Pardon the language, but it just seems way too facile to write that the reason President Bush nominated Michael Mukasey to be the next attorney general is that he somehow wants to avoid a fight with Democrats.

Probably not.

Instead, consider Mukasey the most confirmable nominee among those potential nominees who support the president's most important domestic policy priority: changing the national security system to reflect the realities of modern terrorism.

Make no mistake: this is about policy. The president cares more about his "terrorist surveillance program," national security letters, and aggressive anti-terrorism prosecutions that he does about where a nominee goes to church or how many abortion-related cases he has argued.

President Bush's political team is reconciled to the fact -- the fact -- that he will be unpopular. They're noticed, however, that President Bush can still win major political and policy debates despite being so unpopular.

Mukasey doesn't seem to care about the intersection of law and culture. He does care about the administration's policy priorities on terrorism and national security.

Mukasey is fairly unique among federal judges for having anticipated and sanctioned many of the arguments the Bush Justice Department and David Addington employed to justify detaining enemy combatants; he has presided as a judge over terrorism cases; he has lobbied for changes to federal law to make it easier for the government to surveil persons of interests more covertly; he has criticized the very concept of the FISA court.

In short, he is, in the eyes of President Bush and Vice President Cheney, the perfect advocate for the President's national security policies. He is the perfect foil for Democrats -- the administration, anticipating the fight about the renewal of the covert surveillance statute, wants the best team possible.

Mukasey is also extremely smart and very well regarded by fellow judges. He may well find a friendly reception from Democrats; Sen. Harry Reid seems to find him a credible nominee.

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