Monday, June 11, 2007

No confidence in Alberto Gonzales

By Michael J.W. Stickings

The Senate today is expected to hold a vote of no confidence in Attorney General Alberto Gonzales -- a non-binding vote to the effect that Gonzales "no longer holds the confidence of the Senate and of the American people".

This is, of course, true. Partisanship aside, it is quite likely that he doesn't have confidence of the Senate, and it would seem, too, that he doesn't have the confidence of the American people. His testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee a couple of months ago -- has it really been that long? -- was a joke, but what was more serious was his conduct regarding "purgegate," the firing of U.S. attorneys for partisan purposes. What did he know, and when? Was he involved, and when? To what degree was the White House (i.e., Rove) involved? Etc. There is so much that remains unclear, but there is also so much that points to either incompetence or malfeasance or being kept out of the loop, or some combination of all three, on Gonzales's part. He tried to defend himself on the op-ed page of the Post, but he only proved to be shamelessly self-serving.

Of course, Gonzales also distinguished himself as a defender of torture and illegal domestic surveillance while serving as chief counsel in the White House.

But these more serious concerns aside, it seems to me that he has more than warranted a vote of no confidence -- for what confidence is left? He will survive today's vote only because it is non-binding, because Republicans will close ranks to protect one of their own, even one whose conduct has been as reprehensible as Gonzales's, and because he still enjoys the support of the president -- likely because Bush loves to surround himself with sycophants, of which Gonzales is one of the more repugnant, and because he hates to give in to pressure from his critics, that is, because he is stubborn. But this does not mean that Gonzales will walk away from today's vote in a strong position. In any parliamentary system -- and I realize that America doesn't have one -- he would have been kicked out, or forced to resign, long ago. It is only because the American system allows the president to avoid parliamentary challenges that Gonzales is still in office.

And, on this, Tony Snow is wrong. "It is perfectly obvious that the president has the right to hire and fire people who serve at his pleasure," he said. Well, no. Let us not forget that Bush only nominated him to be attorney general. It was the Senate that -- mistakenly, in my view -- confirmed him. He does not serve at the pleasure of the president, that is, but it is in keeping with this administration's disregard for the Constitution that Bush's spokesman would suggest such nonsense.


One more point: Just to show what an asshole he is, and also how childish his party is, Republican Senator Tom (lesbians are doing it in the school washroom) Coburn of Oklahoma intends to propose, as Bob Geiger is reporting, an amendment to the Gonzales no-confidence resolution that amounts to an expression of no confidence in Congress itself. This is, says Geiger, "the legislative equivalent of something I would expect to see in my son's fourth-grade class".

Or from Republicans on Capitol Hill.

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  • Actually Paul has been getting good coverage with appearances on Bill Maher and the Daily Show. Those programs may reach more potential voters than the "debates" and it's true that many young people get more of their opinions on these talk shows than from other media.

    Common currency is not common government however and such a notion would, I think, be closer to a return to the gold standard, which if I'm not mistaken, Paul advocates. I cannot imagine any kind of political unification with Mexico or Canada, but of course I can imagine a level of multinational corporate involvement that would corrupt our sovereignty. Perhaps Democracy becomes moot when Halliburton and its ilk make national policy and I credit any candidate who can find a way to protect democracy from this extreme form of capitalism. Big Debt and Big money Republicans aren't even looking for a way.

    By Blogger Capt. Fogg, at 4:00 PM  

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