Gonzales Resigns

23:58 Mon 27 Aug 2007
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I have to admit that I’m quite surprised. I thought he’d stay until Bush left office, that there wasn’t any way he’d leave earlier without being impeached (which wasn’t likely to happen). But that’s it, he resigns apparently on his own terms, his final day 17 September.

I don’t know why he’s resigning. It could be a simple result of Rove’s departure, it could be a financially-driven decision to go into private lobbying while there’s still time to get big money in terutn for influencing Bush, it could be ahead of some other possible scandal, it could be a backroom deal of some kind. It could even be that it all finally became too much for Gonzales.

To me, his career looks both comic and tragic. He’s recognized almost universally as a terrible, terrible Attorney General. Either a corrupt partisan hack or an utter incompetent, or both. He had no respect left coming to him from anyone except Bush, and even Bush might have decided that, having absorbed so much of the attention and deflected it from the rest of the Administration, his lack of credibility was too much.

There’s another way to look at it: that Gonzales was unfailingly loyal, a diligent and dedicated operative who never shied away from the dirty work required of him, from helping Bush to avoid jury duty (and exposure of his past DUI) to approving torture and denigrating the Geneva Convention to trying to wrangle a signature out of a post-surgery John Ashcroft. His loyalty to Bush always came first, before considerations of humanity, honesty, duty to the public, decency, or the US Constitution. He was entirely willing to repeatedly look like a complete fool in order to protect the rest of the Administration.

From impoverished son of migrant workers to the head of the entire US Justice System, isn’t that quite the rise? From being dirt poor, he became a loyal servant to power, and has been rewarded with power of his own, with comparative wealth, and with the chance at significant wealth yet to come. Unlike much of the rest of this Establishment-dominated Administration (redundancy alert), Gonzales lived the classic American Dream, like a Horatio Alger protagonist—a twisted one, given what Gonzales served so faithfully.

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