April 19, 2007 Leave a comment
As I was listening to a decent bit of Alberto Gonzalez's desperate and hopeless effort to redeem himself today, the thought that occurred to me was, “stop lying and evading the truth. And face up to your own extraordinarily obvious incompetence damnit.” Anyway, lie and obscure as Gonzalez might, the truth does not set him free, but rather damns him. I've been looking for a while for a nice piece that succinctly sums up the facts and problems in this scandal. Smart and reliable Jonathan Chait at The New Republic has done the job
[The Wall Street] Journal conceded that, in theory,
it “would be genuine grounds for outrage … if a U.S. attorney were
dismissed to interfere with a specific prosecution, or to protect some
crony.” However, the editorial continued, while Clinton had done this,
“there is no such evidence involving any of the eight Bush attorneys.”
No such evidence? How bizarre. There was no evidence that Clinton had done anything like this, unless you consider the Journal's
preternatural suspicion of everything Clinton did to be “evidence.”
With Bush, on the other hand, there's an enormous amount of evidence.
So far, we know that New Mexico Republicans called prosecutor David
Iglesias before last November's elections to urge him to indict
Democrats on charges of voter fraud. When he refused, the chairman of
the New Mexico GOP complained to Karl Rove. Rove, in turn, complained
to the Justice Department about Iglesias. And, shortly after that,
Iglesias was added to the list of prosecutors to be fired.
On top of that, you have lots of
suspicious behavior lurking in the background. There is an e-mail from
Gonzales's chief of staff explicitly judging prosecutors on the basis
of whether they are “loyal Bushies.” You have the Justice Department's
shifting stories as to exactly why it had fired the prosecutors. And
Rove's and Harriet Miers's
insistence that their testimony on the matter be given in
taking an oath or a transcript, and with a promise of no further
follow-up testimony if contradictions arise–is not the sort of
behavior you'd expect from people who have nothing to hide.
And, on top of that, you have a lot of pretty suggestive
facts. You have the fact that, since the Bush administration came to
power, U.S. attorneys have investigated or indicted just 67
Republicans, compared with 298 Democrats. You have a spurious
preelection conviction of a Democratic governor's appointee in
Wisconsin that, after the election, was quickly and unanimously
overturned by a three-judge panel featuring two
Republican appointees. (The “evidence
is beyond thin,” declared one judge.) Then there was the fact that the
attorney investigating Jack Abramoff's shady dealings with Guam was
demoted the day after issuing his subpoena, thus halting the
investigation. None of this is proof, but surely it's evidence.
Gonzalez has testified today as if this evidence does not exist. But it does and it surely puts him and his boss in a very negative light.