you don’t take the punching bag out of the gym
Many analysts and bloggers are all hopped up this week about the parade of rats leaving the perceived-as-sinking ship, SS Alberto Gonzales. Representative Adam Putnam, Chair of the House Republican Caucus, said the attorney general’s loss of credibility “diminishes the justice department.” Fox “News” anchor Chris Wallace announced on Sunday that no one would come on his show to defend AG AG. Senator Arlen “Mumbles” Specter has apparently given the White House a deadline of high noon today to clean up the barf that the attorney general left all over a Senate hearing room last week. (If they refuse? Senator Mumbles will no doubt threaten to be very displeased at some point in the future, after additional deliberation, but let’s not be too hasty.) Even a sanctimonious shill like Senator Orrin Hatch slipped up on Sunday and admitted that Fredo has a credibility problem.
But if we have learned nothing this year, we have learned that reports of Fat Albert’s imminent demise are about as valuable as Dick “Death Throes” Cheney’s assessments of the Iraqi insurgency.
Yes, in an average time, with an average presidency, dealing with an average number of failures, scandals, and misdeeds, a high-ranking figurehead as fucked up as Fredo would be considered a drag on the administration. But these are not average times, and for a well below average president with a well above average number of failures and scandals, his lil’ friend, Alberto Gonzales, is the best thing that could happen.
Instead of focusing on a president’s blatant violations of the Constitution, instead of discussing the administration’s massive domestic spying program—warrantless eavesdropping, wholesale data mining, unsupervised surveillance of US citizens—we are debating whether the country’s chief law enforcement officer perjured himself, or just almost perjured himself.
Instead of screaming from the highest hills that the purge of US attorneys was, at its roots, part of a grand plan by the White House to corrupt the democratic process and steal elections, we instead wonder about how much various Gonzales underlings knew, and who they talked to, and whether the attorney general was directly involved, and who serves at the pleasure of the president, and whether we should hold various officials in contempt of Congress or just threaten to do so.
While Bush and Cheney continue to fail the American people, line the pockets of their friends, and systematically dismantle the Constitution, various members of Congress are threatening to call for a special prosecutor—to investigate Gonzales!
How about, instead of us all doing the Gonzo shuffle, we get a special prosecutor to look into some of the corrupt actions of the Attorney General’s bosses? From sleazy energy deals, to lying us into the Iraq war, to the money gone missing during the reconstruction of Iraq, to the no-bid contracts for cronies, to the failures before and after hurricane Katrina, to the domestic spying, to the politicization of public agencies, to the CIA leak case, to the secret prisons, extraordinary rendition, and torture, to the US attorneys scandal, and so many more, the number of dodgy, disingenuous, dishonest, and downright dastardly dealings that merit an investigation could keep attorneys and prosecutors busy for the next six or seven of the vice president’s defibrillator batteries.
While there is no doubt in my mind that Abu Gonzales deserves to be, no, needs to be impeached, I am no longer content to fiddle with Fredo while the Constitution burns. If our Representatives and Senators can walk and chew gum at the same time, if they can investigate and impeach Gonzales while going full bore after the real kingpins of the crime syndicate known as the Bush/Cheney Administration, then I wish them Godspeed. But, if we continue as we have this last week, and so many weeks this year, then my considered opinion at this point is: skip it.
Of course, if there suddenly were no Alberto Gonzales to kick around anymore, then Congress, the establishment and non-establishment media, and, indeed, the rest of America, would have to turn their attentions elsewhere. . . perhaps somewhere just up the org chart.
As Orrin Hatch repeated many times this weekend, “Gonzales is being used a punching bag by Democrats and, frankly, some Republicans.” Which is why you won’t be seeing anyone in White House accepting the Alberto Gonzales’ “resignation” anytime soon.
(cross-posted to capitoilette and Daily Kos)