Believe Who? The President or Your Own Eyes?

The art of politics, I suppose, is the art of trying to convince someone of something that you yourself don't really believe; to convince someone that they ought to believe you and not their own lying eyes. I know this but I still cringe whenever I hear a politician say something totally at odds with objective reality. I cringe because I consider it a waste of my time to be listening to it and a waste of the speaker's time in saying it.

And so it was Monday that President George W. Bush said that Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales' performance last week before the Senate Judiciary Committee "increased" the President's "confidence" that Gonzales can continue to do his job as the nation's chief law enforcement official. He is an "honest" and "honorable man," President Bush said, and the hearings and investigations into the U.S. Attorney scandal have not demonstrated that the Attorney General broke any laws. Just why and how the President came to that conclusion is probably already lost to history. The New York Times politely described the gulf between the President's assessment of Gonzales' performance last week and the assessment offered by everyone else in the world: "But his statement on Monday was his first direct comment about Mr. Gonzales since the attorney general appeared before the committee, and it was at considerable odds with an overwhelmingly critical assessment of his testimony by members of both parties."

I suppose it is no surprise that the President continues to support and defend his buddy and loyal subordinate, the Attorney General, even as chaos and confusion at the Justice Department spirals out of control. And I suppose it is too much to expect the President to offer any sort of meaningful critique of Gonzales' performance since he apparently did not actually see it last Thursday. What was he going to say: "Yeah, Alberto really tanked it last week. But we are going to try to hold on for a little bit longer."

Apart from President Bush's charade, the most unfortunate part of the story here is that we have officially and formally reached the point where the best (and really only) defense for Gonzales-- the best (and really only) rationalization for him to stay at his post-- is that he broke no laws (at least none that we know of at this time). Quite a low standard for high office, right? Quite a disappointing line in a public resume, right? ("Broke no laws as Attorney General"). Can the adminstration define downward any further the job of the nation's top law enforcement officer? Doesn't the President have anything nicer or stronger to say about Gonzales than he should stay as Attorney General because he isn't a felon?

For his part, Gonzales took his cue from his boss Monday and declared: As long as I think that I can be effective ... I will continue serving as the attorney general." Remember, politics is all about the art of saying something that even you don't necessarily believe. And for the life of me I can't imagine how and why the Attorney General believes he can be any more (or any less) effective than he has been during his disastous reign at the Justice Department.

By Andrew Cohen |  April 23, 2007; 10:15 AM ET agag
Previous: The Revolt of the Working Class at Justice | Next: 'Get Out Get Out Now' Is the Message to Gonzales

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Well, if the president says it, it must be true!

Apparently the President's confidence in the Attorney General increased after the A.G.'s Thursday testimony. But the President by his own admission, and that of his spokeswoman, never watched the testimony.

So his confidence in the Attorney General increased only by ignoring evidence which might have caused him to rethink his position.

I think that's a pretty apt description for how this White House has made many of its decisions. This would be a great punchline, if these folks decisions didn't have very real consequences for ordinary Americans.

Posted by: JP2 | April 24, 2007 08:40 AM

Does no one care whether this President and his attorney general lies before the American public? Evidentally, no one in Washington D.C. does! Has this administration forgotten it's responsibilites to the those who fought for freedom and those who are serving today. As, a Vietnam veteran, this sickens me as I am sure it does all. Just imagine a school teacher today trying to explain, what is going on in our government.
Curtis gilliland, somerset, Kentucky

Posted by: curtis gilliland | April 24, 2007 09:15 AM

His assesment is about as accurate as the "Mission Accomplished" statement ( or guess) of 4 years ago. What a leader!!

Posted by: Marvin 888 | April 24, 2007 09:16 AM

Gonzale is doing a heck of a job!

Posted by: -x- | April 24, 2007 09:19 AM

We are now officially a third world country, ruled by fourth rate people.

Posted by: Sayer | April 24, 2007 09:23 AM

Why is Bush still in office? His antics and ploys of hiring reporters to show a positive spin on his politics are not where the taxpayers money should be spent. I am happy to see the post put out an article that doesn't portray this as brillant when its unethical to be the President of the country and back someone like GONZO - wait he told GONZO to fire them.... gee now I see why he is backing him! When will the country wake up and make the politicians accountable for their actions? If they were accountable things would be different in this country.....

Posted by: Tom | April 24, 2007 09:25 AM

I am starting to wonder if Pres. Bush should have his head examined by a licensed and highly reputable medical doctor. He seems to be bordering on insanity. He doesn't see what is really going on in Iraq obviously. People say he is incompetent, but I suspect he may also be suffering from mental deficiencies, too.

Posted by: Sherry Wagner | April 24, 2007 09:26 AM

Still a non-story.

Nothing wrong happened at the Justice Department. Continued oversight of NOTHING shows the true shallowness of the new Congress. If they can't find anything then obviously the Attorney General should go.

Hopefully all the worthless rascals in the Legislative branch will get voted out next round.

Stick to your guns Mr. President!

Posted by: bacar62 | April 24, 2007 09:27 AM

getting the truth out of Mr. Gonzales is simple: wasnt he previously the main proponent of torture?
waterboard him!

Posted by: j. armstrong | April 24, 2007 09:28 AM

Are Bush and Cheney delusional? Cheney still swears Al-Qaida was active in Iraq under Hussein, Bush thinks his political officers are excellent managers of the Federal Government. Is it the water in Washington? How about a nefarious terrorist plot propagaded by Boris and Natasha? Stay tuned to the Final Act of the Bush/Cheney review.

Posted by: Hal | April 24, 2007 09:36 AM

Lying scum, the whole lot of them. And pathetically incompetent to boot. That's the part that's really unforgivable. They just come across as so ridiculously stupid. I don't think we'll be able to move on or even begin to recover from the Bush administration until all of the sleazy, criminal doings of this nest of vipers has been dragged fully into the light.

Posted by: alex | April 24, 2007 09:42 AM

Yikes. Someone who makes Ashcroft look good?

Posted by: tandalayo | April 24, 2007 09:47 AM

Gonzo "The Magnificent" is as good as gone. In fact, he has actually been gone for a long time - it is only an empty suit with that goofy plastic face-mask smile that sits in the AG's chair.
Gonzo reminds me of the character of Chaucey Garner (Chancey The Gardener) in Peter Sellers movie "Being There". Chauncey happily passed through life oblivious of reality. He did know what he liked: He liked watching TV. Similarly, Gonzo 'likes' being an attorney general, whatever that is. It is a nice place and his boss pats him on the head: "Gonzo you are doing a heck'va job."

Posted by: Ken Humphrey | April 24, 2007 09:49 AM

if you look at the video at TPMMuckraker you realize how patently abusrd the POTUS remarks about his confifence in Gonzales are. When Reid stated the POTUS was delusional well....

Posted by: dee illuminati | April 24, 2007 09:55 AM

Mr Cohen are you out of material to write about? don't you think a man in your position should be able to tell the difference in truth and fiction! Mr Cohen do you think our president should waste precious time debunking all the lies you and your colleages can muster? Mr Cohen you're a fine example of an educated idiot. NOTE" you should go and speak to Bill O'Reilly

Posted by: Kenneth Dillard | April 24, 2007 09:58 AM

Gonzales lied to the American public in two press conferences that he held. But even though the top law enforcement official at the United States Justice Department lied to us, Bush-43 says there was nothing wrong done. Is it any wonder that Americans have lost trust and credibility in their government? The Republicans in the Senate need to understand something: Many of us Americans will not be voting for any of them again if they sit back and allow this travesty of bad ethics and unprofessional behavior by a top law enforcement official to stand.

Posted by: douglas porterfield | April 24, 2007 10:10 AM

How can anyone defend Gonzales? He said "I don't recall" 71 times. Yes, 71 times! And these are about memories just from a few months ago about his direct reports. He couldn't come up with any reasons why they were fired, but he was sure that they deserved it. Either he's a major liar or totally incompetent. Either way, these are not the characteristics of the Attorney General of the US. I'm disgusted.

Posted by: john keyes | April 24, 2007 10:13 AM

Every Senator must be slack-jawed at GWs latest bold-faced failure to see reality. Who put together the list of Attorneys to be fired AND why???? If no one can remember then impeach them all for incompetence! If the White House did it because they were convicting too many Republicans or wouldn't bring trumped up charges against Dems then Impeach them for that. Find out who put together the list!! Then impeach their lying b*tts!

Posted by: thebob.bob | April 24, 2007 10:20 AM

Once Lee Iacocca (who campaigned for bush in '00) denounces Bush's cabinet as a bunch of baffoons, you can be pretty certain that whatever excuses these people have for their utter incompetence isn't nearly as good as the Gipper's Alzheimers. . .

Posted by: tdizzle | April 24, 2007 10:23 AM

As long as impeachment is off the table, the justice department is a sham.

Posted by: laine schiltz | April 24, 2007 10:24 AM

No one mentioned that there are districts where half of the professional career attorneys have resigned over the last few years--apparently in disgust. The DoJ is almost totally broken. Dubya won't fire him? Okay, if total incompetence isn't grounds for impeaching Gonzales, then what is?

Sadly, the ugly political reality is that they probably can't get the votes to do it. Yes, there are an increasing number of Republicans (the honest ones, not the neo-GOP) that agree he should be replaced, who would be glad to see him resign, but relatively few will actually take the positive action of voting for it.

Posted by: Shannon Jacobs | April 24, 2007 10:30 AM

Kenneth Dillard, please tell me that you don't believe what comes from the mouth of Bill O'Reilly...
He is one of the silliest, biggest liars and propaganda regurgitators out there.

It's funny that you make a point about distinguishing between truth or fiction yet your own skills are lacking severely.

Posted by: Brian Maston | April 24, 2007 10:32 AM

Funny! Bush's mere suspicions of WMD in Iraq were enough to persuade him to invade, bomb, and occupy Iraq...getting tens of thousands of people killed and bankrupting the U.S. in the process.....but justice for the political hacks and thugs he appoints to the most prestigious jobs in our government...he demands irrefutable evidence. You know, like the e-mails that his hayseeds eliminated.
-sub

Posted by: Subroutine | April 24, 2007 10:33 AM


How much lower can this corrupt, incompetent
administration go???

Is there anyone in America can still believe these lying, dulisional THUGS?????

Posted by: Ed | April 24, 2007 10:37 AM

to K. Dillard and bacar62:

The best anyone can say about Gonzales is that he was spectacularly incompetent. That is reason enough to can him.

But there IS a broader scandal here. It is about suppressing the vote by orchestrating investigations and promoting policies that keep Democrats, particularly minorities and urban residents, from voting. If you had been paying attention to aynthing other than those Faux News sycophants, you would know this already.

PAY ATTENTION. This is our country and it is headed down the toilet unless we do something about it.

Posted by: Nellie | April 24, 2007 10:37 AM


SHAME... on anyone who STILL BELIEVES IN bush.

Posted by: Junior | April 24, 2007 10:46 AM

Bush is mentally ill,he's a spoiled brat,petulant little cry baby,he can't see beyond the end of his nose,limited capacity to anyalize complex issues,Gonzo ,according to Bush,Gonzo is doing a great job,at what?,sounds like ha da go Brownie your really tearing it up in New Oleans.

Posted by: binksterbob@hotmail.com | April 24, 2007 10:47 AM

Isn't Alberto Gonzalez the most important person in Bush's regime? He could without too much trouble replace Rice or Gates or Chertof or Leavitt and so on and do so without a major confirmation fight. Gonzalez is different from all of them. He's the legal Keeper of the Gate, the Lord Chancellor, the guy who knows where the bodies are buried, what investigations are going on or planned, whether independent counsel need to be appointed, etc. He the guy who will deliver legal opinions to order, like the local pizza maker. Put an honest man or woman in that post and the Bush administration loses too much control. With Bush already in a terribly weakened position with the public, the media, and with Congress, losing control over the Department of Justice could start the death bells tolling. Hence the continued statments of confidence in that 'honest and honorable man' Alberto Gonzales, the political version of a mob lawyer.

Posted by: P. Bosley Slogtrop | April 24, 2007 10:47 AM

The incredible downfall of the US is more than any conspiracyhappy scriptwriter with an overactive fantasy could have ever imagined just ten years ago.
Too bad your two-party state is cemented and no viable alternative party has a chance of emerging.Even in one-party China the party is looking out for the chinese populations long term interests.Democrats are also beholden to lobbyists and special interest groups.Too bad you do not have a party looking out for the american people.

Posted by: european | April 24, 2007 10:55 AM

Curtis Gilliland's comment, "Just imagine a school teacher today trying to explain, what is going on in our government..." struck close to home. I've been a teacher and secondary school administrator for over 30 years. During the 80s and 90s I taught Advanced Placement American Government and Politics. Next school year, I've been asked to once again teach AP Government - something I haven't done since school year 2000-2001. I'm worried about how I'm going to infuse my young charges with enthusiasm for our system of government. How am I going to teach search and seizure, wiretapping, the 8th amendment's prohibitions on cruel and unusual punishments, criminal proceedings, habeas corpus, separation of powers,free and fair elections, checks and balances, and a host of other topics which have changed dramatically over the past six years? Should I change the name of the course to American Fascism and Politics?

Posted by: Hugh | April 24, 2007 11:06 AM

They BS'd over 50% of the American people
about 911. This is small potatos.

Posted by: Lucky | April 24, 2007 11:15 AM


Curse of present administration--WAR, RUIN, BANKRUPTCY What kind of legacy is this?

Posted by: | April 24, 2007 11:27 AM

I wish at least one of the four parts of this series had focused upon what I consider the issue of genuine substance lying at the heart of the controversy over the firing of eight experienced United States Attorneys in the aftermath of the November, 2006 Congressional elections.

After a lot of bobbing & weaving & vague dissembling, a common theme eventually emerged as the Gonzales' Justice Department's chief justification for the eight dismissals: the US Attorneys' supposed lack of diligence and aggressiveness in pursuing voter registration fraud prosecutions in the run up to the 2006 election, and claims of voter fraud at the polls from November 2004.

This was a policy priority of the Gonzales Justice Department. The message of the dismissals was if the local AG's don't embrace Washington's policy priorities, then they can and will be replaced by US Attorneys who will pursue the types of criminal prosecutions now being emphasized.

The towering irony here of course is that millions of Americans are profoundly upset by electoral fraud - fraud not by voters, but fraud by the vote tabulators and the electronic means of counting used in some regions of the country.

Instead of addressing that critical issue, the Gonzales Justice Department's focus instead was fixed on indicting some low echelon precinct canvassers and absentee ballot facilitators who were involved in community registration and turnout work. The targets for scrutiny were sometimes in affiliation with subsversive groups like ACORN, MOVE-ON.org, or almost invariably the usual suspects from organized labor and minority political activist groups.

The priority was to divert attention from fraud by the vote counters, by focusing on fraud by those seeking to enhance turnout or cast ballots on election day. That the eight fired US Attorneys resisted the pressure to skew prosecutorial efforts towards the GOP's naked partisan ends is indeed a tribute to their true professionalism.

And, as the carnival environment of the recent Senate hearing again illustrates, what goes around comes around.

Posted by: william t street | April 24, 2007 11:37 AM

WHY...can't we get on with IMPEACHMENT?

The record speaks for itself.

Posted by: | April 24, 2007 11:38 AM

Gonzales is a truly memorable, and effective, Attorney General. His effect has been to demoralize, disorganize, and demolish the credibility of the Justice Department. In that he can certainly continue to be effective. Keep on keepin' on, Gonzales!

Posted by: J. Yoo | April 24, 2007 11:48 AM

maybe gonzales will lose his green card...

Posted by: Terry B. | April 24, 2007 11:49 AM

I told you he was dopey. Apparently, he thinks that we are just as dopey.

Posted by: Robert James | April 24, 2007 11:52 AM

Flapping jaws don't do it for me. Another poll doesn't do it either.

Nellie, let's have some real facts, not just innuendo about these supposed broader scandals.

Simple rules on voting can be followed by even the lowest common denominator. If your base is incapable of the simplest of tasks, then I wonder about your message and your goals for this country.

The Bush administration has made real errors. Let's grill them on legitimate topics and congratulate them on real successes.

Hiring and firing at the Justice department is the Presidents choice. Gonzales instructed lower managers to review and implement this decision of the President. He signed off on the recommendation. Done.

Any other allegations require facts. I recommend people find real facts before they call for Gonzales resignation just to needle the President.

Posted by: bacar62 | April 24, 2007 11:57 AM

Facts, baca62? The facts, as sworn to under oath by Gonzales, are that he has no idea whose idea it was to fire the prosecutors, why they were fired, or how it came to pass. He just hangs out at the water cooler waiting for lunch everyday. And he can't recall what he had for lunch for yesterday or if refried beans make him fart or not. The man's a liar.....and an incompetent one at that. Fire his ass.
-sub

Posted by: Subroutine | April 24, 2007 12:22 PM

So when the next President replaces US Attorney's with their own people, Congress will have hearings to justify each and every removed Attorney?

Okay facts:

The White house, after victory in the last election requested some new blood at the Justice Department.

The limited number of people to be replaced were to be ones not following the President's policies close enough.

Gonzales assigned one of his people to review all the US Attorney's and recommend who to replace.

When the recommendations arrived, Gonzales signed off.


Gonzales fault was to not tell the Congress to piss off in the beginning. Competent Attorney's were being replaced with other competent Attorneys. Subject done.

Posted by: bacar62 | April 24, 2007 12:46 PM

I think Gonzales should be on the Supreme Court. An excellent partner for Scalia and others, who have so politicized the Court, that with Gonzales, could lockstep the Court as much as the Rove Delay organization of the Republican Congress in recent history. Then we could gladly crown GW as King and Cheney as the Court Jester and Rice as the official Concubine behind Hadley and Rumsfeld. What difference would it make? The Congress is still controlled by Republicans to benefit their rich friends, and Bush and Cheney do whatever they want. The few Democrats in the Congress actually willing to challenge the President and the Jester, are far too frightened to do anything, and the Republicans are locked in step behind Rove, the unelected leader of this country. Could he be the Archbishop, willing to deny his faith for wealth? Anyway, prepare to meet the death of these United States, and the birth of a new Fascism with Bush and Republicans at the helm. I pity our grandchildren!

Posted by: Dave | April 24, 2007 12:46 PM

How can you find real facts about something that is a non-issue? Listen to any political testimony and you will hear the same answers. It doesn't matter if it's republican or democrat. It's called not positioning your self over a land mine.

I love the hypocricy of the left on this trial by association. What did the president or the attorney general do that was illegal or unethical? This is yet another case of the left trying desperately to ignore the real issues facing this country and slam the republicans for future votes. If that isn't unethical, I don't know what is... It is perhaps the most vile of tactics when it comes to politics.

Most americans do not give a flying "you know what" about this situation. This only demonstrates to me how incompetent our country is when faced with tough decisions and change.

I would much rather have a less than intelligent person in the oval office than a bunch of whining babies that want world peace at any cost. Guess what... world peace is a fantasy... I know, I am a racist, war monger and a bigot for saying that. Right? LOL.

PS: To all those talking about "voting fraud", I urge you to delete Moveon.org from your favorites and lay off the weed.

Posted by: SSPHX | April 24, 2007 12:47 PM

Does anyone else see the irony, not to mention hypocrisy, in the "political" firings of U.S. attorneys and the "soft" treatment of Little Al by Sen. Hatch?

I've heard from some Utah Republicans who were embarrassed by his questioning.

Posted by: pacman | April 24, 2007 12:52 PM

Barcar62, "Hiring and firing at the Justice department is the Presidents choice."

This is why Bush is still getting away with destroying this country, in spite of all the lies and corruption he's dumped on us, because people like you steadfastly refuse to see the forest in front of your face, no matter how many trees there are.

Each new revelation of corruption, croynsim, war profiteering, and criminal acts by the highest members of the administration and outright lies from the president are met with a blank stare and, "What? They didn't do anything wrong" from people like you.

Yes, hiring and firing at the Justice Department is the President's choice. But that's not the issue here and only Faux Noise viewers are still arguing that it is.

The issue is that AGs were being systematically manipulated to prosecute non-existent cases based on the political machinations of Karl Rove instead of evidence.

There were no nation-wide Democratic voter fraud schemes. But there was a nation-wide Republican voter fraud scheme, and disenfranchising Democrats was at the heart of it. There are now Republicans serving time in several states because they commited voter fraud in order to help Bush and the Republican Party. And they ALL had ties to Karl Rove, Ken Mehlman, and the White House.

As for insulting voters who are too dumb to figure out how to vote - you're the fool here. I worked in the polls in Florida in 2000. 46,000 predominantly Democratic voters were purged from the voter rolls by the Republicans - by Bush's baby brother, Jeb. They never had a chance to figure out the ballots, they never got ballots. They were denied their right to vote because they had names that sounded black. 46,000 people. Jeb tried to do it again in 2004 but was stopped by the courts.

But that wasn't enough for this most corrupt of Administrations. They were determined to make the Department of Justice just one more branch of the Republican apparatus.

AGs who were willing to ignore the law and go after Democrats had job safety. AGs who wanted to prosecute criminals were fired. Its as simple as that.

And people like you have given up your allegiance to our country and replaced it with blind fealty to a corrupt gang of traitors.

As for Gonzales, this is the man who helped Bush execute more people than any Governor ever has.

This is the man who believes torture is a good thing.

This is the man who believes the Geneva Conventions can be ignored.

This is the man who believes that spying on Americans is just fine.

This is the man who can't remember what his job is or what he's done at it but thinks he deserves to keep it.

And, most horrifying of all, this is the man who believes that there should be no limit to Bush's powers and who has actively helped disassemble the Bill of Rights.

You want facts? They are all out there in the public records. They aren't hard to find. Turn off Faux and start looking. It's all there - for now. but don't kid yourself that they will always be there.

This administration likes to "lose" inconvenient facts - like those 5,000,000 emails.

Posted by: roooth | April 24, 2007 01:02 PM

The AG may not have committed a crime, but as the AG of the United States, he should at least be able to tell the Senate Judiciary Committe exactly why all 8 US attorneys were fired. Not knowing or "I don't recall" is pure incompetence. When the career DOJers are revolting - its time to step aside and ADMIT to your mistakes. But admitting to mistakes is apparently a sin with this lot.

Posted by: Tina | April 24, 2007 01:05 PM

roooth,

Which left wing website did you copy that trite argument from?

So I guess what you are saying is that the laws should be changed only because Bush decided to use the power afforded to him by the law of the land? I find it funny that Clinton got away with it and fired people that were actually investigating him and his wife. By the way, those are facts, look them up. The blabber coming out of our keyboard might as well read, "Kool Aid".

Face it, we are living in a world of people that understand differences that needed to happen after 9-11, and those that think everything was fine and it was a fluke. I guess there are always those mentally unstable individuals that also believe 9-11 was the work of the US government as well. I urge you to read the Popular Mechanics investigation of the trade centers collapse, and also watch a real demolition. Unless our government has "silent explosives" I would assume most can distinquish a noticable difference in the two.

I love how the internet has totally corrupted people that somehow have no purpose in life but to demean and destroy their own country. Long live the USA!

Posted by: | April 24, 2007 01:14 PM

Tina,

What mistakes? Do you remember every situation in which you have been asked a question? Now imagine your life x100 more decisions a day. Yea, kind of gives you a new perspective when you reason things out doesn't it? This Attorney general just signed a document at the order of the president, nothing more.

Sorry if I am being too logical.

Posted by: SSPHX | April 24, 2007 01:20 PM

roooth,

People that work the polls know absolutely nothing about the process. All you do is point people to a box and fail at checking for valid IDs.

LOL.

Posted by: surething | April 24, 2007 01:24 PM

"Gonzo, you're doin' a heck of a job."

Posted by: John Ashcroft | April 24, 2007 01:26 PM

I see a lot of comments here about King George's mental health. I have read reports from psychologists that have diagnosed GW with Psychopathic Personality Disorder. A short description may help you understand:

a psychopath never remains attached to anyone or anything. They live a "predatory" lifestyle. They feel little or no regret, and little or no remorse - except when they are caught. They need relationships, but see people as obstacles to overcome and be eliminated. If not, they see people in terms of how they can be used. They use people for stimulation, to build their self-esteem and they invariably value people in terms of their material value (money, property, etc..).

A psychopath can have high verbal intelligence, but they typically lack "emotional intelligence". They can be expert in manipulating others by playing to their emotions. There is a shallow quality to the emotional aspect of their stories (i.e., how they felt, why they felt that way, or how others may have felt and why). The lack of emotional intelligence is the first good sign you may be dealing with a psychopath. A history of criminal behavior in which they do not seem to learn from their experience, but merely think about ways to not get caught is the second best sign.

Posted by: Adam Weishuaupt | April 24, 2007 01:32 PM

I don't think I need to remind anyone why Fox News is the most watched. I laugh at people that label it "Faux" because it shows the sense of frustration over truth being revealed in the media. The average american can see through the BS, and I think the ratings put that on display.

Posted by: SSPHX | April 24, 2007 01:33 PM

Adam Weishuaupt,

All I have to say to that is... Uh, what?
"reports from psychologists", funny I haven't ever heard of the President getting an evaluation from these "psychologists". Is this the same thing as arm chair racing? I wish I could get an evaluation without ever seeing a doctor too!

I think the most pathetic thing about your post is the fact that you actually wasted your time copying and pasting definitions.

Posted by: | April 24, 2007 01:38 PM

I am continually amazed at the lack of respect that these people have for truth and the restrictions of law and the Constitution (that they swore to uphold!).

That's it: subpoena, investigate, indict and impeach!

Unless we do this, we're a banana republic, on the road to becoming Putin's Russian Federation.

Posted by: Stu from Seattle | April 24, 2007 01:57 PM

I also watch Fox News,but of course as a source of entertainment and not for news.
The channel provides insight into the thinking that is making the US regress into a thirld world country.The interviews of your leaders is particularly funny and provides schoolbook examples of journalistic incompetance.Goebbels would have been proud.Too bad the US population will not wake up before electricity is cut to the trailer and they have to go out and do some manual labour to maintain their 400 pounds frame of blubber.Lets hope the rapture comes before this happens.

Posted by: european | April 24, 2007 02:16 PM

It's disappointing to me that the logic fault attached to President Bush in the lead up to the Iraq war was that he believed Saddam was capable of doing very evil things and therefore they let this cloud intelligence data about WMD's and Saddam having them.

Isn't this the same logic error that clouds liberal views on Bush? Their unshakable believe that the President is evil and everything he and his people do are immoral and against the American people and democracy.

If you fault Bush's views for clouding the Iraq intelligence, then why do you apply the same logic to the administration and all of it actions?

Choose the middle. Approach things with your eyes open and review all the data. Don't believe, let the facts support the truth. Look at all sides of an issue.

Some might say that is the 'Fair and Balanced' approach.

Posted by: bacar62 | April 24, 2007 02:23 PM

You know, European, most moderates in this country would agree that there is a lot wrong with our system right now, and that much needs to be done to fix it. Many of us don't agree with how the party in power has handled things over the past eight years.

But I'll take this country over Europe any day of the week. We have more freedoms than you, less racial prejudice, more equality of opportunity, and, most of all, a whole lot fewer lazy people.

Good day.

Posted by: ExAUSA | April 24, 2007 02:32 PM

I am constantly amazed at the magnitude of denial the Faux nooz crowd exhibits. By all objective standards, this administration has been among the least competent and most corrupt in American history. A survey of Presidential historians was conducted two years ago to place GWB somewhere in the spectrum of worst to best Presidents. The three most popular responses were: Worst since 1900; worst since 1860; and Worst ever. The Washington Post interviewed 5 historians on where they would rate Bush 43. The most charitable response was "It's too soon to tell." Others rated him as the worst ever, the third worst ever, the fifth worst ever, and bottom ten. And that was all done BEFORE the debacle that was the administration's response to Hurricane Katrina.

Lets face it, this cabal entered power on an anti-government platform, argued that government was incompetent to accomplish anything, then proceeded to prove themselves right.

Posted by: Jim Bob | April 24, 2007 02:58 PM

I have always looked down with disgust at the Bush family because they have begotten so stupid ,ignorant & good for nothing brothers:W.jr & his baby brother Jeb:both liars & incompetent,who thrive on cronyism,
corruption & with limited capacity to grasp reality and comprehend hard facts.It is a pity such an arrogant fool who is on top of tha American administration.Surely the USA is going down the drain

Posted by: al | April 24, 2007 03:22 PM

what do you expect from one who is so limited in his mental capacities that he still thinks Sadaam and AlQaeda were cooperating,after all proof to the contrary! and WMD are there somewhere in Irag !and his deputy is Cheny:a war monger

Posted by: sam david | April 24, 2007 03:33 PM

At least he never thoughtlessly ordered a lawless assault that led directly to the vile immolation of dozens of innocent women and chlidren the way Janet Reno did. So maybe he isn't the "worst" AG in American history.

And after all, Clinton didn't fire her, even though her strongest credential was that she was a woman.

Posted by: Hey nobody died. | April 24, 2007 03:44 PM

Well, a poll by historians now.

I guess if they say Bush is a bad President then it must be time to impeach him. HELP, ANYONE, are there anymore 'polls' I can cite during the impeachment proceedings?

Wait a tic, I think I'll stick with the poll a couple of years ago by the American public, when President Bush was voted in (a second time)!


Ps. I fear for America also when our education system fails so miserably.

Posted by: bacar62 | April 24, 2007 03:44 PM

Someone should check to see if the White House has a resident shrink, because this POTUS and VP are delusional. Incompetents led by madmen. Only in America!

Posted by: | April 24, 2007 04:26 PM

gonzo stays...king bush tells the american rabble...now go home

Posted by: | April 24, 2007 05:09 PM

Democrats and you are making a mountain out of a mole hill. Get a grip on reality.

Posted by: Roger Buffalo | April 24, 2007 05:41 PM

Bill O`Who

Posted by: Bill MacLeod | April 24, 2007 09:50 PM

bacar62, you can roll out the "you liberals" talking point, but I really don't see how any "conservative" can be spectacularly pleased either with some fairly dramatic actions over at DOJ in reference to this scandal.

1. The removal of the Senate's advise and consent role from the 2005 Patriot Act renewal (removed after 150 years without any debate).
2. The removal of a stipulation in the appointment law requiring that U.S. Attorneys come from the home district.
3. The unprecedented nature of the firings--over 150 years and no president has fired this large a number of attorneys for political reasons.
4. The involvement of political staff in the review process. (Exactly what qualifications do Karl Rove and Scott Jennings have to asses the legal quality of a U.S. Attorney's work?).
5. The review of U.S. Attorneys by inexperienced political staff with no real prosecutorial experience. In one case, the reviewer is a 33 year old from a 4th tier law school who apparently is unfamiliar with the term "conflict of interest".
6. The deviation from precedent in reference to discussions by the White House on criminal and civil litigation at the DOJ. (We go from 4 people in the White House having authorization to speak to 3 people; to over 100 people--including low level political staff at the White House with authorization to discussion ongoing litigation with 30 + members of the DOJ.) I realize that you may not be concerned about political interference from the White House at the DOJ, which I'm sure is the reasons that you were the first person to say during the 1990s--"why all of these fishing expeditions by the GOP congressional leadership!?"

This is just for starters.

As far as qualifications go, match Carol Lam, Bud Cummin, Dan Bogden, or David Iglesias's resumes against any of the interim appointees. If you said this to any top tier Federal Prosecutor: "Hey I'll match Jeffrey Taylor's resume against Carol Lam or Bud Cummins"--I suspect you'd get a look of disbelief, or you'd trigger an outrageous laugh.

For starters you could look at how the D.C. U.S. Attorney's office performed in the largest tax fraud case in U.S. history just a couple months ago.

Yeah, these Loyal Bushies, are real top drawer talent. LOL.

Here's some additional thoughts from some thinking conservatives:
http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1610738,00.html

Posted by: JP2 | April 24, 2007 10:09 PM

ExAUSA---Don`t assume someone is European because they sign their post ``European``.

Posted by: Bill MacLeod | April 24, 2007 10:10 PM

I really need some feed back on this:
It is my understanding, reenforced by his questions to the AG, that Orrin Hatch may in fact be an alien. Has anyone come across any additional info in this direction? It`s obvious that Hatch is not grounded.

Posted by: barry grise | April 24, 2007 11:17 PM

JP2, I fear we disagree at a most basic level:

"The unprecedented nature of the firings--over 150 years and no president has fired this large a number of attorneys for political reasons."

Does it not happen every time a new President is elected, and virtually all US Attorney's are replaced? This is not political? I guess we'll let that fact slide.

"The involvement of political staff in the review process. (Exactly what qualifications do Karl Rove and Scott Jennings have to asses the legal quality of a U.S. Attorney's work?)."

I don't recall Rove or Jennings reviewing the legal quality of US Attorney's. That review was done internally at the DOJ. As political advisers however, it is not unreasonable for them to say 'Mr. President, maybe we need to shake up the DOJ and replace some people not implementing your policy's as well as they should'. It's foolish to believe this has never happened in the past.

"As far as qualifications go, match Carol Lam, Bud Cummin, Dan Bogden, or David Iglesias's resumes against any of the interim appointees."

Why is it I suspect that when Bush first appointed these people you complained about the 'better' people being replaced and how Bush was destroying the DOJ?


The more you use qualifiers like 'unprecedented' and go on and on about Carl Rove and the Presidents people 'politicizing' everything at DOJ, your divisive agenda is clear. Get over it, Bush is the President (actually elected twice) and a mole hill is still a mole hill even though you claim new mountains are created every time Bush does something.

Posted by: bacar62 | April 24, 2007 11:19 PM

JP2, I fear we disagree at a most basic level:

"The unprecedented nature of the firings--over 150 years and no president has fired this large a number of attorneys for political reasons."

Does it not happen every time a new President is elected, and virtually all US Attorney's are replaced? This is not political? I guess we'll let that fact slide.

"The involvement of political staff in the review process. (Exactly what qualifications do Karl Rove and Scott Jennings have to asses the legal quality of a U.S. Attorney's work?)."

I don't recall Rove or Jennings reviewing the legal quality of US Attorney's. That review was done internally at the DOJ. As political advisers however, it is not unreasonable for them to say 'Mr. President, maybe we need to shake up the DOJ and replace some people not implementing your policy's as well as they should'. It's foolish to believe this has never happened in the past.

"As far as qualifications go, match Carol Lam, Bud Cummin, Dan Bogden, or David Iglesias's resumes against any of the interim appointees."

Why is it I suspect that when Bush first appointed these people you complained about the 'better' people being replaced and how Bush was destroying the DOJ?


The more you use qualifiers like 'unprecedented' and go on and on about Carl Rove and the Presidents people 'politicizing' everything at DOJ, your divisive agenda is clear. Get over it, Bush is the President (actually elected twice) and a mole hill is still a mole hill even though you claim new mountains are created every time Bush does something.

Posted by: bacar62 | April 24, 2007 11:19 PM

The politically motivated firings mid-term ARE unprecedented.

I use the term "unprecedented" because I believe in using terms appropriately. If something has never been done before then it is "unprecedented". Show me a case where 8 U.S. Attorneys have been fired late in a president's term for "ostensibly" political reasons and we can revisit the use of this term. I have done plenty of leg work on this issue, so I have no qualms using a term like "unprecedented," because that's exactly what these actions are.

In reference to the political staff, it would be interesting if your characterization of events was actually corroborated by the evidence. I suppose if the political staff had worked its requests up through the White House Counsel, and that the White House Counsel had vetted the requests, then perhaps there might be a plausible claim along the lines you've suggested. Instead we have direct contacts from Jennings, Rove's subordinate, to Sampson, Gonzales subordinate, regarding the "to fire" list.

And what exactly were Sampson and Goodlings qualifications for judging the merits of professional prosecutors? What in these individuals experience made them qualified judges of the people in the field? I'm still a little unclear on this one.

My agenda here is fundamentally NOT partisan. If you are OK having the next president exercising his or her authority in this way, then I might think that you are a little crazy, but at least you are being consistent. I am NOT comfortable with this standard because I understand how easy it becomes for future presidents to misuse their authority under this new, and substantially lower standard.

Personally, I think most people who get involved in politics, if given the authority to do whatever they want for whatever reason, would likely use that authority in ways that are not consistent with my interest, or those of future generations. This is a standard that is consistent with the Constitutional Framers. This is even more true of politicians who hide behind stone walls, and whose explanations of unprecedented actions fail to answer even the most basic questions.

Why were these U.S. Attorneys fired?
Who approved these firings?
And please show me all of the documentation relevant to this inquiry, so that I can verify the truthfulness of the claims.

That's not an especially steep standard in my view. But for some reasons it's one that seems to be insurmountably high for this White House. If this is indeed a making a mountain out of a mole hill, then why the evasiveness? Why after FIVE months is the DOJ political staff still unable to state unequivocally PERSON X put this name on this list for THESE REASON; PERSON X removed these names for THESE REASON. And, don't take my answers on faith--here's the record to prove that my account is truthful.

Posted by: JP2 | April 25, 2007 01:06 AM

bacar62, a quick follow-up.

In reference to the point

"Why is it I suspect that when Bush first appointed these people you complained about the 'better' people being replaced and how Bush was destroying the DOJ?"

In this case, your suspicions are unfounded. I had no opinion about the appointees, because the appointment process followed the SOP. I had no reason to suspect that the appointees would be of inferior quality simply because of their likely partisan affiliation.

A more revealing question might be: "Why, if Bush appointed these people in the first place, should we believe that these new appointees, who were also appointed by Bush, are of a lower quality?"

The answer is straightforward: Because in the cases of interim appointments under the Patriot Act many of the replacements did not have to undergo a vetting process in the Senate.

I doubt that many of the Bush U.S. Attorney appointments would have passed Senate confirmation--even under the scrutiny of a friendly Senate. In a handful of cases these appointees, such as the new Utah U.S. Attorney DID receive an up or down vote. In the case of Alaska, Western Missouri, D.C., Minnesota, and Arkansas--just to name the states the cases that I am aware of--they did not. Take a look at the resumes of those who have been appointed, and those who were removed. There is no comparison.

I also neglected to mention Charlton and McKay's names in my previous post. I know nothing about Chiara, but she apparently received high marks from the local judge. In the case of the Northern District of California U.S. Attorney, this is one case where the Bush administration likely fired the U.S. Attorney for true "performance and management reasons". The other cases are not nearly as clear cut.

Posted by: JP2 | April 25, 2007 01:21 AM

JP2,
"I use the term "unprecedented" because I believe in using terms appropriately. If something has never been done before then it is "unprecedented"."

- So what you mean to say is, he was the first president to exercise that power in the middle of his term. Wow, call out the dogs of war! My god... Is this what it has come down to? I guess Presidents are not allowed to make these decisions either. We are in a time of war and great separation in this country. If our President chooses to change attorneys based on issues in this country, then I say change them.

Where was the inquiry into Bill Clinton when he fired the attorneys working on White Water? Oh thats right, he did that at the begining, ok, its alright then! I think you better find another tree to shake because the facts you are getting are rotten.

I actually read all of your posts and it seems to me that you are reaching very hard to make this a viable story. I think there are much more important things that need to be discussed in this country.

I think it's funny how the only "news" that makes the cut at CNN is related to the short comings of the USA. I also find it funny that this administration has already foiled 2-3 terrorist plots from happening and those stories get maybe 1 run. Oh, and by the way, these plots were foiled using NSA's new bag of goodies. Wait a tick, but those are only for spying on Americans right? I guess it actually takes 3000+ Americans dead to make the news for terrorism. Well, at least that makes it easier for the finger pointers.

Posted by: SSPHX | April 25, 2007 10:36 AM

You know the truly worrysome thing about all of this, if Ashcroft was so lousy, and Gonzales is the best replacement they could come up with, who will they replace him with if he does go? I mean, at this point would you trust anyone that Bush appoints to anything? I was nervous when John Roberts was chosen to the Supreme Court, and even more so with Alito. And it seems that Dubya looks for the one person for each appointment that will rub the most people the wrong way, as if to dare anyone to cross him. And yet there are yahoo's out there that believe and even desire his brand of America, where our rights as a people are subject to the whims of the president. During the Civil War Lincol was a virtual dictator, but he was, at least, a competent and benevolent one. When then this George Bush grown so large that we petty men should fawn on him, if he should so much as nod on us. He doth bestride the world like a colossus, and we look between his legs to find ourselves dishonorable graves. Shakespeare put it so well in Cassius speach in Julius Caesar.

Posted by: David K. Eplett | April 25, 2007 01:44 PM

Wow, do some of you really stay up late worrying about this stuff?

I think Roberts and Alito were great choices and are doing a great job. Though I am disappointed with the left wing of the Supreme Court and their curious logic in some cases, I know they are people of honor and believe in their decisions. I just respectfully disagree with many of them.

And, if I was the President, I would leave Gonzales in place, keep working for order and a stable government in Iraq, and continue to fight the good fight in the War on Terror.

Posted by: bacar62 | April 25, 2007 04:38 PM

I'm a 50 year-old registered independent voter and I think Bush has screwed up nearly everything, mainly Iraq, but rightly or wrongly these justices who were fired work under the administration. Bush has the legal right to replace them. Upset about it being political? I worked in the Civil Service (Navy)as a research physicist for twelve years and I can tell you every personnel decision from the janitors to the Senior Executive Service managers are hired, fired and promoted almost solely on the basis of politics and it has nothing to do with competence and everything to do with being somedoby's pal. Yes, college degrees are used, but its easy to get an idiot through a lousy school. Its all a game. I"m sure DOJ is no different. Wake-up children. Your government is largely corrupt as is most of Congress whether Dem. or Pep.. They care about power and money

Posted by: Kurt R. from WA | April 25, 2007 05:40 PM

S SPHX, yes George W. Bush was the first president to remove this many U.S. attorneys mid-term for reasons other than incompetence, or malfeasance. His people also removed a little device called "Advice and Consent" in the appointment process, a concept which dates back to the adoption of our Constitution.

I realize that these structural and procedural issues aren't especially sexy topics, but these are the nuts and bolts structures that keep a free society free. I realize that this concept may be a little bit difficult for people to understand who have only known security and stability throughout their lives. They take this great system of government for granted, because, on a fundamental level, they don't understand fine points like "transparency" or building a fire wall between the White House political staff and the Justice Department.

This is all well and good. However, I am still puzzled by the White House's shifting explanations, evasiveness, and threats of withholding testimony and evidence.

If this is indeed an inconsequential matter, then there is absolutely no reason for this White House to stonewall. But there it is.

Posted by: JP2 | April 25, 2007 09:17 PM

Send Gonzales to Club Gitmo and torture him until he delivers the truth which will indicte and impeach Cheney, bush, Rice, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld and the entire West Wing.

Posted by: | April 25, 2007 10:51 PM

I can't believe that there are people out there who still don't understend the basic issue. Of course the President can hire or fire any US Attorney that he wants, even for "political" reasons. If that were the only issue, then there would be nothing more to discuss.

However, what the President CANNOT do (either by himself or through loyal underlings at the DOJ), is to use the federal law enforcement apparatus in a blatantly partisan way -- either by firing someone in order to obstruct an ongoing criminal investigation, or firing them because they refuse to file charges against political opponents. That is a crime, called obstruction of justice. And there is at least the appearance that this is exactly what happened (whether there is reality behind this appearance, we don't know yet). For example, San Francisco prosecutor Carol Lam was put on the firing list only one day after announcing some indictments in the Duke Cunningham case (a Republican congressman who was convited of taking bribes). David Iglesias of New Mexico was put on the list after he refused pressure from Republican Senator Pete Domenici to indict some local democrats before election day. Dan Bogden of Nevada was put on the list one month after he convicted two local republican county politicians of bribery. These are not merely "political" decisions, they at least appear to verge on criminal obstruction of ongoing investigations. And the fact that the Attorney General can't seem to come up with a better explanation (or any explanation at all in some cases) certainly doesn't dispel that inference.

And THAT is the issue here -- not whether the firings were "political," but whether they were CRIMINAL.

Posted by: jt | April 26, 2007 01:14 AM

Great post, JT. Another question I have is whether the replacements were being put in place to conduct investigations in order to sway the 2008 elections. Look at this partial list of states where the prosecutors were fired, and see if this is a coincidence:

San Francisco (Carol Lam) -- Nancy Pelosi's district

Nevada (Dan Bogden) -- Harry Reid's state

New Mexico (David Iglesias) -- Bill Richardson's state

Arkansas (Bud Cummings) -- Hillary's home state before she moved to NY to run for Senate

Illinois (Patrick Fitzgerald, who DOJ chief of staff Kyle Sampson admitted was briefly on the firing list before being removed) -- Barack Obama's state

Am I the only one bothered by these "coincidences"?

Posted by: Kevin R. | April 26, 2007 01:32 AM

Minor correction: Lam was working in the Southern District of California.

Kevin Ryan was the U.S. Attorney in the Northern District.

The substance of JT's post though is on the mark.

Kevin R., in the case of Hilary Clinton and Arkansas, it's hard not to raise these questions given that the replacement appointee is noted primarily for his work as a political researcher and not as a prosecutor. I understand that Griffin helped prepare indictments in a previous stint at the Eastern District office, but that he did not prosecute cases. There are also some questions about whether he engaged in some puffery in reference to his work as a prosecutor while in the Army (e.g. stating that he prosecuted 40 cases, when an Army spokeswoman says that they only have a record of 3--all of which resulted in pleas), according to the following news link . . .

http://www.consortiumnews.com/2007/040307b.html

The other cases though are much more speculative as far using the Attorney position for oppo research goes. I think this is a real stretch, but speculation will abound until the White House steps up to the plate with a little more transparency and honesty.

The Renzi/Chandler case in Arizona has moved up the radar as well in light of recent events.

Posted by: JP2 | April 26, 2007 02:30 AM

JP2:
You clearly don't need any help from me, as you've been eating the lunches of your two antagonists. However, the Arkansas case looks to be more than garden variety political. If this report is accurate, there is prima facie evidence of a felony: obstruction of justice.
http://www.bradblog.com/?p=4447#more-4447

Posted by: Bricriu | April 26, 2007 12:20 PM

Janet Reno!!

Posted by: RCA | April 26, 2007 01:12 PM

We should have known that we were in for trouble when, after achieving votes from some 27% of the electorate (50% of the 54% of the electorate who voted in 2004), GW announced that he had political capital and he was about to spend it. He clearly believed that he had been given a mandate akin to 'the divine right of Kings'. Moan all you like about GW and Gonzo but realize that Democratic government will only work if citizens exercise their right to vote. There is sense in the Australian system whereby voting is an obligation of citizenship and failing to vote gets you a fine!

Posted by: Mountain Man | April 26, 2007 04:33 PM

The pResident is delusional, and anyone that supports him at this point in time. This would certainly include anyone that Dubya says is "doing a heck of a job". What angers me the most is that they get paid so much to do so much harm, while the working class people make so little while the people at the top take the money and run...literally to other countries, which is exactly what Dubya has up his sleeve. -Do a little research next time (those of you that still just don't get it). And I don't mean 5 minutes worth of watching FOXCNNBCBS and think you know everything based on that. Anyone that wants endless war go right ahead, just don't ask me to give up my only child to die for anything based on lies/greed/corruption. -Don't like the truth? Too bad!

Posted by: du_hast_mich | April 26, 2007 05:56 PM

Because of Bush , Rove, Gonzales and others our constitution has become a sham. They have whittled away the most important principles it contains to achieve a partison political advantage and hang on to power at the expense of our nations future. The constitution is a brilliant document but is now ineffective for one reason. The great framers of the constitutionmade one mistake. They Pre-supposed the honesty and integrity of our government officials and public servants and had niether the audacity or cynicism to believe a whole branch of government could be so bereft of any morality or decency to behave as the current executive branch has. To make matters worse the republicans in congress use misplaced loyalty to continue to obstruct the proper function of the legislative branch and ignore their responsibility to the American people. This is the current climate, and until polititions have the courage to stand up and do the jobs they were elected for our country is lost.

Posted by: Will Sweet | April 26, 2007 07:30 PM

You*re on target here Andrew. After *Broke no laws* comes *Hasn*t been convicted of any crime.* This is typical Bush Admin evolution. First attack the accuser, then deny the validity of the report, then claim no knowledge, then trivialize the charge or offer sacrificial lamb.

Posted by: Mark Skudlarek, Planet Earth | April 26, 2007 08:57 PM

the paulose incident is the model for what can happen next.

DoJ can stage a walk-out or resign enmasse. that MIGHT get their attention. not sure with the stone bozos at the white house, but it's worth a try.

Posted by: py | April 26, 2007 10:50 PM

Kenneth Dillard - Speaking to Bill O'Reilly about truth is like speaking to the devil about religion.

Posted by: dennob | April 27, 2007 06:02 PM

Dear Mr. Cohen:

Alberto Gonzales is our nation's first Hispanic Attorney General, and more importantly, and sacredly, to me, is he appears to be our first native American Indian Attorney General.

That is a reason to continue his employment by our country, period.

Sincerely,

Jackson Rip Holmes

Posted by: Jackson Rip Holmes | April 28, 2007 03:23 PM

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