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Gonzales: Not a Man of His Word? | The Nation

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Capital Games

 Washington: a city of denials, spin, and political calculations. The Nation's former DC editor David Corn spent 2002-2007 blogging on the policies, personalities and lies that spew out of the nation's capital. The complete archive appears below. Corn is now the DC editor at Mother Jones.

Gonzales: Not a Man of His Word?

Is Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who today announced his resignation, a man of his word? Consider his comments of recent months.

March 13, 2007:
I've overcome a lot of obstacles in my life to become attorney general. I am here not because I give up. I am here because I've learned from my mistakes, because I accept responsibility, and because I am committed to doing my job. And that is what I intend to do here on behalf of the American people.

March 14, 2007:
I work for the American people and I serve at the pleasure of the president of the United States. That's adecision for the president to make [whether I remain attorney general]. Obviously I am focused on looking to see what happened here in this particular case with respect to these U.S. attorneys and making sure that it doesn't happen again, making sure that Congress understands what happened....But I'm also focused on the other issues that the American people care about, like child predators and gangs and drug dealers, things of that nature. So I've got a lot of responsibilities as attorney general, and I'm focused on those responsibilities.

March 22, 2007:
I'm not going to resign. I'm going to stay focused on protecting our kids. There's a lot of work that needs to be done around the country. The department is responsible for protecting our kids, for making our neighborhoods safe, for protecting our country against attacks of terrorism, to going after gangs, going after drug dealers. I'm staying focused on that.

April 19, 2007:
I believe I can continue to be effective as the attorney general of the United States.

April 21, 2007:
[I will remain attorney general] as long as I can continue to serve effectively....There are a series of priorities, a series of objectives, that I want to see accomplished, and we are working as hard as we can to achieve those objectives.

June 1, 2007:
I know that I only have 18 months left in my term as attorney general, and that really does not feel like a lot of time to accomplish all of the goals that are important to me. So often Washington seems to run at a marathon pace, but I intend to spend the next year and a half in a sprint to the finish line.

June 11, 2007:
I'm focused on protecting our kids....I am focused on the next 18 months. I don't expect the department to crawl or walk slowly toward the finish line.

July 24, 2007:
From my perspective, there are two options available in light of these allegations [regarding the firings of the U.S. attorneys]. I could walk away or I could devote my time, effort and energy to fix the problems. Since I have never been one to quit, I decided that the best course of action was to remain here and fix the problems. That is exactly what I am doing.

While fending off attacks, Gonzales declared (1) he was not a quitter; (2) it was up to George W. Bush whether he stayed on as A.G. or left; and (3) he was committed to working hard as attorney general to protect the American people, particularly safeguarding the nation's children from Internet predators.

Well, he is quitting. And in a brief public statement today--no questions, please!--Bush said he was "reluctantly" accepting Gonzales' resignation, suggesting that Gonzales had decided to skedaddle on his own. Though Gonzales in a brief statement gave no reason for his resignation--as if one was needed--Bush explained his consigliere's departure by saying "his good name was dragged through the mud for political reason." Bush did not explain what partisan motives have spurred Republican Senators Tom Coburn, John Sununu, Chuck Hagel, John McCain, Jeff Sessions, Norm Coleman, Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, Gordon Smith, George Voinovich, Charles Grassley, Lamar Alexander, Arlen Specter, and Lindsey Graham to question Gonzales' credibility and performance, with several of them calling for his resignation. And, finally, what about the children Gonzales was so committed to protecting? Sadly, they will have to get on without him.

With research assistance from Matthew Blake.

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OUT IN PAPERBACK: HUBRIS: THE INSIDE STORY OF SPIN, SCANDAL, AND THE SELLING OF THE IRAQ WAR by Michael Isikoff and David Corn. The paperback edition of this New York Times bestseller contains a new afterword on George W. Bush's so-called surge in Iraq and the Scooter Libby trial. The Washington Post said of Hubris: "Indispensable....This [book] pulls together with unusually shocking clarity the multiple failures of process and statecraft." The New York Times called it, "The most comprehensive account of the White House's political machinations...fascinating reading." Tom Brokaw praised it as "a bold and provocative book." Hendrik Hertzberg, senior editor of The New Yorker notes, "The selling of Bush's Iraq debacle is one of the most important--and appalling--stories of the last half-century, and Michael Isikoff and David Corn have reported the hell out of it." For highlights from Hubris, click here.

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