How much appeal does an anti-Alberto Gonzales appeal have with grassroots Republicans?

A lot, if John McCain’s political calculus is to be trusted.

On the day that the Arizona senator relaunched his candidacy for the Republican nomination for the presidency, McCain pronounced himself to have been “very disappointed in (the Attorney General’s) performance” before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“I think loyalty to the president should enter into his calculations,” McCain added.

What does that mean?

Is McCain saying Gonzales should resign?

“I think that out of loyalty to the president that that would probably be the best thing that he could do,” said McCain.

The senator plans to pound another nail into the Attorney General’s coffin, er, comment further on the matter today. Hmmm, are we seeing a campaign theme developing here?

McCain, who knows he must appeal to Main Street Republicans in key primary and caucus states, had to make a choice: Stand by Gonzales or present himself to the GOP grassroots as something other than an apologist for every sin of the current administration? The senator calculated that it was smarter to run against Gonzales. He was right.


John Nichols, the best-selling biographer of Vice President Dick Cheney, is the author of a new book: THE GENIUS OF IMPEACHMENT: The Founders’ Cure forRoyalism. Rolling Stone’s Tim Dickinson hails it as a “nervy, acerbic, passionately argued history-cum-polemic [that] combines a rich examination of the parliamentary roots and past use ofthe ‘heroic medicine’ that is impeachment with a call for Democraticleaders to ‘reclaim and reuse the most vital tool handed to us by thefounders for the defense of our most basic liberties.'”