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Bob for the Job

Our long national nightmare is over. Jeff Sessions, the disloyal hater of all things not like him, remarkably including his boss the president of the United States, has been shown the door at the Bobby Kennedy Building. Do not think for a second that he “resigned." It was the first order of business for the president yesterday morning, and had been obviously coming for a very long time.

So the great question is obviously: Who’s next? Who has what it takes to heal this terribly wounded agency while at the same time loyally serving The Boss? It’s not going to be easy and talk of police-state people like Rudy Giuliani and Chris Christie is just…well…barfworthy for lack of a better word.

Here is your answer, America. Here is your answer, Mr. President: former congressman Bob Barr from Georgia. You are welcome.

While Barr is probably most well-known as one of the impeachment managers in the Senate trial of former President Bill Clinton, elements of the former congressman’s resume that would make him an excellent choice to serve as attorney general go far deeper than his drive to hold a former president accountable to the rule of law.

Beginning with his academic credentials – Georgetown Law, George Washington University master’s degree, and a bachelor’s from Southern Cal – and continuing through his years in both the private and government sectors, Barr’s career path seems virtually pre-programmed to stepping into the job Sessions has vacated.  Barr’s appointment by President Ronald Reagan to serve as the United States attorney for the Northern District of Georgia followed several years as a practicing attorney in Atlanta and, prior to that, some eight years with the CIA as an intelligence analyst and assistant legislative counsel.

During Barr’s tenure as the Atlanta-based U.S. attorney, which overlapped the Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations, that office earned a well-deserved reputation for vigorously and successfully prosecuting corrupt public officials (from both major political parties, I might add), as well as overseeing major drug trafficking and money laundering cases.  Barr’s keen interest in those very same problems was on display by way of the legislative and investigative activities that consumed much of his energy during the eight years he served in the House, on the Judiciary, Financial Services and Government Reform and Oversight Committees.

While Barr cultivated a reputation as a hard-nosed conservative Republican member in the House (I first met him while he was serving in the House and I didn’t really like him. Today, having had years to get to know him and his wonderful, formidable wife Jeri on a very personal level, I consider him one of my dearest friends – one of the few people I’d take a bullet for, in fact), his willingness and ability to strike bipartisan deals was seen in his work with other members and outside groups representing positions across the ideological spectrum -- on issues as diverse as the USA PATRIOT Act and protections against unwarranted surveillance.  Barr’s ability to work across the ideological divide continued even after he left the House (he tragically lost a Republican primary to the moronic John Linder following a gerrymandered reconfiguration of his west Georgia district in 2002).