Republicans are trying to paint OLC nominee Dawn Johnsen as “out of the mainstream.” Rachel Maddow turned the tables on them last night in an interview with Salon’s Dahlia Lithwick. Lithwick noted that Republicans are creating a storm — threatening to filibuster — because of two things: First, that Johnsen was ahead of her time in pointing out what everyone now knows about how bad the OLC memos were, and second, that she’s pro-choice… hardly positions that place her “out of the mainstream” since, unfortunately for Republicans, those views are shared by most Americans.
A bit from the interview:
Lithwick: This is a dry run for future confirmation wars. … She’s been very vocally critical of the work that happened at the OLC in the Bush administration. …
I think this has nothing really to do with Dawn Johnsen It’s sort of a little warm up, a practice run for when they REALLY go after someone in a confirmation hearing for the courts. …
Maddow: At Johnsen’s confirmation hearing there was one comment from Republican Senator Jeff Sessions that stuck with me because he accused her of, and I’m quoting here, “blogging, advocating, and speeching for the opposite sides.” Essentially he’s saying, “She’s got a side, she has known positions on things.” Does it make any reasonable sense that would be an objection to an OLC candidate?
Lithwick: Well, it’s doubly paradoxical if you think about it, because the thing she was blogging and “speeching” about was torture! It was how bad OLC was and how sloppy their work was. So it puts the Republicans in this awful position of having to say “Because the work they did in the Bush OLC was terrific. How dare they call it into question?” … This is an issue on which she was very clear — before the rest of us were clear — that the memos were bad, the lawyering was sloppy, and that torture was torture.
There was also a segment at the beginning of the show about impeaching Jay Bybee that was good. Watch it here.