And particularly his aisle-crossing appointment of Democrat Robert D. Lenhard -- a choice the Washington Post called "controversial."
You see, Lenhard was one of the lawyers who mounted a challenge to the constitutionality of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill. As a lawyer, Lenhard wasn't able to overturn McCain-Feingold before it took effect, but, as an FEC commissioner, he'll be able to do the next best thing and try to gut it.
But that's not why I'm obsessing (if I got worked up every time Bush picked a fox to guard a government henhouse, I'd never get anything done!). No, the thing that has my mental wheels in overdrive is the fact that Lenhard is the husband of Viveca Novak -- the Time Magazine journalist whose loose lips may end up saving Karl Rove from joining Scooter Libby on Indictment Row.
Imagine that: Novak provides Bush's Brain with a possible get-out-of-jail-free card and -- just weeks after she tells Fitzgerald things Rove's lawyer desperately wants the special prosecutor to hear -- Bush taps her hubby for the FEC post.
Now I'm not saying that one is payback for the other. But it sure is convenient. It may not be a case of quid pro quo but, if you were to make a list of things that would begin to repair the damage done to the credibility of the media, this sure wouldn't be among them.
Okay, let's take a look at the reality.
First, by tradition, although certainly not required, the President will often consult with opposing party leaders when making selections to the FEC. In this case, Bush consulted with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who together forwarded Lenhard's name to the White House.
Second, by law, the President cannot appoint more than three members of the same party to the FEC. Thus, while Commissioner Toner still has time on his term, and Commissioner Mason is being reappointed, the President could only pick one more Repbulican. President Bush chose Hans von Spakovsky as the next Republican nominee. Thus the president had to select Democrats to fill the vacancies of Scott Thomas and Danny McDonald.
Third, Lenhard's name has been circulating long before the whole Valerie Plame, Karl Rove, Scooter Libby mess began demanding attention. I don't really think the White House has some sort of conspiratorial payback in mind for Lenhard on account of his wife. Anyway, why anyone would consider a spot on the FEC as a "political favor" or "payback." The FEC, the whipping post of Congress, is a place where only masochists want to work and only sadists would repay favors by appointing a "friend."
Forth, people, and I mean the reform community, have a problem with Lenhard because he worked on the McConnell case opposing the campaign finance bill Lenhard would have to enforce as a Commissioner. This is the reason why the Washington Post finds him controversial--because the reform community finds him unacceptable.
Nice Job Ariana. Conspiracy theories like this are always good reading.
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