February 4, 2005


Senate Ratifies Attorney General
: Alberto R. Gonzales is confirmed 60 to 36. Democrats object to his role in White House memos on torture and his close ties to Bush. (Maura Reynolds, February 4, 2005, LA Times)

After strong protest from Democrats, the Senate voted 60 to 36 Thursday to confirm the nomination of Alberto R. Gonzales as attorney general — the smallest margin for confirmation of any of President Bush's second-term Cabinet choices.

Less than two hours later, Gonzales was sworn in to office by Vice President Dick Cheney at the White House after receiving a congratulatory phone call from Bush, who was traveling. [...]

Six Democrats — most from states that voted for Bush in November — joined 54 Republicans in favor of Gonzales' confirmation. [...]


How they voted

The Senate voted 60 to 36 to confirm Alberto R. Gonzales as attorney general.

Yes: Fifty-four Republicans and six Democrats voted for confirmation. The Democrats were Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana, Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Bill Nelson of Florida, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Ken Salazar of Colorado.

No: Thirty-five Democrats and one independent, James M. Jeffords of Vermont, opposed confirmation.

Not voting: Four senators did not vote. They were Republican Conrad Burns of Montana and Democrats Max Baucus of Montana, Kent Conrad of North Dakota and Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii.

So Jeff Bingaman is definitely retiring.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 4, 2005 7:58 AM

This could be interpreted the other way - Bingaman is not retiring and felt the need to toe the party line to maintain support from the party for his reelection.

I hope this is true. I have the feeling that the Dems will block SS reform and other items even with only 45 Senators and that the GOP will need to pick up a few more seats in '06 to get things done.

Posted by: AWW at February 4, 2005 9:21 AM

About 40% of registered voters in New Mexico are Hispanic and there is no shortage of GOP elected officials of Hispanic and Native American ancestry. Intermarriage is so commonplace that the percentage could even be higher.

The first name I looked for was Bingaman's because my sense is that a 'NO' vote on Gonzalez was the equivalent of his sending out resumes to K Street lobbyists.

Posted by: Bart at February 4, 2005 10:45 AM

Why can't Bingaman simply take the position that Gonzales supported and justified torture? Bingaman's or the Democratic Party loyalty to Mexicans doesn't even rise to the level minimum concern. You would have to be saying that he voted against Gonzales BECAUSE he was Mexican.

Doubtful such assertion would convince many Mexicans. Then again Mexican-Americans may have the position that a politician must support a mexican-armerican regardless of merit, which would be the position supported by this post. So which is it.

Posted by: h-man at February 4, 2005 11:02 AM


A modified version of the second. Bingaman, or any Dem in the South, needs 70% of Latinos and 90% of African Americans to win. You dislodge even a small fraction of those Mexicans who may (wrongly, perhaps) believe that a vote against a Mexican nominee is unjustifibale, and they are toast. The margin of error is small, that's all.

Posted by: Moe from NC at February 4, 2005 12:05 PM

Aren't the Montanans and Conrad accompanying Bush on his northern plains tour for Social Security changes? I wonder how much that played into the planning for the trip for both sides—the two Dems get to avoid a lose-lose vote while Burns provides bi-partisan cover from the GOP.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at February 4, 2005 12:11 PM