Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Gonzales hits keep coming

One sign of Alberto Gonzales' isolation is the lack of support he's getting from Republicans in the prosecutor scandal.

Sam Brownback stood up for him, but not in this specific case, saying only that "the attorney general has overall done a good job." But Sen. Lisa Murkowski said her confidence in him was "shaken" and "waning." Trent Lott declined to comment. Gordon Smith said "I think I share the feelings of many Republican senators of profound disappointment".

It gets worse.

Gonzales has said he was unaware of the White House connections to the firings. Charles Schumer called that a "sorry excuse," indicating either that Gonzales was lying or has some serious management issues.

the conservative Captain Ed agrees.

Gonzales testified to Congress that the White House had no involvement in the firings of eight US Attorneys, but a series of memos and e-mails show that his aide planned the terminations with senior White House staff....

That's pretty weak tea, and Gonzales should know it. When an AG makes statements to Congress, by testimony or official correspondence, as affirmative as his statements on the involvement of the White House were, Congress has a right to expect that the AG has explicitly determined the truth of those statements. Otherwise, the proper form would be to state that he has no knowledge of whatever is at issue.

One of two things must be true: either Gonzales knew of the coordination between Harriet Miers and and his aide Kyle Sampson, or he knew nothing. If the former is true, then he deliberately misled Congress. If the latter is true, then Gonzales has serious issues in management skills, and the White House must know it -- because Miers then deliberately bypassed Gonzales.

Neither option holds much benefit for Gonzales. If he knew nothing, then he didn't do much to determine the truth before making representations to Congress on the dismissals. If he did know about the work Sampson and Miers did for most of two years on preparing these dismissals, then Gonzales has opened himself to a contempt charge from Congress. Gonzales has to paint himself a fool rather than a liar in order to salvage his political standing.

It's a strange, strange day when conservatives sound like Chuck Schumer. And a bad sign for Gonzales.

Update: Sen John Sununu becomes the first Republican to call for Gonzales' resignation.

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Anonymous Marc Schneider said...

Agreed. I think Gonzales is gone because if he isn't going to be supported by conservatives, there is no reason to keep him on board, other than the fact that Bush likes having loyal, partisan hacks in his administration. Unfortunately, that's probably enough. Frankly, Gonzales has brought disrepute to the entire Justice Department and to the legal system in general.

3/14/2007 3:57 PM  
Blogger Sean Aqui said...

Which raises an interesting question: Who would Bush nominate to replace Gonzales if he's forced to jettison him? Maybe.... Harriet Miers?

He seems to have a bottomless pit of hacks from which to choose.

3/14/2007 4:16 PM  

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