Good Riddance

When historians look back upon the disastrous tenure of Alberto R. Gonzales as Attorney General of the United States they will ask not only why he merited the job in the first place but why he lasted in it as long as he did. By any reasonable standard, the Gonzales Era at the Justice Department is void of almost all redemptive qualities. He brought shame and disgrace to the Department because of his lack of independent judgment on some of the most vital legal issues of our time. And he brought chaos and confusion to the department because of his lack of respectable leadership over a cabinet-level department among the most important in the nation.

He neither served the longstanding role as "the people's attorney" nor fully met and tamed his duties and responsibilities to the Constitution. He was a man who got the job not because he was supremely qualified or notably well-respected among the leading legal lights of our time, but because he had faithfully and with blind obedience served President George W. Bush for years in Texas (where he botched clemency memos in death penalty cases) and then as White House counsel (where he botched the nation's legal policy on torture).

For an administration known for its cronyism, and alas for an alarmingly incompetent group of cronies, Gonzales was the granddaddy of them all. He lacked the integrity, the intellect and the independence to perform his duties in a manner befitting the job for which he was chosen. And when he and his colleagues got caught in the act, his rationales and explanations for the purge of the U.S. Attorneys were so empty and shallow and incoherent that even the staunchest Republicans could not turn them into steeled spin. Devoid of any credibility, Gonzales in the end was a sad joke when he came to Capitol Hill.

Even before the Justice Department was exposed under his reign as a politicized den of ideology, Gonzales' work as Attorney General was unacceptable and unworthy of high office. He defended the constitutionality of the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance program even though many conservative and liberal legal scholars alike considered it to be a violation of the law. He endorsed the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which did away with important rights not just for the detainees at Guantanamo Bay but for legal aliens within the borders of the United States. Thus did Gonzales fail to exercise any sort of independent check and balance upon the White House's most controversial legal policies.

Meanwhile, according to the National Association of Police Chiefs and Sheriffs, big-city murder rates have risen by 10 percent over the past two years -- a period that coincides precisely with Gonzales' time as attorney general. The Federal Bureau of Investigation puts the violent crime increase at 3.7% for January-June 2006 and drug use (and production and sales) apparently are on the rise in the nation's heartland. And the Justice Department's record of terror-related prosecutions is a mixed one at best. Thus did Gonzales fail to succeed at the most fundamental task of chief law enforcement official -- to make crime less not more prevalent.

And all the while, Gonzales' Justice Department was crumbling from within, devastated by a cynical strategy of minimizing the role of career nonpartisan professionals within the Department in favor of young ideologues, mediocre attorneys and just plain party hacks. The U.S. Attorney scandal is just the most publicized example of this daring effort to make the Justice Department a house organ for the Bush administration. Less visible career attorneys were pushed out at the expense of rank partisans willing to toe the company line. Even the internship programs for law students were schooled to favor "right" thinking attorneys at the expense of others. One law school, founded by Pat Robertson and rated among the worst in the nation, became a feeder school for the Department. And it was all part of a plan.

If Gonzales knew this was occurring, and allowed it to unfold anyway, then he conspired to participate in one of the worst structural disasters in the history of the Justice Department. And if the Attorney General truly did not know this power game inside his Department was occurring, or why, or how, then surely it is because he did not want to know. See no evil. Hear no evil. Thus did Gonzales preside over the gutting of the Justice Department, turning it in the span of just a few years from a respected institution into a spectacle of rank intellectual corruption.

The pattern here is not hard to see. President Bush elevated to the position of Attorney General a friend and loyal supporter whose record in public office suggested even then that he would not be up to the job. And, in turn, Gonzales and his immediate subordinates elevated to the Department lower-level attorneys who by training and temperament were not likely to be up to their jobs -- or at least not as qualified as the professionals they were chosen to replace. The first bad choice begat a series of other bad choices and together they led us to the unhappy place we find ourselves today.

Because we all benefit from a Justice Department that is fair, impartial, nonpartisan and filled with the best and brightest legal professionals the nation has to offer, we all suffer when it falls short of those ideals. The Justice Department under Gonzales was a miserable failure -- it never even came close to those lofty goals -- and now, finally, it is gone. Good riddance to it.

By Andrew Cohen |  August 27, 2007; 8:46 AM ET agag
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

Now let's create a law enforcement system that focuses on real crime and stop America's orgy of gun violence and stop ignoring the burglaries, torture and persecution of Americans by the politically connected. In Bush's America, Crime pays. Burglary pays. America's leading business burglary victim demands justice.

Posted by: America's Finest Technology Incubator | August 27, 2007 09:25 AM

The politicalization of "Justice" places all of us at risk in the face of a lawless administration. Some people will be afraid to say that much -- and I can understand their fear. The country is cowed and the laws that are supposed to protect us from the likes of George III are now at the commandment of George the Foolish, George the Smirking Tyrant. We won't have Fredo's goofy face to scorn anymore but his toxic legacy will hang over us at least until Feb. 09 -- and probably much longer than that.

Posted by: H R Coursen | August 27, 2007 09:33 AM

Andrew -
Why now? Alberto Gonzales' reputation was in tatters months ago,after his multiple, totally non-credible appearances before Congressional committees. Is it because Karl Rove has resigned, and now Gonzales no longer has to play "human shield" for him in the US Attorney firings scandal? Will you comment on that in your column?

Posted by: Buster | August 27, 2007 09:45 AM

I'm curious to see where things go from here. Obviously the White House will hope that this puts an end to the whole DoJ story.

However, I hope that the American people and Congress continue to demand a full accounting. Even if we're not talking about criminal sanctions, Gonzales's actions demonstrated at the very least that we need to re-think the "at-will" status of U.S. Attorneys. There may be some other structural issues that need to be looked at as well.

If the White House is serious about this--and given its track record there is more than ample room for skepticism--it needs to start complying with subpeonas.

In fact, Congress should not even need to subpeona the White House. The White House should allow the Congress to exercise oversight powers in an area where the Congress has clear legislative authority (e.g. Congress could limit the points of contact between White House and DoJ officials, put restrictions on the president's firing authority in reference to U.S. Attorneys, or put other procedures in place through legislation). Not too complicated.

Posted by: JP2 | August 27, 2007 09:51 AM

While some may offer hallelujahs at Gonzolez's departure and others strong bird-watcher's oaths, it seems to me that the nasty politics on this subject is just about to start. I would guess that part of any confirmation hearing will be questions about issuing and honoring subpoenas over the topics already covered in previous shouting matches and a constant drum of accusations of partisan witch hunts from the right.

Posted by: joconnor | August 27, 2007 10:08 AM

Since 9-11, we have been barreling down the tracks toward fascism. Gonzales was there in the locomotive. Whether we're headed for a train wreck remains to be seen. But your work has made it less likely. Thank you for speaking honestly in your column.

Posted by: SJW | August 27, 2007 10:13 AM

I hope Gonzales' resignation is not being timed so as to keep the media from focusing on some other scandal.

Posted by: datpc | August 27, 2007 10:13 AM

Is there ANYONE who Bush would be able to nominate and that could be confirmed by the Senate who woill be able to restore the LAW as the basis of the DoJ? Or are we likely to end up with a Chertoff or another political hack in some kind of a caretaker role? Is there someone of stature to take the job and restore some confidence in Justice as working for the people, not Bush-Cheney-Rove.
Hatch? Spector? Former Sen Cohen?
Or will we simply have to wait it out?

Posted by: jmsbh | August 27, 2007 10:16 AM

Ah, the "rule of law." I remember that phrase. It was tossed around a lot by Republicans during the Lewinsky scandal; it was how the warriors of the Republican Revolution sought to convince us and themselves that they were not trying to get Bill Clinton fired for getting a **** ***. It's funny, you don't hear that phrase so much these days. Thanks for the nostalgia, Mr. Cohen, and thanks for telling it like it is (was!) on Gonzales.

Posted by: Michelle Kinsey Bruns | August 27, 2007 10:28 AM

He's going to have to testify and they don't want the precedent of a sitting AG being forced to testify. Bye Al. Sorry for the embarrassment.

Posted by: thebob.bob | August 27, 2007 10:33 AM

The way the resignations are flooding in,
GWB handing his in would be nice to clinch this matter.

Posted by: potus | August 27, 2007 10:51 AM

So he FINALLY, though BELATEDLY, does the "Gonzo shuffle"? View my choice for successor:

Posted by: KYJurisDoctor | August 27, 2007 10:58 AM

Never has a Hispanic made it to the top and ruined it for all those hard working Hispanics who aspire to high office!

Pity we cannot deport such incompetents!

Posted by: Imran | August 27, 2007 11:07 AM

Good riddance indeed. What a disgrace it was that this man was ever confirmed in the first place.

Posted by: Zathras | August 27, 2007 11:12 AM

Good now that ATTORNEY-GENERAL 'GONZO' has resigned - maybe the FEDS can latch onto doing somethimg important - like finding-out where the 'STOLEN F.B.I. FILES' are and prosecuting HILLARY and 'her-pretend' husband BUBBA for their theft???!!!

Posted by: Zyskandar A Jaimot | August 27, 2007 11:12 AM

How long will it take to get credible people back to work in the government? Right now I can think of now reason for anybody with any ethical value to work in any capacity for this government.

Posted by: SOB | August 27, 2007 11:18 AM

There is a flaw in our system whereby the executive branch can ignore the will of the people and congress,and with their myopic vision of world order,plunge this country's resources, values and men's lives, like "lemmings to the sea."

I can't say "God save the Queen", but will say "GWB, do what's best for the country please resign."

Posted by: Bofuj | August 27, 2007 11:18 AM

Funny that AG was talking two weeks ago as if he felt comfortably vindicated and was going to take on MORE responsibilites, like deciding what cases can even be looked at for appeal.

Just hope that Sens. Reid and Leahy follow through on what they said today about the truth of the matter being what counts, not some status to placate the public.

Posted by: G | August 27, 2007 11:20 AM

So what's the REAL reason? Gonzo didn't go because he was afraid of a feckless Congress or a toothless press (except for Cohen and Froomkin, who are relegated to semi-obscurity in the blog sections.) Any explanation he gives is a lie, because lying is encoded in these bastards' DNA.

Does Gonzales have word of a false-flag attack that will vapourise Washington D.C. and he wants to get out of town? Does he know of a quick-collapse of the U.S. economy in the next few months, and he's got to get his money out of the country? He's sick about the thought of having to explain the legal basis for an upcoming attack on Iran?

And with Congress out of town for another week, is this to give President Cheney time to make a recess appointment of an Attorney General? Screw the agreement the Black House made with Congress. What are the weak-kneed Dems going to do, file a censure motion like Feingold's that got two co-sponsors?

Posted by: Bukko in Australia | August 27, 2007 11:21 AM

It is an old adage that first rate people hire first rate people but that second rate people hire third rate people. I guess we now know what kind of people fourth raters hire. Alas.

Posted by: D. Leahy | August 27, 2007 11:21 AM

It's about time our attorney general resigned. Folks in public office should take responsibility of their actions at all time and not just when public finds out.

Posted by: WAReader | August 27, 2007 11:23 AM

Great article, Fantastic series, A perfect '10'!

One little nit-pick, but only because I feel it detracts from a major, if not central, point you were making: The Constitution should be capitalized, as it is refers to the specific document, even if it is just 'short form'. The word "constitution" is merely a generic noun.

Posted by: Robert Reese~ | August 27, 2007 11:24 AM

Since Gonzales won't provide the reason for his departure, we're free to speculate--but the important thing is that he is gone. One can only hope that the Senate, in reviewing Gonzales' tenure and the ruin he's made of the DOJ, will more fully appreciate their role in confirming as Attorney General a nominee who will put loyalty to the nation and the Constitution above loyalty to the president who made the nomination.

Posted by: a hoey | August 27, 2007 11:30 AM

Bofuj, it's not just the executive, it's a whole way of life popularized by the self-interest revolution in the 70's and 80's- one's selfish gain is all one needs to be concerned with (everything other than one's selishness then becomes a "choice"), dissociated from all context and anything it interferes with or affects (esp. because were pushing for companies to be treated as people), and the masses have embraced this subversive notion through numerous channels as a truth. In fact, it subverts much that was previously true about American life.

Posted by: Vin | August 27, 2007 11:30 AM

Lets hope the senate asks his succesor real questions and gets real answers before they confirm anybody No more Washington DC love fests ,media dog and pony shows

Posted by: hkstuey | August 27, 2007 11:30 AM

Who is going to put humpty dumpty back together again, Chertoff, yet another chimp imbecilic lackey? We are doomed.

Posted by: mtrav | August 27, 2007 11:34 AM

How wonderful it would be, if we could once more admire the democratic processes of the USA. Lately it has been very difficult, But there is hope - at last Gonzales has go;ne. Please find a better man for the job.

Posted by: Londoner | August 27, 2007 11:34 AM


Posted by: Deacon | August 27, 2007 11:35 AM

Wonderful news on a Monday morning.

Thanks for the title!

Posted by: Chris Fox | August 27, 2007 11:39 AM

What was he doing in that job in the first place? Could he have been less competent? (The answer is YES by the way.) As a minority, he is disaster and his legacy will be felt by minorities for years to come. White people can screw up each and every day and constantly get the benefit of the doubt, but minorities in this country have to get it right the first time less we be charged with affirmative action. (Legacy programs are the white version of AA!! And NO not every kid whose parent went to a college deserves to go to the same college. It is possible to breed a dumb a$$!) Just when it was safe to go into the world, this yahoo has to get a high-powered job and screw it up for the rest of us. Hopefully whitey will at least give a me a chance in spite of everything. PRAY FOR ME! And stop calling him Gonzo! That is an insult to the REAL Gonzo!

Posted by: Carla | August 27, 2007 11:41 AM

Any competent fool would have resigned a long time a go. But then again we are talking about someone who was never competent to be the Attorney General in the first place.

Hey Captain Bush your ship is getting even lower in the water. Isn't time for you to jump ship as well. Or are you going to be the heroic captain and go down with her.

Posted by: THE BIG CHUCQUITA | August 27, 2007 11:43 AM

This announcement coming as it does as we reflect upon the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and soon, the fifth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, the mind reels at the absolute venal incompetence, negligence, cruelty, and criminality of the Bush administration -- from the top all the way down.

And I mean way, way down.

"Fredo" is just one of many Bush crony appointees who have done so much to destroy the operational fabric of our government. The list of these is far too long to ennumerate in this limited space.

Perhaps Bush arranged for Fredo to check out as a way of masking the fact that for two years, our government has allowed New Orleans and other parts of the U.S. Gulf Coast to descend further into desperation.

Given our nation's gross attention deficit disorder (ADD) problem, throwing Fredo under the bus at this particular time makes perfect sense.

Thanks, Karl, for the inspiration!

Posted by: Decipherer | August 27, 2007 11:43 AM

Finally this fool is leaving. Unfortunately, he's leaving us and the Justice Department in a mess, which has to be cleaned up immediately. Since he'll be resigning on September 17, there won't be a recess appointment as Congress will be back in session. Bush had better put up a good nominee, which should not be Senator Hatch. He was too partisan during Gonzales' appearance before the Senate. We also don't need Chertoff. We need someone good and honest and loyal to the Constitution. That's not too much to ask for as Attorney General. The Senate should not accept anyone who is unacceptable. Maybe they can submit a list of candidates that would pass muster.

Posted by: Gene Willard | August 27, 2007 11:45 AM

The door should have hit him in the *** a long time ago.Another in a long line of nominees doing, "a heckuv a good job."Our president sure knows how to pick losers,but then it takes one to know one...

Posted by: Ray | August 27, 2007 11:47 AM

When Rove resigned two weeks ago, I predicted Gonzo's resignation in this comment: "Comment on: Eugene Robinson - Goodbye, 'Boy Genius' - on 8/14/2007 1:57 PM
Here's a theory -- Gonzo will resign next. He refused to leave unless Rove also took a fall."

Posted by: patriot76 | August 27, 2007 11:48 AM

What seems to be missing from all the 'analysis' of Gonzales' term with Bush is what he facilitated. It has been said that Gonzales, as are many other Bush loyalists, is an enabler. But what was he enabling? Let's look at it. Bush, as Governor or Texas wanted a death penalty justification, Gonzo gave it to him. Bush wanted to send people to war to die, Gonzo gave it to him. Bush wanted to be able to torture people--foreigners and U.S. citizens alike, Gonzo gave it to him. Also, of note it that Bush as a boy is said to have tortured small animals, and while a member of his secret Yale society, commited acts of cruely which went beyond mere hazing.

Looking at it, what Gonzo was enabling was a sociopath's desires to engage in cruelty beyond comprehension and wrap it in the flag.

Posted by: map529 | August 27, 2007 11:49 AM

So another corrupt "public servant" has resigned. What can the American people do to stop future occupants of the White House and their friends from repeating the kinds of backhanded actions towards the Constitution and the rule of law that has been repeatedly demonstrated by the current (and past) administrations?

How can the American people obligate the White House to act with transparency? The built-in opacity, which appears to be called "executive privilege" is the enabling means for much of the government corruption we are living through today. Whatever the causes, it needs to change. Otherwise the next administration will merely perform different flavors of corruption, which the American people will be obligated to pay for, yet have no control over. This is wrong and not what our concept of government is supposed to be.

Meanwhile, while we understandably cheer at the resignation of Mr. Gonzales, the bigger problem continues uninhibited and without remorse.

Posted by: Justan | August 27, 2007 11:49 AM

Gonzo is gone because Bush made a deal with the Republicons, support me staying in IRAQ until the end of my term and Gonzo will be gone! Bet on it. That's the only way these guys operate, when there's something in it for them. If everyone doesn't see through this crap then keep on drinking the kool aid.

Posted by: Sue Filutze | August 27, 2007 11:51 AM

Nicely written and a well-deserved response to Gonzo's incompetence.

Posted by: yup | August 27, 2007 11:52 AM

Great, the man that brought us the Patriot Act and the CIA's extraordinary rendition will now take control of our nation's highest law enforcement office. I think we can wave goodbye to a "democratic" 2008 election.

Posted by: DF | August 27, 2007 11:53 AM

A politicized judicial system was what Bush and Gonzales knew. Texas elects its judges. A judgeship is a stepping-stone to higher office in Texas. It didn't even seem unusual to them to fire US attorneys for political reasons. In Texas judges dispense politics not justice. It also explains why they execute so many in Texas. It's popular. Texas is a really unusual place. We shouldn't elect any more Texans President.

Posted by: Gordon, Fresno California | August 27, 2007 11:56 AM

C'mon Andrew, tell us how you really feel!

Do you think Alberto will wake up Tuesday and not recall that he resigned?

Posted by: Lauren M | August 27, 2007 12:06 PM

This entire magnificent diatribe should be cut and pasted into all future histories of the Bush Administration when the topic of Gonzo crops up.

Posted by: PrussianBlue | August 27, 2007 12:07 PM

Alberto Gonzales, the Bush lackey who enabled his dictatorship is finally gone. But there's still a few cardboard cut outs the republican party props up as minority representatives who are not only incompetent but also converted isealist that have no place claiming they work for the people. Condelezza Rice should be next to go.

Posted by: Fernando Gomez | August 27, 2007 12:09 PM

How can the Post support illegal immigration -- and all that it implies -- on one hand, and citicize Gonzales for not making "crime less prevalent." Blind as Bush and his cronies in that department.

"Meanwhile, according to the National Association of Police Chiefs and Sheriffs, big-city murder rates have risen by 10 percent over the past two years -- a period that coincides precisely with Gonzales' time as attorney general. The Federal Bureau of Investigation puts the violent crime increase at 3.7% for January-June 2006 and drug use (and production and sales) apparently are on the rise in the nation's heartland. And the Justice Department's record of terror-related prosecutions is a mixed one at best. Thus did Gonzales fail to succeed at the most fundamental task of chief law enforcement official -- to make crime less not more prevalent."

Posted by: Cranky Gringo | August 27, 2007 12:11 PM

Among the many statements of false praise just now made by George Bush, was praise for civil rights enforcement under Gonzales.

Does Bush even know how badly the Federal government conducts civil rights enforcement? I fear he does, and he wants it that way.

Every civil rights office in Federal government is underfunded, understaffed, and prevented from pursuing its objectives.

To hear this president lie about this, given our nation's tragic civil rights history, is staggering and sad.

It is so past time for George Bush to stop pretending that he is a fair and honest leader of all the people. He represents only the interest of the wealthy and of his party. The rest of us are simply to be manipulated by lies and half truths.

At least Gonzales won't do that anymore, as Attorney General that is.

Posted by: David Grim | August 27, 2007 12:13 PM

What surprises me is the timing, since making it effective 9/17, Idiot Boy is going to have to nominate someone who will have to be confirmed by a Dem. controlled congress. Whereas if it was made effective immediately, he would have been able to do a recess appt. that would have lasted until the end of his term. Even when this admin. does something right I am still SKEPTICAL

Posted by: Oh Happy Day | August 27, 2007 12:13 PM

Lauren M - GREAT rhetorical question! You made me LOL...

Potential successor Chertoff has nothing better to do apparently, since it's Mission Accomplished in New Orleans. That area is destroyed - on to bigger and better things!

Posted by: Arlington, VA | August 27, 2007 12:15 PM

At last! Now we can get someone in there who will truely uphold the American way of life! And he has just become available, hooray!

Karl Rove! Perfect!

Posted by: Perky Gringo | August 27, 2007 12:16 PM

Great column. Just one quibble: Many of the "staunchest Republicans" have indeed defended him all along. There are still some who refer to his resignation as a result of a Democratic "witch hunt." You have to be pretty blind to see things that way.

Posted by: | August 27, 2007 12:17 PM

I wonder how, if Gonzalez is so legally inept, he got into Harvard Law. Affirmative action? It's easy to understand Bush including Gonzalez in Bush's circle as Bush rose--Bush needed a high profile Hispanic to win Hispanic votes, but I thought Harvard Law had standards. Gonzalez is a black mark on that school, and his shameful performance in office may make Harvard review it's admission criteria.

Posted by: aguy7 | August 27, 2007 12:18 PM

i have little taste for revenge, but if these guys are allowed to ride into the sunset without having to account, then justice demands that we at least empty our prisons of less favored rogues.

Posted by: jimfilyaw | August 27, 2007 12:20 PM

Bush is the one who ought to leave. Gonzales entire tenure is a violation of Bush's oath of office.

Posted by: DFC | August 27, 2007 12:21 PM

Great commentary Andrew. One only shudders to think what it would have been like if Harriet Miers had also been steamrolled in the Supreme Court. There would have pretty much been no checks and balances... Maybe this was the Republican permanent majority strategy....

Posted by: Houston | August 27, 2007 12:23 PM

How appropriate that the wonderful Bush family has lost two family retainers, and one of the their disfunctional daughters plans to marry Rasputin Rove's aide. With these people you have to wonder what the Rove and Gonzales changes are hiding. There never is a simple reason for the these crooks to do something that does not involve some sort of deceit I must surmise that it involves spinning an election, and preparing for an invasion of Iran. The hacks certainly have been pushing the fear button to enable the latter. If that is the case, I hope both Bush and Cheney are impeached and a whole bunch of neocons are tried for treason - yes, I do mean treason.

Posted by: Betty C | August 27, 2007 12:23 PM

Mr. Gonzales -

I'm available if you need some help packing your bags. Thanks for all the hard work. Now get outta my town!!!

Posted by: mover | August 27, 2007 12:23 PM

what about blaming the Senate that confirmed him and couldn't get him to admit the obvious? That he or someone fired those US attorneys for purely political reasons, not that they were Democrats, but that they were too easy on Democrats or too hard on Republicans. Bring back "Advise and Consent" or at least, watch the movie. God help us.

Posted by: cd | August 27, 2007 12:25 PM

Gonzo was such a small potato. He's off to Paraguay to be their new AG. Fitting. And, we didn't have to wait here long for the Clinton attacks, did we? One hopes - although not TOO strongly - that the nattering nabobs of negativism from the right come to their brainwashed, rinsed, and spun dried senses before their neofascist Repuglickan darlings come for them. You see, it's the easily mis-led that have to be picked off first by the fascists. Time is running short for the rightists; it's the fascists who will eliminate them. Party's over folks.

Posted by: A N Other | August 27, 2007 12:25 PM

What becomes more clear every day is the depth of Bush's contempt for truth and the law. Pay not attention to what he says; watch what he does and what his Attorney General did.

Ignore the law and lie to hide that you did. Appear under oath to answer prepared questions and say that you are uninformed on basic facts. Destroy a Justice Department that would protect each of us to create one that protects the privileged few who tells the same lies that Bush tells. Pervert public discourse away from honest debate that might move us forward and together into a cynical, greedy grasp on power.

If a willful refusal to enforce the laws and support the Constitution is the true basis for impeachment, now's the time. Why wait?

Posted by: | August 27, 2007 12:35 PM

Far too many cynical Republicans and Libertarians look at all this and say, "see, I told you the government isn't good at anything."

So is it any surprise Gonzo, Brownie and this whole motely crew occurred inside a Republican administration?

I think not.

Keep whittling away at the political/social/physical infrastructure of our society, all you wallet-hugging Republicans and Libertarians, and one day you'll find it very hard to do business.

Then what will you fill your wallet up with?

Posted by: the real tony | August 27, 2007 12:43 PM

I am happy as the rest of the commentators about the resignation of Gonzales. But I disagree that this was a great column. While it mentioned the obvious failings of Gonzales, it gave no insight about how the Justice Department performed in its main litigation activity, Civil Division, Criminal Division, Civil Rights Division, Antirtrust Section, and so forth. And that part about somehow Gonzales as AG had anything whatsoever to do with the increase in crime rate or, indeed, there was anything he could do about it, that bordered on the absurd. I think Mr. Cohen let his biases- which happen to also be my biases- get the best of him.

Posted by: Marshall | August 27, 2007 12:53 PM

After reading your essay I'm wondering what kind of reference you'll be giving Alfredo to help him apply for a new job.

Alfredo is a hallmark of the President's psychotic personality and his gross incompetence.

Bush hired Alfredo because he trusted him to do his bidding.

Posted by: Robert James | August 27, 2007 12:55 PM

Posted by: aguy7
I wonder how, if Gonzalez is so legally inept, he got into Harvard Law. Affirmative action? It's easy to understand Bush including Gonzalez in Bush's circle as Bush rose--Bush needed a high profile Hispanic to win Hispanic votes, but I thought Harvard Law had standards. Gonzalez is a black mark on that school, and his shameful performance in office may make Harvard review it's admission criteria.

Just because you go to school for something, can pass the tests and read books doesn't make you a genius. There's more than one reason why people take up a career in law, and not all of them love "the law". Some are in it for the money. Those who are truly good at it practice the law well because they believe in justice, not politics. Some, like Gonzalez, subvert their knowledge and use it to make the ends justify the means.

Posted by: Michelle | August 27, 2007 12:55 PM

Regarding the DOJ, as with all of the Bush administration, I have no doubt that what we do NOT know is far worse than what we do know. Suffice to say it's just a cryin' shame that Gonzales will never be held accountable for his despicable behavior.

Posted by: cody mccall | August 27, 2007 12:57 PM

I have worked for the Department of Justice for over 20 years, and I take exception to Mr. Cohen's demagoguery, particularly to the his statement that the Justice Department is now a "(s)pectacle of rank intellectual corruption." This statement is a huge disservice to the tens of thousands of dedicated, hardworking Justice employees, particularly the vast majority of its attorneys, who continue to serve the public good regardless of the maelstrom that has swirled around us, and I think that Mr. Cohen owes us a public apology.

Posted by: Justice employee | August 27, 2007 12:57 PM

Another lackey to fall (finally)....not to be a complete cynic, but with all of the "departures" from the White House Staff, what is being set up for the GOP and GOP candidates as we enter the primary season? Is this all planned?

Posted by: Benjamin | August 27, 2007 01:00 PM

And now, the Bush administration wants to nominate Chertoff??? Hahahaha! From one political hack to another. We should all oppose this. Hey! How about a competent Hispanic that actually believes in the rule of law. Say, someone like David Iglesias.

Posted by: narnia | August 27, 2007 01:00 PM

"Decipherer" hit on half of the answer to "why now", I think. The Gonzales resignation is timed for two reasons related to the news cycle. First, it's during the Congressional August break, so as to minimize the appearance of cause-and-effect w/r/t the congressional outcry against him. Second, it's on the Katrina anniversary, so it distracts attention from recollecting the administration's biggest domestic failure. Rove probably mapped this out weeks in advance. How cynical can these people get? Nothing should be a surprise.

Posted by: Marcia Martin | August 27, 2007 01:03 PM

There is now hope that President Cheney and his talking dummy may yet resign!

Posted by: K Blit | August 27, 2007 01:06 PM

I think we could not do better for a new AG than James Comey. He has proven himself to be more concerned with the law than with cronyism; that is the first strike against him, from Dumbya's point of view. Chance of his being nominated? ZERO!

Posted by: PJ White | August 27, 2007 01:06 PM

Dear Mr. President:

I would like to apply for the job of Attorney General of the USA.


Joe Lieberman

Posted by: John G | August 27, 2007 01:10 PM

I agree with your column 99.99%. However, when you state "...he had faithfully and with blind obedience served President George W. Bush for years in Texas (where he botched clemency memos in death penalty cases) and then as White House counsel (where he botched the nation's legal policy on torture)", I think you are incorrect. He did not botch any job, he just did exactly what his boss, GWB, wanted done. Exactly

Posted by: Dan Harrop | August 27, 2007 01:11 PM

Mr. Gonzales said today in his resignation speech that his worst day as Attorney General was better than his father's best day. If his father was an honest man, then this statement is not only false, but quite revealing about Mr. Gonzales's understanding of what a good life consists in.

Posted by: Greg Weis | August 27, 2007 01:12 PM

If George Bush himself was "a man of integrity, decency and principle" he'd have been the first to know that Gonzo was none of those things. However, as the old saying goes, "birds of a feather," etc. I just wish Cheney would take the hint and follow him out the door.

Posted by: spencer911 | August 27, 2007 01:13 PM

I'm afraid that I don't trust anyone Bush would nominate. Why doesn't the Senate come up with a short list and then let the Imbecile-In-Chief pick one.

Posted by: Nellie | August 27, 2007 01:14 PM

Get real Cohen. The one and only reason US Att. Gen. Alberto Gonzales was a target for the Democrats and the mostly liberal Democratic Party-controlled MSM was because they wanted to give President Bush a black eye politically, and to bring down a Republican. Justice didn't matter and it didn't matter who, as long as it was a Bush and a Republican appointee. Gonzales's primary mortal sin--according to liberal Democrats and Democratic Party--shills like you--was that he fired 8 District Att. Generals on the orders of President Bush. Since they all serve the president who can fire them anytime he wants to, Gonzales did nothing wrong. Compare this to when Bill Clinton fired 93 District Att. Generals including the one who was investigation the Clintons Whitewater wheelings and dealings. To no ones surprise was that his newly appointed District Att. General for Arkansas dropped all of the Whitewater investigations, so nothing became of it. No one then whined about a cover-up going on; no one then whined about a president firing 93 District Attorneys, and no one then whined or demanded Janet Renos resignation. Even the supposed "watchdogs for the people", the MSM that's in the Democratic Party's hip pocket, never bothered to make an issue over Clintons cover-up of a probable crime--surprise, surprise. This Gonzales affair was about politics and not about justice.

Posted by: madhatter | August 27, 2007 01:16 PM

Finally! Yippie! It's about time. Now, when are Bush & Cheney going to do the right thing and resign?

Posted by: S Parker | August 27, 2007 01:20 PM

"lacked the integrity, the intellect and the independence to perform his duties in a manner befitting the job for which he was chosen"
Doesn't that describe the majority of the Bush appointees?

Posted by: madhatter | August 27, 2007 01:22 PM

Because the administration and its supporters have so politicized ancient and honored values, traditions and institutions that once stood above crass political calculation, they will of course blame the decline and fall of Alberto Gonzalas on the corrosive influence of "partisan politics" -- just as they did when Scooter Libby was convicted by a jury of his peers for lying in a case in which the national security was subverted by way of a partisan witch hunt against an administration critic who dealt a mortal blow to the administration's credibility and patriotism.

Posted by: Ted Frier | August 27, 2007 01:29 PM

Mr. Cohen, how do you REALLY feel? But seriously, students of government can look to the Bush years and this Department in particular as a case study in how to use the levers of control through appointments and downward career pressure to take over a supposedly "balanced" and bi-partisan government institution. The Republicans in Congress sold their souls and their country to Rove and DeLay, who used their best efforts to try and rapidly embed their power into the Justice Dept. and the Judiciary, without mercy or quarter, and certainly without regard or respect for what these institutions stood for. Rove crossed the line from politics over to an immoral betrayal of our institutions. The venality of these people is staggering. True Republicans (not these theives who hijacked the party) are either repulsed if they still exist, or are spinning in their graves.

Posted by: dyinglikeflies | August 27, 2007 01:33 PM

Blind partisanship has no place in the DOJ -- nor in Journalism. Mr. Cohen, your ploys to engage the far Left (for readership purposed) blinded you to all the good work accomplished at DOJ during a terrorist attacks and Jihadist war against our civilization. Reading all the adjulation to you here, I hope you enjoy your moment in the sun even as you sell-out the security of our nation. And for what? A bigger byline? Thanks, Traitor!

Posted by: TJL in Ballston | August 27, 2007 01:34 PM

I just heard Bush on the radio stating that the attack Gonzales' reputation was disgraceful. Is this the same man that attacked John McCain's reputation when they were rivals for the Republican nomination. At least McCain was not foolish enough to believe he could tell a bald-faced lie and have Americans be naive enough to believe it. For these men or the American people to believe that these men are intelligent, there is an awful lot of "I DON'T REMEMBERs" and "I DON'T RECALLs" in their responses under questioning or scrutiny.

Posted by: V. Gorman | August 27, 2007 01:36 PM

Rumor has it that Alberto Gonzales resigned to become the Dean of Pat Robertson's Law School.

Posted by: Vicsoir | August 27, 2007 01:37 PM

After the continuous onslaught of bad news, we finally have a piece of sunlight, Gonzales' resignation. I am only now considering the reason for this belated resignation and I'd have to believe that our turtle footed boys in Congress have finally hit upon meaningful evidence of malfeasance. I can only hope that Congress will do their duty and assure that investigations and culpabaility are placed onto those who besmirched the DoJ.

Posted by: nononsense1 | August 27, 2007 01:37 PM

I hope he goes out like Rove did. Liberals can't stand it when an administration official leaves and say he cares less what they thought of him. Don't apologize, just look straight at the camera and say you could care less. I wish him nothing but the best in the future.

Posted by: Rob | August 27, 2007 01:41 PM

While I agree with your catalog of Torqueberto's shortcomings, I feel his real lasting legacy will be the legitimization of torture and other human rights violations that have destroyed our international reputation.

The sooner we can repudiate all his policies, the better.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 27, 2007 01:46 PM

Posted by: aguy7
I wonder how, if Gonzalez is so legally inept, he got into Harvard Law. Affirmative action?

>> Spoken like someone with no familiarity of the law in this country (or at least the process by which one becomes a lawyer). Law schools don't admit students based on their ability to practice law since one cannot practice until they have already been to law school and passed the Bar exam. In other words, Gonzales could get into Harvard Law and be "legally inept" without Affirmative Action playing a role.

Gonzales like many other potential lawyers probably had good undergrad grades and a good LSAT score, neither of which (grades or scores) predict well whether one will be a a good attorney. Further, even if Gonzo was a good attorney, that is still a far cry from being a good manager/spokesman/Constitutional law scholar which, as we've seen, is integral in performing the duties of Attorney General.

Posted by: Tubbs | August 27, 2007 01:47 PM

There could be silver lining: when all those poorly education "Christian" attorneys hired by Bozo Gonzo start losing medical marijuana cases, maybe the country will be ready to take a long look at the idiotic war on drugs.

Posted by: Tim Morgan | August 27, 2007 01:49 PM

Give the man a break. He was only doing what he was told. Even my dog has trouble with that.

Posted by: Chris | August 27, 2007 01:49 PM

I hope he goes out like Rove did. Liberals can't stand it when an administration official leaves and say he cares less what they thought of him. Don't apologize, just look straight at the camera and say you could care less. I wish him nothing but the best in the future.

Posted by: Rob | August 27, 2007 01:51 PM

Thank you for your site. I have found here much useful information.
Good site ! ;)

Posted by: OVGuillermo | August 27, 2007 01:51 PM

September 17 is way too long to wait for something as overdue as this resignation.

Posted by: Mike Meyer | August 27, 2007 01:54 PM

So maybe Gonzales can become a swing shift maintenance supervisor and order around Harriet Meiers, who IINM is mopping floors somewhere in Houston ...

Posted by: Chris Fox | August 27, 2007 01:55 PM

That Gonzales "botched" botched the nation's legal policy on torture, is a relative term.

As far as George W. Bush was concerned, he did his job on that score, supremely well. What ever is wrong with Alberto Gonazles, is wrong with President Bush. Same goes for Karl Rove.

Criminals, and liars, all three!

Posted by: Amy | August 27, 2007 01:56 PM

Way to go, Rob. No regrets, no explanations, no apologies. Stand before a burning, collapsing building and insist that everything is fine. Ve haff no proplems here. Yeah that'll show the lib'rals, huh?

Heh heh heh.

No wonder you guys never hold power for long.

Posted by: Chris Fox | August 27, 2007 01:57 PM

Thanks Tubbs, Fredo is Latino so he must be an affirmative action admission, huh? Minorities have been dealing with your kind of BS for years and will continue to deal with it. In most cases, our president excepted, incompetent people are simply labeled incompetent, and we don't generally go into their backgrounds and question why they were really legacies who got into schools like Yale and so forth. The funny thing is that the incompetent seem to come in all colors. So you're out of line.

As for you, Andrew, I too liked your commentary except for your slam of the entire Department. It is not a cesspool of intellectual corruption, as you'd know if you spent five minutes there. Unfortunately, a few intellectually corrupt people have held the leadership positions for too long. It's nice to see them finally going.

Posted by: ExAUSA | August 27, 2007 02:03 PM

I agree with Buster. With the puppet-master no longer in the building, the puppet goes in the dumpster after a brief pause.

Posted by: still waters | August 27, 2007 02:06 PM

I do believe that the resignation of Gonzales deserves the rousing hoot and holler, that, for the most part, it is getting here.

I observe that even his defenders, as witnessed by the very few here, trolling and scripted, cannot summons much conviction on his behalf.

Can we all agree that a fresh start is desperately needed at Justice?? If not, what kind of country do you wish to live in??

Posted by: Buddy | August 27, 2007 02:15 PM

How about the nerve of Messrs. Cohen and Schumer knocking Mr. Gonzales when he's down (and almost out)? Mr. Gonzales' and the Administration's Terror War methods not only have protected us but, also, our ally Israel. Aside from there being no charges filed against Mr. Gonzales, their post-Soviet mindset is as absurd as it is obvious. Let's hope they defect to Cuba where they belong. I don't think Putin wants or could put up with them. Adios!

Posted by: Rock Ribbley | August 27, 2007 02:18 PM

What Carla says isn't true. Don't be so worried.

Posted by: | August 27, 2007 02:20 PM

"aguy" shouldn't assume Harvard Law, a respected name more from marketing and trendiness in the last twenty years than differentiated excellence from other schools, has had much in the way of standards. Once one is let in there are all kinds of ways to ensure one stays in, PARTICULARLY for minorities.

Posted by: Alum | August 27, 2007 02:24 PM

Gppd riddance to bad rubbish. Now when can we be rid of Bush and Cheyney too?

Posted by: HP | August 27, 2007 02:25 PM

Heckuva job, Gonzo!

Posted by: sgurd0187 | August 27, 2007 02:27 PM

TJL shows his/her brilliance. Can add nothing to what they said.

Posted by: | August 27, 2007 02:28 PM

Good riddance! He should have left months ago. He did nothing but harm. He violated too many laws to mention; used his office to further the political ambitions of Karl Rove and keep the American people from knowing the truth about THEIR government. Shame on him.

Posted by: Brian | August 27, 2007 02:30 PM

Can't wait to see whether Buddy goes, or is named AG.

Posted by: Audentes | August 27, 2007 02:31 PM

George wants to put in Cherthoff after AG resigns? Where does he think he is, in his living room?

Posted by: Vt | August 27, 2007 02:32 PM

Well said spencer911. It's not a matter of hints though, they are well enough aware of the hints.

Posted by: Hb | August 27, 2007 02:33 PM


This article shall go to wikipedia as
a record.

Posted by: Betsy | August 27, 2007 02:34 PM

Other than those things cited, he was pretty good--at keeping the foxes away from the henhouse, at least.

Posted by: kindathinker | August 27, 2007 02:34 PM

Jemma's fiance was Rove's aide? So much for trying to experience new things for a life decision.

Posted by: | August 27, 2007 02:38 PM

To Alum:

What does ..."particularly for minorities" mean??? Please provide a couple of examples.

Posted by: TruthShallSetUsFree | August 27, 2007 02:42 PM

Well Ex, we might indeed wonder about the background of someone widely unqualified if they also went to prestigious schools, and this goes whether a minority or legacy; so it seems as perfectly fine to wonder how an unqualified minority got in, as an unqualified rich white person or an unqualified Jewish princess.

Posted by: Low | August 27, 2007 02:45 PM

The retention and support programs and groups emphasizing minorities.

Posted by: | August 27, 2007 02:46 PM

Adios Alberto and good riddance! Don't let la puerta hit you in the a** . Hispanics expected a great deal from you but you let us down miserably by being a boot licking shill for that idiota in the White House.

Posted by: Mario | August 27, 2007 02:53 PM

The exit of this disgrace is to take the headlines away from the 2-year anniversary of another disgrace. Wonder when the medal ceremony will be?

Posted by: eed017 | August 27, 2007 02:58 PM

I agree with Rock Ribbley. You'd think Messrs. Cohen and Schumer would be sensitive to Israel's security but apparently not. Where do they think the CIA and our troops learned the aggressive interrogation techniques O'Reilly's always promoting? People like Cohen and Schumer are mired in the peacenick past of the 60's and 70's. AIPAC hasn't got through to them.

Posted by: Jim Cameron | August 27, 2007 02:59 PM

rats leaving a sunk ship!

Posted by: art fox | August 27, 2007 03:03 PM

First Ashcroft, then Gonzales, and who will be next? Doesn't matter much. They all march to the drummers-in-chief in the White House and do not care at all about the constitution and statutes.

Posted by: Brigitte N. | August 27, 2007 03:05 PM

Gonzalez was harangued by Leahy et al to distract from his important duties.

Posted by: Clueless Insular Liberal | August 27, 2007 03:07 PM

i suggest a leaf-blower backpack as a going away present. That is all he is qualified for...this guy has done more harm to our country, constitution and reputation than the 12 million illegals; on second thought forget the backpack--he'd probably screw that up

Posted by: jim oneill | August 27, 2007 03:11 PM

If I graduated with honors from the Jehovah University (Jesus H. Christ, Dean), can I apply for the Attorney General position?

Posted by: Venkatesh | August 27, 2007 03:14 PM

George Santayana was right: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Alberto Gonzales' tenure as Attorney General has a strongly similar precedent in that of at least one of his predecessors, Richard Kleindienst.

In late-1971, the United States Attorney for the Central District of California (a jurisdiction including Los Angeles and surrounding counties) was fired by Richard Kliendienst. This firing took place after a long series of differences between that US Attorney and both the Attorney General and the White House. The final straw became a refusal by the US Attorney (Republican appointee Robert L. Meyer) to indict Daniel Ellsberg here in the Central District earlier that year. The firing was delayed by that administration for over 5 months so as to minimize political blow back. Thus, any scholar, journalist or pundit who fancies her or himself an expert on the Department of Justice, and suggests that these recent series of events are unprecedented, is either very poorly informed or being deeply disingenuous.

Posted by: Richard Meyer | August 27, 2007 03:18 PM

Does this sound like a country YOU know?

The 14 Defining Characteristics Of Fascism

Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each:

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism - Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights - Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause - The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

4. Supremacy of the Military - Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

5. Rampant Sexism - The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.

6. Controlled Mass Media - Sometimes to (sic) media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

7. Obsession with National Security - Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined - Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.

9. Corporate Power is Protected - The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed - Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts - Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment - Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption - Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

14. Fraudulent Elections - Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

Posted by: BEW | August 27, 2007 03:19 PM

But wait ... there's more! Too bad we won't really know what the truth is!

Posted by: | August 27, 2007 03:27 PM

Well, Marshall, crime IS up, I don't quite see the direct connection to AG others may, but the unspoken thing was Ag's cheery.commendation of torture

Posted by: | August 27, 2007 03:27 PM

On BEW's list, 5) is unnecessary and psychologizing.

Posted by: | August 27, 2007 03:30 PM

Fury! Fury! Fury! In Bush's face, voice and body language as he spoke and stormed away from the microphone. The nasties took away his wind up toy, Gonzales. Now if we could just take away the Cheney/Rove wind up toy, Bush. Then maybe we can get rid of this whole pornographic menagerie. Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished.

Posted by: russell | August 27, 2007 03:37 PM

It's too bad the taxpayers will probably have to pay for his portrait to be painted and hund up in the Justice Department...both his and Ashcroft's should be done in crayon and placed on GWB's fridge instead.

Posted by: Stuart | August 27, 2007 03:44 PM

Hope everybody feels better. Sorry to tell you it's only a smoke screen. This isn't going to change anything. Just replacing one stooge with another. It's not going to change who's in charge of this country at all. The working people of America are still going to be peasants, owned by the ultra wealthy. This isn't going to make us citizens again. It's not going to bring back the constitution or the bill of rights or make your vote worth something again. Only we can do that.

Posted by: Awake | August 27, 2007 03:45 PM

Guess Gonzo won't be the first Latino named to the Supreme Court after all. (Remember that buzz when he became AG?)

Posted by: joseph | August 27, 2007 03:46 PM

More disturbing than Mr. Gonzales' poor character, integrity and performance as Attorney General is how close he may have come to a seat on the U. S. Supreme Court. It is chilling that President Bush could nominate Harriet Miers to a seat on the Supreme Court, but entirely consistent with the lack of discernment evident in selecting Mr. Gonzales to be his White House Counsel and our Attorney General.

Posted by: Gary Michel | August 27, 2007 03:47 PM

To the author, where is the logic in this statement of yours: "Meanwhile, according to the National Association of Police Chiefs and Sheriffs, big-city murder rates have risen by 10 percent over the past two years -- a period that coincides precisely with Gonzales' time as attorney general." How could his tenure have such an immediate effect on the crime rate? Please explain.

Posted by: Susan | August 27, 2007 03:48 PM

Great Presidents are defined by their choices of the best candidate for a political office. Lincoln picked many from the other party, even harsh critics such as Staunton. Mediocre Presidents pick candidates solely to further their own political agenda, ie. Mr. Bush. The jury is IN on both these Presidents, one Great, the other sadly Poor.

Posted by: A.Lincoln | August 27, 2007 03:51 PM

So Alberto Gonzales has named September 17 -- Constitution Day! - as the date for his resignation to take effect. How fitting!! -- May that moment signal the first serious act toward redeeming the Constitution from the Pharaonic efforts of our present rulers.

In December 2004, eight Philadelphia rabbis met face-to-face with Senator Arlen Specter, then about to become chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and thirteen others also signed a letter to him, to urge him to oppose confirmation of Alberto Gonzales as Attorney-General. We focused on Gonzales' support of rulings that made torture "legitimate" public policy of the United States.

Why did rabbis think it our obligation to intervene? Because the archetypal stories of the power-addicted Pharaoh and the Roman Caesars warn against the arrogance of the present government of the US - starting an unnecessary, immoral, illegal, cruel, and self-destructive war; making torture into public policy; ignoring the agonies of our earth itself as Pharaoh ignored its agonies in the "ten plagues." Later, it was no surprise they fiddled like Nero while New Orleans drowned.

Though it was still a secret then, we now know that Gonzales as White House counsel had tried bullying --- some would say torturing -- a desperately sick Attorney-General to authorize a violation of the law and the Constitution that even ultra-right-wing Ashcroft refused. That behavior absolutely fit into the pattern we did know.

Senator Specter listened to us, affably thanked us for visiting him (the first time a group of rabbis ever had, he said) -- -- and then not only voted to confirm Gonzales but praised him.

It turned out - as we had expected - that the same Gonzales mind-set that approved torture also sought total control over American politics, flinging the Constitution into the garbage can. That is what was going on in the firing of US Attorneys who would not torture the law to oust Democratic candidates for Congress and boost Republican candidates.

The same mind-set permitted Gonzales to lie to Congress about bullying Ashcroft.

As these facts have unfolded during the last few months, Specter said the Justice Department would be better off without Gonzales- but has never even hinted that three years ago he made a terrible mistake.

What changed between 2004 and 2007? Mostly, what party controlled Congress. Specter has shown himself more responsive to that political shift than to his oath to defend the Constitution. May Gonzales' resignation help the Senator straighten and strengthen his spine.

If the Senate insists that any new nominee be clearly committed to defend the Constitution, the Geneva Conventions, and American law despite the Pharaonic pretensions of the present administration, then September 17 may signal a renewal of the Constitution.


Rabbi Arthur Waskow
The Shalom Center
6711 Lincoln Drive
Philadelphia PA 19119

Posted by: (Rabbi) Arthur Waskow | August 27, 2007 03:52 PM

Its astounding how many democratic operatives post on this website.

Posted by: K-fed | August 27, 2007 04:01 PM

Yeah, well, F U K you Mr. Cohen.

Posted by: Karl | August 27, 2007 04:07 PM

Yes, good riddance. The man was sick. Let's hope the next AG will be at least healthier if not more competent.

Posted by: Linda Sun | August 27, 2007 04:13 PM

Here's to Cohen for calling it like he sees it all along, and for not pulling punches just because practically everyone else in the Washington club does so.

I'll take Cohen's vigorous defense of the Constitution above Dean Broder's mealymouthed "civility" any day.

Keep a bit of Gonzo's scalp for yourself, Cohen, you've earned it.

Posted by: Bud0 | August 27, 2007 04:13 PM

Gonzalezas not a professional; he was a lackey--a boot licker. His decision were made by incompetent greedy Republian Operatives who were busy focusing on personal financial gain and gains for their supporters. He belonged to a crowd who would stoop as low as required to achieve their ends. Unfortumately they bacame a Party without a Nation and A war without a nation. Perhaps they truly were the Party of God. However they forgot to inform God of this status.

Posted by: eingreifen | August 27, 2007 04:14 PM

Thanks very much for a very thoroughly descriptive and very satisfying column. Good riddance to bad rubbish, is right !

Posted by: Bill C., Williamsburg VA | August 27, 2007 04:15 PM

The Attorney General serves at "the pleasure of the President." The position is a political one. He is an advocate of the People only because he was nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. His role is to push the combined agendas of the Congress and the President; even, if at times, those agendas might conflict with the Constitution.

In addition to the President's demands, the Attorney General has the duty to protect the Constitution. That duty requires he inform the President of what the Constitution says and means--or, rather, can mean--broad or narrow interpretations.

Where Gonzales truly fails is not in being a political puppet to the White House (at that he excels), but in have the integrity to stand for the Law.

Too often Gonzales remembered his political loyalty to the President, and forgot the Constitutional restraints on the Executive Power.

At times, it is better to resign in the face of Unconstitutional agendas.

Too bad Gonzales' resignation is not so inspiring.

Posted by: afroball | August 27, 2007 04:21 PM

He was as miserable at his job as Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Powell, RIce et al., were at theirs. It's like Americans elected the retarded to run the country.

Posted by: ed | August 27, 2007 04:21 PM

"To the author, where is the logic in this statement of yours: 'Meanwhile, according to the National Association of Police Chiefs and Sheriffs, big-city murder rates have risen by 10 percent over the past two years -- a period that coincides precisely with Gonzales' time as attorney general.' How could his tenure have such an immediate effect on the crime rate? Please explain."

Posted by: Susan | August 27, 2007 03:48 PM

The logical principle being applied here is the venerable rule of "post hoc, ergo propter hoc." This is Latin for, "after this, therefore because of this." Big city murder rates rose by 10 percent after Alberto Gonzales '82L became Attorney General. Therefore, big city murder rates rose by 10 percent because Mr. Gonzales became Attorney General.

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | August 27, 2007 04:23 PM

At last, having finally surrendered the last shards of his dignity and self-respect to his cynically manipulative mentor, this adoring spaniel of a man slinks off into well-deserved oblivion.

Were it not for his high crimes and treason against the constitution of the United States and indeed the American people, he might have been forgotten in a week.

But he still has much to answer for and (hopefully) will not escape the wrath of Congress, which will keep him in the limelight for months to come

Posted by: ruined bruin | August 27, 2007 04:24 PM

I am still wandring why it took him so long that He had no credibility at all and nobody believed the George W. BUSh administration anymore except those ideological minded comentator at that sorry ass Fox network I am just curios if all the staff of GWB ARE All crebrally challeng?

Posted by: bmartinez11 | August 27, 2007 04:26 PM

This is an eloquent and accurate explanation of the tragic and corrupt reign of Gonzales over the Justice dept. Hopefully the Dems will not be suckered yet again by Bush into putting another crony hack in this critical position.

Posted by: ed | August 27, 2007 04:27 PM

Mr. Cohen very aptly and succinctly sums up the tenure of one of the worst Attorneys General in history. The only support he had in the end was from those still in the White House. The president, divorced from reality, lauded Gonzales for his outstanding contributions over the years, another indicator of his view of things inside the bubble. For once, we can hear a bipartisan sigh of relief at Gonzales's imminent departure.

Posted by: Diogenes | August 27, 2007 04:30 PM

ExAUSA, you should re-read my post. All I said was that Gonzo could have been inept and admitted to Harvard Law without Affirmative Action playing a role.

Posted by: Tubbs | August 27, 2007 04:31 PM

He can now slither away. Just hope a new snake does not replace him.

Posted by: J. Charles | August 27, 2007 04:32 PM

Quite right. But will Al attend Jenna's wedding? Will Mary Cheney's spermdaddy be at the wedding? Might Al be the spermdaddy? Or maybe Maliki? Will VP Cheney carry his shotgun to the wedding? Will Bush have any administration left by the time the wedding rolls around?

Posted by: blardfortner | August 27, 2007 04:33 PM

Another flying monkey may have bit the dust yet the Wicked Witch is alive and well.

Posted by: the1joncook | August 27, 2007 04:34 PM

This is what we get when we let "illegals" into this country. His parents came in illegally and he was a citizen because he was born here. Another realy good reason why illegal mexicans should not be allowed in this country. They breed scum.

Posted by: Chuck | August 27, 2007 04:34 PM

Thank you for your brilliant synopsis of a shameful chapter of the DOJ. As a law enforcement professional, I am saddened and angered by the Gonzales reign and its pathetic legacy. Gonzales should have stayed the president's attorney - it is a position he never really left. We are all worse for it.

Posted by: LABC | August 27, 2007 04:36 PM

congratulations ALBERTO you finally woke up and came to your senses. Bush still has whole bunch of conies at the white house and they will never missed you

Posted by: Benjo Maru | August 27, 2007 04:36 PM

BEW has spelled out the 14 commandments of the United States Republican Party and their State Religion of Bushianity. All vetted Bushians already know and can recite their 14 commandments on command. Their Proseletyzers led by Falwell(deceased), Robertson, Dobson, Kennedy and the young republican WASBS, White Anglo Saxson Bushians, are out there stuffing the words of their God Bush, WarWarWar KillKillKill, down the throats of white Republican newborn babies so that their God Bush's genocidal legacy will be carried on by Apostle Rove's permanent White Republican majority. Of course that pre-supposes there will be future generations???????? white or other wise????????????

Posted by: russell | August 27, 2007 04:37 PM

And thank you, Chuck. Your comments show why we are in this sad spot - ignorant, bigoted morons like you who waste their votes on the first creep who plays to your fears and stupidity.

Posted by: LABC | August 27, 2007 04:39 PM

You all have too much time on your hands. What's for dinner?

Posted by: Bud | August 27, 2007 04:40 PM

"fat pat's" school is not "among the worst" in the nation, it is, BAR NONE, the worst in the nation. I will not even dignify it with the name of "law school" because it most certainly does not deserve that title.

What I cannot fathom is how it was ever accredited in the first place? Or is it? This would not be the first school to call itself one thing and yet not have the proper accreditation. The really frightening thing is that the schlemiels that graduate from there just might be the ones defending those who really need competent defense attorneys: the one thing they will not be getting from a "fat pat" "law school" graduate. It'd be a really bad joke if it weren't for the dire consequences.

Posted by: spike59101 | August 27, 2007 04:40 PM

5 chimps down (ashcroft, rumsfeld, rove, libby and gonzales) and 3 to go (bush, cheney and rice). We're 63% of the way there!

Posted by: nikolai | August 27, 2007 04:41 PM

January 2009 can not come soon enough!

Has this been all a bad dream?

I think the Republicans are tired of it also.

Posted by: Jasper | August 27, 2007 04:46 PM

I think that Patrick Fitzgerald would be a terrific replacement for Gonzales.

Posted by: denisestro | August 27, 2007 04:48 PM

What a bunch of ditto heads.
What group is the most frequently discriminated against group in America? Minorities who are Republican. Clearly the bigots and thought police who march in lock step on this blog are first in line to disparage anyone who doesn't think exactly like them.

Democrats and liberals claim to be enlightened, but if they are anything like this group, they are rabid political xenophobes no better than the worst racists.

Posted by: thuff7 | August 27, 2007 04:49 PM


How many illegal mexicans live in your neighborhood? Get some and see how much fun they are.

Posted by: Chuck | August 27, 2007 04:49 PM

So often, people judge us by those with whom we associate. Considering the wide range of partisan, incompetent, self-serving and/or mean-spirited folks in the current administration, it seems fairly clear that history will judge this president quite harshly, this despite his rosy predictions of vindication. AG Gonzales is just another bold example of this trail of failures on the President's part. The American people should expect considerably more from their chief executive.

Posted by: eregelma | August 27, 2007 04:49 PM

"The working people of America are still going to be peasants, owned by the ultra wealthy."

Posted by: Awake | August 27, 2007 03:45 PM

If that is so, and changing Attorney Generals is not going to change the class system one bit, how do we explain the bitter hate expressed here today for Mr. Gonzales? Could it be due to the listing of his name as the successful plaintiff in the recent U. S. Supreme Court case of Gonzales v. Carhart? Could it be that not class envy but gender envy is behind today's venom?

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | August 27, 2007 04:52 PM

Remember Michael Chertoff's absence when the citizens of New Orleans were suffering and dying during Katrina. Without concern, he was at a meeting in Atlanta. And he's been rather a no show every since.

No, No, No. He is not the one the United States should have as the next Attorney General.

Posted by: gaylington | August 27, 2007 04:55 PM

It' time for drinks. Especially after reading that list of the qualities of fascist countries. But Gonzalez' parents were illegal immigrants. It's true. And Carla's post is filled with references to "Whitey" and "The White Man." Hey Carla -- how about white women? You hate us too?

As for the column -- Cohen spews the stuff everybody already knows -- but that might be because the first four parts of his series covers the real stuff.

By the way, don't kid yourself. Democrats suck too. That's why this country is broke, at war, and well on its way to becoming a third world nation.

Posted by: Chardonnay | August 27, 2007 05:08 PM

"Of course the people don't want war, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliiament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists of lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger".
. . . . Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials.

Posted by: art fox | August 27, 2007 05:09 PM

On the bright side, he WAS being considered for a Supreme Court nomination.

Posted by: Justice_Gonzalez | August 27, 2007 05:15 PM

In honor of Gonzalez and the mexicans that are leading a boycott of businesses in Prince William County. I think we should boycott all businesses who hire illegal immigrant mexicans during the month of September. What do you think? I'm doing it. I think it is only fare.

Posted by: Chuck | August 27, 2007 05:17 PM

While I agree with the basic premise of your piece, Mr. Cohen, did you have to pull so many punches? *:o)

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Posted by: martgageva | August 27, 2007 05:21 PM

Maybe it was touched up above, maybe it wasn't. But where's the scorn for congress for approving this clown? A lot of the concerns about Gonzalez were brought up when he was nominated, to the point that some conservative talk hosts (granted in small markets) were questioning him. Yet congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, did nothing to stop this incompetent.

Posted by: Plenty Of Blame To Share | August 27, 2007 05:27 PM

Nice crowd here...nothing but seething rage and hatred.

Posted by: tms | August 27, 2007 05:27 PM

Is it too late for Fredo to get frogmarched out of his office in handcuffs and shackles?

Posted by: Frogmarching, anyone? | August 27, 2007 05:33 PM

Do you think that the Ashcroft hospital room scene will be in a movie? If so, who do you think will play Gonzo?

Posted by: smokeclearing | August 27, 2007 05:35 PM

Oh, and I wonder if he at least brought flowers....or maybe a McDonald's meal.

Posted by: smokeclearing | August 27, 2007 05:36 PM

So you all read these comments and add your own after reading an article? What a bunch of losers.

Posted by: Bill | August 27, 2007 05:39 PM

I wonder if George had any really crafty, cool nicknames for Gonzo. You know, like how he called Rove Turd Muffin or something. So clever!

Posted by: smokeclearing | August 27, 2007 05:55 PM

So you all read these comments and add your own after reading an article? What a bunch of losers.

Posted by: Bill | August 27, 2007 05:39 PM

Pot, I would like to introduce you to Kettle.

As for Gonzo being confirmed, was confirmed with the least amount of votes strictly down party lines with a few Repub jumping over to the DEMs

Posted by: | August 27, 2007 06:01 PM

Fury! Fury! Fury! In Bush's face, voice and body language as he spoke and stormed away from the microphone. The nasties took away his wind up toy, Gonzales. Now if we could just take away the Cheney/Rove wind up toy, Bush. Then maybe we can get rid of this whole pornographic menagerie. Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished.

This was an absolutely Great Post, Russell!! Thank You! What else is there to be expected from sociopaths?

Posted by: Doowadiddy | August 27, 2007 06:07 PM

now what happens to this country while the his appointees stay?

Posted by: hedy | August 27, 2007 06:12 PM

The office of AG cannot be restored under any new personality so long as the heavy blanket of government secrecy suffocates everyone in the executive branch.

The problem is systemic and much deeper than the reform efforts of any one individual can correct, unless that individual happens to be the President. No chance with this administration. Very little chance beyond that.

Posted by: On the plantation | August 27, 2007 06:13 PM

"Congratulations on a job done."

Posted by: J. Peterman | August 27, 2007 06:27 PM

fredo may be gone, but nothing will get better as long as bush stays in office.

Posted by: | August 27, 2007 06:36 PM

Congrats on a very good series of postings.

The sad thing is that Gonzales was clearly doing the will of a president who did not care much about anything as subtle as the rule of law, and of a Republican Congress that was more interested in trying to establish a permanent majority than in representing the people, and by a Democratic Party opposition that was never short on excuses for its inability to do anything other than whine about its powerlessness. The whole mess has been abetted by members of the media who decided to sell out even a pretense of independence in exchange for access to power brokers and the best seats next to insiders at the White House Press Corps Dinner.

Gonzales is gone, but the fetid conditions which spawned him still have to be dealt with.

Posted by: Alec | August 27, 2007 06:43 PM

tms: ''seething rage and hatred'' began with those wonderful folks who include Limbaugh and Coulter, right after Clinton was elected in '91. learned it from you, bub.

Posted by: Patricia Barry | August 27, 2007 06:46 PM

To my mind one of the greatest, if not THE greatest benefit stemming from the departure of this pathetic little man is that it constitutes an impediment to the creeping brand of fascism brought to this country by Mr. Bush.

Fighting fascism is never easy. Its proponents are adept at practicing the arts needed to keep their liberal opponents from becoming effective (see above - 14 points and Goering quote).

The anti-fascists need all the help they can get these days and the departure of Mr. Gonzalez is, I think, a big help.

David Jewell -- Philadelphia

Posted by: David Jewell -- PHILADELPHIA | August 27, 2007 07:11 PM

For years it is been a wink and nod while Illegal Aliens from the largest invasion in World history Slaughter, Raped & Rob Americans by the 10,s of thousands. Those crimes are condoned and allowed by Bush and Amnesty and open borders supporters! Gonzales was a corrupt anchor baby from Illegal Aliens that are reward American Citizenship for breaking into this country and engaging in 3 minutes of unskilled labor and let tax payers pay for the Brit h, & schooling of their Illegal brats!

Posted by: BL | August 27, 2007 07:33 PM

That Gonzales had to go was clear. No argument there.

What bothers me is the frisson of glee that these reactions demonstrate.

Finally got that Mexican, did we?

Posted by: Out west | August 27, 2007 07:36 PM

Gonzales is going, going, gone. Gone at last, gone at last. Thank god almighty Alberto is gone at last!

New York Times breaks the story. Another high level official in the Bush Mafia leaves town. Time now to run out the two godfathers and get a shred or respectability back to America. I haven't felt this good about the political situation in this country almost 7 years. Rumsfeld, Rove, now Gonzales, who would have thunk it :-). This country and its constitution bent but didn't break. Long live the good ol' USA. The two founding fathers that I admire the most are Franklin and Jefferson. If they were around today I think this news would bring a smile to their faces -- but there is much more that needs to be done and done as thoroughly and quickly as possible. The Justice Department is in shambles, health care in this nation is in shambles, New Orleans still is in devastation two years out, the housing industry is crumbling. Unfortunately I could go on and on but hey -- this is a day for celebration!

Steve Everett

Posted by: | August 27, 2007 07:46 PM

Bush haters did not force Gonzales out of office. Gonzales forced himself out of office. He, and his associates, assistants, and assorted members of the current presidential administration sought to violate various important bedrock principles of the United States, to wit:

The Constitution of The United States in Article 1, Section 9 states, "The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it. This section is quite clear as to when it may be applied. There is not now, nor has there been since the year 1865 a rebellion in this country, and the last time we were invaded was on December 7, 1941. There are no grounds whatsoever for the suspension or elimination of the privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus, and this administration, and this Attorney General sought to eliminate it.

The Constitution of the United States, Amendment IV
provides: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

This Attorney General and his administration has sought to eliminate the provisions of this Amendment through its power grabbing tactics. They want the right to spy on anyone without any prior review of their reasons. This gives the president and his men the very sort of powers that we fought the Revolutionary War to rid ourselves of. The founders of this Republic would be appalled by the egregious behavior of this Attorney General and his boss.

The Constitution of the United States provides in
Amendment VI: "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense."

This administration, with the assistance of this Attorney General, both before and after his appointment, has sought to portray any prisoner who the President says is a danger to the United States, as being subject to none of the lawful rights granted to people prosecuted in the United States. This is a violation of this article of the Constitution, and incidentally, each and every sentence and clause of it. Attorney General Gonzales has worked to eviscerate this Amendment.
He and this administration have sought to eliminate all of these rights for American citizens, and not just for people arrested overseas who the president has decreed are not prisoners of war and not subject to the rules of the various Geneva Conventions.

Add to this the complete politicization of the office of the Attorney General and the United States Attorneys who prosecute crimes in these United States and there is more than ample cause to rejoice at the departure of this man from the public administration of the United States.

Posted by: Sean | August 27, 2007 07:50 PM

It should be obvious why Alberto is announcing his departure this week: It's the last week before Labor Day and huge numbers of Americans are heading out of town with their families before their kids have to be back in school. (I know, I know, in most counties around D.C. classes are already in session, but nationally that's less common.) And for those out-of-towners who want to stay current via TV or the Web, well, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Andrew Sullivan and WaPo's own David Froomkin, among many other media opinion-leaders, are on leave this week, which helps keep the clamor a bit suppressed as well.

Coincidence? Bah!

Posted by: KR20852 | August 27, 2007 08:06 PM

>>>Nice crowd here...nothing but seething rage and hatred.

Posted by: tms<<<

Funny boy! Tell me, when they hanged Saddam, didn't you feel a sense of satisfaction at justice served, or would you view your reaction as one of seething rage and hatred too? When a tyrant's lackey is removed, you see the reactions like those above. And let's face it, Gonzales was a true enabler of despotic excesses of the authoritarian Bush/Cheney regime, from torturing prisoners to kidnapping ("extraordinary rendition"), from rigging elections via the legal system to setting up secret warrantless spying on its own citizens, etc. Of course, Gonzales is only a willing lackey in the service of this thuggish duo, but at least if you can't take down Sadd... er, King George, then kicking out our Uday and Qusay (Rove nad Gonzales) is a start.

Posted by: KR20852 | August 27, 2007 08:19 PM

Yeah, Gonzo was a total bozo, but his resignation nor Rove's shows next to nothing. A year left in an eight-year presidency. There's just playing out the war left now. No other policy issues to fight; no more lawyers to fire. Why announce it on a Monday? Because it doesn't matter anymore. Given their circumstances, they both resigned largely on their own terms.

Posted by: smokec | August 27, 2007 08:24 PM

Score one for the common folk.

All the pundits had him gone by Memorial Day.

Now it won't even be Labor Day.

But at least he'll be gone.

Posted by: Outside DC | August 27, 2007 08:40 PM

A good AG nominee would be former Senator, UN Ambassador, and moderate Republican John Ashcroft. He is a man of intergrity who could and would tell the President no when need be.

Posted by: afam212 | August 27, 2007 08:47 PM

One year left in the presidency and people wonder who the replacement is going to be? Who cares? They just need someone to bide the time away. In fact, just let the deputy person, whoever that is, ride it out.

Posted by: clearingsmoke | August 27, 2007 08:55 PM

It's ridiculous that politics allows people to be appointed just because they are the friend of the President. It goes to show how it really is who you know and not what you know in the game of politics. Sure it's nice to pull favors for friends, but there should be a limit, because now there are citizens' lives that are suffering because Bush didn't think about the effects his decision would have on our country.

Posted by: R. Chau | August 27, 2007 08:58 PM

AG-AG aka "the Toad", the man who made his career doing his boss' bidding no matter what the illegality, knows where the bodies are buried. That's why he was promoted and kept on.

The nightmare of lies upon which this administration has built its alternate realty is finally unraveling.

Pressure must continue to be applied to Rove, AG, Miers, Cheney, Feith, Rummy and the whole gang so that, like those small time crooks on TV cop shows, they start turning state's evidence on each other; each more desparate to save himself as it all crashes around their ears and takes each one by one below the waves of their deceit.

I am sad because they have done so much harm in our names and it is going to be painful for the nation to experience the great unveiling. We don't want to believe that we could have elected such cruely incompetent people to act in the beloved name of America.

But the scales must fall and we must as a people recognize that we are together accountable for the actions of our leaders. We must therefore elect accountable leadership. History is judging this cabal. Bush made his choices and the truth is finally coming out.

Thanks Andrew for consistently calling it as you see it. A lot of your peers seem still afraid to do the same.

Posted by: Brian | August 27, 2007 09:05 PM

Gonzales leaves without equaling Janet Reno's body count.

Posted by: LDC | August 27, 2007 09:07 PM

Nice repartee. Of course we immediately knew where those folks sadly died. What make the AG-AG a Toad is that he keeps Bush's secrets --even when he knows it's wrong. Those are the bodies and they will be uncovered eventually. You watch.

Posted by: Brian. | August 27, 2007 09:12 PM

>>>Gonzales leaves without equaling Janet Reno's body count.<<<

Now we don't know that. How many prisoners suicided at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib because they were tortured and/or denied due process? How many at those same facilities died at the hands of "interrogators"? How many people were "disappeared" by the CIA's extraordinary renditions into countries where they were tortured to death? Don't be too hasty in your conclusions till all the facts are out.

Posted by: KR20852 | August 27, 2007 09:18 PM

James Comey for Attorney General!

Posted by: | August 27, 2007 09:28 PM

If all you alcohol supremacist bigots and condoners of such hadn't succeeded in maintaining marijuana prohibition, and stealing/effectively stealing so many people's right to vote, thug BushCheney never would have come close enough in Florida to shove his way thru to the Presidency. Look in the mirror next time you enjoy your killer drug alcohol.

Posted by: newageblues | August 27, 2007 09:29 PM

Oh, and we shouldn't forget all the death-row appeals that Gonzales gave short shrift to when vetting them for Bush, both in Texas and in the White House. The Bush-Gonzales body count is hardly inconsiderable.

Posted by: KR20852 | August 27, 2007 09:30 PM

Happy days are here again.

Posted by: katman | August 27, 2007 09:37 PM

I am so glad this jerk is gone. Of course, this does nt mean that I expect the Bushies to come up with someone who is fully up to the role, including from an integrity standpoint. No, with Chertoff's name being floated, I expect it will be him or another "loyal Bushie" to step into the breach, and who will advocate continued partisanship and overreaching, although maybe not so badly. It would be a feat to be as bad as Fredo was.

Off to ignomy for him - one hopes.

Posted by: odin966 | August 27, 2007 09:39 PM

Inept? Incompetent? That is undoubtedly all very true, but aren't you being too kind to the man? Isn't the real story here how the nation's top lawyer removed U.S. Attorneys from their positions in order to impede ongoing investigations into Republican corruption -- a crime known as obstruction of justice -- and then committed perjury while conspiring with others to cover up his involvement in this crime?

Posted by: Antonio | August 27, 2007 09:49 PM

Sad that our nation has an administration, one so very inept and corrupt, that when a cabinet head resigns the press says "good riddance" instead of 'best to you' or such words, and the populace agrees with that sentiment. Ironic is that this corruption comes from a bunch who tout their claim to much godliness, holiness and evangelical zeal. George Bush isn't man enough to be a patch on the ass of the pants his dad wore.

Posted by: 809212876 | August 27, 2007 09:53 PM

so many fools in one blog! this is great entertainment!

as though any of you have even a modicum of a clue about what "America is about" or what "Americans want".

Think about it. While you chortle..there may be others planning - from inside the system - how they can legally disrupt as much as possible come the new administration. This die was cast a long time ago folks. Don't for a moment think that a change of face constitutes a change in atmosphere.

Abuses of the Constitution! BAHAHAHAHAHA. As though even 10% of those posting on this blog are strict constructionists; as though the Democratic Party isn't riven with corrupt, unethical, criminals across the board! Drop the pretenses and at least admit that this isn't about "right and wrong".

Fight's on! Has been for a long time! Check six.

Posted by: lmao | August 27, 2007 10:24 PM

Obviously the job is too big for one man...I'm going to hold out for a troika consisting of: Cheech, Chong & Pee Wee Herman. They have what it takes to get along with the crew in the White House and Dumbya can finish reading "My Pet Goat" in Pee Wee's Fun House...

Posted by: jerryvov | August 27, 2007 10:38 PM

He's dumb and inexperienced: No Surprise Take a look at the people the administration has put in key roles in the Dept. of Education - some without either experience as educators or advanced degrees in anything else - they are just "faith-based" or neo-cons. Anti-bureaucrats given charge of every bureau in the nation's capitol. This administration's spoils system beats even the Teapot Dome scandal. Heck, I guess it IS this generation's Teapot Dome, oily and everything...

If only there were an effective Congress to counteract these fools.

Posted by: Westerner | August 27, 2007 10:43 PM

He was as miserable at his job as Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Powell, RIce et al., were at theirs. It's like Americans elected the retarded to run the country.

Posted by: ed | August 27, 2007 04:21 PM

I beg to differ - while my experience with the mentally retarded would confirm that they are not highly developed intellectually, I have found that many of them exhibit great kindness and the ability to care for others - I am not sure there are many in the current administration who exhibit those attributes.

Posted by: Billy Boy | August 27, 2007 10:57 PM

Работа на дому в свободное время

Posted by: SleendyVied | August 27, 2007 10:58 PM

In the Bush administration loyalty to the the president and the Republican party trumps competence and loyalty to our constitution and country. Hence Gonzales' appointment as Attorney General. This administration has attempted to steal our country. I think they've failed, but we're not out of the woods yet. Regardless, the harm they have caused will be with us for a long time.

Just imagine where we'd be if the Democrats hadn't taken back the House and Senate? Pretty scary thought, huh? Let's not forget that 2008 will be here before we know it. We must defeat these neo-fascists and restore our country.

Posted by: john314 | August 27, 2007 11:13 PM

Comey a man with a great sense of duty and a clever wit, would restore a welcomed sense of propriety of the Office of AG at a time most critical to the Republic and such an appointment would work to quiet further mistrust with the current government.

Posted by: | August 27, 2007 11:19 PM

I was particularly appalled (as opposed to generally apppalled, as usual), that Bush would claim, even today, that partisan politics were the downfall of Alberto Gonzales. Not lying, illegal activities, or torture. Just politics. Did I mention that I was appalled?

Posted by: Gardenia | August 27, 2007 11:38 PM

Back in Texas, in the 90's, there was a serial killer moving by railroad and murdering abortion-rights activists. Dubbed "The RailRoad Killer," he gruesomely killed several women, and then fled back to Mexico. Governor Bush urged the family of the killer to turn him in to the authorities, so that he would get help and quit killing people.

The killer's family did just that, on the stipulation that their family member not be subjected to "cruel and unusual punishment." Governor Bush gave his word that no cruel or unusual punishment would be dealt, and the family turned in their own relative at the Texas border. Bush then slated the man, who was certifiably insane, for execution. When the killer's family objected, Bush said that in Texas, capital punishment " not cruel or unusual punishment." This happened on the watch of (oh, the joy!) ex-Attorney General Gonzales.

The killer was indeed executed, and I knew back then that neither G.W. Bush or A. Gonzales could be trusted any further than I could spit a rat. Both were duplicitous weasels then, and both still are today.

I hated George Bush way before it was cool.

Posted by: art @ large | August 27, 2007 11:38 PM

Thanks to Mr. Cohen for the op-ed piece, and thank you to Rabbi Waskow for his story about his and the 12 other rabbis meeting with Specter before Gonzales' confirmation.

Didn't know that, and appreciate the insight it gives into Specter's character.

As for those of you who've been going round and round about Gonzales' ethnicity being a factor in his performance as AG, all I can politely say is that is just so much malarkey.

Incompetence, like its opposite, come in all colours, ethnicities and political shadings.

As for myself, am extremely glad Gonzales is gone, and am disturbed to hear that Bush wishes to nominate Michael Chertoff for AG.

I sincerely hope that his nomination's quashed by the Senate.

Be seeing you.

Posted by: Donald Rilea | August 28, 2007 07:01 AM

john314....just seizing on a random you "take back your country"...exactly wt...heck have you done in the grander scheme of themes? (other than pout of course). are you in the armed services? perhaps an intelligence agency? maybe a police department? do you work at the cdc? how about the FBI? border patrol?

there is another, deeper thread in's all the folks who aren't "riding the same bus" but all the same preaching "citizenship, responsibility, honor". they are equally fraudulent. it's out there for everyone to see....and more see it than you might think. the analysis from partisan "sources" such as the Post and the NYT has been predictay lacking in understanding or assessing this Newtonian political dynamic.

Beltway politics can be played by more than one team.

Posted by: lmao | August 28, 2007 07:34 AM

RE: Thus did Gonzales preside over the gutting of the Justice Department, turning it in the span of just a few years from a respected institution into a spectacle of rank intellectual corruption.

It took him far less time than a "few years." February 2005 to August 2007 is 2 1/2 years, and it was clear long, long before today what was happening to the Justice Department.

He managed to destroy DOJ in just about a single year.

Posted by: Richard Harris | August 28, 2007 09:58 AM

richard harris...what is this? tragicomedy?

DOJ is "destroyed"........ok...we'll take your word for it.

you grandfather was a fairly senior official in DOJ durng the Bobby Kennedy days. His stories about "zealous" activities exceeding the bounds of the law that originated with honest Bobby truly were interesting. somehow....DOJ survived on to other luminaries such as Reno and Gonzalez....maybe even you!

Posted by: lmao | August 28, 2007 10:40 AM

Rabbi Waskow, thank you greatly for writing this, and of course for making the plea to Sen. Specter (which explains some previously puzzling things). As the senator shows the actions of a "technical" stock trader rather than belief in any fundamentals, and I have myself been disappointed by him too many times to count, I'm not holding my breath as to any real (as distinguished from opportune) "straightening of his spine".

It is also good to know that some Israel supporters do not automatically publicly engage in knee jerk groupthink, often done at the cost of intended, conscious hypocrisy, sometimes even with full knowledge of dishonestly causing tragedy to others.


Hossein Sarbaz

Posted by: HS | August 28, 2007 11:30 AM

Well "out west", how should we have felt after everything known, if he had STAYED (yeah right ,it was all about getting the pobrecito, RIIIGHT). This is one instance I don't regret feeling a little satisfaction-there is no revenge involved, how is he even affected, he isn't entitled to any position he wants WHATEVER HIS ACTIONS- that after remorselessly playing a major role in injuring others without compunction, he is FINALLY, at least, not officially going to do so. That's all.

Frankly, and I would deplore ever to celebrate revenge or gloat in another's misfortune, I find Andrew's saying he takes no joy in this frankly inappropriate. Why not? No revenge has been taken, nor should it, but simply, however inadequate, some cognizance of the AG's actions which actions he himself acted totally unaffected by. He is simply not allowed to continue, that's all. Why is he entitled to after abusing authority?

Posted by: Ho | August 28, 2007 11:40 AM

Imao, one doesn't need to "ride the same bus" to have certain fundamental principles.

If one doesn't believe in principles which are supposed to be mutually-agreed American principles, WHAT THE HELL are they doing putting an official American uniform, and adopting the position of being a NATIONAL representaive, when they seem to see it as a means to advance their private beliefs (however unfounded) and agenda?

Posted by: B | August 28, 2007 11:45 AM

"Destroy" DOJ? - hardly.

It will be back to normal fairly quickly if the President nominates somebody who is reasonable and not another Atwater/Norquist/Rove hack.

Bit, that's a big "IF" isn't it.

Posted by: Outside DC | August 28, 2007 11:47 AM

Mattln, are you joking (and possible condescension)? Just because an event happened in the same period obviously doesn't imply causality.

Posted by: Chuck | August 28, 2007 11:48 AM

Bush's responding to AG's resignation, by advancing CHERTOFF! Well GW really is something isn't he?

Horrifying that this guy makes decisions.

Posted by: | August 28, 2007 11:51 AM

This particular thread ALONE demonstrates how alternative-reality, willfully delusional, antagonistic, and plain CRAZY some of those on the right are.

Posted by: | August 28, 2007 11:54 AM

Seems to think he can just mind-control the public by repeating and not deviating (can a president really be infantile like this and simply apply to consequential national and internatinal things?), and putting on a display of scripted (and "applied" from another source) "emotion", passion, and conviction.

Captain Queeg

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Israel's "security"?! Come on, please, have SOME shame.

Posted by: Lev | August 28, 2007 12:00 PM

Anon 12:35, To answer your question, I HAVE NO IDEA.

Seems as if nothing will be enough, unless congresspeople are somehow physically attacked by the admininistration or something.

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Posted by: | August 28, 2007 12:04 PM

Imao at 10:24, what do you mean "legally"-such restraint by the disrupters isn't characteristic? Care to spell out the insinuation/threat?

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Posted by: | August 28, 2007 12:11 PM

Plenty Chuck, they are harmless, better natured, more harmless, and honest than many Americans up to the chief; illegal gangsters are a different matter.

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From the quote Gardenia said, getting beyond being appalled

Posted by: | August 28, 2007 12:15 PM

art@large, SHOCKING, SHOCKING, that this guy continues in office, not to mention elected in the first place.

Posted by: | August 28, 2007 12:17 PM

Chardonnay, they certainly may suck, but gurantee they'll maintain the status that enables the Chardonnay to keep flowing. That's not a question.

Posted by: M | August 28, 2007 12:20 PM

I'd like to comment on the comments:
1. Uh, Decipherer, are you saying that 9/11 occurred in 2002? Better go check those facts there, buddy! 9/11 occurred in 2001, therefore we are coming up on the SIXTH anniversary (we are now in the year 2007) oh, how soon we forget these "little" things!

2. And, DF, Nooooo, Gonzales was NOT responsible for bringing us the "Patriot Act" the author of which was ...oh yes! our dear Sec. of Homeland Security MICHAEL CHERTOFF and his Geo. Law bud, Viet Dinh, who cooked that one up!

And speaking of that particular devil who's still in place, let's talk about HIM for a moment. Leaving aside those bozos who want drama king James Comey as AG (remember, Comey's nothing but an over-politicized weasel himself, (albeit one with aplomb, tall, and with that oh-so-pleasing to the eye whitebread look) which you'd know, if you knew these things...and Comey DID sign off on that domestic surveillance program, now didn't he? Despite all his theatrics, he's just another slick Republican operator who's jockeying for a position of prominence (hey, look at me-James Comey! See how great I am? I told you all about the hospital room encounter, except the Judiciary Comm'tee already knew and agreed that Gonzales and Card should go to the hospital-it wasn't Gonzales' idea in the first place!) in the upcoming elections, putting himself and politics first-despite his protestations to the contrary!

But back to Chertoff, and the recent shambles at DOJ, who's still there now? Why ALICE FISHER, Asst. AG for Criminal, Chertoff's protegee-neither a federal prosecutor, nor ever even a civil litigator she! Good god, you talk about an EMBARASSMENT! Justice employee, I got news for you and ex-Ausa-you all are SEVERELY deluded about all those "good things" that DOJ is doing on an operational level-The fact of the matter is, you've had NO ONE minding the store at DOJ, you've got career prosecutors running wild, misleading juries and allowed to basically skirt both legal ethics rules and particularly, prosecutorial conduct policy while putting on these Soviet-style "show trials" -as we saw with the most recent example of Padilla, and Moussaoui before him, at the behest of the WH operators who are pulling the strings, led by the stealthful Francis Fragos Townsend in the WH, and the obedient and know-absolutely-nothing-about-nothing- Ms. Fisher, taking her cues from her former boss and mentor Chertoff, and this is what we have had, and we've seen the effects of this crowd every time there has been a "terrorism trial" which DOJ exploits to herald all this good work they're doing. BS! When career prosecutors are allowed to distort facts, EMBELLISH AND MISLEAD federal juries, who are going to believe most anything a federal prosecutor tells them about "terrorists", and with no one at the Department setting any guidelines, or saying a word about the distortions, except, job well done! Justice (with a capital "J") is quite clearly NOT BEING DONE by those "career professionals" you all are going on about.

However, it must be said that the WH has made a recent step in the right direction by naming a competent, experienced, well-regarded career prosecutor as the new Deputy AG-Craig Morford. But then, it would be hard to get any worse than the deceptive, dissembling know-nothing Paul McNulty, now wouldn't it?

Gonzales' leaving is a good thing, yes, but you've got to get ALL the rot out at DOJ, and that MEANS Alice Fisher has got to go too -you simply cannot have an Asst, AG for Criminal who has no experience whatsoever in these matters-any "experience" which has been strictly OJT for her. The American taxpayers deserve far better competency and professionalism from the top DOJ officials than what they've gotten in the last several years, no question about that. But it is the irreparable harm to the rule of law that has occurred with these bozos' implementation of policy in the "war on terror" - Chertoff being really one of the prime architects of same-which is much more sinister, long-lasting, and harder to reverse. The deleterious effects of these overly-politicized show cases, and these laws, i.e., the Patriot Act, remain to be seen.

With Gonzales gone, there's no way to go but up-and it CANNOT be Chertoff. Remember, Chertoff is all embroiled in that Chiquita banana republic scandal-you know, looking the other way as Columbian honest-to-god terrorist death squads received blood money from the banana companies, who came to Chertoff for assistance, but, Chertoff just let the status quo ride-wouldn't want to rock THAT boat and put himself out there and go about shutting down those terrorist operations there, now would he-too politically risky for M. Chertoff by a mile!

Acting with such passivity, and IN FURTHERANCE OF TERRORISM (maybe unlawfully?) and being AG just don't make for a very good fit, now DO it? Of course, Chertoff, while at DOJ, (and continuing at DHS)-COULD HAVE CARED LESS about terrorism or threats to homeland security--it's ALWAYS been all about what Michael Chertoff can do to give himself good press, regardless of how his positions (or more accur ately, passivity and non-action) negatively impacts homeland defense-that's HIS modus operandi, everything else be damned. The American taxpayer has seen him "in action" when he fiddled and idled while New Orleans burst and collapsed. So it bears repeating, Chertoff and his crowd have got to go, replaced by officials with experience, integrity, and professionalism, WITHOUT POLITICAL AXES TO GRIND OR JOCKEYING FOR A POWER GRAB.

Those people are out there. The Prez has named Paul Clement, the DOJ Solicitor General, as the new temporary AG-and his credentials and competency are sterling.(which is not the same as saying one has to agree with all his positions or arguments, however, he is a TRUE lawyer's lawyer, knows his way around a courtroom, and understands what the rule of law is all about). The WH has shown that it can find competent officials-because the people aren't going to take the same old same old Cabinet shuffle of old. Enough is enough.

Posted by: | August 28, 2007 01:34 PM

Tubbs, thank you, I owe you an apology for not reading your post carefully enough. I certainly misstated your views and I'm sorry for that. I'm like the dad in Dirty Dancing; when I'm wrong, I say I'm wrong.

Now give me back that envelope, Robbie!

Posted by: ExAUSA | August 28, 2007 02:46 PM

Anon at 1:34, whatever one's opinion, thanks for your comments, and appreciate your stating your perspective.

Posted by: Jon | August 28, 2007 02:46 PM

Thank you, Jon. And I want to say ONE MORE THING to those silly "Comey lovers" out there:

James Comey is an EMBELLISHER, MISLEADER AND EXAGGERATOR, (just like so many of those prosecutors who apparently took his cue and worked for him in the USAOs!-yeah, that's right!) AND THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER CLEARLY DOES NOT NEED ANY MORE POLITICAL THEATRE, OR WANNABEE DRAMATISTS AT THE DOJ, get it?

When you're the nation's top lawyer, you need to be NO-NONSENSE, LOW KEY, CREDIBLE, NO POLITICAL JOCKEY-and right now, DOJ has got that-Paul Clements and Craig Morford-no-nonsense, lawyer's lawyers types who will go about their business quietly, very competently, in a no-nonsense fashion, doing the work of the people, and who, most importantly, are NOT political hacks who like to call attention to themselves, BUT REAL LAWYERS-A DIMENSION OF DIFFERENCE FROM GONZALES, THAT PATHETIC POLITICAL HACK MCNULTY, AND THE KNOW-NOTHING CHERTOFF PROTEGEE ALICE FISHER.

In other words, Comey got way too much political baggage-and he's a drama king to boot-just exactly what DOJ does NOT NEED right now.

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