Hume to argue that Olson should be confirmed because his wife Barbara died on 9/11. He started off subtle:

SAMMON: Now Ted Olson was married to Barbara Olson, who died in the 9/11 plane crash into the Pentagon, and she was–

HUME: She was a–

SAMMON: She was a partisan.

Hume started on about resistance to Olson, at which point Sammon stopped being subtle.

SAMMON: I think beating up on a 9-11 widower makes about as much sense as beating up on General Petraeus. When it was the 9-11 widows no one was allowed to talk about it. But here is a guy who lost his wife on 9-11 and they are going to beat him up. I think it makes no sense politically.

HUME: But he is remarried now, isn't he? Moved on?


KONDRACKE: I don't think you can make that case, Bill.

This is a fantastically silly argument but at the end of a long week when the big question was "Do you accept David Petraeus as your personal Lord and Savior?" it's worth revisiting. Victims of national tragedies only have credibility as it extends to the issues surrounding those tragedies. The 9/11 Widows were taken seriously and gifted with loving press coverage only when they were discussing 9/11 and security matters—when they lobbied for a 9/11 Commission, for example. When some of them endorsed John Kerry, the gloves came off. The same went for Cindy Sheehan: Saintly when she was asking to meet with George W. Bush and end the war, credibility shot once she morphed into a Hugo Chavez-hugging rent-a-activist. The Terri Schiavo thing wasn't exactly a national tragedy (one person died), but her birth family haven't had much success extending their activism beyond "save our daughter" to "end euthanasia now!"

If anyone actually uses Sammon's argument to confirm a man as attorney general of the United States, she/he should be laughed off the public stage.