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27 April 2007

How many dives into the "Insufficient Memory" hole does it take an employee to get his boss's attention? Apparently 70 is not enough in the case of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. This is cronism at best. At worst it is a concerted effort to convert America into a dictatorhip, a Bush dynasty. Such a thought once was unthinkable.

Either way, Mr. Gonzales has his boss's confidence. And he is still the nation's top law-enforcement officer. He is serving at his own pleasure, not that of his boss, or so the story goes. That may change if a few more Republican Senators and Congresspeople declare their dismay.

Gonzales reminded us of Richard Nixon in the way he weaseled his way through a Senate hearing. He knew the subject matter of the hearing. He had weeks to refresh his memory. He was aware of the possible legal and political consequences. Yet he chose to non-testify. Some can see only two interpretations, he is either totally incompetent or duplicitous.

Let's see how that works out. Duplicitousness might well be rewarded in a White House bent on abolishing the Constitution under the guise of securing national safety. Mr. Gonzales, by several accounts, provided the so-called legal principles his boss used to abolish the Geneva Convention in our rules of engagement with other nations. Achieving this difficult job took a lot of competence, never mind the misguided morality and legality. So he must be competent. The "alternate hypothesis" must then be true. Mr. Gonzales was/is duplicitous.

So how does that work out? Duplicity can hardly be tolerated in the halls of justice in a Land of the Free. But Mr. Bush commended Mr. Gonzales for his fine job before the Congressional Committee over national TV. Until now we have hoped that Mr. Bush, himself, is merely incompetent. It pains us to think the "alternate hypothesis" also applies to him too. We dislike either/or situations and indeed there may be middle ground here, but Mr. Bush himself allows no middle ground.

Since the way Mr. Gonzales conducted the hearing is consistent with many other behavioral patterns and actions of and by this Administration, it is the only sensible conclusion we can draw. We must conclude this is partisan politics taken to an extreme--and others agree.

A copntemporary quote from Election Central captures the situation admirably well:

“Alberto Gonzales is the first Attorney General
who thought the truth, the whole truth
and nothing but the truth were
three different things." -- Rahm Emanuel.

"The Attorney General could offer no coherent explanation for the fiasco, because to do so would unveil the guiding principle at the core of this White House -- insinuating partisan politics into every aspect of government and bringing politics into what used to be a political-free zone – the Justice Department."

This is not Watergate; this is something worse, much worse. It is not just Mr. Gonzales who is duplicitous, duplicity is the pattern [computer template] of this Administration. The 2006 mid-term election came none too soon. It is not often that the people get to speak and do speak in such decisive tones. But with the electorate behind them, many people in the media and Congress are beginning to speak out. It is like they just found the courage of their convictions--long suppressed, probably out of fear of retribution.

Democracy is not yet quite dead in America; it was just beginning to look like it.


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