WHAT NEXT? Jonah is <a href = http

//corner.nationalreview.com/05_10_23_corner-archive.asp#080895 target = _blank>terrified it might be Gonzales. I doubt it will be. Another fight with his base, while he’s losing key aides? Bush will be politically tempted to pick the most nationally divisive candidate he can find – one that gives the far right goosebumps of joy and the center and left a shiver up the spine. Bush may believe he needs to polarize the country to win back his base, especially if he’s reeling from indictments and a major staff turn-over. He has done it before; and he may do it again. For my part, I think the Rovians are misguided in this prescription. A socially conservative fire-breather is not what the country needs right now – and, although it may shore up the base, it will further rattle the middle. What we need is someone of Roberts’ ilk: impeccably qualified, intellectually serious, and concerned more with judicial process than results. The fundamental concern the public now has about this administration is its competence. The Roberts and Bernanke picks are reassuring. The Miers pick, er, wasn’t. Excellence and judicial restraint should be the criteria: not ideology. They are the criteria upon which the right and center can converge. Here’s hoping.

MOORE AWARD NOMINEE: “Iraq Body Count, Reuters says, estimates that 38 Iraqis die in violence every day. Over thirty-five years, that would amount to nearly 500,000 dead. In fact, it is estimated that the Baath party killed 300,000 Iraqis, so the current rate seems to be greater than the Baath rate. (The number of civilians killed by the Baath is probably in fact exaggerated. Only a few thousand bodies have been recovered from mass graves so far.)” – Juan Cole, on his blog. (Hat tip: Striding Lion.)

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