After his feeble attempt to defend his record of deception and cronyism before the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales must surely be polishing up his resume. Right? Well, under normal circumstances, that would be inarguable. But these aren’t normal circumstances at all.
Unless the Senate chooses to impeach Gonzales, the only person who can remove him from office is the man who selected him. So far, President Bush has remained steadfast behind his old friend. That’s no coincidence. The Justice Department is the tip of the iceberg; there are heaps more corruption and lies waiting to be aired throughout this administration, and now that the Democrats are running Congress, some of that information is beginning to come out.
Having a loyal “Bushie” fixer like Gonzales in the A.G. chair is the Bush crew’s chief defensive bulwark. Replacing him with a similar toady would, today, be impossible.
Under normal circumstances, given the revolt against Gonzales not only among Democrats but in his own party, a president would eventually bow to the inevitable; otherwise, he’d understand, he’d be unable to get anything else done for the remainder of his administration.
Here’s the catch: The Bush administration isn’t trying to get anything done any more. All these guys want to do is hang on for the next 18 months without ending up in jail or accepting the inevitability of defeat in Iraq. That’s it. How does firing Gonzales help them achieve those goals? While the Senate smolders over the arrogance and incompetence of Bush’s attorney general, the clock keeps ticking. The longer they deliberate over Gonzales, the less time they have to investigate everybody else.
I won’t be surprised if Gonzales survives a lot longer than pundits are presently predicting. Bush’s stubbornness isn’t just a character flaw; it’s a desperate by-the-fingernails defensive tactic.
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