VIGUERIE'S PICKS FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL. With Karl Rove now banished from the White House Office of Strategery, Richard Viguerie, an architect of the religious right, is stepping up to offer advice on a replacement for soon-to-be-former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

First, Viguerie advises playing clearly to the base, nominating a hard-core "conservative" (read: right-winger), and promises the president outstanding personal gain for his trouble:

Confronting the Democrats and rallying the conservative base is also a way for you to raise your approval ratings from the 30s, perhaps even into the 50s.

Not to mention the boon to the party:

A Democratic refusal to confirm a conservative as Attorney General is an issue that the Republican presidential candidate-- whoever he is--can carry all the way into the White House in 2008.

Here are some of the names offered by Viguerie that amount to fightin' words : Rick "Man on Dog" Santorum, Edith "School Discipline" Jones, William "Cuff 'em to the Hitching Post" Pryor, Charles W. "Defender of White Votes" Pickering, and my personal favorite, Ed "The Shredder" Meese.

One name on the list was less amusing, however: Ted Olson, Bush's former solicitor general, who lost his wife, Barbara, on the plane that plowed into the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. The Bush administration has never been loath to exploit the nation's shock at and grief for the lives lost on that terrible day, and that one single fact of Olson's biography most likely makes him a very appealing figure for the president's consideration. Olson, however, has carried this burden in a most dignified fashion, leading this observer to suspect that he wouldn't allow himself to be used in this way. And besides, he's hitched himself to Rudy Giuliani's star.

--Adele M. Stan

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