Wednesday, July 25, 2007
The Contemptuous Alberto Gonzales
Keith Olbermann's report on Gonzales appearance
Last night, I forced myself to sit through most of CSPAN's rebroadcast of AG Alberto Gonzales' smirking, sullen appearance (I won't call it testimony) before the Senate Judiciary Committee. I admit it -- I yelled at the TV set. Again.
Alberto's rude arrogance, his abject refusal to answer legitimate questions and his "I can't recall" refrains were frustrating enough, but his obvious lying and dissembling were executed without even a smidgeon of shame. Publicly. As if daring the Committee members to do something about it. He obviously feels protected by the Bush-Cheney cabal. As long as he continues to provide them cover, he can break any rule, any law, any protocol, for Bush himself has said he won't allow the Justice Department to investigate or prosecute Alberto for anything.
In any other era, the mainstream media would be all over the story of Alberto's deceit, incompetence and refusal to answer questions representing entirely legal constitutional oversight by the Congress. It would be on TV 24/7, like the Clinton stories were back in the days of Special Prosecutor Starr. Citizens would be up in arms, demanding action.
In any other era, of course, the person serving as president would never have appointed a slug like Gonzales and certainly would have forced a resignation if the AG behaved like Gonzales. In the Bush era, however, this is mere business as usual -- incompetence, dishonesty and acting above the law are commonplace, from the highest echelons of the White House on down. It's the modus operadi of the Bush administration: anti-democratic, unconstitutional and venal.
Will the Congress ever reach its limit and make a stand against Gonzales and his partners in crime? At least the language used by Senators yesterday was blunt indeed. Some Senatorial quotes from the SJC hearing, provided by Dana Milbank of the Washington Post:
"The department is dysfunctional. . . . Every week a new issue arises. . . . That is just decimating, Mr. Attorney General. . . . The list goes on and on. . . . Is your department functioning? . . . What credibility is left for you? . . . Do you expect us to believe that? . . . Your credibility has been breached to the point of being actionable."
And that was just from the top Republican on the committee, Arlen Specter (Pa.). Democrats had to scramble to keep up with the ranking member's contempt.
"I don't trust you," announced Chairman Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), who paused, while swearing in the witness, to emphasize "nothing but the truth" -- as if lecturing a child.
"You just constantly change the story, seemingly to fit your needs to wiggle out of being caught," added Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).
"You, sir, are in fact the problem," submitted Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).
What are the Senate's options to get at Gonzales? The choices are confusing, to say the least. A special prosecutor? Contempt of Congress or perjury charges? Impeachment of the AG? What's called "inherent contempt," whereby a trial would be held in the Senate and Gonzales would be seized by the Sergeant-at-Arms if convicted? Legal minds are no doubt working overtime to come up with something that can puncture the in-your-face criminality of Bush and company. Let's hope they get somewhere.
If the precedents being set by this bunch are allowed to stand unchallenged, what hope can we possibly have for the survival of our democracy, constitution or civil liberties?
- Sen. Chuck Schumer vs. Gonzales
- Sen. Arlen Specter vs. Gonzales
- Chair Patrick Leahy's closing statement (and Code Pink chants to resign)
- CSPAN's complete video of the hearing
I hope he does get nailed, and hard. But Bush first. I've said it before, and I'll say it again... I want them out. In handcuffs.
Posted by: Randall Sobien | Jul 26, 2007 12:01:14 AM
Who knows it might work better to start with Gonzales and work our way up. Either way I think it's so damned important to document their crimes or future administrations will feel free to do the same thing or worse. They need to be tried in some way and punished in some way.
Posted by: I Vote | Jul 26, 2007 12:10:23 AM
Gonzales is needed more than ever to do his job of: putting off, waiting out, denying, and being an outright THUG to Justice.
Posted by: Joe | Jul 26, 2007 2:46:07 AM
They just subpoened Rove!!!!!!!!!!!!! (not that any Bush crime family members will ever obey a subpoena and will respond ONLY to impeachment)
Posted by: Red or Green | Jul 26, 2007 4:37:11 PM
To be honest, I wouldn't be too surprised if Bush tried to defy impeachment.
Posted by: Randall Sobien | Jul 27, 2007 12:32:43 AM