Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Attorney Specific

Sunday’s New York Times has an editorial about Attorney General Gonzales, to which I just have to post a “me too”. Read the whole thing — it’s short and excellent — but here are key excerpts:

During the hearing on his nomination as attorney general, Alberto Gonzales said he understood the difference between the job he held — President Bush’s in-house lawyer — and the job he wanted, which was to represent all Americans as their chief law enforcement officer and a key defender of the Constitution. Two years later, it is obvious Mr. Gonzales does not have a clue about the difference.

He has never stopped being consigliere to Mr. Bush’s imperial presidency. If anyone, outside Mr. Bush’s rapidly shrinking circle of enablers, still had doubts about that, the events of last week should have erased them.


We opposed Mr. Gonzales’s nomination as attorney general. His résumé was weak, centered around producing legal briefs for Mr. Bush that assured him that the law said what he wanted it to say. More than anyone in the administration, except perhaps Vice President Dick Cheney, Mr. Gonzales symbolizes Mr. Bush’s disdain for the separation of powers, civil liberties and the rule of law.

On Thursday, Senator Arlen Specter, the senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, hinted very obliquely that perhaps Mr. Gonzales’s time was up. We’re not going to be oblique. Mr. Bush should dismiss Mr. Gonzales and finally appoint an attorney general who will use the job to enforce the law and defend the Constitution.

Indeed. “+1”, as we say. I especially like the “consigliere to Mr. Bush’s imperial presidency” phrase (you might think I would).

I had thought — as perhaps had many others, including those in the Senate who confirmed him — that anyone had to be an improvement after his predecessor, a former senator so unpopular that he lost his senate seat to a dead man. A colleague of mine once commented, in a discussion about King George and then-AG Ashcroft, “No, you don’t understand: Bush is holding Ashcroft back.”

That may be so, and it may be that now-AG Gonzales is simply doing the Emperor’s bidding instead of actually leading the charge. In any case, they both — the Attorney General and the Emperor — have to go.

Updates... More Gonzales-related stories from the NY Times:
‘Mistakes’ Made on Prosecutors, Gonzales Says
‘Loyalty’ to Bush and Gonzales Was Factor in Prosecutors’ Firings, E-Mail Shows
Politics, Pure and Cynical

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