Sunday, May 20, 2007

RESIGNATION OF ATTORNEY GENERAL ALBERTO GONZALES IMMINENT: GOP SENATE LEADER SPECTER HINTS AT IMPENDING NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE

“I was very upset. I was angry. I thought I had just witnessed an effort to take advantage of a very sick man, who did not have the powers of the attorney general because they had been transferred to me.” --former deputy-Attorney General James B. Comey. (NYT, 05.15.2007)


Washington D.C.--The heat is truly being turned-up on the Bush administration and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. One of the primary reasons is that they're not turning over emails and documents that have been legally requested under proper congressional decorum. Now, the calls for resignation are coming from Republicans in the Senate, and it's not just Specter. As predicted at this site and elsewhere, they've been uncovering things that are far worse than the U.S. Attorney firings. Even Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) seems to be tilting in this direction, and Specter has been hinting there are many others in the GOP who will follow his own lead:

Specter and other senators said they were particularly troubled by testimony last week that Gonzales, when he was Bush's White House counsel, pressured then-Attorney General John Ashcroft to certify the legality of Bush's controversial eavesdropping program while Ashcroft was in intensive care. In his testimony, former deputy attorney general James Comey said he thought the no-warrant program was questionable and violated the law. Gonzales and White House chief of staff Andy Card then headed to Ashcroft's sick bed at George Washington University Hospital in an unsuccessful bid to convince Ashcroft otherwise. The program was eventually certified after it was modified. On Sunday, Schumer sent a letter to Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Cheney's chief of staff, David Addington, asking if they personally ordered Gonzales to Ashcroft's hospital room. When asked twice by reporters last week, Bush refused to answer. (AP, 05.20.2007)

There are still holdouts, like Lindsey Graham, but they're going to be in the minority soon. Maybe in a couple days. The resolution for a no-confidence vote will be non-binding, and meant as a symbolic gesture. However, it will substantially neutralize the attorney general's ability to work with Congress with any real seriousness or credibility. It's just another first step, but a momentous one considering the treatment this administration has been used to. There will be incredible acrimony, but in-the-end, Gonzales is going to be leaving.

To a degree, Specter is offering the Bush administration the chance to let Gonzales resign with some kind of dignity, and limiting the damage to the GOP. It could be a test by the GOP leadership whether the Bush administration even cares how much damage they are doing to the Republican Party. This writer wagers the neocons have never cared about this at all, at any point, because of their narrow-aims and interests. This should be unsurprising to anyone.

In the backdrop of all this, you have six (in toto) GOP Senators calling for Gonzales to step down--even urging him to do so. The charges of "political theater" by the Bush administration remind one of all the theater we were treated to in run up to the war in Iraq. It nearly outdid the pathos of classic Greek tragedy, or even the bawdiness of the Jacobites, Marlowe, or even Shakespeare. Dramatic it was, and dramatic the war has been, possibly the single-largest three-act play since Adolf Hitler invaded Poland. But back to that bedside visit with former-Attorney General, John Ashcroft.

Comey testified that he viewed the late-night hospital visit as an untoward effort to do an end-run around his opposition and approach a weakened Ashcroft while he was in intensive care."I was very upset. I was angry. I thought I just witnessed an effort to take advantage of a very sick man, who did not have the powers of the attorney general because they had been transferred to me," Comey testified.The encounter took place on March 10, 2004; the spy program, which was being periodically reviewed by administration lawyers, was due to expire the next day. (L.A. Times, 05.15.2007)

This was pretty explosive stuff, and the wires certainly covered it well...but tv? Not so good. CNN barely covered it, and I must have blinked and missed it on CBS. Most of the major news outlets were more concerned about the fires in California, Florida, and elsewhere. Just not the ones in Congress. But that's the jobs of editors--to edit out the things that are just too hard for all of us to handle. How kind of them. They put out fires, and try to contain the overall-picture of these events. More perception management.

None of that matters, and people are finding-out this information regardless. Just providing you these wire links is part of that job. It isn't necessarily journalism, it's having enough confidence in oneself to take the job of the editors away, all by deciding for ourselves what's going on. You don't have to buy my analysis, do your own. That's why there are links at the end of most of posts here. That said, it's pretty obvious that things are being shaken in the Capitol by the blogs, and that it doesn't take a genius to see what most of the motives at-play are in Congress.

Much of this is a result of a more efficient dissemination of information via the internet. People are not only getting better information, they are also able to more readily communicate with their representatives in Congress and their performance. This is a political earthquake of the best kind.

AP, "Specter: Vote Could Force Gonzales Out," 05.20.2007: http://news.lycos.com/dynamic/stories/G/GONZALES_PROSECUTORS?SITE=LYCOS&SECTION=home&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

L.A. times on the Ashcroft incident, 05.15.2007: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-surveil16may16,0,2533246.story?coll=la-home-nation

The New York Times on the former-deputy Attorney General's (James B. Comey) , 05.15.2007: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/15/washington/15cnd-attorneys.html?ex=1179892800&en=c41d70bfa982b4fe&ei=5018&partner=BRITANNICA