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The Problem with Alberto

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He most certainly did perjure himself. But the point is that Alberto Gonzales didn't have to. It's been said countless times that Attorney Generals serve at the pleasure of the President. The President can fire an AG just because they don't like the way he or she looks. Or because the AG isn't carrying out the President's adgenda. Or for whatever reason.

Why, when pressed, couldn't Alberto make this seemingly simple case? This whole issue could have been put to rest with a few straight words. In fact, Alberto could have used the opportunity to chastise a vehement and overreaching legislature for even bothering to ask the question. But he didn't. When asked, he offered that he was not directly involved in the firings (which he was) and that the firings were related to performance issues (which was sort of true). Six of the eight fired had positive performance appraisals leading up to the firings, although there is a difference between job performance, and what Bush would consider loyal activities by his own staff, arguably a different kind of performance.

After lying about his involvement, and being unclear regarding the reasoning behind the firings, the Democrats have seized upon the issue to great effect. While the President had every right to fire any AG he wished (or Gonzales by proxy), Gonzales had no right to lie to Congress. And clearly he did.

The problem with Alberto is that he was too stupid or negligent to cite to appropriate laws and make a statement based on principle. Instead he lied.

The other problem with Alberto is that were Bush to actually remove him from office, Bush would truly become the lame duck that so many Democrats cast him to be.

It's not that I like Gonzales. I can't stand him. While technically, he did nothing wrong, he did give the Democrats fuel to add to the anti-Bush fire. Average Americans don't know whether Gonzales did anything illegal, but what they do know is that the media and Congress are endlessly talking about perjury. I bet that if most Americans were polled, they'd respond that firing AGs is illegal.

It would sound as if I am making the case for a Gonzales exit. And I would be if it were not the final year of the Bush presidency. With Gonzales gone, there won't be anyone to step up to the plate. There won't be anyone who will be loyal to Bush and staunchly defend his agenda, as Gonzales would with nothing to lose. With our country at a crucial time in the War in Iraq and the overall War on Terror, a lobotomized adminitration with no ability to push through new laws might delight a rabid Democratic legislature, but it would be really bad for the American people.

Politics isn't always about what is right. It's also sometimes about what sounds right. And in this case, the top lawyer in the land could not defend himself against a case about what was well within his rights. And as a result, he is defending himself in the court of public opinion, based not on violations of the law, but his own violations of stupidity.

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About The Obnoxious American

  • Nancy

    This is what comes of a president appointing cronies according to their loyalty & not their abilities. Sometimes it takes more than loyalty to fill a high office. If your candidate/crony has nothing else but loyalty, you’re eventually going to be in trouble. I’m sure had Bush been a little less lazy & arrogant, & looked a tad bit harder, he’d have found any number of good, intelligent, able – & also loyal – GOP lawyers to fill the role far better than the late unlamented Speedy G. Unfortunately, as he’s demonstrated over & over again, Dubya doesn’t care if his people can actually do the job, as long as they’re blindly loyal yes-men, willing to violate any laws, ignore any rights, or commit any crime, in order to do his (or Cheney’s) dirty work.

    With all the good Republicans out there, it’s a pity this president has seen fit to wallow in the mire with nothing but the worst of unethical, amoral GOP maggots. He really has single-handedly destroyed what used to be a good party.

  • http://planetjapan.org Doug DeLong

    It would sound as if I am making the case for a Gonzales exit. And I would be if it were not the final year of the Bush presidency.

    Uh, you did hear that Alberto resigned, right?

  • http://www.elitebloggers.com Dave Nalle

    Doug, he actually wrote this article before the resignation and it got held up in editing for a bit longer than usual. I adjusted most of it, but that sentence seemed kind of temporally neutral.

    Dave

  • Nancy

    Can’t speak for the party as a whole, but I do know there are lots of good people out there who ARE honorable, honest, hard-working, intelligent, & educated, who would serve the country far better than any of Junior’s half-baked cronies, who also happen to be GOPs. Mr. Fitzgerald the Prosecutor comes to mind as a guy who does his job & does it well, ignoring Party lines & partisanship. He seems to be that contradiction in terms, an honest lawyer.

  • moonraven

    Nancy,
    I did not ask you to name Republicans that you considered to be good people.

    I asked you to give support to your statement that the Republican PARTY used to be a good PARTY.

    Do you have a problem with with answering the question?

  • Dr Dreadful

    Ignoring who asked it, because engaging with that person is counterproductive, that’s actually a good question.

    I would say that the Republican Party used to be good when it lived up to its name and defended the Constitution – before it got seduced by the Aladdin’s Cave of capitalism and decided that anyone who couldn’t throw vast wads of cash around was beneath their attention.

  • moonraven

    In short, back when dinosaurs roamed the planet.

    There are lots of myths and legends about how things evolved here on planet Earth.

    Many of them mention how Raven put the sun, moon and stars in the sky so that there was light.

    None of them until now mentioned the Republican Party.

  • http://www.chancelucky.blogspot.com chancelucky

    I do a little bit of wrongful termination work in my work life. People often get easily confused by one of the distinctions in the law. You generally have the discretion to fire an employee who is working “at will”. It is not lawful to fire an employee for the wrong reason. Firing a prosecutor for properly investigating a member of your own party or for refusing to prosecute someone of the other party if the facts did not warrant it is very much against the law. In it’s most extreme form, it would be obstruction of justice.

    First time offenders in Federal Obstruction of justice cases generally get thirty months or more in prison. I have no idea why that figure sounds familiar, but I have to Scoot otherwise I’d chat more about it.

  • bliffle

    “The problem with Alberto is that he was too stupid or negligent to cite to appropriate laws and make a statement based on principle. Instead he lied.”

    Of course he lied, because that is the first reaction of this administration which has found that they are never confronted when they lie.

  • bliffle

    Chance,

    ALL employment is “at will” unless you have a contract that states otherwise. Also, NO notice need be given, not the 2 weeks that most people believe.

  • moonraven

    Actually, to be fair, lying was institutionalized by the US government many years before the Bush Gang seized power.

    Anyone who does not automatically interpret statement A to mean Not A is too stupid to be allowed to vote.

    Unfortunately, those folks are encouraged to post their comments on sites like this one.