A Man with a Flashlight

The Gonzales Hearing – a Youtube retrospective
April 20, 2007, 1:10 pm
Filed under: Politics, The Imperial President

Alberto Gonzales flame-grilled, with a side of barbecue sauce…

I wouldn’t want to get on Schumer’s bad side. Maybe Alberto Gonzales is wishing he hadn’t.

Leahy twists the knife, with a dash of Vermont humor:

Republicans aren’t exactly throwing themselves in front of the bullets. Unless telling Gonzales to resign counts:

Lindsay Graham calls Gonzales a liar, in courtly southern fashion:

Gonzales even manages to piss off Arlen Specter. Is there anyone for him not to argue with?

The Washington Post has the story here and here.

Five years into the War on Terror, it seems fair to say that the Bush administration has been fighting on two fronts: abroad, a war against Islamic terrorism, and at home, a war against the coequal branches of government.

While Republicans controlled Congress (and they could count on the President to boost their election chances, instead of hurt them) this war at home went well.

All that ended with the 2006 election. If that wasn’t completely clear at the time, it’s being driven home now. U.S. Attorney-gate is the first big engagement in a power struggle between the president and congress, and Alberto Gonzales is the administration’s soldier.

It is clear that many in Congress, led by Democrats but including Republicans, want to take him down – both to punish the President’s actions in the Attorney scandal, and as part of a broader fight to reclaim Congress’s parity with the Executive. This is compounded by Gonzales’ apparent cluelessness about the actions of his own office, which wins him even more enemies, while giving plentiful political cover to those who already dislike him for other reasons. And that Gonzales seems to be either lying, or extraordinarily forgetful, puts the cherry on top and tips the Senate over into semi-riot mentality.

Watch the January Gonzales hearings on Youtube. Or click here, or here. Watch how Leahy, Specter, and Feingold question Gonzales, before the Attorney scandal. They wanted his blood then too, they just couldn’t find anywhere to sink their teeth in.

Now their opportunity is here, and they’re going to do him if they can. Unfair? I’m not sure. The Attorney firings were something of an Executive raid into no-man’s land – especially if, as seems likely, the goal was to use Attorneys to pursue political prosecutions. Now Congress is sending the message that the border between the President’s authority and theirs is patrolled, and anyone on a foray across it had better watch where they step. Gonzales didn’t.

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