Sunday, September 02, 2007

Another Loyal Bushie Leaves After Doing a Heck of a Job

Latest Newspaper Column:

So it seems that another rat has left the sinking ship that is the Bush administration.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, affectionately known to President Bush as "Fredo," announced his resignation from the post this past week.

Perhaps the nickname should have been his first clue. After all, Fredo was the weak Corleone brother who was shot in the head and dumped in the lake on his brother's orders in "Godfather II." It's not what you'd call an auspicious nickname.

It was clear from the beginning of Gonzales' career that his primary qualification for any governmental job was his exemplary hang-time whenever George Dubbya Bush said "jump." But Gonzales' two main jobs -- White House counsel and attorney general -- were ones in which blind loyalty to the Boss has the potential to wreak utter havoc, not only on said Boss, but on the country as a whole. Both jobs require a degree of independence that poor Fredo could never muster.

Let's start with his tenure as White House counsel -- essentially the president's legal adviser in matters pertaining to the way he does his job.

There are few things a lawyer can do that are worse for a client than telling him, "Sure, Boss, you can do anything you want, even if the law says different. I'll come up with some cockamamie theory. It'll be OK." Unfortunately this appears to be exactly the kind of advice Gonzales gave. His infamous memo to the president justifying the use of "enhanced interrogation techniques," the one in which he described the Geneva Conventions as "quaint," led directly to the abuses at Abu Ghraib.

When Gonzales further advised the president, in essence, "Sure, Boss, you can ignore the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and wiretap anyone you want. You're a big strong war president. Don't let a bunch of punk judges and congressmen push you around," his position drew a stinging rebuke from Republicans and Democrats alike.

Even Republican senators, it appears, don't like being informed that the laws the Congress made don't apply and they should just sit down and shut up when the king wants something. And you can bet that judges really don't like it.

As attorney general, Gonzales continued his yes-man ways, acting as if his job were not to act as an independent law-enforcement officer but instead to turn the Justice Department into the Office of the Holy Republican Inquisition.

U.S. attorneys such as New Mexico's David Iglesias, who failed to be vigorous enough in pursuing Democrats who had been designated as targets by Republican lawmakers, found that they themselves became targets -- of complaints to the White House by those same lawmakers. Soon after that, they found themselves unemployed.

Others, such as Carol Lam, who successfully prosecuted Republican Congressman Duke Cunningham, became subject to termination orders from "the highest levels of government," in the words of the official who fired her. (Allegedly Lam was fired because she wasn't pursuing enough immigration cases. However, pre-Cunningham, the Justice Department had sent a memo to Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California defending Lam on just that issue.)

Finally, Fredo was called before congressional investigators and asked to explain what the heck had been going on. After his performance, which was a veritable blizzard of contradictory statements and sudden "lapses in memory," even Republicans had had enough.

"Why is your story changing?" Republican Sen. Charles Grassley demanded during one hearing. Pennsylvania's Arlen Specter described Gonzales' account of his role in the attorney firings as "significantly if not totally at variance with the facts." Finally, Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn, not exactly a flaming liberal, told Gonzales, that "the best way to put this behind us is your resignation."

Dubbya, of course, with his usual disdain for reality, blamed Gonzales' resignation on Democrats who had "dragged his name through the mud" for "political purposes."

So now that Gonzales is history, the question is, who's going to replace him? At this time, one of the names being floated is that of Homeland Defense Secretary Michael Chertoff.

OK, let me get this straight. The Bushistas want to nominate the man who was head of Homeland Security, "Brownie's" boss, during the debacle that was the federal governments response to Hurricane Katrina? And they want to do so one the second anniversary of said debacle? My, won't that make for an interesting confirmation hearing?

I was going to ask if they could really be that stupid, and then I look back on the past few years and think yes, yes they can.

Stay tuned.


Thomas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RAC said...

No one could make this stuff up! His nickname was Fredo? Maybe they could revive The West Wing with a corrupt President at the helm and a bunch of gangsters running things. Wait, that would just be a documentary, huh?

Toni said...

Terrific post, Dusty. As always. I kept thinking it just can't get any more ridiculous than it is... and then it does.