UPDATED – I don't expect a president with no moral compass to fire an unethical subordinate who followed his dictates and got into trouble for doing so. That's why it would be internally inconsistent for Bush to fire Alberto Gonzales. He did exactly what Bush wanted.
According to the New Your Times editorial "A feeble performance" (LINK) Gonzo is "telling friends and associates that he has weathered the storm over the firing of nine United States attorneys and that his job is safe despite widespread calls for his resignation."
No doubt Gonzo appreciates the reporting from Laurie Kellman of the Associated Press where, in a so-called "news" article she begins with:
A confident Attorney General Alberto Gonzales endured another congressional grilling on the botched firings of federal prosecutors Thursday, seeming secure enough to call it a "somewhat liberating" experience. Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee fired tough questions at him â€” as their Senate counterparts had last month. But Gonzales seemed to weather the interrogation better this time around, and he didn't hear any more calls for his resignation. CHB LINK to article and comments
The New York Times explains the reason for my observation, having watched the entire hearing, that, unlike in the Senate hearing, not one Republican representative asked a question having to to with the firing of the (now up to) nine U.S. attorneys in this way:
The White House clearly has reasserted some party discipline since his Senate appearance the other week, when several Republicans called for his resignation. " (a) stumbling, evasive, amnesia-filled performance… he smiled blankly and refused to be ruffled when his answers and integrity were challenged."
Each Republican representative had a question that gave Gonzales a chance to squeak out an uninspired rehearsed answer.
When nailed with a tough question by a Democrat he waffled and contrary to Ms. Kellman's description of confidence, seemed to be stinking of flop sweat even though the backer of his show could gave less about the boos and hissing from the audience.
Gonzales is not a Broadway actor who reads with dismay his damning reviews after the premier of a Broadway show destined to close by the Sunday matinee.
He is a Bush actor following a Bush script playing the lead in a Bush show that doesn't depend on reviews and word of mouth to keeping playing, even if it's to an empty theater.
So of course Bush won't fire him. It would be like firing himself.
Bush has done more to dismantle the Constitution than any other American president. Congressional Republicans who are marching lockstep under his leadership aren't about to call for his impeachment.
But they ought to at least do what they can easily do. They should join Democrats in impeaching the attorney who has done more to corrupt the Constitution than any other attorney general.
An interesting irony occurred to me after I posted today's column. Gonzales' fervent effort to prosecute Democrat office holders may have unintended consequences. Readers probably recall the University of Minnesota study (LINK)referenced in this article about the House hearing:
Citing a University of Minnesota study, Rep. Artur Davis, D-Ala., questioned Gonzales on the apparent disparity in the number of public corruption cases against Democrats versus Republicans. According to the study, 85 percent of public officials prosecuted between 2001 and 2006 were Democrats while only 12 percent were Republicans, Davis said. .
Gonzales replied it would be inappropriate for his department to keep records of those numbers. "Listen, it would concern me if we were not making cases based on the evidence," Gonzales said. "I have no way of knowing the legitimacy of the report you're citing." LINK
It seems to me that any attorney general worth his salt would certainly have looked into the legitimacy of such a damning report from a respected university. That aside, assuming as I do that it is accurate this will assure that by the time Gonzales is out of office, the Democratic Party will have been purged of every vestige of public corruption.
Come the 2008 elections there shouldn't be a single case that a Republican smear campaign can use to impugne the integrity of Democrats..
It will remain to be seen whether unprosecuted Republican candidates who are guilty of corruption will find that their ethical transgressions come home to roost.
Thanks to Jerry for referencing the Weekly Standard article “Gone-zales? There may be a good reason Bush hangs on to his attorney general.” LINK.
The article reminds us about the series of events that occurred when Nixon’s AG Richard Kleindienst resigned and his replacement Eliot Richardson had to be confirmed by the Senate.
It may seem hyperbolic to equate the U.S. attorney firings with the Watergate break-in. Except that it’s not so much the triggering event as the stonewalling, memory lapses, contradictory testimony, missing documents, and lies under oath that constitute the real meat of a Washington scandal. Anybody who thinks an independent counsel let loose on the U.S. attorney firings could ever reach the conclusion that they were no big deal, even if they were no big deal, doesn’t appreciate the logic and momentum of their own that such investigations acquire.
Sen. Patrick Leahy has already indicated that he would insist on the testimony of Karl Rove and others before he confirmed a new attorney general, but that was clearly just an opening bid. Why wouldn’t he insist that a nominee recuse himself from investigating the firings and charter a special counsel to do so instead?
Another worthwhile read is the May 15 editorial from the right leaning Chicago Tribune More stonewalling at Justice LINK
The controversy over the removal of several U.S. attorneys last year has been spreading by the week. But Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales sees no reason to change his approach, which is modeled on Muhammad Ali’s famous rope-a-dope.