Wonky Muse
Wonky Muse

April 21, 2007

A Dull-Witted Apparatchik

Ouch,NYT, why don't you tell us what you really think:

If Attorney General Alberto Gonzales had gone to the Senate yesterday to convince the world that he ought to be fired, it’s hard to imagine how he could have done a better job, short of simply admitting the obvious: that the firing of eight United States attorneys was a partisan purge.

Mr. Gonzales came across as a dull-witted apparatchik incapable of running one of the most important departments in the executive branch.

He had no trouble remembering complaints from his bosses and Republican lawmakers about federal prosecutors who were not playing ball with the Republican Party’s efforts to drum up election fraud charges against Democratic politicians and Democratic voters. But he had no idea whether any of the 93 United States attorneys working for him — let alone the ones he fired — were doing a good job prosecuting real crimes.
Not surprisingly, Bush thinks he nailed it:

President Bush was pleased with the Attorney General’s testimony today. After hours of testimony in which he answered all of the Senators’ questions and provided thousands of pages of documents, he again showed that nothing improper occurred. He admitted the matter could have been handled much better, and he apologized for the disruption to the lives of the U.S. Attorneys involved, as well as for the lack of clarity in his initial responses. The Attorney General has the full confidence of the President, and he appreciates the work he is doing at the Department of Justice to help keep our citizens safe from terrorists, our children safe from predators, our government safe from corruption, and our streets free from gang violence.
Ah yes, to rise to the pinnacle of loyal incompetence. Every Bushie's dream.

A roundup of more editorials about the baby seal clubbing over at Dan Froomkin's WaPo column, which includes this analysis:

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales took another massive blow to his reputation yesterday, but he also continued doing the White House an enormous service.

As long as Gonzales remains front and center in the furor over last year's mass firing of U.S. attorneys -- as long as his goofy stonewalling continues to distract attention from all the elements of the purge that point so incriminatingly toward the White House -- he simply enhances his position as the ultimate "loyal Bushie."

Absolutely nothing Gonzales said yesterday cast doubt on the theory that some if not all of the prosecutors were fired because they had somehow inspired the wrath of presidential adviser Karl Rove and his staff of brass-knuckled political operatives.

But Gonzales didn't add fuel to the fire, either. It was a classic stalling maneuver. Gonzales was entirely unable to explain to anyone's satisfaction why those U.S. attorneys were fired -- although he comically insisted that he was sure he had made the decision himself, and that it was the right one.
Spot on. Even if Bush refuses to let him go, the Republicans should pressure Gonzales to resign and fall on the sacrificial sword as it were for their own good and the good of the Justice Department whose morale and reputation suffers everyday that he remains in office. For all intents and purposes, Gonzales is finished.

However, the politicization of Justice didn't begin and end with Gonzales. He's just a toady. If Congress wants to get to the heart of this outrage, it should aim way above his head and straight for the White House. Time to get those subpoenas going.

posted at 9:32 PM by Wonky Muse

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"Sapere Aude."
(Dare to Know)
-- Epistularum Liber Primus, Horace

Wonk (noun): def. A political nerd. Know spelled backwards.

Wonky Muse is the other Filipino American female political blogger. The sane, liberal one.


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