The Most Schadenfreudtastic Story of the Month

From the New York Times:

Alberto R. Gonzales, like many others recently unemployed, has discovered how difficult it can be to find a new job. Mr. Gonzales, the former attorney general, who was forced to resign last year, has been unable to interest law firms in adding his name to their roster, Washington lawyers and his associates said in recent interviews…

“Maybe the passage of time will provide some opportunity for him,” said one Washington lawyer who was aware of an inquiry to his firm from a Gonzales associate. “I wouldn’t say ‘rebuffed,’ ” said the lawyer, who asked his name not be used because the situation being described was uncomfortable for Mr. Gonzales. “I would say ‘not taken up.’ ”

Alberto Gonzalez, meet karma. Karma, Alberto Gonzalez. You kids were made for each other.

I’m not so petty that I hope Gonzalez does not find suitable employment, but given his immediate past record, I think it’s fairly evident that “the law,” “suitable employment” and “Alberto Gonzalez” really ought not be used together in a sentence, unless “is not” is placed between the first and second of these phrases. Unfortunately, that leaves “lick-spittlery” as Gonzalez’s only marketable skill, and, well. Link-spittlery really is a young person’s game, isn’t it. Gonzalez had a good run in that department with Bush, but he was rode hard and put away wet by the president, and everyone knows it. No one wants a tired old second-hand lick-spittler when new ones, young and dewy fresh, are thick on the ground. “Discarded Sycophant” just doesn’t make friends as a resume line item.

Which leaves what? Well, maybe Gonzalez has a heretofore unknown hobby — interpretive dance, perhaps, or knitting — that he can capitalize on for a new career. Maybe he could take all that experience he’s had testifying on the Hill and use it to become a testimony coach (although one wonders, once Gonzalez handed over the slip of paper with the phrases “I don’t know,” “I’m not familiar with that” and “I’ll have to check with my staff and get back to you on that,” on it, if the rest of his coaching time would be spent in awkward silence). There’s always the memoir route, although if his congressional testimony is anything to go by, the memoir would have him taking a nap on the afternoon of February 3, 2005, and then waking up in September of 2007 without much of an idea of what went on during the interim. The memoir would at least be short, which has its appeal.

But what Gonzalez really needs to do is just hang on for a few more months; after that Dubya will ride to his rescue by appointing him General Counsel for the GWB Presidential Library, where Gonzalez can happily deny scholarly access to administration documents well into retirement age. It’s a dream of dreams, to be sure, for the both of them.

Until then, clip those coupons, Alberto! It’s not much longer now. And when it’s done, the memory of all those tight-budget Top Ramen suppers will taste like victory.

42 thoughts on “The Most Schadenfreudtastic Story of the Month

  1. He needs a show on talk radio. Just think of all the exciting topics he’ll be able to talk about not recalling.

    PS- The Discarded Sycophants sounds the name of some almost-was early 90’s punk group.

  2. You can’t really put a price on an experienced lick-spitter, expecially with the way today’s young lick-spitters hop from job to job. I’m sure he’ll land on his feet.

  3. Well… he’s still making more than I do, doing speeches at $30k a pop. He’s just not making the seven figure salary that has become the norm for ex-AGs.

    He’ll end up in a GOP think-tank, or a board member of some GOP-friendly company, and go back to making more than you and I combined.

    (Is my excess cynicism showing?)

  4. Sean Eric Fagan called it. Or were on the same cynicism train (all aaaaaaboarrrrrdddd!).

    All righty, then. (Nathan, that was just for you)

  5. In other laywer/enabler news, the question of John Yoo’s tenure at Berkeley has been breached by Brad DeLong and others.

  6. That is the most unfortunate for Mr. G. The news reminds me of another person, Ms. Monica Lewinsky. It’s been ten years, she got a masters from the London School of Economics, but still can’t find a job, due to the extensive network of Clintons all around. But she did get her blue dress back. http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Story?id=4165399&page=1 Probably not as good a piece of news as Matthew Ernest’s.

  7. Soldiers older than Gonzales (b. 1955) are being deployed to Iraq, which suggests to me that the Army should accept him if he volunteered to fight in the war he supported so zealously.

  8. What was the name of that fifth-rate Bible-thumping school that his lackeys went to? A professorship there would be just the ticket for Alberto!

    Messiah College, that’s it… or Regent University… either one!

  9. Oh, yes!!! MEC has it just right. I’m sure there’s a JAG Corps lawyer or two that could use a break.

  10. Every time someone writes ‘lick-spittler’ instead of ‘lickspittle’, God pokes a wombat in the scrotum.

    Obviously, this is unfair to male wombats.

  11. If this were a just and fair world, the Bar Association would have informed Mr. Gonzales by now that it’s terribly cute that he thinks he’s still licensed to practice law. You know, legal ethics and first duty is to the court and all that nonsense.

  12. Scott Spiegelberg @14

    Janet Reno is 70. I think the proper term for her is “retired.”

    Right. But clearly she didn’t want to be retired. In 2002 she wanted to be Governor of Florida.

    I suspect Gonzales will do OK. I mean, it’s not like he ever used the FBI to roast anybody.

  13. Nah, he just approved the water-boarding. Fire, water. Yet another difference between the left and right.

    Well, he’s been at GW’s right-hand for so long, once the President is out and back at his old job, I’m sure there would be a position for ol’ Al. Oh wait, what am I talking about. Well, maybe GW will need someone to help haul wood down in Crawford, and Karl Rove burns so easily. Now that would be an interesting picture in the news.

  14. Also, and I expect this is a salient point, there’s a difference between running for public office after being AG and not being elected, and looking for a job at law firms after being AG and not having anyone willing to give you a gig.

    As with Frank, I do expect Gonzales will eventually be employed. I’m just happy it’s taking a karmically appropriate amount of time.

  15. Hey, Gonzales did two things during his tenure that were really very good. One, he made people pine for the John Ashcroft days, and two, he took himself off of the short list for Bush SCOTUS nominees. Before he was AG it was pretty-well assumed that he would be an eventual Republican Hispanic SCOTUS nom.

  16. I’m not so petty that I hope Gonzalez does not find suitable employment

    You’re a lot more hard-hearted than I am. I hope Gonzales finds suitable employment. I really do.

    Suitable employment for Mr. Gonzales would be stamping out license plates.

  17. Wow. No fallback position from The Olin Foundation? The American Enterprise Institute? The Project for the New American Century? Some loyalty. Sheesh.

    Hey, I’ve got the perfect place for ‘Berto so send his resume to! Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. Formerly The School For The Americas.

    If you don’t know what the School For The Americas was, and have an opinion on US policy torture, I suggest doing some research on it.

  18. Perhaps Mr. Gonzales needs to go international. Somewhere in the world, there must be a country crying out for its constitution to be subverted.

  19. It’s not cynical at all to assume Gonzales will get on the lecture/think-tank route – Washington DC is a very small and incestuous town, politically speaking. Or maybe he’ll end up as a lobbyist. You know, they’re always telling law students one can do so many things with a JD besides practicing law…

  20. I have a dream… in which — after the Bush administration seniors are indicted for war crimes and sentenced to hard labor for 100 years or twenty times the duration of the Iraq war, whichever proves greater — they are tasked with building one mile of border fence between the U.S. and Mexico which they shall erect and disassemble daily, only to move to another spot on the border to repeat the task again. And again. And again… a suitably Promethian undertaking. Should they die, their soulless corpses should be reanimated so the task may continue until the sentence is completed.

    And in my dream those so indicted will be aided and overseen in their task by those same fellows who enabled them in the current regime, for — recognized as the immoral and contemptible pariahs they are — there would be no other work to be had.

  21. Dear Mr Gonzales,
    I hear you have fallen on hard times finding employment.
    I am sorry to hear that and I am prepared to offer you a job next weekend helping me move.
    Lunch will be provided.

    Thanks,
    Ray

  22. You have to be a DC lawyer to understand how stunning this is. DC law firms (and, I would assume, also large firms in Texas) go crazy for this sort of extremely high-ranking former official.

    Janet Reno declined to go into private practice, so doesn’t provide a good comparison. But other recent AGs have certainly gotten the money. Dick Thornburgh and John Ashcroft, for instance, each got extremely high-paying positions at legal or consulting firms. Former Carter administration Attorney General Benjamin Civelletti was in the news last year for billing $1000 per hour at his Baltimore-based law firm. (The hourly rate has apparently gone down since then.)

    The fact that Gonzales can’t get anything indicates: (1) An extreme lack of confidence in his legal ability and judgment; (2) A sense that he is associated with the most discredited wing of this Administration, and that his connections will therefore be useless once this administration (finally) leaves the scene; (3) or, possibily, real concern that he will be indicted or humiliated once details of the U.S. Attorney firings and other issues at the Department are fully aired (i.e., once a new administration is in, so that the President can no longer sidetrack all investigations).

  23. He can always get a job as a copy editor, perhaps waterboarding appropriate rodents whenever an author makes a grammatical error. He’ll be alright.

    BTW, is it “waterboarding,” “water boarding” or “water-boarding?” And which creature gets it if I get it wrong?

  24. dcuser

    The fact that Gonzales can’t get anything indicates: (1) An extreme lack of confidence in his legal ability and judgment; (2) A sense that he is associated with the most discredited wing of this Administration, and that his connections will therefore be useless once this administration (finally) leaves the scene; (3) or, possibily, real concern that he will be indicted or humiliated once details of the U.S. Attorney firings and other issues at the Department are fully aired (i.e., once a new administration is in, so that the President can no longer sidetrack all investigations).

    My guess is 1. Two and three are unlikely given that a) Ashcroft was also part of the “most discredited wing of this Administration” and b) there clearly is no criminal liability associated with 3).

    So I’ll go with one and raise you the fact that he was simply incompetent, both as a manager of the DOJ and as an advocate for his positions.

    And it showed.

  25. If all else fails, Mr Gonzalez can always write his memoirs. “How I Shredded the Constitution of my Own Country Without Fun or Profit”, by Alberto R. Gonzalez: future best-seller?

  26. Hugh57 31:
    BTW, is it “waterboarding,” “water boarding” or “water-boarding?” And which creature gets it if I get it wrong?

    It’s waterboard, like overboard and unlike room and board. Or room-and-board.

    And it’s cuddly baby seals, so watch it.

  27. Maybe he can do a TV series. “My name is Al.” Gonzalez can make a list of all the things he’s done (and by extension, all the bad things done to others for which he provided a dubious legal bulwark) and try and contact those people to see what he can do to cleanse his karma by helping to rectify the transgressions. He could be tagged along by Karl Rove.

  28. One can certainly gather from this that his karma exceeds his charisma (cultural crossover, or what?). Unfortunately, there is almost no way, unless he is reborn as a young Arab man, that he will ever satisfy the karmic debt he incurred.

    However, he will get a job that pays annually what most of us earn in a decade or a lifetime.

    Even a small dollop of justice is better than none at all.

  29. I am sure once Cheney takes back over at Halliburton that there will be jobs a plenty for people like shallow Al.

  30. Darkseid, Dr. Doom, or Darth Vader wouldn’t have their unwanted lickspittles go unemployed. They’d deal with the matter PROPERLY.

  31. Comedy! I busted up laughing when I scrolled down the screen, and the (ex)-AG was smiling at me, begging for food.

  32. Ray @28, I’d advise against letting AG help you move, if you value your property. Between the disappearance of easily-salable items, and the breakage of delicate things, and the waterboarding of your cat…just not worth it.

    dcuser @30, law firms want to hire former attorneys general for the sake of name recognition. In Gonzales’ case, that’s the thing that would be the biggest liability. Maybe he should try working under a different name.

    Buck @35, thinking of a loooooong-running series, are you?

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