Sunday, April 15, 2007

He didn't do nothing

By Michael J.W. Stickings

In anticipation of his much-anticipated Congressional testimony, AG Alberto Gonzales defends himself -- lamely -- in today's WaPo.

And -- guess what? He did nothing wrong!

Well, that's it, then. We're done. Right?

Er, no. Gonzo's op-ed is so shamelessly self-serving that it barely deserves serious attention. He says the "public firestorm" is an over-reaction to what was, initially, "a well-intentioned management effort". He was just looking into "changes in leadership" that would "benefit the department". The "public controversy" was "unintended".

Gonzo accepts responsibility -- but only for "[his] role in commissioning this management review process," not for the firings. Indeed, he has "no basis to believe that anyone involved in this process sought the removal of a U.S. attorney for an improper reason".

Yadda yadda yadda. (The last paragraph in particular is predictable bullshit: "I know the real strength of America..." Fantastic.)

Now might be a good time for a definition, though:

Definition -- "an improper reason": any reason that becomes public, arouses significant media attention and bipartisan criticism of the Bush Administration, and must be denied at all costs.

Besides, as Creature notes over at State of the Day, whether or not Gonzo ordered the firings for "an improper reason" (or for any reason) isn't the question. Rather, the question is whether his superiors did -- you know, his puppetmasters, his overlords (i.e., Karl Rove et al.).

Gonzo is "already a footnote in this story". Yet he's the one who will be out there explaining the firings to Congress. Because that's his role as puppet AG, White House fall guy, Libby-like scapegoat. There's no way he was calling the shots, and that's how he can write such sanctimonious drivel in his defence.

As a hardcore Bush loyalist, the ultimate team player, his role has always been to obey orders and protect his masters. Reading over his op-ed, there's something deeply pathetic about it, as if he doesn't really understand what's going on around him -- or how it all came to this, "an undignified Washington spectacle". And -- you know what? -- he may even believe his own drivel. Not knowing any better, or anything at all, he may actually believe it was all just some "well-intentioned management effort" that got way out of hand and is now being completely misrepresented. Which is to say, he may be more deceived than deceiver, more dupe than liar.

The key to uncovering this scandal will be to identify the political machinations behind the scapegoat's convenient ignorance.

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