Bring Me the Head of Alberto Gonzales

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The attorney general of the United States is going out the door and I can't really better the Fark headline:

White House officials say Attorney General Gonzales has submitted his letter of resignation. However Gonzales says he can't recalling writing any such letter, or his reasons for taking such an action.

Bit inaccurate, though: Gonzales made a phone call, not a Dear John letter.

Mr. Gonzales, who had rebuffed calls for his resignation, submitted his to President Bush by telephone on Friday, the official said. His decision was not immediately announced, the official added, until after the president invited him and his wife to lunch at his ranch near here.

Mr. Bush has not yet chosen a replacement but will not leave the position open long, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the resignation had not yet been made public.

There were two big theories about how the Bush administration would operate when the Democrats took over Congress. One optimistic theory was that the White House would recover its cojones and do righteous battle with the opposition. That hasn't really happened, except on Iraq. The other theory, that the administration would sort of crumble and fade under pressure, is looking more solid.

Earlier this year I saluted Gonzales for making the "chicken little" critics of White House power look so wise. 

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  1. My condolences to Cathy Young and Michael Moynihan.

  2. The other theory, that the administration would sort of crumble and fade under pressure, is looking more solid.

    Well, I’m just glad we’ve got a divided government. Let’s remember, Gonzales is what we got after Ashcroft stepped asside. And Gates is what we got when Rumsfeld got elbowed.

  3. Maybe Bush will go back to the road not taken, and nominate Marc Racicot.

  4. And Weigel adds Sam Peckinpah references to his article titles. Good deal.

  5. I’ve been screaming for his head since the Schlesinger Report. The firing of US Attorneys wasn’t really the issue for me–but I’m so glad he’s gone.

    I’m not sure who to thank for this. Maybe it’s the Democrats in Congress? If so, I thank them.

    …that makes me pretty freakin’ magnanimous, doesn’t it?

    “Maybe Bush will go back to the road not taken, and nominate Marc Racicot.”

    Whatever he does, I think he’ll go with someone from within his inner circle, someone he really trusts. …like Harriet Miers or maybe his wife.

  6. Props for the Sam Peckinpah reference. I’m guessing that the DoJ will function just as well without a befuddled amnestic leader. Maybe they’ll leave the position unfilled. Or maybe nominate Barney — that worked so well for Caligula.

    BUSH: The Attorney General will now announce the new anti-terror policy.
    BARNEY: WOOF WOOF!
    BUSH: This policy is enforcable by seizure of assets, imprisonment, and death. Good night, and God bless America!

  7. Washington, D.C., August 24, 2007:

    BUSH: You’re doin’ a heckuva job, Gonzo.
    GONZALES: Shit.

  8. That’s it! You’re all on my list! Every single lousy one of you! You’re all on my list!

  9. It’s recess appointment time in D.C.! I can’t wait for the drama!

  10. Gonzalez is without a doubt the most incompetant AG ever. More incompetant than Janet Reno and that is really saying something.

    “The other theory, that the administration would sort of crumble and fade under pressure, is looking more solid.”

    WTF? How does finally getting rid of the weakest link in the administration somehow crumbling? Of course if Gonzalez had stayed on for the duration, Weigel would be writing how the Bush administration could have done so much better if they had just lost dead weight like Gonzalez and righted itself. Now that it does that we get “the administration is crumblingt”. Whatever. I don’t know what the future holds any more than Weigel, but one thing is for sure, this moron hitting the door cannot be a bad thing.

  11. My condolences to Cathy Young and Michael Moynihan.

    Huh?

  12. I’m more interested in Gonzales next plum job.

  13. Gonzales’, that is.

  14. Gonzales’s I think

  15. Pro,

    He will go and be a rain maker at some big law firm. Make millions based on his connections and be kept in his office and allowed to do only simple legal tasks so he doesn’t do any damage. Some law firm will pay him big to say they have “a former attorney general” as a partner and then put him in his office and try to keep him from embarassing them.

  16. To the last rat left on Bush Titanic: please send out the mayday.

  17. Adam W.,

    That works, too. Just give me an apostrophe.

    John,

    No doubt. Which is why I want the job 🙂

  18. The White House is looking more and more like “Big Brother 8”, except that Bush always has the Power of Pardon, and that nobody gets to eat slop. Maybe that is what is needed to get the rest of the “housemates” to leave!

  19. Maybe the branches should just agree to eliminate the AG position altogether, since nobody chosen to fill the position seems to do the job admirably.

    Speaking of which, what exactly is the Attorney General’s job?

  20. Chief Scapegoat.

  21. Not that Gonzales doesn’t deserve to get forced out on his own merits. . .or lack thereof.

  22. Speaking of which, what exactly is the Attorney General’s job?

    In theory the U.S. Attorney General oversees all aspects of law enforcement and criminal prosecution on behalf of the federal government.

    He or she also serves as the chief attorney for the government when it is sued. That’s why when you sue the government it is seen as “YOU” v. “The Attorney General” and not “YOU” v. The United States of America.

  23. Educatus has it right (see: Gonzales v. Reich).

  24. Well, no, educatus’s second point isn’t quite right. One doesn’t name a party’s attorney in a lawsuit, one names the party. And you do in fact see Joe Public vs. United States cases all the time. The AG gets named in lawsuits when the person is suing him/her as the administrator of some DOJ program, just as the various Cabinet Secretaries are named when the dispute is over some aspect of USDA, HHS, DOD, etc., functioning.

  25. KRK’s point is also not quite right. It’s not Joe Public vs. United States, it’s United States vs. Joe Public. When the federal government brings up a case it serves AS the government, whereas when YOU sue the government, you can’t really sue the same institution that you are trying the case in, so in that situation the AG is the represented body.

  26. Even when YOU sue the government, the AG is only the appropriate named party when it’s a DOJ matter. Thousands of people sue the federal government every year without naming the AG because they’re (properly) suing the head of the department or agency against whom they have a grievance. And when people who don’t know any better file a suit against the “United States,” as they do, the federal courts don’t say they can’t hear the case.

    All of this is beside the point. I’m just glad that from now on whenever Alberto Gonzales is named as a party-defendant, he won’t be there on my dime.

  27. Chuck Hagel predicted this resignation a few weeks ago at a Panetta Institute Lecture that I attended:

    “The news of the day was Karl Rove’s resignation. Panetta wondered whether the resignation could have an effect rehabilitating the last year of the Bush presidency. Graham was dismissive, saying it is just too late for this President to salvage his legacy. Hagel was more sanguine, saying that Rove and Gonzales are lightning rods for criticism and their resignations would open a door. He spun a scenario where Gonzales also resigns, Bush shifts strategy on Iraq in the fall, and gets a major piece of bi-partisan legislation through congress next year. That, he asserts would elevate the Bush legacy.”

    Hagel seems to have his finger on the political pulse of this White House, and it may make sense to pay attention to the rest of that prediction. He also said that the administration year end strategy shift on Iraq and the beginning of a drawdown was telegraphed by Gates on Meet The Press.

    So, the answer to the AG resignation timing, courtesy of Chuck Hagel: The Rove resignation, Gonzales resignation, and the beginning the Iraq drawdown are all part of the George W Bush Presidential Legacy Rehabilitation Surge. GWB has surprised those who “misunderestimated” him before. Methinks that rumors of the death of this presidency and the Republican party have been greatly exaggerated.

  28. I’m interested to see who Bush nominates to take his places. If he nominates an Ashcroft or Gonzales clone when the Democrats control the Senate, hes more stubborn than I thought.

  29. Cesar,

    The Dems controlled the Senate when he nominated Ashcroft.

  30. It was a 50-50 Senate then.

  31. Cesar,

    I thought it was 51-49 after the defection of James Jeffords to the D’s. Or did that happen later?

  32. The difference isn’t in who controlls the Congress, it’s in the level of benefit-of-the-doubt the president is afforded, and the willingness of Congress to abide by gentlemens’ agreements.

    Bush has proven that he doesn’t deserve any benefit of the doubt, and that he has absolutely no intention of paying back any effort by the Congress to avoid stepping on his toes.

  33. I say good riddance to the AG. With his tolerance of torture he might as well have been spitting on our flag as he ignored our constitution.

    I remember when a reporter asked him about the effect of a certain court ruling limiting the abuse of detainees. Gonzales answered that the court ruling might only be germane to AQ members?..

  34. I thought it was 51-49 after the defection of James Jeffords to the D’s. Or did that happen later?

    About four months later.

  35. mw

    (Hagel) also said that the administration year end strategy shift on Iraq and the beginning of a draw down was telegraphed by Gates on Meet The Press.

    If so, we can hope that there’s also a strategy shift away from the planned attack on Iran. But I think that that’s too optimistic. Watch for the administration to utilize an announcement of an Iraq draw down for political cover so they can attack Iran.

    If they do attack Iran without congressional approval, then and only then is it impeachment time.

  36. mw:

    So, the answer to the AG resignation timing, courtesy of Chuck Hagel: The Rove resignation, Gonzales resignation, and the beginning the Iraq drawdown are all part of the George W Bush Presidential Legacy Rehabilitation Surge.

    We can hope for that scenario cuz due to the Bush administration, the outlook now is for a lot of relatively more libertarian Republican congressional candidates to lose to a lot of relatively less libertarian Democratic candidates. The ideological superiority of the GOP candidates will be accentuated and the utility of more GOP members in congress will be increased with the advent of a Pres Hillary or Pres Berak.

  37. The confirmation vote for Gonzales was 60-36, 4 not voting, so arguing about who controlled the Senate at the time isn’t relevant. Hopefully this time some harder questions will get asked during the confirmation hearing.

    http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=109&session=1&vote=00003

  38. Rick Barton,
    OT – I had a classmate by the name of Rick Barton from the University of Colorado 30 years ago. He borrowed six hundred dollars from me and refused to pay it back. If you are that Rick Barton, you’ll have to send me a check before I can respond to your comments. The one you sent me 30 years ago bounced.

  39. Well, it should be too hard to find a replacement. Lots of graduates from Regent University, Liberty University, Bob Jones University, or some other Bible-beater diploma mill to choose from.

  40. mw,

    Very cute! But please email me cuz I don’t see a way to contact you thru the site you linked to. Just click on my name.

  41. Haha. What a great headline. The man, no matter how wrong he has been lately, devoted quite a bit of his life to public service. So naturally, the editors of this site feel it is appropriate to use a headline alluding to a movie where the individual is assassinated. Pure class. Remind me again why 99% of the population does not take anything that libertarians say seriously.

  42. “I say good riddance to the AG. With his tolerance of torture he might as well have been spitting on our flag as he ignored our constitution.”

    Good thing this canard has not been refuted by literally dozens of legal scholars or I might have to accuse you of hyperbole.

  43. Bopo,

    Please cite some of those literally dozens of legal scholars who not connected with the Bush administration.

    And note that Gonzales said the Convention Against Torture treaty, as ratified by the Senate, doesn’t prohibit the use of “cruel, inhuman or degrading” tactics on non-U.S. citizens who are captured abroad, in Iraq or elsewhere.

    And see: “The double standard that underlies our torture policies.”

    http://www.slate.com/id/2130028/?nav=ais

  44. Bopo:

    The man, no matter how wrong he has been lately, devoted quite a bit of his life to public service.

    All that means is that he worked for the government. So what? Big deal! By itself, that’s nothing to be proud of. It just means that he gets his pay from taxpayers who don’t have a choice about giving it to him.

    Remind me again why 99% of the population does not take anything that libertarians say seriously.

    Bopo, I’m a conservative and a Republican. Do you know who said: “If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.”

    It was Ronald Reagan

    https://www.reason.com/news/show/29318.html

    This should give you an idea of why I would despise someone who makes legal pretext for torture. Torture is incompatible with the value of the sanctity of the individual.

  45. Bopo,

    Lastly, your criticism of the editors of this site seems to be a non sequitur.

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