From Charles Krauthammer in today’s Washington Post:
Alberto Gonzales has to go.
Okay, we’re off to a great start. Gonzales should’ve never been confirmed as Attorney General because of permissive stance on torture. And Mr. Krauthammer has shown a less than admirable permissiveness on torture. But that’s a great opening line.
I say this with no pleasure — he’s a decent and honorable man — and without the slightest expectation that his departure will blunt the Democratic assault on the Bush administration over the firing of eight U.S. attorneys. In fact, it will probably inflame their blood lust, which is why the president might want to hang on to Gonzales at least through this crisis. That might be tactically wise. But in time, and the sooner the better, Gonzales must resign.
I don’t get it. The Democrats are to blame. What? And doing the right thing would only fuel the out-of-control Democrats? I’m lost. So, “tactically wise” is better than leadership? I know I’d be foolish to expect leadership from the President, but we should at least demand it.
It’s not a question of probity but of competence. Gonzales has allowed a scandal to be created where there was none. That is quite an achievement. He had a two-foot putt and he muffed it.
How could he allow his aides to go to Capitol Hill unprepared and misinformed and therefore give inaccurate and misleading testimony? How could Gonzales permit his deputy to say that the prosecutors were fired for performance reasons when all he had to say was that U.S. attorneys serve at the pleasure of the president and the president wanted them replaced?
Oh. Now it makes sense. Gonzales didn’t do anything wrong, you see. There is no scandal in firing U.S. attorneys because they didn’t prosecute Democrats vigorously enough. People like me who think that politics should not be involved in deciding who to prosecute are mistaken. We’re being silly. A monarchical privilege is attached to the office of president.
Mr. Krauthammer goes on, but his logic isn’t worth pursuing. The clear paper trail showing nothing but slimy intentions to pervert the justice system for partisan ends is wrong. Mr. Krauthammer should not now celebrate that because his chosen party is in power in the White House. The Democrats will return to the White House. And if/when a Democratic president pulls this, we should all be equally appalled. This is not complicated.