Congress should promote and the president should appoint former Sen. John Danforth to replace Alberto Gonzales -- now.
Jack Danforth is one of the most respected and admired Americans in public life. He is a lawyer of premier intellect and stature, a minister of unquestioned integrity and faith, and a Republican who is admired on both sides of the aisle in the Senate.
When I worked for Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, Danforth was a friend and collaborator of Bentsen's and I saw his work up close. He is truly outstanding on every level. While Sen. Bentsen has left us, I feel very confident suggesting that he would volunteer to be at Sen. Danforth's side, introducing him at confirmation.
While confirmation hearings for any Attorney General will and should raise hard and controversial issues, hearings for Danforth would elevate bipartisanship and civility.
Sen. Bentsen accomplished many great things. One issue we talked about often and at great length, which we could not accomplish, was his passionate judgment that the Attorney General should be an independent figure of stature, far above partisan politics.
If ever there were a president who needed an Attorney General of universal crediblity and independent legal stature, it is George Bush. Yes, there are many scandals to come, from the years of one party Republican rule and a president who believes his personal whims and ideologies take precedence over the time-honored requirement of faithfully executing the law.
The President is on extremely dangerous ground right now and personally engenders profound levels of partisanship, anger and even hate among far too many Americans and among America's friends around the world.