Well Alberto Gonzales finally resigned. One more down, two to go. Unfortunately for the country, Bush and Cheney will hang around for the next 16+ months.
It's not worth re-hashing all the episodes that led to this moment: the obfuscations, denials and changing stories. I think that many in the country are happy to have Gonzales leave office. I wonder what was the final straw that broke the AG's back to make him resign. The rancor -- from both sides of the aisle -- against his behavior as Attorney General have been long and loud. Nothing really new that I'm aware of happened. But again, let's not look a gift-horse in the mouth.
There was a lot of reactions to his resignation from the President, members of Congress and others. But I continue to be amazed at how Gonzales' (and by extension the Administration's) defenders try to turn the situation upside down and portray Gonzales as the victim of a 'great left wing conspiracy'. Take Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's response:
"I thank Alberto Gonzales for his public service and wish him well in his future endeavors. It is my hope that whomever President Bush selects as the next attorney general, he or she is not subjected to the same poisonous partisanship that we've sadly grown accustomed to over the past eight months."
This boggles my mind of two levels. First, I'm confounded by the remark about poisonous partisanship. First of all, the calls for Gonzales' resignation came from both sides of the aisle. Presidential candidate John McCain, Arlen Specter, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee and others were as or more critical of Gonzales as most Democrats. Further, McConnell reacts as if the Republicans never acted in a partisan manner before they lost control of the Congress this year. I don't think you'll find many who would objectively state that Republicans were not more partisan in their dealings in the preceeding six years and certainly far more so in the Whitewater investigation and Lewinsky sex scandal.
Secondly, for a party that takes personal responsibility as a core value, I'm amazed how they never apply it to themselves. I'm actually with Republicans on the idea that personal accountability for one's actions is incredibly important. The only thing that Gonzales could have done to bring more criticism on himself would be if he admitted involvment with Michael Vick and Bad Newz Kennels. But from bad intelligence, to bad "war" strategy and the inability to respond to a natural disaster that was forecast for a full week, this Administration has never taken responsibility for the choices that they have made.
That leads me to my next area of concern. One of the rumored replacements for Gonzales seems to be DHS secretary Michael Chertoff. How could Chertoff, who presided over the botched response to Hurricane Katrina, be given greater responsibility? What does it take to get in trouble? I guess the good news is that at least he hasn't shot anyone in the face yet.