The Practical Argument Against Giving Alberto Gonzales the Boot
Senator Chuck Schumer said today that Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez should get the boot; so did the New York Times. In most circumstances I would agree; it’s not making an argument that Gonzales is a competent attorney general that’s hard, it’s making the argument without giggling that’s the problem.
However, the fly in the Gonzalez resignation ointment is that the guy who appointed Gonzalez would be in charge of appointing his successor, and if six years has taught us anything about Dubya, it’s that “appointing competent people” is only slightly above “speaking both grammatically and extemporaneously” on his “Things I’m Really Good At” list. Moreover, if the recent attorney firings scandal tells us anything, it is that when it comes to the Department of Justice, Bush appointments trend toward devolution; hell, that’s even evident at the top, since Gonzalez is an even worse Attorney General than John Ashcroft was, and when you consider that what Ashcroft really needed was a two by four with the United States Constitution laser-etched onto its surface liberally applied to his skull at least twenty hours a day, that’s no mean feat.
So, the question becomes: If Alberto Gonzales resigns or is fired, given Bush’s previous track record at Justice, who is the logical person that Bush will nominate as Attorney General? Well, I think the answer is pretty clear:
Yes, it will be Snidely Whiplash. True, he’s Canadian, which normally might be problematic for this position. However, here it works to his advantage, as this likely snippet from his Senate Confirmation hearing shows:
SENATOR SCHUMER: Mr. Whiplash, tell me, what are we to make of your predilection for malfeasance, specifically your numerous attempts to tie Nell Fenwick to train tracks?
SNIDELY WHIPLASH: Senator, I admit I have had my share of youthful indiscretions; who among us has not? But those indiscretions are decades in the past, and at no time have I ever broken the laws of these great United States.
SCHUMER: Are you trying to suggest that forcibly kidnapping a woman, assaulting her by tying her up with rope, and then attempting to murder her by placing her in the path of a train is not against the law?
WHIPLASH: What I can say is that I have not broken the laws of this country, senator.
SCHUMER: Would you agree that kidnapping, assault and attempted murder are crimes in this country, Mr. Whiplash?
WHIPLASH: Naturally, senator, I would need to consult with staff to explore the relevant statutes.
SENATOR BROWNBACK: Mr. Whiplash, about these youthful indiscretions of yours: Are you prepared to swear in front of this committee that you will not attempt the kidnapping, assault and murder of Nell Fenwick when you are Attorney General?
WHIPLASH: You have my word, senator. (Twirls mustache)
Snidely Whiplash, your next Attorney General. You heard it here first.
So remember: if you’re agitating for Gonzalez’s removal, you can’t say you weren’t warned.