Dover Bitch

Friday, April 20, 2007

Gonzales has failed us all

DB didn't get a chance to do any blogging yesterday, but my two Gonzales Haiku submissions at FDL seem to have been pretty much spot on.

I don’t remember
I’m not prepared to answer
I cannot recall

That one pretty much speaks for itself. My other haiku requires maybe a little more background:

You covered his ass,
Spared him from jury duty
He’s not your “client”

When Gonzales' nomination was being considered by the Senate, he stated that he understood his job would be to represent the American people, and no longer would Bush be his client.

During his testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee at their February 2006 hearing on the president's ability to wiretap without a warrant, Sen. Schumer asked Gonzales if the administration was preventing people like former Attorney General John Ashcroft from volunteering to testify:

SCHUMER: I'm asking you what the administration would think in terms of exercising any claim of privilege.

You're not going to have -- I'm sorry, here -- you're not going to have different rules for yourself, an administration advocate, then for these people who might be administration dissenters in one way or another, are you?

GONZALES: Sir, I don't know if you're asking what are they going to say...

SCHUMER: I'm not asking you that.

Would the rules be same? I think you answer that yes or no.

GONZALES: If they came to testify?

SCHUMER: Correct.

GONZALES: Well, sir, the client here is the president of the United States. I'm not sure it's in my place to offer...

SCHUMER: Or his chief...

GONZALES: ... up a position or my recommendation to you about what I might recommend to the president of the United States would not be appropriate here.

In November, as he failed to recall any mistakes he might have made, Gonzales referred to his "client" again. He still hadn't embraced the idea that he works for the American people.

And so it was easy to predict that Gonzales would again cover the president's sorry butt instead of helping the American people get to the bottom of what is an ugly, ugly mess at his department. Glenn Greenwald really hits this point home with eloquence:

[W]hat Alberto Gonzales did today -- and what he has done in this scandal since its inception -- is what he has been doing for the last six years, and particularly, during the last two years during his tenure as Attorney General. He has repeatedly lied to Congress, evaded their questions, concealed wrongdoing, expressed contempt for oversight and checks, particularly when it comes to the actions of the Leader, whom -- even as Attorney General -- he still plainly sees as his client and whose interests are his paramount, really his only, priority.

That is what Alberto Gonzales is -- he is a supremely loyal servant of George Bush and he was installed as the nation's chief law enforcement officer precisely because of that attribute. There really is very little he would not do, if there is anything, in service to the White House. And that has been evident for quite some time.

Nor is there anything unique about Gonzales himself. His conduct is the conduct of this administration, and his mindset is its mindset. The U.S. Attorneys scandal is merely illustrative, not unique in any way -- except that Bush's weakened state and subpoena power in the hands of Democrats have combined to produce slightly more oversight and scrutiny than before.

For DB, the whole spectacle could really be summed up with this exchange. That clip doesn't show the question Gonzales was asked, but essentially, Sen. Cardin asked why the Department of Justice has investigated voter fraud issues, but they have not investigated voter intimidation cases. This, despite the fact that there are scant examples of actual voter fraud and the examples of disenfranchisement are legion.

Gonzales first claimed he can relate to poor minorities and then explained, falsely, that the department follows guidelines to prevent anybody from being intimidated from voting by the DOJ investigations into voter fraud, themselves. Nothing about why he doesn't take voter intimidation and suppression cases seriously enough to investigate.

That was the day in a nutshell... try to seem sympathetic, evade answering the question by talking about something else, and say whatever sounds like a legitimate reason for keeping the job. It was pathetic.

Finally, DB's two favorite summaries of the day. Dahlia Lithwick (of course) encapsulated the day quite well and even included a picture of Sen. Whitehouse's amazing chart (on Page 2). And this NY Times editorial is just perfect.

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