Another example of Democratic failure

The return of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to the Senate Judiciary Committee is in some ways the story of Democratic failure to drum up enough pressure to force President Bush’s hand.

Not so long ago, Republicans as well as Democrats thought they’d seen Gonzales sit before them for the last time as attorney general. There was no way Gonzales could survive the controversy over the prosecutor firings, nor the exposure of other missteps, they said. Certainly he could not resist the widespread calls for his resignation — one, from a Republican — to his face as the proceedings were broadcast live.

They were wrong. Gonzales was called to testify again Tuesday. A Senate vote of no confidence in Gonzales has failed, and Bush has noted that the U.S. attorneys probe did not uncover any clear wrongdoing. And, armed with the president’s support, Gonzales has made clear that he does not intend to leave office before Bush does.

Democrats say the wrongdoing is Gonzales’ broader failure of leadership that extends to the FBI’s abuse of so-called National Security letters and a withered tradition of independence from the political interests of the White House.

“This attorney general has a severe credibility problem,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said in remarks prepared for Tuesday’s hearing. “It is time for the attorney general to fully answer these questions and to acknowledge and begin taking responsibility for the acute crisis of leadership that has gripped the department under his watch.”

Gonzales’ statement to the committee was full of regret for his agency’s troubles and included a commitment to repair the damage. He made no reference to the fired U.S. attorneys. Only briefly, Gonzales mentioned the controversy that has sunk morale at the Justice Department and has called the fairness of its attorneys into question.

“I will not tolerate any improper politicization of this department,” Gonzales said in remarks prepared for his Senate testimony. “I will continue to make efforts to ensure that my staff and others within the department have the appropriate experience and judgment so that previous mistakes will not be repeated.

“I have never been one to quit,” Gonzales said.

Gonzales’ earnestness was unlikely to change any minds on the panel, and his own missteps have given Democrats a wide selection of topics on which to press him.

Atop the list were questions about his former White House liaison, Monica Goodling, who admitted under a grant of immunity that she sometimes considered whether candidates for career positions at Justice contributed to Republican campaigns. She also said she had an “uncomfortable” private meeting with Gonzales just before she left Justice, at which he reiterated his recollection of the leadup to the firings, then asked her opinion of his recollections.

Lawmakers want to know whether Gonzales was trying to coach Goodling at a time when both knew they would be summoned to testify before Congress. Gonzales has said he was trying to comfort Goodling at a difficult time in her life.


  1. long_rider

    The chimp will leave gonzo in office, just to keep the heat off of himself and cheney. This action will probably back fire on the chimp if this issue ever goes to court.

    The chimp does not have a leg to stand on if all of this goes to court. All of the chimp supporters have stated that there were never any meetings with the chimp, therefore executive priviledge does not apply, they will be required to answer all questions, and provide documents.

  2. acf

    “There was no way Gonzales could survive the controversy over the prosecutor firings, nor the exposure of other missteps, they said. Certainly he could not resist the widespread calls for his resignation — one, from a Republican — to his face as the proceedings were broadcast live.”

    That statement assumes a level integrity that forces a person to resign, rather than continue in disgrace with little support from the country. The Bush crowd has shown itself to be devoid of that degree of integrity. In fact, they have shown that they will do what they want, regardless of public opinion, or investigative proof to the contrary. Bush’s recent statement that he would not allow his staff of advisors to be served with subpoenas and brought to justice, shows the extent of that attitude, and its source.

  3. Dayahka

    Well, maybe there are reasons why things are as they are:

    1. The Democrats do not want the AG to leave. Let him remain as a constant reminder of the state of the Republican administration. If things started to be cleaned up, the Republicans could re-group and win the presidency again.
    2. Reid and Pelosi are at least as incompetent and corrupt as Gonzales.
    3. Bush is doing what the economic elite want done and the economic elite own Congress. The Constitution, democracy, etc. have always been just smokescreens for elitist interests anyway.

  4. gene

    (above) “Are their no statesmen? No HONEST ones I know of. I seriously doubting I or anyone else will ever see one again. If we wanted an honest “statesman” we would have to dig (as in buried) one up.

  5. gene

    The (freak) show continues as does clueless Americana. Most of its citizens are brain-dead and pay very little, if any, attention to politics. Most of my on disgusting family is clueless, I see very little of them anymore and dam sure don’t loose any sleep over it.

    Personally, I doubt much will change even post Bush and Cheney, if their is a Post. This nation and this world has gone to far and will eventually implode or explode or both.

  6. Steve Horn

    Gonzales isn’t the fault of the Democrats, his being in power isn’t the fault of the Republicans – like the rest of the administration the fault for the rise of criminals and liars like Gonzales, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Clinton, Nixon and on back through history lies on the shoulders of an apathetic public who either doesn’t bother to vote OR worse still, votes with no knowledge or understanding of the issues.

    Come on people – we’re in a representative republic – take some of the responsibility – that’s what it’s all about.

    And if you didn’t vote – don’t bitch.

  7. JudyB

    The return of Alberto Gonzales is NOT the fault of is just proof that” Dictator-decider’n Chief Bush”, is still dictating and decid’n !!!

  8. Bill Robinson

    Are we supposed to be surprised? This administration’s record of lies and half truths coupled with an arrogance unprecedented in our history causes one to believe that this was inevitable.

    The Democrat’s inability to do anything is more, in my opinion, a matter of lack of desire than lack of ability. I believe we have the finest Congress that money could buy in the history of the United States, and they are all bought and paid for if not blackmailed into submission.

    They make me sick. The whole lot of them. Can’t we find any honest people in America? Good grief Snoopy, there must be an honest person out there somewhere. Is noone incorruptible? Seems like all the members of Congress are, have been, or continue to be. Corrupt, that is. To the bone that is.

    As a citizen of Chicago, I saw that the reason it was called the “City that Works” was because it was the city of who you know and who you gotta pay to get what you want done. That malady has spread to Washington, where it always lurked under the tables of power. Now it is out in the open and blatant.
    They make me sick, did before, still do.
    Bill Robinson

  9. almandine


    gimme a break. Your type of thinking is illustrative of the problem. Too many Democrats (and Repubs) want a political solution to all problems… as long as it puts them in the driver’s seat. It’s not a perfect storm that’s needed, it’s someone who will work for the American people without regard to politics and party. Unfortunately, too many crooks spoil the stew. Are there no statesmen?

  10. wolverine

    I would speculate that many Democrats are quietly pleased that Gonzales is still attorney general. It is a constant reminder of the incompetence of the folks that George Bush keeps around him; it keeps the U.S. attorney firing scandal in play and it helps the Democrats block any additional horrible judicial appointments for the remainder of Bush’s term of office. To me Gonzales is the perfect storm. He lacks intelligence, integrity and competence. Who could ask for more than this from our nation’s highest law enforcement official?

  11. Electric Bill

    I fail to see how Laurie Kellman can see the stonewalling tactics of the administration and the senate Republicans as a Democratic failure if she has any inkling of how the process in the US Senate works. Between Bush and the diabolical and corrupt senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, the administration and the Republicans have used every semi-legal and procedural tactic at their disposal to keep the Justice Department scandals or the war for that matter, from coming to satisfactory conclusion for the American people. Is Kellman afraid to reveal the real villains here or doesn’t she undersatnd the process? Why do these disappointed writers try to deflect the blame away from the administration? Thanks in part to the misdirection practiced by the MSM and the administration, the system has become so broken we are in real danger of losing our democracy. Kellman doesn’t help. There is plenty of blame to go around for the overall situation we face today and the Democrats deserve their share, but I can only wonder if Kellman and others who constantly blame the Democrats for the failures of the Bush Administration have a stealth agenda, like maybe perpetuating the status quo and keeping the new face of fascism in power for another eight years.

  12. geyser

    The Democrats have played the American people like for fools. The Democrats saw the mood of the country, dishardened with many things the bush administration was doing and getting away with them. The Democrats said everything we wanted to hear and we swept them into power and a majority is both Houses. One by one everything they promised to do was either taken off the agenda or failed to muster enough votes to get it done. Even items that required no voting, they made half hearted attempts to change. The truth came out by their non-action, all they wan5ted is what the Republicans had for the previous Ten years, the Dems wanted their share of the pie and easy way of life.
    I am ashamed that I too was fooled and helped vote them into power. There is no difference between the Dems and Repubs, one is as dangerous as the other, they will lie and cheat to get what they want. This is no longer a Democracy. Voting is a waste of my time and energy, nothing changes nothing gets better. The only way to effect change is to go against the political system, if that means Revolution, then so be it.

    Taking One Day at a Time

  13. Elmo

    I keep wondering — how can the Republicans be so stubborn and pig headed? Don’t they know that what they are doing now is setting them up for years in the outhouse?

    I’m not normally one to indulge in paranoid fantasies but I can’t help wondering just what it is that the Bush-Cheney-fill-in-the-blanks Axis of Evil has up its collective sleeve. Then someone sent me this:

    Suddenly I’m feeling a lot more paranoid and the Gonzales display of contempt for Congress is no longer without a plausible (if paranoid) explanation.