The End Of The 'Texas Posse' In Washington
The "Resoundingly Awful" Gonzales Legacy
The Last Supper : Gonzales and his wife dines with the Bush's on Sunday, when and the president discussed his resignation
Now ex-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was the last of the original team that President Bush brought with him to the White House from Texas back in 2001, once near joyously referred to in Republican circles as 'The Texas Posse'. The last of posse has been run out of town.
Bush is clearly very sad to see Gonzales go, but even die-hard Bushians knew his time was up, and that the muck was piling up above the attorney general's eyes.
Gonzales had zero credibility left in Washington, and within the Justice Department. He lied repeatedly during Senate hearings and everybody knows it. Including Gonzales. But in his time in Washington, lying under oath was almost the least of his crimes.
Apparently Bush had a pet nickname for Gonzales, as he does for many people. Bush used to call his attorney general 'Fredo' :
Fredo, of course, was the hapless Corleone brother of Mario Puzo's Mafia novel. Forever getting in trouble and, more importantly, getting Michael in trouble. Screwing things up. Trying too hard, like lining up hookers for a strictly-business trip Michael made to Vegas. In the end, betraying his family to Hyman Roth, and finally getting iced by his own brother, the Godfather.We don't yet know whether Bush iced Gonzales...
Here's some of what President Bush had to say today about the departure of Gonzales :
Al Gonzales is a man of integrity, decency and principle, and I have reluctantly accepted his resignation with great appreciation for the service that he has provided for our country.Then Bush winds off into a long reciting of Gonzales resume. Not a good sign when a friend of more than 13 years has to run through your CV to fill time. More from Bush :
As attorney general and before that as White House counsel, Al Gonzales has played a critical role in shaping our policies in the war on terror and has worked tirelessly to make this country safer.
The Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act and other important laws bear his imprint.
When I became governor of Texas in 1995, I recruited him from one of Texas' prestigious law firms to be my general counsel. He went on to become Texas' 100th secretary of state and to serve on our state's supreme court.
In the long course of our work together this trusted adviser became a close friend.
After months of unfair treatment, that has created a harmful distraction at the Justice Department, Judge Gonzales decided to resign his position and I accept his decision.
It's sad that we live in a time when a talented and honorable person like Alberto Gonzales is impeding from doing important work because his good name was dragged through the mud for political reasons.
Bush is saying that nasty Congress was trying to politicise the Justice Department, a Bush-reality chain that his backers will be hitting the media hard with in the next couple of days - Gonzales just wanted to do his job, it was Congress who threw the mud and cranked up the politics.
Thinks Progress reminds its readers that it was Gonzales, not the Congress, who ended up politicizing the Justice Department and causing so much damage and ill will through the nation's judiciary :
– It was Alberto Gonzales, not Congress, who fired attorneys for political reasons.
– It was Alberto Gonzales, not Congress, who gave the White House political team unprecedented power to intercede in the affairs of the Justice Department.
– It was Alberto Gonzales, not Congress, who dissembled and misled about the administration’s spying activities.
– It was Alberto Gonzales, not Congress, who lied in stating that all Bush appointees would be Senate-confirmed.
Michael Tomasky vents with enthusiasm on the 'Gonzales legacy' :
...Gonzales' legacy is so resoundingly awful that one can't imagine which of his failures and transgressions his eventual obituary writers and future historians will highlight. Lying to Congress, which is the clear implication made in testimony by his former aide Monica Goodling? Potential witness tampering, another charge Goodling made implicitly under oath? Helping Bush cover up his old drunk driving conviction?
Wait, there's more! Helping Bush, then governor of Texas, set a modern record for one governor in ordering 150 executions, reviewing in his capacity as Bush's counsel more than fifty clemency applications and never recommending clemency once? Later, declaring the Geneva Conventions "quaint"?
And of course, there's overseeing the firings of nine US attorneys because they would not participate in overtly political prosecutions.
Alert to his bosses' desire for untrammelled executive power, he freed them from September 10-era international conventions and approved the use of torture.
And, awake to Karl Rove's aspiration that the GOP consolidate its hold on certain states that would be crucial to a Republican majority in the electoral college in 2008, he allowed his department to try to install political-hack prosecutors to help clear Democrats out of the way.
It is known that Gonzales once pined for a seat on the Supreme Court. Bush did not advance Gonzales' name either time he had the opportunity to do so, and now of course, if Bush were to get another shot at nominating a Supreme Court justice, he couldn't possibly put Gonzales forward.
Is Gonzales bitter about this? He said in his farewell press conference that he'd lived the American dream and was grateful to Bush. But does he privately feel that for years, he's done nothing but Bush's - and Rove's, and with regard to torture, Dick Cheney's - dirty work, and now this is the thanks he gets?Gonzales' sorry legacy is already written in stone, a tenure of service that was a tragedy for America...