Un-Mighty Gonzo at the Bat

Like the lousy or slumping ballplayer who consistently finds himself at the plate with the bases loaded and the game on the line, trouble and pressure typically finds those who are vulnerable to it. In the world of politics and law, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales is that lousy player -- devoid of independence, leadership competence or courage. And so, naturally, trouble and controversy keep finding him.

The flap over Vice President Dick Cheney's fight with the National Archives is just the latest example of this. Now Gonzales is in the cross-hairs, too.

Last week, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House of Representatives Oversight Committee, went public with a letter to Cheney's office in which he asked the Vice President to explain how and why his subordinates believe that the Vice President's office is not "within the executive branch" for purposes of a national security review by the folks at the National Archives. Now we learn from Michael Isikoff at Newsweek that Rep. Waxman plans to expand his inquiry to include the Justice Department"s lack of response (six months and counting) to a request by the National Archives for a ruling on the matter.

Last week, Justice Department officials said it was not unusual for legal analysis of this sort to take time. And obviously thanks to the controversy over thep prosecutor purge the Department itself isn't running at full steam these days -- last Friday yet another high-ranking official hightailed it out of Washington before the roof caves in. But this is a national security issue -- whether or not the Information Security Oversight Office ought to be able to review the classification procedures in place at the Vice President's office -- so the reasonable question for Gonzales is this: what else are Justice Department officials working on that is more important that determining whether the ISOO may proceed?

Actually, I have two other questions for the Attorney General: How much time and energy have Justice Department officials spent trying to save their own skin instead of resolving this dispute? And why should anyone believe that it isn't sheer fear of and obeisance toward Cheney that is preventing the Attorney General from declaring that of course the Vice President's office is within the executive branch? Gonzales is afraid to swing and unable to play. Again, he needs to quit the game.

By Andrew Cohen |  June 25, 2007; 8:17 AM ET agag
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Why doesn't VP Dick Cheney want to give the National Archives his materials. All of the presidents and VP's had there materials housed at the Archives until it reached there libraries (Presidents Library). I think he has that "Shooting incident" included and does not want people to misunderstand him. It may be to late.

Posted by: Ramona | June 25, 2007 10:40 AM

What evil lurks in the hearts of men? Dick Cheney knows! Maybe he'll put out an OJ type book called "If I Hid It." and talk in hypotheticals about his criminal activities for the past 6 years as part of the Bush Crime Family. He might even go deeper and talk about how he got W's dad a pass with Lee Hamilton's Iran-Contra committee when it looked like the deal was going down...

Posted by: braultrl | June 25, 2007 02:28 PM

I just heard that the DOJ is claiming it never received a letter from the National Archives requesting a ruling on the matter of Cheney's oversight refusal. Want to put a bet on who's telling the truth?

Posted by: Gardenia | June 25, 2007 09:11 PM

The records in question are the property of U.S.Citizens.He owns none of it and should be commanded by the Attorney General to turn them over. But that would mean throwing his political career out the window. Being Mexican he does 'OWE' his job to the Bush Admin. and not cheney who as we know is not part of the 'Executive'. His words not mine.

Posted by: Patriot | June 26, 2007 08:01 PM

If We, the People are so stupid as to allow this farce of an administration not to answer for Dick Cheney's unabated abuse of power, we will truly deserve every mad train wreck thats coming our way out of this, and let me tell you after these recent Supreme Court rulings; we are tied to the tracks, guys.

Posted by: Suzanne | June 29, 2007 08:46 AM

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