Attorney General Hearings

By all accounts, Alberto Gonzales's performance in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee today has been, to quote conservative Byron York, "disastrous."  You know it's getting bad when Republican Senators call for your resignation, as did Oklahoma's Tom Coburn:

But to me there have to be consequences for accepting responsibility.  Mr. Attorney General, it’s my considered opinion that the exact same standards should be applied to you in how this was handled. It was handled incompetently, the communication was atrocious. It was inconsistent. It’s generous to say that there was misstatements, that’s a generous statement. And I believe you ought to suffer the consequences that these others have suffered, and I believe the best way to put this behind us is your resignation.

As the day wore on, Gonzales was still standing, but he wasn't taking responsibility for anything he had done, telling New York's Chuck Schumer:

I've done everything I can to help you meet your burden of proof in terms of coming up here and testifying and making other DOJ officials available, and providing documentation.  But I think in terms of whether something improper has happened here, respectfully, Senator--I think that burden lies upon you and others who are alleging that something improper happened here.

Schumer's response?  Have a look:

Of course, President Bush stood in dissent, issuing a press release praising Gonzales's performance. But everyone knew Bush would stand by his man.

More importantly, what did you think?  Discuss.

Comments

  • (Show?)

    I was in the car, and just randomly listening to the coverage when that moment happened. Wow. Truly amazing.

    How do you spell "smackdown"?

  • mydogischelsea (unverified)
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    Wouldn't it be nice if we could all get away with things via selective amnesia?

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    He's toast.

    But he's just the tip of the iceberg. Putting some of that in context: Political Administration not Public Administration.

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    Nominations have consequences. This was predictable when Gonzales was confirmed in 2007 by the Republican-controlled Senate.

    It was one thing for President Bush to nominate Alberto Gonzales, a man who advocated torture, isn't sure about the constitutionality of the filibuster and doesn't think there is a constitutional right to Habeaus Corpus in the Constitution. But it was another for the Republican-controlled Senate to approve his nomination two years ago in the face of clear knowledge of his constitutional incompetence and Bush loyalty-first approach to life.

    I wrote at that time to Wyden and Smith that Gonzales should have been rejected on grounds of an incompetent understanding of our Constitution, an evident unwillingness to uphold his oath to the Constitution over personal loyalties and of lying and evasion to Senators while under oath.

    And here we are. This is not just a Bush administration fault, but a fault of Republicanism.

  • (Show?)

    As CNN’s Dana Bash said …”Like watching the clubbing of a baby seal”

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    Correction... it was CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux, not Dana Bash, and she was quoting unamed a high-ranking GOP offical.

  • Steve Smith (unverified)
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    Who goes down first, Wolfie or Speedy?

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    Posted by: Steve Smith | Apr 19, 2007 5:17:22 PM

    Wolfie.

    Speedy, no matter how much political damage his staying on is, will never step down. He is the plug in the dam that keeps the impeachable materials from surfacing. His heading up DoJ is the bulwark keeping not just Bush in office, but out of jail.

  • (Show?)

    The Gonzales performance--just another in a long line of Bush Administration explanations that are reminiscent of the Steve Martin armed robbery defense:

    "I forgot. I forgot that obstruction of justice was illegal."

  • Ed Bickford (unverified)
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    Wouldn't it be an unavoidable conflict of interest for the President's own counsel to be named A. G., irregardless of the persons involved? Not that it was my only objection to his nomination...

    His formulation of guidelines allowing torture led astray the soldiers who took the fall for the scandal at Abu Ghraib prison. For that he needs to be held accountable.

  • ellie (unverified)
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    I listened to a few hours of testimony today. It is more than obvious to me that the mismanagement perpetrated by Gonzales far exceeds any "mismanagement" that the fired U.S. attorneys may have committed.

  • TomCat (unverified)
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    I wonder if Alzheimer's is a prerequisite to work for the Bush Reich.

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    Speedy

    Speedy? I thought he was "Fredo".

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    So, per Gonzales, if there's anything less than criminal standard proof of his incompetence ("beyond any reasonable doubt"), then he thinks he's done a satisfactory job.

    Wow. And from the mouth of the top law enforcement officer in the nation. Thank god at least some Republicans are willing to run from an assertion like that. How do you set the bar any lower, short of condoning outright criminality?

    Oh, that's right. This is the Bush administration.

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    Speedy is a different Gonzales.

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    Posted by: Leo Schuman | Apr 20, 2007 10:45:52 AM

    Well don't you know Leo, if cops aren't actually committing crimes, they are doing a heckava job.*

    (wry grin)

    Sardonic quips aside, I don't think Gone-zales is stepping down, no matter how jaw-dropping the performance... er... train-wreck, his testimony was. For two reasons:

    First, I think this is a political bone that the White House is happy to have the media and specifically Congress chew on. It keeps them from moving the ball forward on holding this administration accountable for launching a war under fraudulent rationales, shredding the Constitution, etc. Which brings me to...

    Second, previously as Sr. White House Counsel and now AG, Gone-zales is in the center of the truly criminal actions of this administration which can and should be grounds for impeachment, From crafting memos on legalizing torture, de-facto removal of habeas corpus, to NS wire-taping rationales, etc. are being held in place by a Bush loyalist and legal "fixer" in the form of Gone-zales. Getting a new AG through a hostile Congress would mean getting one that is committed to separation from the White House political sphere and not one whose real function is to still be Bush's attorney and not the people's attorney. Such an independent AG would uncork the truly damning and impeachable actions this President and Vice-President have engaged in, and this is why I don't see him stepping down. For as much as a political anvil he is, that anvil is keeping the lid down on top of the real dangers this administration faces in regards to accountability and Bush's "legacy". Cynical and based on speculation perhaps, but not without reason.

    * Note, this is not a slam on cops, but merely the end-product of Gone-zales' "logic" that merely not committing indictable crimes is the hurdle to clear in order to be the top cop in the nation.

  • Dem Voter (unverified)
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    "How do you set the bar any lower, short of condoning outright criminality?"

    Of course Nancy Pelosi and most of the rest of our Democratic Congressmen have been doing that for years by supporting everything the Bush administration has done, or not offering objections in any meaningful way.

    Illegal Wiretapping is fine with Democrats, as is torture, as is unprovoked war of aggression, as is influence peddling. The list goes on and on. All that is apparently not a problem, compared to this issue. I'm sorry, but that just doesn't add up. Bush could put babies on the menu at state dinners and Democrats in Congress would offer to fund it. Maybe they would put conditions on that funding, but Bush would object, so the Democrats would claim that they had no choice but to give Bush a clean funding bill.

    Sure, it would be great to prosecute this as far as it goes, but we all know that Democrats will refuse to prosecute this beyond Gonzales no matter how much evidence we find that this leads higher up the food chain. After Gonzales resigns, Democrats themselves will kill this investigation.

    It is really sad that since I don't support Bush I can't even support Democrats.

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    Of course Nancy Pelosi and most of the rest of our Democratic Congressmen have been doing that for years by supporting everything the Bush administration has done, or not offering objections in any meaningful way.

    "For years?"

    You do know that Nancy just became the speaker three months ago -- and that in the House, there's really no way to object "in any meaningful way"... right?

    Or maybe you could provide a link or two to some vote records or news stories that back up your claim that the Democrats in the House have been supporting the Bushies "for years"?

  • Dem Voter (unverified)
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    Democrats haven't supported the war against Iraq? Really? They aren't voting to fund the war? They didn't vote for the "patriot" act? They haven't made deer in the headlights appearances on Fox and any other news show trying to show that they are just as patriotic as any fascist?

    I'm sorry but the Democrats have supported Bush. And they still are.

    In the past they may not have been able to initiate hearings, but they can now, and they can - and should - make the case for impeachment. If you think that any such vote is simply a party line roll call, then let that vote happen. The public certainly spoke up in the last election. So far, Democrats have shown that they are not listening. Certainly the issue of politicizing the justice department is important, but there have been more serious crimes committed, but they are not in the news, and it is the Democratic leadership in Congress who is trying to run out the clock now on having those hearings.

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    Democrats haven't supported the war against Iraq?

    Most didn't. In fact 23 Democratic Senators (Oregon's Demcratic Senator Ron Wyden was one of them) and 126 Democratic House members (Oregon's entire Democratic delegation voted no) voted no on the 2002 AUMF. And more recently, almost the entire caucus in both chambers voted to force an end to our having troops in Iraq by March 2008.

    Really? They aren't voting to fund the war?

    Actually a bloc of Democrats are seeking to de-fund the war, and the aforementioned bill to end our troop deployment in Iraq in 2008 seeks to do so by decreasing our troop levels via funding decreases over time.

    DOn't wnat to de-rail this thread, but you have some seriously misguided black & white blanket views and assertions there. There is plenty we can agree and disagree abot regarding the spine (or lack thereof) of numerious segments of the Democratic caucus in both chambers of Congress, but I suggest you not paint with so large a brsh that you end up ruining any valid point you may have.

    Just a suggestion.

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    Wow. I really need to type better and read what I typed before hitting post. Mea culpa for the embarrassing level of typos in the previous comment.

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    Not to validate the position, but it IS true that some Democrats--including at least 2 prominent ones running for President--helped enable Bush's war, and were less than stellar in finding their cojones prior to 2006. File them under "good men who do nothing," as the phrase goes.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    "Of course, President Bush stood in dissent, issuing a press release praising Gonzales's performance. But everyone knew Bush would stand by his man".

    Nothing unusual there, for any president. They'll praise and defend their own right up to the moment they ask for them to resign. This is a non-issue and says nothing new about any president.

    Bob Tiernan

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)
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    Dem Voter:

    Illegal Wiretapping is fine with Democrats

    Bob T:

    I think you mean it was fine with Nixon because it was fine with FDR and Truman (and Nixon didn't worry about criticism of his "enemies list" because JFK had one, called a "shit list").

    Dem Voter:

    ....as is unprovoked war of aggression, as is influence peddling.

    Bob T:

    More analysis from someone who thinks history started in 1981, or 2001. You're either 18 years old and have yet to read about what both major parties have been doing for more than a century, or you're in denial.

    You're entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts.

    Bob Tiernan

  • tsiatko (unverified)
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    <h2>Notice that none - not one - of the Oregon conservative blogs covered the hearings.</h2>
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