The Moose asks whether the President is tough enough to stand up to Dr. Dobson?
The central political question of the moment is whether the President is going to stand up for a friend or capitulate to the fever swamp right. By drawing a line in the stand against the Supreme Court nomination of the President's friend Attorney General Gonzales, the Republican right wing is calling into question W's loyalty to a foxhole friend.
In Texas, that is considered challenging a fella's manhood. The conservative mob is telling Sheriff Bush what he can and can't do. How he responds will send a message about his mettle and whether he is going to be a stand up friend or he is a craven cowboy who is all hat and no cattle. The enemies of America are no doubt watching if the President will cave into the pressures of wing nuts with list serves.
Just consider what one member of the God-squad patronizingly said about the President's pal,
"At the same time, they made it clear that they would not automatically throw their weight behind anyone the president names. Asked, for example, whether the Family Research Council would support Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales for a seat on the high court, Perkins replied acidly: "Our position on Attorney General Gonzales is, he holds great promise as an attorney general."
Back in Crawford, them's fightin' words. What about it, Mr. President? There is some evidence that the right might be getting the President a little hot under the collar - in Tuesday's USA Today -
"Al Gonzales is a great friend of mine," Bush said in a phone interview. "When a friend gets attacked, I don't like it."
The President is willing to stand up to challenges from Saddam, but Dobson and Robertson may be an entirely different matter. W. realizes that the religious right saved his political skin back in South Carolina and he is forever in their debt. Even though Gonzales has stuck with him through thick and thin, the President remembers what happened to his Dad when he defied the right.
How many divisions does Dobson have? While he has a formidable army, it is unlikely he could actually defeat a Gonzales nomination. What the President fears is an erosion of his popularity among his base as his overall support in the electorate is falling.
The President needs to reconnect with his inner Texan. In the face of the right wing riot against his buddy, friend and fellow Lone Star native, W, needs to recall the motto of the Texas Rangers - "One riot, one Ranger."
Mr. President, don't be wimp. Stick up for your pal and defy the mob. --