Tim Griffin, the Karl Rove political torch who the White House put into the U.S. attorney's seat in Little Rock without the constitutional confirmation procedure (and abused Bud Cummins in the doing), is richly illustrating why he's unfit for a job where we look for tempered judgment and fairness.
Griffin believes Democrats are hacks for insisting that the Constitution be followed. They are the partisans, he contends, not he who has boasted in published articles of high-powered political war rooms and whose name has been linked to Republican vote suppression operations. And so now that the dubious interim appointments of U.S. attorneys around the country, including Griffin's, have come under fire, he resorts to the skill that got him installed -- political hardball and the bully's familiar whine of victimization.
Stephens Media here.Griffin says again -- as he indicated to the D-G yesterday -- that as a result of stress and a young child, he won't submit his family to the nomination process.
Please read closely. Note please that Griffin DID NOT SAY he's stepping down. He merely said he won't submit himself to the confirmation process. But he NEVER intended to submit himself to the confirmation process. Nor did the White House intend it. Griffin, in fact, is reportedly telling friends that he fully intends to serve until the end of Bush's term in January 2009. He don't need no stinkin' confirmation hearing.
This is second-hand, only. The NY Times indicates, as local press have, that Griffin's name will be withdrawn for consideration as a nominee and will serve until another name is put forward. But when will that be?
Is this just a political spinmaster at work? Peel every layer of every utterance. But at the end of the day, be skeptical. And whatever you do, don't feel sorry for him. The Rove gang may well intend to keep their hot-headed boy in place. Feel sorry for the Constitution until a confirmation process is held. Feel sorry for Bud Cummins forever.
So what's next? I assume Democrats will continue to push legislation to strip the Patriot Act of the odious little kicker that allowed Bush to bypass the nomination process. And I expect that, at some point, absent the appearance of a new candidate for the job, Chuck Schumer will call Attorney General Alberto Gonzales back before the Judiciary Committee in due course to ask him, "Mr. Head of the so-called Justice Department, were you lying to Congress or were you not lying to Congress when you testified here that it was your intention to nominate for Senate confirmation a person for every U.S. attorney vacancy, including the one in Little Rock?"
I could be off base. But since Griffin has never been willing to favor us with comments, even before hostilities broke out, I can't provide what he might say in response.
UPDATE He'd probably whine that he wouldn't submit himself to "that circus," as he told the Washington Post. But he knows we'd also ask him about the obstacles that existed to his confirmation, a process honored for decades until Rove's Hatchet Boy came along. We'd also asked him if this answer on how long he intended to serve could include until January 2009:
Griffin said he will remain in the job for "as long as they need me."
Congressional aides who were briefed on the issue this week said that Griffin was recommended for the job by Harriet E. Miers, the former White House counsel, who called a Gonzales aide to push for his appointment. Miers told Pryor in December that Griffin was "our person" for the Little Rock job, said Michael Teague, a Pryor spokesman.
Teague said Griffin's sharp comments about Pryor and other Democrats underscore the need for a confirmation process to ensure U.S. attorneys are not overly partisan.
Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), a Judiciary Committee member, said in an interview that "Mr. Griffin is proving to be the partisan he always seemed to be."