Law School Discussion

Off-Topic Area => Politics and Law-Related News => Topic started by: The Poster on August 27, 2007, 07:13:55 AM

Title: Gonzales Resigns
Post by: The Poster on August 27, 2007, 07:13:55 AM
http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/08/27/gonzales/index.html

(http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/photos/uncategorized/2007/04/03/gonzales.jpg)
Title: Re: Gonzales Resigns
Post by: Miss P on August 27, 2007, 10:02:23 AM
Bush just appointed Paul Clement as his "interim" replacement.  I think this position is going to be difficult to fill.  It's also not going to be easy to pull the SG's office up to Clement's standards (competence, eh, not morals) upon his departure.  I don't know what to think.
Title: Re: Gonzales Resigns
Post by: H4CS on August 27, 2007, 10:12:23 AM
Bush just appointed Paul Clement as his "interim" replacement.  I think this position is going to be difficult to fill.  It's also not going to be easy to pull the SG's office up to Clement's standards (competence, eh, not morals) upon his departure.  I don't know what to think.

Angry Space Chertoff is not happy.

(http://graphics.boston.com:80/bonzai-fba/Globe_Photo/2007/08/25/1188084466_8880.jpg)
Title: Re: Gonzales Resigns
Post by: Miss P on August 27, 2007, 10:16:23 AM
Angry Space Chertoff

<--- snarfed
Title: Re: Gonzales Resigns
Post by: H4CS on August 27, 2007, 10:19:15 AM
Angry Space Chertoff

<--- snarfed

America could tolerate a Hispanic AG, but I doubt they'll accept a Martian.  Seriously, I woudln't be surpised if he started turning blue from all of that colloidal silver.
Title: Re: Gonzales Resigns
Post by: The Poster on August 27, 2007, 12:23:35 PM
Angry Space Chertoff

<--- snarfed

America could tolerate a Hispanic AG, but I doubt they'll accept a Martian. Seriously, I woudln't be surpised if he started turning blue from all of that colloidal silver.

The new ag?
(http://www.cartoon-secrets.com/Photos/Looney-Marvin-the-martian.jpg)
Title: Re: Gonzales Resigns
Post by: t... on August 27, 2007, 01:01:01 PM
Oh how Texas has absolutely ruined this country.
Title: Re: Gonzales Resigns
Post by: 1654134681665465 on August 27, 2007, 01:31:48 PM
Oh how Texas *and Arkansas have absolutely ruined this country.

Fixed
Title: Re: Gonzales Resigns
Post by: 1654134681665465 on August 28, 2007, 03:41:17 PM
True, until you realize how true it is.  Then it is kind of depressing.   :-\
Title: Re: Gonzales Resigns
Post by: PNym on August 29, 2007, 08:58:33 PM
National Review's Jonah Goldberg posted a pretty interesting column on Gonzales. I say interesting because National Review is a conservative publication, and in addition to this article, I've heard numerous mentions from other conservatives on how Gonzales wasn't very competent:

Quote
It was always about Al
By Jonah Goldberg
Wednesday, August 29, 2007

"Even my worst days as attorney general have been better than my father's best days."

One doesn't want to begrudge Alberto Gonzales a brief, self-indulgent moment of mawkishness as he ignominiously departs the public stage. But one of his main problems was that mawkish self-indulgence was often his defining contribution to the public debate.

To the bitter end, Gonzales remained the most self-involved attorney general in modern memory. (Full disclosure: My wife worked for Gonzales and his predecessor.) Gonzales liked to give speeches - even after he left the White House for the Department of Justice - about what a great country this is that it would let a man like him drive through the White House gates. He liked to complain about how hard his job was, and he defined that job first, last and always as being the president's man. Oh, and he mentioned that he was the grandchild of immigrants, by my rough calculation, 12 trillion times.

Gonzales is no doubt sincere in his ethnic and familial pride and his fondness for President Bush. But it's hard not to see this stuff as a defense mechanism of a man long carried by a political operation with a weakness for Latino success stories and loyal cronies.

Whenever he took the initiative, he seemed out of his depth. When Gonzales took over as America's "top cop" in 2005, he insisted that his Justice Department revive the Reno-era emphasis on "the children" as a defining mission of his tenure. Never mind that Republicans had invested a great deal in the (valid) argument that the Clinton Justice Department was too distracted and mushy-minded to recognize the al-Qaida threat. He surely should have gotten the memo that the war on terror was the supreme priority for the administration because he wrote the memo.

Not since James Watt, President Reagan's ham-handed Interior secretary (he barred the Beach Boys from the National Mall for drawing "an undesirable element"), has there been a major Cabinet secretary more politically tone-deaf.

Which brings us to Gonzales' resignation.

For months, Bush's most enduring loyalist has let the Democrats be-bop and scat up one side of the administration and down the other over largely imaginary Justice Department scandals. What did Gonzales know? When did he know it? And what security program was that again? Gonzales was a piņata for Democrats; bash him from any angle and you got a prize.

When seen in the klieg lights of a congressional hearing, Gonzales appeared as sharp as a wooden spoon. And the spoon didn't exactly turn razor-keen when out of the spotlight either. Earlier this summer, Gonzales agreed to headline a conference focused on law enforcement partnerships with the Muslim community. Another featured speaker? An imam from the Islamic Society of North America, a group that had just been named as an "unindicted co-conspirator" in the Holy Land Foundation terror-promotion trial. The department ultimately "rescheduled" the conference out of existence.

The Republican midterm-election defeat last fall had many authors, but if you talk to congressional Republicans, they'll tell you that one of the most disastrous and infuriating mistakes the Bush White House made was to circle the wagons around Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, only to cut him loose right after the election. Many Republicans paid dearly for defending Rummy, only to see him split on his own timetable weeks later.

And that was nothing new. Bush prizes loyalty above all else, which is why he tolerated generals with losing records, like Gen. George Casey Jr., for far too long and was willing to reward a bureaucrat like Harriet Miers with a nomination to the Supreme Court. Likewise, Bush tolerated a dysfunctional Justice Department and an incompetent attorney general because he liked "Fredo."

Privately, Bush's defenders argued that times have not been propitious for a confirmation battle over a new attorney general, and neither Bush nor Gonzales wanted to be seen as caving to partisan pressure. In other words, better to have an ineffective attorney general dragging down the whole operation than to have a fight over an effective one.

I can't remember the last time I agreed with John Edwards about anything, but his reaction to Gonzales' departure was right on the money: "Better late than never."

But late is far from good. What, exactly, has been gained by having this feckless figurehead running the Justice Department? As with Rumsfeld, the Democrats didn't really want Gonzales to leave; they wanted to pull on him like a thread so as to further unravel the Bush presidency.

But now all of that is moot because Gonzales has changed his mind and wants to leave after all. "I have no reason to believe it wasn't fully his decision," a Justice Department insider told my National Review colleague, Rich Lowry. Well, that's sweet. By all means, take all the time you need, Mr. Gonzales. After all, it's all about you.
 

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online
Title: Re: Gonzales Resigns
Post by: PNym on August 30, 2007, 12:01:08 AM
Here's another good article on this topic, a column by Bob Novak:

Quote

After Gonzales
By Robert D. Novak
Thursday, August 30, 2007

WASHINGTON -- One day after Alberto Gonzales submitted his resignation as attorney general and two days before it was made public, White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten was on the phone Saturday feeling out who might be available as a replacement. That Bolten had a short list in hand indicates that even if George W. Bush had been ready to ride out his presidency with his dear friend at the Justice Department, senior aides were eager to staunch the political bleeding.

It was not surprising that nobody on Bolten's short list resembled Gonzales (thought it would be hard to find anyone so inappropriate for the job). But the caliber of possible selections means President Bush is not content with a placeholder sure of Senate confirmation. It also suggests a seriousness of purpose not evident when Bush transplanted Texas aides to Washington.

The president bemoans Gonzales falling victim to a Democratic lynch mob. But silence prevailed among Republicans in Congress who had to deal with the infuriating attorney general (with the rare of exception of Gonzales's fellow former Texas Supreme Court justice, Sen. John Cornyn). Given the president's track record, these Republicans have feared the worst about his successor.

So, Bolten's short list is a pleasant surprise. It includes former Solicitor General Ted Olson, an accomplished lawyer and resolute conservative. According to administration sources, the list also includes two well-regarded former deputy attorney generals: George Terwilliger, a veteran prestige Washington lawyer, and Laurence Silberman, a longtime judge on the U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Columbia now on senior status.

Those choices show that Bush is not taking the very bad advice that he name a non-political academic along the lines of Edward Levi, the University of Chicago president named attorney general by President Gerald Ford. Levi, hardly in the tradition of the office, turned out to be Ford's enemy within. Not every president need select his own brother as John F. Kennedy did, but a friendly face at Justice is needed.

It was just that President Bush went too far in picking a friend who was loyal but incompetent (a complaint never lodged against Bobby Kennedy). All of Gonzales's senior political positions in Texas -- secretary of state, governor's legal counsel and Supreme Court justice -- were thanks to Bush's patronage. As president, Bush was less interested in quality than loyalty, as he transported Texas aides to Washington.

I met Gonzales for the first time in 2001 when, along with other conservative journalists, I went to the White House for a background briefing on the new president's judicial nominations by presidential counsel Gonzales. I was stunned by the incoherence by the briefer. After checking with several Republican senators, I received the same verdict. Their judgment was that Gonzales was not qualified for a senior government position.

Gonzales's handling of the crisis over the firing of U.S. attorneys set new standards for incompetence. In the midst of the furor, he agreed to address the National Press Club May 15 (insisting on breakfast instead of the usual lunch). It by chance was the 44th anniversary of this column, and I never before had seen anything like it.

Gonzales arrived in time for the speech without making a customary greeting to other head table guests. With the capital poised for something about the U.S. attorneys affair, he delivered an irrelevant speech prepared by the Justice bureaucracy. In the question-and-answer period, however, Gonzales repeatedly blamed the problem on Paul McNulty, who had resigned that day as his deputy.

Leaving the Justice Department does not mean Gonzales is safe from the Senate's Democratic sharks led by Patrick Leahy and Charles Schumer -- including contempt of Congress charges. But the president's concern now is getting his new attorney general past the Senate Judiciary Committee. Everybody on the short list can count on trouble from Leahy and Schumer. It is questionable whether any of them would undergo that harrowing experience for 16 months in a lame-duck administration.

In Tuesday's Wall Street Journal, former Republican Justice Department officials said the new attorney general must protect presidential prerogatives against congressional encroachment. That is correct, but George W. Bush can blame himself and Alberto Gonzales for the impending danger.

 

Robert Novak is a syndicated columnist and editor of the Evans-Novak Political Report