Sen. Dianne Feinstein has come through for Republicans again.
The California Democrat announced on Friday afternoon that she would support President Bush’s nominee for attorney general, Michael Mukasey, in a critical Senate Judiciary Committee vote on Tuesday. Her statement of support came about an hour after Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) said he would vote against the former federal judge.
Even if Feinstein is the only Democrat to support Mukasey in committee, he would emerge with a 10-9 vote, and would likely be confirmed by the full Senate. Feinstein’s public support also lets Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) off the hook. Schumer has been undecided on Mukasey and would have been the swing vote if Feinstein had decided to oppose Mukasey. CNN is reporting that Schumer will now support Mukasey, but his staff has not yet put out a statement.
Feinstein’s support for Mukasey comes just one week after she became the swing vote in favor of another high profile Bush nominee, Leslie Southwick, who was confirmed by the Senate on Oct. 24 for an appellate court seat.
It was just last week that the Feinstein made some surprisingly warm remarks about the President after traveling with him on Air Force One and having some one on one time to talk to him, which led to certain lefties concluding that she was “acting like a schoolgirl with a crush.” No doubt that after the next spreads about Feinstein’s decision to support Mukasey, we’ll see and hear plenty of howling at the moon.
Update: The Washington Post reports that Senator Chuck Schumer has announced he will vote in favor of Mukasey, too:
Sens. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) announced this afternoon that they will vote in favor of confirming Michael B. Mukasey as attorney general, effectively ending a growing revolt by fellow Democrats that had threatened Mukasey’s confirmation.
By announcing their support, the two Democrats virtually guarantee that Mukasey, with support from the nine Republicans, will be narrowly approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.
[Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Pat] Leahy joined a growing number of Democrats who have announced their opposition to the nominee, including all four senators who are seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.
The deteriorating political situation led President Bush to spend the past two days lobbying on Mukasey’s behalf and criticizing Democrats for holding up the nomination.
Not bad for a “lame-duck” president.