Will Gonzales Resign?

23:50 Fri 20 Apr 2007. Updated: 15:46 26 Apr 2007
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If he had any shame, he would. He’s clearly engaged in shameful behavior as Attorney General, and just as clearly the Senate (even the Republicans) have no faith in his ability at all. (You know it’s bad when a prominent Republican says that questioning Gonzales looked like “clubbing a baby seal”. But I don’t think Gonzales will leave on his own. His conception of doing a good job as Attorney General is to “protect” the President.

This leaves it to Bush to force him out, and that’s tricky to predict. The political pressure to get rid of him is rather considerable. But Bush doesn’t have much to lose, with a Democratic Congress and approval ratings at historic lows. Furthermore, the Bush Administration is very clear about rewarding loyalty. On top of that, Bush doesn’t like being told what to do, and may (as he did with Rumsfeld) resist purely because he wants to show everyone who’s boss.

Maddeningly, Gonzales spent a lot of time talking about how the “process” of making the decisions on which US Attorneys to fire was flawed, but constantly avoiding the question of just who made decisions in that process to put the specific names of the fired attorneys on the list. Apparently the Justice Department operates like one big consensus-based collective, with no leaders or individuals playing an active role, rather there’s just a kind of inexorable group movement towards the right answers. And he still defends the firings of the attorneys as having been correct, despite claiming that he didn’t know much about it, and that in addition the “process” leading to those answers was misguided and shoddy.

(To see just how screwy the Bush White House is in its dealings with the DoJ, see the charts at the end of this Slate article.)

It’s quite obvious that he’s covering, in a big way, for the White House (most likely, for Karl Rove) and for blatant politicized meddling. But Gonzales himself isn’t really the problem; the problem is the politicization of the political bureaucracy in general.

(Then of course, there’s the problem of wholesale trampling on our rights, a different but probably more important story.)

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