Two architects of the Bush administration’s dismantling of the Constitution and this nation’s immersion into an ill-conceived war based on lies find themselves on the hot seat this week – one for memory lapses and the other for letting his Johnson overcome his judgment.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales tried, and failed, Thursday to convince skeptical Democrats and Republicans in the Senate that his memory is so bad that he needs to be reminded when he fires someone, when he tells an aide to fire someone or when he even tells the President of the United States he fired someone.
Gonzales, testifying about the ever-escalating scandal over dismissal of U.S. attorneys, repeated “I don’t recall” so many times that people in the audience of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing kept tally sheets. His bumbling yet arrogant performance is just the kind of in-your-face political theater that defines the failed administration of President George W. Bush. It led to a second GOP Senator calling on Gonzales to resign and a public dressing down by Senior GOP Committee member Sen. Arlen Specter.
Memo to Gonzo: When members of your own party think you are a liar, it’s time to pack your carpetbag and hightail it to Mexico (extradition is difficult there, even with a treaty).
Gonzales, we must remember, succeeded Attorney General John Ashcroft, a former Republican Senator so incompetent that he lost his re-election bid to a dead man. Ashcroft authored, with Gonzales help, the rights-robbing USA Patriot Act, the law that civil rights advocates call the single greatest threat to our way of life since England’s King George tried to stamp out talk of freedom in the colonies.
Yet as bad as Ashcroft was – and he ranks right up there on the “bad to the bone” scale – even he opposed many of the Constitution ignoring recommendations that Gonzales made as White House Counsel.
And after Gonzales got Ashcroft’s job, he used the USA Patriot Act to replace U.S. Attorneys who failed to put loyalty to Bush ahead of the law of the land.
Bush, through his White House press spokesman, said he was “proud” of Gonzales’ performance before the Senate. Ah, the arrogance of power.
Over at The World Bank, Paul Wolfowitz, the man who sat on the right of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s throne and played a major role in manipulating false intelligence information to justify the invasion of Iraq, is caught up in an old-fashioned sex scandal.
Seems Wolfie, as President of the World Bank, promoted his girlfriend into a job with a tax-free salary higher than that of Secretary of State Condi Rice. Shaha Riza must be great in bed because Wolfowitz engineered a $60,000 salary hike for her in a job whose ever-changing title varies from “communications specialist” to “a senior gender coordinator” in a World Bank operation called the “Foundation for the Future.”
We’re not sure what the “Foundation for the Future” does but it apparently does great things for the financial future of Shaha Riza, whose tax-free paycheck now gives her a take-home salary of $193,590 a year.
Wolfowitz, like Gonzales, is ignoring calls for his resignation. Bush, who appointed Wolfowitzh to the job as a reward for rigging the Iraq war, says he is “proud” of Wolfowitz too.
Wolfowitz should remember the words of former New York Senator Alfonse D’Amato who – during the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal – said “when the little head gets hard the big head goes soft.”
But at least Wolfowitz has one part of his anatomy thinking for him. We’ve yet to see evidence that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is able to think with any organ.