Would Mukasey be out of his depth as AG? Bob Novak says yes, and provides the story of how Mukasey was selected. In fairness to Mukasey, whose experience on the federal bench makes him look like a Titan compared to the man he’s replacing, there are probably many very competent people who are “unqualified and ill-equipped” to rehabilitate the Justice Department after Gonzales trashed the place with his mismanagement. It could well be that no Attorney General could undo the damage that Gonzales has done over the past two and a half years in the time remaining in the second term.
That said, it does seem that Novak’s view is correct–there were other potential nominees whose experience in the department would have made them much more effective in cleaning up the current mess. Everyone is pointing to Mukasey’s long legal career, which certainly looks impressive, but running a government department is a very different kind of task. At the start of a presidential term, Mukasey would be a good enough selection, but if this were the start of the term the President would not be so politically hobbled and weak, the Democrats wouldn’t control the Senate and selecting Mukasey would be unnecessary. Well, as they say, decisions have consequences.