Friday, March 30, 2007
Lord Help Me ...
... but I agree with every word of this Washington Post editorial. Here's the conclusion:
Mr. Gonzales has been getting an earful in private meetings across the country with angry prosecutors who have criticized his leadership and his handling of the dismissal of eight U.S. attorneys last year. As we have said, so far there is no hard evidence of underlying wrongdoing; President Bush is entitled to replace federal prosecutors, who serve at his pleasure. Mr. Sampson testified that "some were asked to resign because they were not carrying out the president's and the attorney general's priorities." If true, that's perfectly acceptable. Wrongdoing would consist of firing attorneys to derail political corruption prosecutions of Republicans or because of a failure to improperly pursue Democrats. Nothing in Mr. Sampson's testimony added to the so-far thin case that that occurred.
But Mr. Gonzales now finds himself squarely in the cross hairs — and he has only himself to blame. The shifting excuses for the firings and his less-than-candid statements about what he knew and when he knew it have infuriated Democrats and kept Republicans at a distance. Even the White House won't come to his defense. "I'm going to have to let the attorney general speak for himself," said Bush administration spokeswoman Dana Perino yesterday.
On March 14, Mr. Bush called Mr. Gonzales from Mexico and told him to go to Capitol Hill to set the record straight and repair his tattered credibility. He is not scheduled to testify until April 17. The Judiciary Committee says it would be willing to accommodate him if he wants to appear when Congress comes back into session after the Easter break. If he intends to remain in office — a resolution we don't favor — Mr. Gonzales needs to pick up the phone. Questions need to be answered. He's waited long enough.
1) If it were ever shown that the AG lied to Congress, he must resign.
2) If it were shown that the AG attempted to use prosecutions as a political tool against Democrats or in favor of Republicans, he should be impeached.
3) Despite Democratic attempts to rule them out of bounds, allegations of voter fraud are legitimate subjects of investigation - every bit as much so as allegations of denial of voting rights.
4) As evidence accumulates, the claims against the White House and DOJ look weaker and weaker. See, if you have not already done so, Byron York's excellent report on the Carol Lam case. At a time of surging illegal immigration into the United States, Lam distinguished herself with the worst record on immigration prosecutions of any border-district US Attorney.
5) Given the flimsiness of the case against the administration, it represents an amazing negative achievement on the part of Alberto Gonzales to have transformed these allegations into a major national scandal. What went wrong? Here's my theory: People promoted beyond their abilities will often use evasiveness to conceal their cluelessness. When summoned before Congress, he reverted to form. His statements have now proven inaccurate. Yet I don't think he consciously intended to lie - just to scramble out of the line of fire. It's a little reminder that staffing a government with cronies is dangerous to everybody, including the cronies themselves.
03/30 08:42 AM