Charita Goshay: Bush and Cheney remain big Gonzales fans
Say what you will, President Bush’s Cabinets have looked more like America than any previous administration. Who among us foresaw the day that one of the most powerful people on the planet would be a black woman? But like so many decisions made by the Decider-in-Chief, his choice of Alberto Gonzales for attorney general has come back to bite him in the saddle.
Gonzales’ zeal in supporting Bush’s disregard for all things constitutional has struck one iceberg after another, from dismissing the Geneva Conventions as “quaint,” to drop-kicking habeas corpus, to dismissing eight Bush-appointed prosecutors, primarily because they wouldn’t stop investigating crooked Bushies.
Who knew that John Ashcroft’s wacky insistence that two seminude statues displayed in the Justice Department be draped would be the good old days?
Now comes word that Gonzales may have perjured himself during a recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. It centers on his recollection of a 2004 congressional briefing and a subsequent visit to a bedridden Ashcroft after interim Attorney General James Comey refused to recertify a domestic surveillance program.
Testimony by Comey and FBI Director Robert Mueller flatly contradict Gonzales’, stopping just short of saying that his pants are on fire.
In the case of Gonzales, it’s not just a matter of truthiness but, well, goofiness. Wearing a Valium-esque expression that belies his squiggly responses, Gonzales, who apparently earned his juris doctorate from the Bill Clinton School of Semantics, has a maddening habit of saying exactly what he claims not to mean. Take, for example, this recent exchange with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.):
Gonzales: I clarified my statement two days later with the reporter.
Schumer: What did you say to the reporter?
Gonzales: I did not speak directly to the reporter.
Schumer: What did your spokesperson say to the reporter?
Gonzales: I don’t know. But I told the spokesperson to go back and clarify my statement.
Schumer: Sir, with all due respect you’re just saying, “Well, it was clarified with the reporter,” and you don’t even know what he said. You don’t even know what the clarification is. ... You’re now telling us that it was a spokesperson who did it. What did that spokesperson say? Tell me, how do you clarify this?
Gonzales: I don’t know, but I’ll find out and get back to you.
Exit, Stage Right?
Bush insists that Gonzo’s doin’ a good job. If you haven’t noticed, the White House has a new, all-purpose slogan, dismissing any opposition as “political theater.” Certainly, Democrats deserve their dismal approval numbers for such silly stunts as “sleepover” debates on issues they know they can’t win. And to be fair, Gonzales’ office has made inroads against child pornography and gang violence, but his penchant for bending the truth until it resembles a Krazy Straw has worn out even his supporters. Gonzales
said he wants to stay on board to fix the problems plaguing the Justice Department. But that would require his leaving.
Vice President Dick Cheney says he’s one of Gonzales’ biggest fans.
Yep. That ought to do it.
Reach Canton Repository writer Charita Goshay at (330) 580-8313 or e-mail: