August 27, 2007

Chertoff Getting Less Traction; Bush Defends Gonzales

It appears that Michael Chertoff won't be making any lateral moves to the Department of Justice, if the rumors are any indication. In the aftermath of the statements coming from departing Alberto Gonzales and President Bush, the test balloon sent up over the weekend apparently encountered some stormy weather:

Some senior administration officials floated Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff as a possible replacement, but others waved CNN away from Chertoff, saying that his nomination could run into problems because of his role during Hurricane Katrina.

A source close to Chertoff said of a possible nomination, "this would be a surprise to Mike."

Gonzales aides at the highest level and other top-level officials knew nothing about the announcement in advance, Justice Department sources told CNN.

They were not informed until a meeting Monday morning, sources said, when Gonzales acknowledged he would be reading a statement later in the day.

In terms of confirmation battles, one beats two at this point in the Bush administration. The best possible action would be to find someone outside the administration, but with as little time left as there is, it will be difficult to find someone willing to dive into the job. Paul Clement, who will act as AG during the search period, may wind up with the job from default. Congress would probably feel comfortable with Clement, who distanced himself early in the prosecutors controversy.

Gonzales clearly needed to go on a competency basis, but Bush was right when he talked about Congress dragging his name through the mud. A lot of politicians have accused Gonzales of crimes without providing any evidence, and in the end, they couldn't find any even with unfettered room to conduct investigations for half a year. The Democrats have wound up empty on both investigations and legislation, and now they have little to show for the first half of this session.

The best part of this will be the opportunity for the nation to move forward. Harry Reid and Pat Leahy have already announced that they plan on going backwards. They're positioning themselves to run against a president in 2008 who won't be on the ballot, while giving very few people any reason to vote for their party instead. Time will tell if that's a winning strategy -- but I suspect that Bush-hatred won't be a big seller in 2008.


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Comments (20)

Posted by Peyton | August 27, 2007 1:51 PM

Word here at Fort Hood is that Jack Bauer is up the AG position.
"I'm Jack Bauer, and today is the longest 24 hours of my life."

Posted by Carol Herman | August 27, 2007 2:05 PM

Who is Jack Bauer?

And, what's any different for our President, now? Congress will do everything it can to pitch mud at home. From the gutter. Don't forget most Americans "don't approve" of those jerks.

Posted by olddeadmeat | August 27, 2007 2:14 PM

Here's a thought:

Why not find a pro-War blue dog Democrat lawyer or judge and nominate him?

Reasons why:

1- The remainder of the term is practically a caretaker anyway.
2- Whoever he picks will be on the periphery of the administration anyway. Bush has run out of yes-men for the post, and he doesn't seem to trust even GOPers that aren't already in his inner circle (Witness the first 6 years of how he treated the Republicans in Congress)
3- By having a pro-war Democrat there - it preempts any investigations if the Democrats win after he leaves office.
4- BIG POINT - it defuses the whole partisanship issue at Justice and gives Justice a chance to regain the perception of even-handed, nonpartisan conduct. This matters because the law is not supposed to be administered in a partisan way, and even the perception of partisanship damages the public's faith in our government.
5- Easy confirmation.
6- It ties the Democrats hands - if they keep overboarding on the partisanship - it gives the GOP credibility to call them on it.

Just my 2 cents.

Posted by kingronjo | August 27, 2007 2:18 PM

It is becoming more and more obvious that if you are a person of color who is a Republican, anything and everything is acceptable to bring you down. Anything.

First we saw the "high tech lynch mob" against Clarence Thomas, then the "yes massa's" against Condi and Janice Rogers Brown, Michael 'Oreo' Steele, and now Alberto 'the perjurer' Gonzales. I am sure I left out too many to count.

During the slavery era, through to the Civil Rights battles it was about leaving the 'plantation' and establishing all Americans as equal with hearts, minds and souls of their own. Now, if you stray off the Democratic plantation and show any individuality you are labeled an "Uncle Tom". At best labeled an Uncle Tom.

J.C. Watts tells how he became a Republican. He was invited several times to Dem functions as a guest and when he was introduced he thought he was to say a few words on the issues of the day. He was politely told that wasn't necessary. This happened a few times. When he was invited to a Republican function he was ASKED to speak. He was smart enough to see the difference. The nation lost a good man's service when he gave up public life.

Until people of color tell liberal Dems it is unacceptable to slander any of them for thinking individually, Dems will continue to treat them as second class citizens and ignore their concerns. Unless they think that welfare, social service and a few getting ahead by affirmative action is all they are capable of. Republicans don't and GWB has proven it over and over with his selection of qualified minorities.

Posted by bayam | August 27, 2007 3:59 PM

When you have a record of failure that's as unprecedented as the policies of Bush, it's very difficult for politicians not to run against that record. Of course, if you think that Iraq has been a success story, that an exploding federal deficit is a good thing (as long as taxes are low, who the hell cares about details like the deficit), and that global warming is a sham, then you won't find the anti-Bush platform appealing.

But to all other Americans it will be very effective. If he could run again, Clinton would get re-elected in a heartbeat. It wouldn't even be a contest.

Posted by John | August 27, 2007 5:00 PM

I nominate Harriet Myers!

Posted by Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] | August 27, 2007 5:14 PM

I think getting rid of Gonzales was a mistake. I think it was wrong, unfair, and just plain short sighted.

Gonzales has a hell of a resume, he is no dummie, he is a lot smarter than most of the people giving him hell.

The right wanted him gone because he was not their kind of Republican and now they are going to have to depend on the kindness of people like Chuck Schumer for a replacement.

You want incompetent? Think of Janet Reno and Waco and she was treated better than this, by just about everyone especially her own party.

So if we are going to discuss competence, maybe we should look at all those socalled experts who thought handing the Democrats the head of a Republican Attorney General on a platter was a good thing.

I think it was just one more example of the Republicans eating their own.

Posted by Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] | August 27, 2007 5:25 PM


You are not a history buff are you? Because if you think this is "unprecedented failure" you do not know what you are talking about. I suppose it was all those tin shacks set up along the interstate that made you think things have never been this bad? Or maybe it was the out of control KKK and lynch mobs in the Democrat south. Or maybe it was the thousands of men lost in one battle. Or maybe it was the double digit unemployment, interest rates and inflation rate. Or maybe it was a compound in Waco in flames with more than 76 Americans perishing on national TV. Or maybe it was the Okies loading up the jalopies and heading off to California to pick peaches because they were starving. Or maybe it was the soup lines. Or maybe it was the influenza epidemic that killed 175,000 Americans.

And that is just a few of the things that really were unprecedented. Not the silly partisan stuff you talk about.

Posted by bayam | August 27, 2007 6:25 PM


Your rambling doesn't make a lot sense, although I'd point out Clinton gave this nation single digit inflation and single digit unemployment while eliminating the budget deficit. In comparison, Bush has acted like a teenager with his first credit card; his legacy threatens the financial health of future generations.

At least the oil sheiks side with you. Bush has given our enemies an unprecedented windfall that enables more contributions to terrorists while working American families with long commutes are left overwhelmed and hurt by prices at the gas pump. Not to mention terrorist leaders, who have seen an infusion of funds, ops support, and new recruits over the last 3 years from their allies in Iraq. How could it get any better?

Posted by John | August 27, 2007 6:30 PM

I feel bad for Gonzo, but look on the bright side, a week from now if anyone asks him if he ever served as an unpopular AG, he will reply, "I can't remember.'

Posted by onlineanalyst | August 27, 2007 7:33 PM

brooklyn and Terrye made very valid points about why the Gonzales resignation ignores what good the man has done and energizes rabid partisans who will only continue with their BDS folly.

Robert Bork, who knows more than can be written about the political malice of the Dems, offers an analysis that hits the mark:

Posted by Rose | August 27, 2007 9:42 PM

Posted by Terrye | August 27, 2007 5:14 PM


I think you are right - and the GOP never tires of putting their own on the Dim dinnerplate.

Posted by bayam | August 27, 2007 10:34 PM

Gonzales has a hell of a resume, he is no dummie, he is a lot smarter than most of the people giving him hell

For a guy who's so smart, it's amazing how many times he testied "I don't recall", how many times he contradicted other officials at DOJ, and how many times he contradicted his own past testimory. Either the guy is an idiot or a liar.

His attempt to push Ashcroft into signing legilation from the side of his hospital bed, witnessed by a Deputy Attorney General, didn't reflect much character. It's better to see Gonzales leave than the DOJ remain debilitated and demoralized when it needs to be effective in domestic and foreign policy.

Posted by The Yell | August 28, 2007 1:49 AM

Gonzales clearly needed to go on a competency basis, but Bush was right when he talked about Congress dragging his name through the mud. A lot of politicians have accused Gonzales of crimes without providing any evidence, and in the end, they couldn't find any even with unfettered room to conduct investigations for half a year.

But you still called for him to give up and take the mudbath.


Ever since the government shutdown, Clinton let Newt propose the budget and edited it for Republican approval. He didn't submit one of his own creation.

Also, Clinton enjoyed the use of the line item veto. It is a mark against Congressional Republicans that they didn't amend the Constitution after it was struck down by the Supreme Court, but that's not Bush's fault either.

It's kind of you to be so concerned for Mr. Ashcroft's health, but if he was willing to give orders at that moment, who are we really to insist nobody should have listened?

Posted by brooklyn | August 28, 2007 7:00 AM

"Gonzales clearly needed to go on a competency basis"

Some very poor testimony still might not justify the problem created by this vacancy.

Democrats feel emboldened by the departure...

And the former AG Gonzales once went to the hospital of another AG to get him to sign essential security measures to protect the lives of Americans.

That was sincerely competent.

Again, the big picture is essential, and those who wish to throw away the entire meal, because some of the potatoes are burned, might find themselves going hungry.

It still amazes, to see some Conservatives demand an idealistic perfection when it comes to Government, in context of this time period facing the unethical Democrat Opposition.

In this case, the Democrats lead by Schumer and Leahy, got what they wanted, even when the target had done absolutely no wrong doing, except provide weak testimony regarding a number of highly complex classified subjects.

If this standard were applied to bloggers, being forced to shut down after providing minor mistakes, few would be able to be allowed to type today.

Posted by The Yell | August 28, 2007 7:57 AM

It still amazes, to see some Conservatives demand an idealistic perfection when it comes to Government, in context of this time period facing the unethical Democrat Opposition

I don't think you're going to get very far painting THEM as the Evil Queen and US as Dopey.

Posted by owl2 | August 28, 2007 10:05 AM

But you still called for him to give up and take the mudbath.

Yep. But I will put Malkin's unseemly glee last night on O'Reilly up against any NYT, CBS, Hardball/Keith Ob or any of the Dem owned MSM.

Almost our entire newly elected MSM pronounced him 'incompetent' because of the firestorm stirred up by by a writer's discovery of illegal immigration. To heck with the WOT.

Someone tell me the difference between the 'list' of Texans and the President's trusted people, that Malkin read off (as if they were the dumbest slime of the earth) and what I heard this morning read off by George on ABC? There is no difference. This is MSM at it's worst. Dragging good self made individuals through the mud.......smearing them unrelentlessly because they do not bother to show that slick patina or the real reason.....they do not agree with your position on immigration and for some....they are just not hanging off the purity ledge on religious issues. Coulter, Ingraham, Lopez and Malkin all fit in this group. They sling the is the mud coming back at you. It is long past time. I read that many complain that Pugs sit back and do nothing. I agree and have complained about the Congress. I sat a long time silently and watched and read sneaky attack after attack by the above mentioned list.

Maybe....just maybe....they have vented their venom and it will be enough. Naww...this turned into pure BDS a long time ago.

Posted by Blaise MacLean | August 28, 2007 1:51 PM

Sometimes I think that, when the history of this time is analyzed, many will conclude that the Bush presidency's greatest weakness (and perhaps its "downfall") will be named Michael Chertoff.

Even though there was dissatisfaction at the Iraq war at the time of Hurricane Katrina, Pres. Bush still had plenty of support and legitimacy. The Katrina disaster, though, (and polls seem to support this) undermined his presidency. The perception of mishandling of Katrina caused Pres. Bush to lose the support of many independents and so-called moderates. Chertoff was at the centre of that fiasco...indeed, I have always thought that he was far more at fault than that Brown guy who got sacked ( I recall Brown trying to point to Chertoff's responsibility, but the media was deaf).

The other big fiasco for Pres. Bush has been immigration. His handling of this issue has lost him a lot of support among the Republican base. They were so angry at the "Amnesty" reform that they were able to have it defeated in Congress. Thus, Pres. Bush got his base angry at him and looked weak when a bill he supported strongly lost. And again...whose name crops up? Michael Chertoff. He belittled the opinions of the reform's opponents (actually, he insulted them personally), and has been diligent in refusing to enforce the southern border against illegal aliens.This is a core issue for the republican conservative base.

I think that, through Mr. Chertoff's efforts, the President lost support from independents, moderates and his own base. This has been a heavy blow to his legitimacy; it remains to be seen whether he will recover.

I sincerely wonder whether, had the hand of Mr. Chertoff not been behind two major failures of the Bush presidency, whether the problems in Iraq would have been so politically damaging.

Of course we will never know for sure.

Posted by owl2 | August 28, 2007 6:33 PM

Blaise....I may agree with you. Katrina was the big one but I want to point to the two culprits that let us down besides Chertoff. Susan Collins had the power to let the public know Blanco/Landieu's role in that mess. They deliberately sat on buses within 50 miles. I know that town and they had plenty. Collins just repeated the ridiculous charges made by Malkin and joined her 'fry Brownie' campaign. So stupid, so harmful and uncalled for since an idiot would ask why 50 miles up the road they were not biking water into those people. Baton Rouge is covered up with buses but they did NOT want those people turned loose on them. Plus, each day was a Dem's dream. Collins and Malkin. Geesh.

The border? My God it has been wide open since Reagan 'closed' it. We needed to address the entire ball of wax. They are NOT going back and the Pugs are only going to go down on it, regardless of how it looks now. This is another case of the Smart People who do not know beans. They have been the only day laborers for too many years. It is a lie and a pipe dream that there is someone out there to fill the jobs. The Americans will...n o in those dirty jobs regardless of what they are paid. We have a bunch of dreamers that do not understand their highways/bridges would shut down in that 100+ heat. Having watched these problems grow for decades, I resent the 'all or nothing' side that think they just discovered white bread with their solutions of just send all those criminals back.

Posted by Terrye [TypeKey Profile Page] | August 28, 2007 6:46 PM

The problem is too many people have no idea what is actually involved in doing things. When it comes to cleaning up after hurricanes for instance they have the most naive and simplistic notions. For that matter they have no idea what is involved in moving 200,000 people from a place like the super dome when the roads are out.

They act as if it is no big deal and any competent person could arrange it, just like that. They have watched too much TV.

By the same token they do not understand that after having an open border for 140 years, we can not just snap our fingers and close it. Building this fence will take a long time and people living along the route are already trying to stop it. And owl is right, Americans are not going to do all this work, they never have. Back in the 20's there were immigrants from Europe digging the sewers because American citizens did not want to. Chinese worked in the hot sun building the railroads.

And today with the alternatives available to people I really do not think we will see Americans wanting to work in ag labor, and custodial work. Hell, there were migrants in California working those fields a hundred years ago. A hundred years ago there were communities in Texas and Arizona and California where people spoke Spanish too. That does not mean we don't deal with the problem, but people need to be more realistic and less hysterical.

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