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Posted by on Apr 20, 2007 in At TMV | 19 comments

Goodbye Alberto, It Was Nice To Know You

Byron York on Alberto Gonzales‘ performance yesterday:

Judging by his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday, there are three questions about the U.S. attorneys mess that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales wants answered: What did I know? When did I know it? And why did I fire those U.S. attorneys?

As the day dragged on, it became clear — painfully clear to anyone who supports Gonzales — that the attorney general didn’t know the answers. Much of the time, he explained, he didn’t really know much at all — he was just doing what his senior staff recommended he do…

Under examination from Republican Sens. Sam Brownback, Lindsey Graham, Jeff Sessions, Tom Coburn and others, Gonzales maintained, in essence, that he did not know why he fired at least some of the eight dismissed U.S. attorneys. While Gonzales was able to give a reason for each firing, it appeared that in a number of cases, he had reconstructed the reason after the fact; he didn’t know why he fired the U.S. attorneys at the time, other than the dismissals were recommended by senior Justice Department staff.

Let me summarize the situation: Alberto Gonzales, U.S. Attorney General, is perhaps the most incompetent attorney general in the (modern) history of America. He is simply not able to explain why he did what he did, he seems to suffer from Alzheimers (or he lies), he continues to make matters worse, he has severely damaged the image of the DoJ, he has and continues to hurt the White House, he has politicized Justice, he seems to equate loyalty to Bush to loyalty to the nation (major mistake right there)… the list goes on and on.

Gonzales has got to go. I have seldom seen a high ranking official this incompetent.

If I were American I would tell Gonzales one thing, and one thing only: Begone, Alberto. Go back to Texas.

P.S. That being said, it’s quite fascinating for a foreign observer like me to see this happening. It is not a ‘pleasure’ as such, but it is intriguing.

Also read Joe’s great post of earlier today. Joe summarized yesterday’s hearing as follows: “He came. He saw.

“And he did not conquer.”

I would suggest changing that last line into: “He got butchered.”

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  • kritter

    I think he should take his lounge lizard act out on the road to Las Vegas, as that was as slimy a performance as I’ve witnessed by a government official in my lifetime. Gonzales makes Ashcroft look like Abe Lincoln!

  • casualobserver

    It is clear to me this guy would have a difficult time trying to convince Paris Hilton to do a line of coke.

    Bag ’em now and put some time and distance between this and Nov 2008.

    The only thing I can surmise at this point is that he has some pictures of Bush.

  • stevesturm

    You (we) forget that he doesn’t answer to us or to Congress and he’ll keep his job as long as Bush wants him there.

    So notwithstanding the skewering he took, the question is whether Bush thinks Bush will be better off with someone else there. I think the answer is no, especially given that Bush has seemed to give up on accomplishing anything during the remainder of his term and thus doesn’t see the advantages of appeasing Congress by taking their advice to get someone else as AG.

  • Marlowe

    Kritter had a great comment on Joe’s post, where she highlighted something that folks haven’t generally noted…G. had weeks of prep time for this performance.

    I have made no bones of the fact I see this is partisan…and it will fade as there is nothing illegal about Bush’s firing attorneys.

    But Gonzales is truly supernaturally stupid. He has made this a scandal, where a callow third year law student armed with a history book could easily have spiked it from the outset.

    Hence, one doesn’t see many conservatives caring so much whether Bush tosses Conyers his scalp.

    With friends like this…Bush needs enemies?

  • truflo

    Marlowe,

    It may not be illegal but some of what has come out is more than disturbing. A woman was sent to prison on what the review court described as evidence beyond thin. What was going on there? Someone needs to look into this, and that, right there, is the problem- who investigates now that the department of justice no longer has the peoples’ trust, and believe me, that is the case. Just check out the most recent polls.

  • Davebo

    Steve makes a great point.

    Gonzo knows why he fired those USA’s. It’s because his boss, or one of his well known advisors told him to.

    So why fire Gonzo when he’s taking all the heat for it? I predict short of congressional impeachment that Gonzo stays.

  • Davebo

    And let me correct Marlowe.

    “I have made no bones of the fact I see this is partisan… bi-partisan and it will fade as there is nothing illegal about Bush’s firing attorneys.”

  • casualobserver

    I certainly have no crystal ball to foresee events, but, I believe it would be instructional to remember the Rumsfeld situation.

    The discharge did not take place at the pinnacle of the noise, but rather once people were concluding he was going to stay on regardless, the departure was then announced.

    I fully expect Bush to play his Iraq hand to an 18 month conclusion and sounds like Reid isn’t now going to push for anything lower anyways.

    Hopefully, though, other than Iraq, Bush will allow the go-forward Republican Party to clear the decks of the smells of ethics violations and incompetent players.

    Then, the next 18 months is one great roll of the dice on how the average American voter ends up perceiving Iraq at that point in time.

  • stevesturm

    casualobserver: bush replaced rumsfeld when he was operating under the delusion that he could gain some momentum, buy some time and maybe quiet a few liberals. the same doesn’t hold for gonzales, as bush sees nothing to be gained by getting rid of him. he knows the dems would only turn their attention to someone and somewhere else… so why bother embarassing his long time friend?

  • truflo

    Steve,

    I think you’re right, but such a choice will be hugely destructive for his party. Just as hanging on to Rumsfeld badly damaged the republican field in 2006, clinging on to Gonzales who, according to most polls, is no longer trusted by the American people, will wipe out the party and leave us with another four years at least of one party rule. The last five years would suggest this is not a healthy way to run the country, and I say this as someone who has always voted for the democrats.

  • kritter

    The last five years would suggest this is not a healthy way to run the country, and I say this as someone who has always voted for the democrats.

    Although- democrats seem not to mind opposing their president- as we saw with LBJ on civil rights and Vietnam, and with Carter – who had a terrible relationship with Congress. Reagan got more done with a Democratic Congress than Carter did.You just don’t see the lock-step solidarity that the Congressional Republicans have had with Bush. Dems do tend to get just as corrupt with one-party rule, though.

  • Sam

    Bush doesn’t even care about his own party if they don’t back his plays. Gonzales is on till the end of the administration. Congress can not remove him, and Bush doesn’t give a damn about intangibles like “political capital”. Unless there is another AG who will meet these criteria:

    1) Willing to carry out Bush’s plans exceeding the law regarding things like wiretaps and Habeus Corpus

    2) Can get Senate approval.

    No one meets these terms, hence Gonzo will be around for the duration.

  • kritter

    Bush is about the base- for the base, by the base and of the base. If congressional Republicans go along- so be it- He is politically canny (because of his ability to raise campaign money for the party)enough to exert enough pressure to keep them in line on votes he cares about , but he seems to be mostly about spreading his ideological beliefs around the world and through our civil service, plus spreading our treasury’s money around to his big donors.

  • SteveK

    “Let me put it to you this way. I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it. It is my style.” George W. Bush – News conference (4 November 2004)

    Yeah George, it’s ‘your style’ all right… The anger from the opposition has turned to embarassment. That poor thing can’t seem to do anything right.

  • casualobserver

    And spend it he did.

    The conjecture that the ’08 Republicans need or want GWB even for fundraising is at best, well overstated.

    I predict they will stay with him as far as Iraq goes (they have already lost the anti-war voters for any of their ’08 elections anyway and there is always that chance of upside), but won’t necessarily be in lock step for anything else (not that Bush will try to do much else anyway).

  • DLS

    There is no doubt that there were many members from both sides of the aisle who had expressed frustration over the confusing remarks from the initial responses on this matter. And that frustration had built up over many weeks. The President believes that the Attorney General answered all of their questions honestly and forthrightly. I can understand there are some people who still don’t want to support the Attorney General; that is their right. But he has done a fantastic job at the Department of Justice. He is our number one crime fighter. He has done so much to help keep this country safe from terrorists. He has worked determinately to prevent predators from attacking our children. He has worked — they have a fantastic record of fighting corruption in government and in keeping gang violence off our streets.

    And I could go on and on, but I think that following the hearing and following the tension that was in the room, I think on this new day I think — hopefully people will be able to take a step back, realize that there was no credible evidence of wrongdoing, that the Attorney General has apologized for how it was handled, and that he has a job to do, and he’s been doing it very well. And the President has full confidence in him.

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/04/20070420-3.html

  • kritter

    DLS- “Just a fantastic job” More positive affirmation- how do the WH press secretaries stand dishing out all of that bull?

    Heckuva job, Gonzo!

  • DLS

    K. Ritter asked:

    > how do the WH press
    > secretaries stand dishing
    > out all of that bull?

    They’re paid excessively to do it?

    Maybe there’s a guaranteed pension in there, benefits, etc.

  • kritter,

    You’ll have to excuse the really rabid Bush defenders. 6 years of having your lips in a vacuum lock on GWB’s posterior has caused some problems due to oxygen deprivation.

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