Monday, July 23, 2007

Gonzales v. Congress, Round Four or so


Tomorrow, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales will appear once again before Congress. The Carpetbagger Report has an outstanding post on the subject. A taste:

Gonzales has become the most reviled man in the administration, after having been caught lying and losing control of the Justice Department. The political norms of Washington say Gonzales has to go. Bush, meanwhile, is The Decider — and The Decider doesn’t much care about rules.

A couple of months ago, the New York Daily News quoted a “senior Republican” saying, “[Bush] wants to fight, but that will change because it has to.”

But it doesn’t “have to.” It only “has to” if the president wants to be a responsible leader in a political system in which conduct has meaning.

Slate recently concluded, “It is just about universally agreed upon that Gonzales will go down in history as the attorney general who helped the president: 1) torture, 2) wreak havoc on civil liberties, 3) fire U.S. attorneys who didn’t prosecute along preferred political lines, 4) demoralize the Department of Justice, 5) worsen Bush’s already dismal relationship with Congress, and 6) relentlessly hector a man in the intensive care unit.”

News stories are keying off Gonzales' 26 pages of prepared testimony, of which five paragraphs are devoted to the attorney firings. Gonzales' main point: he's staying to help fix the Department's broken image.

Of course, the reason the department's image is broken is largely Gonzales himself. The single biggest thing he could do to repair that image is resign. Which makes his stated rationale just a little suspect. Perhaps Gonzales thinks he can repair the damage, but that's just a bit outside the scope of reality (which, I suppose, would be par for the course.) People had plenty of reasons to dislike Gonzales, starting with his justification of torture. His mismanagement of Justice was really just icing on the cake.

It's tempting to say that if Gonzales really cared about the department, he'd resign. I won't go that far; I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he cares, but harbors major delusions about his ability to fix things given that he himself is the problem.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "political norms" are subjective. Similar---and worse---things were said about Janet Reno too. In fact, I think she was pretty much hated as well.

Truth is---you guys hated John Ashcroft and now you hate Alberto Gonzales. And you would hate whoever replaced him were that to happen. So what else is new?

JP5

7/23/2007 8:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I notice in today's hearing that Sen Leahy had the audacity to go over and shake hands with Gonzales----just AFTER calling him a liar and telling him he did not trust him. Sickening display by Leahy.

JP5

7/24/2007 3:56 PM  

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