Monday, March 26, 2007

Gonzales taking even more fire

Alberto Gonzales is now getting fire from every side.

First, another broadside from the conservative Captain Ed:

Is there any other manner in which the Department of Justice can look any more untruthful and deceptive? Apparently so, because the Justice spokesperson now wants to argue about the meaning of the word "involved". Alberto Gonzales told the press on March 13 that he was "not involved in any discussions about what was going on" regarding the terminations. The description adopted by his supporters was that Gonzales acts as a CEO, delegating authority to his staffers and allowing them to act independently, Now we have Tasia Scolinos attempting to sell the notion that the definition of "not involved in any discussions" somehow includes attending the meeting where the decisions were made -- but not absorbing any of the details of the process.

Have we had enough yet? I understand the argument that if we allow the Democrats to bounce Gonzales, they'll just aim for more, but Gonzales made himself the target here with what looks like blatant deception. I don't think we do ourselves any good by defending the serially changing stories coming out of Gonzales' inept administration at Justice. One cannot support an Attorney General who misleads Congress, allows his staffers to mislead Congress, and deceives the American people, regardless of whether an R or a D follows his name or the majority control of Congress....

At this point, the notion that Bush has to retain Gonzales to protect himself and Republicans in general is starting to become absurd. Gonzales inflicted most of this damage on the administration himself, and the longer he remains, the more damage he will do. As Jonah said, it's hard to find a worse example of self-inflicted damage outside of circus tents.

Ooh! A double, at least.

Next up, old hand William F. Buckley:

Of one thing Mr. Bush is manifestly guilty. It is the criminal (in the metaphorical sense) mismanagement of the whole business of the U.S. attorneys. The fault is not personal; it was probably the attorney general and other advisers of the president who took so many clumsy steps. But Mr. Bush's stress on his rights invites a coordinate stress on his responsibilities. "These attorneys," he said, "serve at my pleasure." Right. But presidential pleasures have to rest on defensible grounds.

A nice twist of the knife: it's irresponsible of the president to retain such an incompetent AG. Call it a blooper single over second base; Captain Ed makes it to third.

Up steps clean-up batter Kevin Drum, who lists nine reasons to be skeptical of the AG's account. A selection:

1. Prior to the purge, DOJ lawyers quietly inserted a clause in the Patriot Act that allowed them to appoint new U.S. Attorneys without Senate approval. Why did they do this when their own emails show that the existing system hadn't caused them any problems?

4. DOJ initially lied when asked why they were fired, chalking it up to "performance reasons" even though five of the eight had previously received reviews placing them in the top third of all USAs. Why lie if there's an innocent explanation?

9. DOJ has now had weeks to come up with a plausible story for the firings and they still haven't. This is truly remarkable. Why not just tell the truth? That doesn't take weeks to concoct.

Except for #9, none of these things by themselves would generate much suspicion. Put them all together, though, and you have to be a real dead-end loyalist to believe there's nothing fishy going on. Throw in #9 and even the dead-enders ought to be scratching their chins.

Here's the pitch.... here's the swing.... CRAAACKK!! It's high and deep to centerfield. Looks like an easy out.... NO!! The Bush outfielder bobbles it! Captain Ed crosses the plate! Buckley's rounding third! Drum's going for second! Here's the throw to second.... it's in the dirt! The second baseman misjudges the bounce and is knocked cold! Buckley scores.... Drum scrambles up and races for third as the shortstop chases down the errant ball. He grabs it, turns, throws wildly.... misses third base by a mile! The ball sails into the stand, and Drum walks casually home!

And there you have it, the arc of this scandal. What should have been an easy out for the administration is turning into a home run for its critics. If the administration turns out to have actually done something illegal (other than lying to Congress, I mean), it's hard to imagine that revelation doing any more damage than the parade of bumbling, lies and half-truths that we've been witness to so far.

Perhaps you think Gonzales hasn't done anything wrong. But it's much harder to argue that he doesn't deserve to be fired.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Dems cared to be fair....which they obviously DO NOT....they'd go back and look at the context of those comments by Gonzales. He was clearly talking about the "process." He said so and I just saw the video again. And now Dems are trying to spin it into a blanket statement by him.

Let's see---you guys have claimed everything now from....Gonzales should have been involved more to semantics of exactly what he meant about something he said. It's just like what what done to Lewis Libby. And it's why they will take the 5th and/or not testify under oath. When you've got vultures like Leahy and Schumer who only want to "get you" anyway they can, it's best NOT to cooperate in their endeavor.


3/26/2007 7:42 PM  

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