WSJ | Lindsey Graham and The Haynes Disgrace
The Wall Street Journal requires a subscription, so we are bringing this to you on The Chaser. Let us know what you think.
The Haynes Disgrace
January 10, 2007; Page A16
Republican officials said yesterday that four controversial appeals-court nominees have asked the White House to withdraw their names from Senate consideration. Among them is William “Jim” Haynes II, whom President Bush first nominated to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, on September 29, 2003. Call him the latest casualty in the war on terror.
Mr. Haynes is a victim of elite Washington’s fickle support for anti-terror measures and South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham’s desire for the media spotlight. Arlen Specter, the former chairman of the Judiciary Committee, was prepared to move Mr. Haynes’s nomination to the floor in the last Congress, but Mr. Graham joined Democrats in blocking him to settle a political score. Mr. Haynes obviously has no chance in the new, Democrat-controlled Senate; why stick around for more abuse?
Mr. Haynes is general counsel of the Pentagon, where his transgression in the days following the 9/11 attacks was to do his job with too much determination to protect the country. That meant offering legal analysis to Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on the treatment of detainees — advice that critics later distorted as condoning “torture.”
Mr. Haynes sometimes disagreed with career military lawyers, but there is no evidence he behaved other than honorably. As memories of 9/11 have faded along with the one-time calls for bold executive action, he nonetheless became one of the fall guys for the Administration’s policy choices on Guantanamo and military tribunals.
Mr. Graham has basked in media attention for opposing President Bush on detainees, and he has every right to disagree on policy. But for reasons of ego or retribution or something, he has also insisted on embarrassing the White House by blocking Mr. Haynes’s nomination. The lesson that other political appointees will learn is that the better part of career ambition is to play it safe and never buck the professional bureaucracy.
Mr. Haynes has many supporters in the Palmetto State, where he has ancestral ties that go back before the Revolution. Mr. Graham’s treatment of a favorite son is a disgraceful episode, and one that South Carolina Republicans will want to consider if the Senator faces a primary challenge in 2008.