Friday, January 07, 2005


Why, it was John Cornyn, the newest senator from Texas, who was attorney general of Texas when Bush was governor. He not only got to introduce the next AG, he threw out all kinds of softball questions and then tried his damndest to sidestep the issue of torture. That was a little too much, even for the Houston Chronicle, which editorialized today:

Cornyn was wrong to argue that Gonzales should not be asked any questions about his views on torture and prisoners' rights. Cornyn was also mistaken to assume in advance that any senator's question that would put Gonzales on the spot would be wrongly put and unjustly rake him over the coals.
Since his election in 2002, Cornyn has done little else but defend his former boss and rail about the war on terror. The Gonzalez hearings are a warm-up for what's to come in 2005: Cornyn is likely to be the staunchest defender of any of Bush's future judicial nominees. That should yield broader press coverage. When it comes, some enterprising reporter is likely to find the article (click the link in the title) I wrote about Cornyn for the Texas Observer a few years ago, based on my experience with the Texas AG when we went to high school together in Tokyo, Japan. Back then, Cornyn was a die-hard supporter of George Wallace. Here's my lede:
I read a couple of weeks ago that John Cornyn had pledged to keep the issue of race out of his upcoming U.S. Senate campaign against African-American Democratic nominee Ron Kirk. That was a relief, because the John Cornyn I knew in high school was a big supporter of George Wallace and seemed oblivious to the dangers of Wallace’s racial demagoguery.
When I wrote that, Cornyn was in a very tight race. So when the Texas Observer ran the piece, a few newspapers began investigating. They talked to all kinds of people - my old headmaster, former school mates, etc. Cornyn's press people (led by Dan Quayle's former press secretary) managed to convince the media that his dalliance with Wallace was a "school project" and didn't reflect his real views. But that wasn't the way I remembered it. I was for McCarthy (Eugene, that is), and my feelings were for real. I don't think either of us changed very much in the 35+ years since.