By Martin Bosworth
The New York Times broke the story this morning: Alberto Gonzales is resigning.
The fact that this is happening bright and early on a Monday morning makes me think that it wasn’t done at Bush’s behest–if the White House had been in control of this, they’d have waited until the Friday of Labor Day weekend to bury it. So, then, what can we say about this development?
That Abu Gonzo needed to go is beyond question. The man has been one of the most embarrassingly, appallingly, unbelievably corrupt public officials in recent political history. He has openly lied and perjured himself before Congress, openly championed illegal, invasive, unconstitutional, and ineffectual surveillance programs, and turned the Justice Department into a cesspool of cronies, hacks, and GOP operatives who put political loyalty to The Decider above their duties to the country. The man’s obssessive loyalty to Bush, according to the NYT and other reports, not only prompted him to demolish the standing and respect of the DOJ, but to throw himself on his sword in order to give Bush cover, after his abysmally lame testimonies before Congress. (Of course, one has to wonder if all of these “unnamed officials” would have been so quick to toss Gonzo aside had he lied more successfully.)
Trial balloons were already being floated regarding the idea of DHS head Michael Chertoff replacing Gonzo, which would make for some pretty amusing confirmation hearings as we approach the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and would revisit Chertoff’s own series of failures. Whatever does happen, the Democrats have a responsibility to not roll over this time and just meekly accept whomever the Bush regime puts forth–indeed, as Glenn Greenwald says, the Dems already let themselves be played for fools on FISA, and the appointment of a new Attorney General demands not only a candidate who is truly independent, ethical, accountable, and principled, but much stronger oversight and inquisition during the hearings and afterward.
What’s really amazing about this is that it marks the near-total end of Bush’s inner circle. Rumsfeld is long gone, Rove is out, Miers is gone, Rice is ostracized–that leaves no one but Darth Cheney himself to guide the hand of Mr. 26%. Not only that, Gonzo’s resignation caps a mass exodus from the DOJ of his operatives and pawns. Think about that–as of right now, there may literally be no one minding the store at the nation’s highest office of law enforcement.
Then again, when you look back at the record of corruption, malfeasance, illegality, blatant political partisanship, and general stupidity of the DOJ under Gonzo’s tenure (and going well back to Ashcroft’s reign), it’s safe to say that no one’s been minding the store for a very, very long time.