August 26, 2007

Gonzales Out?

US News & World Report's Washington Whispers column dropped a tantalizing prediction on Friday that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales would soon depart. His replacement?

The buzz among top Bushies is that beleaguered Attorney General Alberto Gonzales finally plans to depart and will be replaced by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. Why Chertoff? Officials say he's got fans on Capitol Hill, is untouched by the Justice prosecutor scandal, and has more experience than Gonzales did, having served as a federal judge and assistant attorney general.

Perhaps. Chertoff has long ties to the Bush administration, and would make a comfortable transition from Homeland Security to Justice. His familiarity with the DoJ will help soothe the roiling seas there and perhaps also help with its relationship to Congress. He got confirmed at DHS by a near-unanimous vote, with only Hillary Clinton objecting, thanks to Chertoff's role in the Whitewater investigation.

Would Congress confirm him again? That could be trickier. We're approaching the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's hit on New Orleans. Michael Brown ran FEMA, but the agency is a subsidiary of DHS, and the problems then and since appeared during Chertoff's tenure. I somehow doubt that Pat Leahy's committee would let an opportunity slip past to paint the White House as uncaring, incompetent, and hostile to African-Americans.

On the other hand, the Senate may be glad to get past Gonzales and the prosecutor quasi-scandal. It hasn't generated any momentum for the Democrats, and has distracted both chambers of Congress for months. The Democrats need to start producing actual legislation at some point. They may declare victory and move onto other, more profitable efforts. The Democrats may arrange some token votes against Chertoff just to make a point, but ensure his confirmation in order to conclude this business once and for all.

If the White House wants to make a switch, they'll probably do so shortly after Labor Day, when Congress reconvenes. One point that might support this rumor -- the Bush administration has not made any controversial recess appointments so far this August, if any at all. Could that indicate some political preparation for such a compromise?


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Comments (9)

Posted by John | August 26, 2007 12:34 PM

I wish I had a ticket to the Minnesota State Fair for every prediction of Gonzalez's ouster.

Posted by Bennett | August 26, 2007 12:37 PM

If Chertoff moves over then that means two confirmations, one for AG and then one for for Chertoff's replacement. Somehow I don't think the administration is eager for two kookfest carnivals up on the Hill.

That's insulting isn't it? I just called our distinguished Senators a bunch of kooks. Well,they're not all kooks. Just the ones who like to preen for the TV cameras. I could tolerate this if more of them were at least a little photogenic.

Posted by Steven | August 26, 2007 3:47 PM

I don't really think there is any question that Congress confirm him again. It seems more likely to me that the Senate Democrats will try to make any AG nominee promise to s appointed a special prosecutor to assist Democrats in their fishing expedition.

I really believe that is what the so-called "prosecutor scandal" has been about all along; making Gonzales resign in order to have a confirmation hearing for the next AG, so that they can dictate the terms under which he/she is confirmed.

Posted by Daybrother | August 26, 2007 5:21 PM

I don't like Chertoff and I wish he would get out of the cabinet and the government rather than move further inside. He is an arrogant jerk sitting on a vast Bureaucracy rivaling the IRS in size and competence. Gonzales really never did anything illegal at all-he is just a poor manager and pinàta for the Left; They bash him because if he bleeds it supports their meme of a Fascist Bush regime wiretapping everyone and then throwing them into secret dungeons.

Posted by dhunter | August 26, 2007 5:23 PM

I hate to see Gonzales knuckle under to these numb skulls, but then two confirmation hearings would tie these clowns up for a month or so, so that they wouldn't have time to do real damage. They could strut and preen all they want they will always be the party that viciously attacked the highest ranking Hispanic in any administration. Whenever they get a chance to show the electorite their pettiness, and partisanship they alienate a few more swing votes. Hitlery didn't vote for Chertoff because of Whitewater? Too precious! Nominate a replacement with ties to the Cattle futures, or Travel office firings, or Bills' girlfriend/19 year old intern, scandals so she has another excuse to obstruct.

Posted by Ray | August 26, 2007 5:40 PM

Since we're talking about predictions here, I predict that President Bush will appoint Karl Rove as the next AG. After all, Rove will be available for the job soon and the Democrats already think that Rove is controlling the AG office anyways, so why not make it official! Can you imagine how the Democrats would react to such an appointment? Man, that would be fun to watch!

Posted by dhunter | August 26, 2007 5:50 PM

Karl Rove for AG, Ken Starr for Homeland security, sell tickets on pay-per-view and send the millions to families of Iraq war wounded. Precious!

Posted by patrick neid | August 26, 2007 6:04 PM

if michael chertoff is the best candidate for attorney general we are f'ked. he has been an embarrassment. my god, if that is the best george bush has to offer i'll be glad when they are both gone.

Posted by Ray | August 26, 2007 6:35 PM


Add Mike Brown as the Director of the CIA and I'd buy a ticket!

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