Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 15, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

YET ANOTHER INVESTIGATION....Apparently Alberto Gonzales is trying to set a record for the number of different things any government official not named Nixon has been under investigation for at the same time:

The Justice Department is investigating whether Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales sought to improperly influence the testimony of a departing senior aide, two of its senior officials said yesterday, adding a new dimension to the troubles already besetting the nation's chief law enforcement official.

...."It's remarkable that he's under investigation and that he's still attorney general," said Stephen Gillers, a professor at New York University School of Law. "At some point, it can no longer be done internally. This cannot be done by Gonzales's subordinates."

Remarkable? Sure. But Bush doesn't care. He's not running for reelection, after all, and at 29% his approval rating can only fall two more points, which is hardly worth worrying about. (Impressively prescient explanation here.) So Gonzales stays.

Kevin Drum 1:46 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (41)

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..."It's remarkable that he's under investigation and that he's still attorney general," said Stephen Gillers, a professor at New York University School of Law. "At some point, it can no longer be done internally. This cannot be done by Gonzales's subordinates."

Special prosecutor. Now. This looks like a job for Patrick Fitzgerald....

Posted by: Stefan on June 15, 2007 at 2:34 AM | PERMALINK

..."It's remarkable that he's under investigation and that he's still attorney general," said Stephen Gillers, a professor at New York University School of Law. "At some point, it can no longer be done internally. This cannot be done by Gonzales's subordinates."

Special prosecutor. Now. This looks like a job for Patrick Fitzgerald....

Posted by: Stefan on June 15, 2007 at 2:35 AM | PERMALINK

Look! Gonzales is an embarassing (for the US, you'd think) disgrace. As is the president.

What is not prescient or even thinking is KD's complete unawareness (seemingly) of the tragedy unfolding in the middle east. The Palestinians I mean.

I now know I am not alone in this thought. KD's deliberate avoidance of all subjects even partially Israeli is it's own disgrace.

Posted by: notthere on June 15, 2007 at 2:36 AM | PERMALINK


Here's a laugh for you.

State of the House.

Democrats need to start calling the shots. And I mean "shots".

Posted by: notthere on June 15, 2007 at 3:03 AM | PERMALINK

Goals don't exist in a vacuum, they're linked to capability. David Koresh was utterly committed to being Jesus Christ. See how far that got him.

Oof.

Posted by: Old Hat on June 15, 2007 at 3:51 AM | PERMALINK

Gonzales is just a weak and compliant pawn. Like any good Soviet or Nazi apparachik/servant. He is not the problem, only the symptom.

The present president is the problem. And, possibly, worse than Nixon. Wow! That's going some. Too few remember the truth.

US citizens will look back on this president as, hopefully, the nadir of US political honesty.

If we sink below this we trully should surrender any claim to moral superiority. as, at present, we have to.

Posted by: notthere on June 15, 2007 at 4:04 AM | PERMALINK

This administration, after all (presumably mostly because of Cheney's and Addington's influence) has always specialized in doing unprecedented and outrageous things, having discovered that even if you do them Congress is too cowardly to intervene. (So much for our "excellent" Constitutional system, which was based from the start on the disastrously erroneous assumption that political parties wouldn't come into existence at all.)

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on June 15, 2007 at 4:07 AM | PERMALINK

Come on, Kevin. The Middle East is falling apart and you don't care? Get on this shit. Wake up! What do you need? A fire-cracker up your arse? Hello! Anybody awake to what is going on in this world?

Kevin, you dead or alive?

Posted by: notthere on June 15, 2007 at 4:26 AM | PERMALINK

The pit is bottomless. The pinnacle? Finite.

Posted by: parrot on June 15, 2007 at 4:39 AM | PERMALINK

Nixon consistently managed 26% support during the 7+ months of 1974 that he was President. I think that's the best estimate we've got of where the true floor might be.

Here's the seven Bush job approval polls from PollingReport.com that were taken in entirely or mostly in June:

(Approve%-Dispprove%)

NBC/Wall Street Journal, 6/8-11/07:
29%-66%
Quinnipiac RV, 6/5-11/07:
28%-65%
L.A. Times/Bloomberg, 6/7-10/07:
34%-62%
FOX/Opinion Dynamics RV, 6/5-6/07:
34%-57%
AP-Ipsos, 6/4-6/07:
32%-66%
USA Today/Gallup, 6/1-3/07:
32%-62%
Pew, 5/30 - 6/3/07:
29%-61%

Three of the last 7 polls have had Bush under 30%, and even his average for the last 10 polls is 31.5%, which is the lowest of his Presidency. Even some Pubbies are starting to realize that Bush sucks.

I'd go with the 10-poll average as the best indicator of his support. So Bush still has the potential of falling another 5.5 points.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist (formerly RT) on June 15, 2007 at 5:44 AM | PERMALINK

The pit is bottomless. The pinnacle? Finite.

Posted by: parrot on June 15, 2007 at 4:39 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, parrot. You are trully revealing.

In the market the bottom is always limited: zero value; and the top side unlimited. Morally is the reverse. You can only be a 1 in moralty, a trully moral person, but the bottom unlimited. Which is why we can't plumb the depths of this present administration.

Posted by: notthere on June 15, 2007 at 5:46 AM | PERMALINK

Does he jaywalk too? Gonzalez needs to get back to Texas and do what he does best - download gay porn off the Internet.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on June 15, 2007 at 5:58 AM | PERMALINK


How far behind the curve Kevin Drum is!

You may not like this, but you really are an ass when it comes to the middle east, and you never explain why you igmore it to the limit.

Posted by: notthere on June 15, 2007 at 6:11 AM | PERMALINK

It takes talent to recognize talent, and that is why President Bush is supporting Attorney General Gonzales. Men of Alberto Gonzales' calibre don't come along every day.

Posted by: Al on June 15, 2007 at 7:14 AM | PERMALINK

it's not that he doesn't care - this is just more proof that these ideologues are thinking long term, absurd as that sounds: at some point in the future whatever Republican gang of four is in charge will attempt to blame all America's problems since 9/11 on liberals and the press. Protecting Gonzales, farcical from a rational, unbiased point of view, makes sense in that context.

Posted by: go to the goat on June 15, 2007 at 7:40 AM | PERMALINK

The problem isn't Gonzales - it's Bush, oh yeah, and a big fat, slow moving, cowardly, foot draging lazy senator by name of Mr. Leahy. He never subpeonas when he needs too, never reacts unless he has to.

Leahy, probably hates Josh Marshall and his blog for having made him have to do anything at all.

Mr. Leahy much perfers just sitting there and getting the finger from Dick Cheney - at least it didn't require a response.

Posted by: Me_again on June 15, 2007 at 8:03 AM | PERMALINK

The story in this story is how an investigation within the Justice Department of Gonzales began.

What subordinate dared to question "the man"?

Is it a smokescreen?

Is it a revolt?

Posted by: Curt M on June 15, 2007 at 8:05 AM | PERMALINK

Men of Alberto Gonzales' calibre don't come along every day.

Profoundly true, thankfully.

Don't forget, at 29%, Bush is only polling about 11 points more than the geocentric theory of the universe . . .

Posted by: rea on June 15, 2007 at 8:13 AM | PERMALINK

Like a crime family in decline, there are no more "made" men in the pipeline. Booting someone out brings up two problems--what if they rat on you, and, the new person might just be a new witness against you.

Posted by: Neal on June 15, 2007 at 8:37 AM | PERMALINK

I have to respectfully disagree with notthere. Kevin may be PURPOSELY not posting on Middle East developments. I for one, have counseled him not to. Perhaps others are doing so as well. As one of the original cheerleaders in support of invading Iraq, Kevin really has demonstrated that this is an issue he lacks any credibility on. Positions like his helped cause this chaos in the region in the firt place. I suspect Kevin realizes this hole he is in, and has decided to stop digging. I view that as good judgement. Kevin: Ignore these people who want you to post on the Middle East. Sure it's a huge topic, but you've proven its not really something in your range. Keep on the domestic policy / celebrity gossip stuff you've been doing lately. That's up your alley. And as far as the number of posts being so drastically down here, lately, don't worry. Just keep doing your thing. It will all probably work out in the end.

Posted by: Pat on June 15, 2007 at 8:41 AM | PERMALINK

Also, Kevin, this new glitch where the webform is making so many people "double post" their comments(see above for example) is no way to boost the number of thread hits here. You're better than that! I know it must be tempting with the number of readers/posters here down so noticably, lately. People start worrying about ad revenue. But longtime readers like me know it's just a bump in the road and will eventually bounce back. Hang in there, buddy!

Posted by: Pat on June 15, 2007 at 8:47 AM | PERMALINK

Stefan: Special prosecutor. Now. This looks like a job for Patrick Fitzgerald....

Absolutely. Bring Fitz on board at once! Maybe we could have a Double Indictment Day, Gonzales and Richie Daley. I might expire from joy.

Neal: Like a crime family in decline, there are no more "made" men in the pipeline. Booting someone out brings up two problems--what if they rat on you, and, the new person might just be a new witness against you.

Excellent point. The Bush Crime Family is is the unfortunate position of running out of tested psychophants (yes, I did mean to do that).

Posted by: shortstop on June 15, 2007 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

If you watch the Lunita Doan hearing, you can literally see the disdain that this crowd has for truth, the people, and the Congress.

If one side refuses to play by the rules, not much can be done apart from kicking it out of the game. Clearly, that is not going to happen, as the Dems seem to be singularly incapable of being forceful and uncowardly, and determined to look foolish and clueless.

So we are doomed to helplessly watch many more years of this slow burn.

Posted by: gregor on June 15, 2007 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

Loved the crazification factor dialogue... the whole time reading it I was imagining the words coming out of GYWO's clipart characters...would have made a perfect series of strips.

Posted by: Glenn on June 15, 2007 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

I'm going to use the 27% crazification factor in all my political analysis from now one. Brilliant. It's like the 'natural rate of unemployment'. I can see the headlines now, Natural crazification rate falls to 25%, political scientists point to a new equilibrium in American political craziness.

Posted by: Matilde on June 15, 2007 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

Not to go all scriptural on such a religious bunch, but I would refer our president to the Prophet Jeremiah (Jer 8:12), to wit:

"Were they ashamed when they committed abomination?
No, they were not ashamed; they did not know how to blush."

Has anyone come up with a better description of this administration than: "They did not know how to blush"?

Posted by: Rod Hoffman on June 15, 2007 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

the 27% number is like the minimum score of the SAT. you get x number of points just for showing up and filling in the bubbles that spell your name.

although I think that the actual number is more like 22%, somewhat more for Faux and other right-leaning pollsters.

Posted by: susa on June 15, 2007 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

I personally believe that Gonzales has something on Bush from his earlier days. That why he's not been given the push.

Posted by: Philip Pirrup on June 15, 2007 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

Mexicans are bringing in their cultural values, with the full cooperation of PC libs like Eduardo Kennedy and Jorge Busch. Surely PC libs are not now suggesting they have to obey law? That's a bit racist, isn't it?

Posted by: Luther on June 15, 2007 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

Bush may not have set the record yet for lowest approval, but one unnoticed fact is that he has definitely set a presidential record for alienating Americans. After 9-11 he was at 90%; now down to 28%. That's a 62% shift - almost two-thirds of the US! 200 million Americans alienated! (Well, that's including the 0-10 year old set, which is probably unfair.)

Maybe someone can correct me and drag out stats showing that Truman or Nixon outdid him in terms of percentage. But given the current size of our population, I think it's safe to say that no American president has EVER alienated as many of his fellow countrymen.

Woot!

Posted by: lampwick on June 15, 2007 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

I'd say he's in the "Fuck You! I'm President!" mode now. That's his basic answer to anything, dressed up in polite language. He's right. He's not going to be impeached, he's got a veto-able Senate and he's got a year and a half to do anything he wants.
He's like that big double-hauler on the expressway with debris flying off the top. No one can get around him and no one can physically threaten him. A cop writes him a ticket and he throws it out the window the second the cop leaves.

Posted by: Steve Paradis on June 15, 2007 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

"I now know I am not alone in this thought. KD's deliberate avoidance of all subjects even partially Israeli is it's own disgrace."

Sigh... Like all bloggers, Kevin picks and chooses his topics. When he fails to cover a topic, it's not necessarily because he's not interested in it or because he's deliberately avoiding it, or any of those other paranoid reasons that people put forth. It's usually because he feels he has nothing particularly noteworthy to say and because he hasn't found anyone else's words worth highlighting and passing on to his readers.

A blog post that simply notes that there are terrible things going on in the Middle East is not particularly useful. That is hardly a surprise to any of the readers here.

Posted by: PaulB on June 15, 2007 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

"Mexicans are bringing in their cultural values, with the full cooperation of PC libs like Eduardo Kennedy and Jorge Busch. Surely PC libs are not now suggesting they have to obey law? That's a bit racist, isn't it?"

ROFLMAO... This has to be the silliest post of the day.

Posted by: PaulB on June 15, 2007 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

How long has it been since Kevin has written about lederhosen, Inuits, or smurfs? Has anyone else noticed that he NEVER writes about lederhosen, Inuits or smurfs?! WHY DOES KEVIN HATE LEDERHOSEN, INUITS, AND SMURFS?!!!! HE'S A LEDERHOSEN, INUIT, SMURF-HATER-PHOBE-ITE!!

(ahem)

Posted by: lampwick on June 15, 2007 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has lied to Congress - again. Despite Congress' passage of the Preserving United States Attorney Independence Act of 2007, Gonzales has once again used the interim hiring authority for U.S. attorneys rescinded by that bill. Sadly, this is precisely what Gonzales promised Congress on January 18th - under oath - he would never do.

"I am fully committed, as the administration's fully committed, to ensure that, with respect to every United States attorney position in this country, we will have a presidentially appointed, Senate-confirmed United States attorney."

For the details on Alberto Gonzales' third lie under oath, see:
"Gonzales Lies to Congress. Again."

Posted by: Furious on June 15, 2007 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

A blog post that simply notes that there are terrible things going on in the Middle East is not particularly useful.

Whereas a blog post that notes the terrible things going on in Middle Earth could just be the key to defeating Sauron.

Posted by: Mr. Underhill on June 15, 2007 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK
...why you igmore it... notthere at 6:11 AM
I am reminded of the late unlamented charlie endlessly demanding that his needs be attended. At once, dammit! There are always Middle East fights available here Posted by: Mike on June 15, 2007 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

Steve Paradis at 11:27: That may be the best description of Bush I've ever seen. Laughing ruefully...

Posted by: shortstop on June 15, 2007 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

notthere:

you never explain why you igmore it to the limit.

I don't think that's true, ISTR that Kevin has repeatedly stated that he generally avoids discussing Israel, Palestine, etc. because he doesn't like the kind of comments it produces, though he did make a bit of an exception during the recent conflagration in Lebanon.

Apparently, the Palestinian civil war isn't important enough to repeat that exception.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 15, 2007 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

The Middle East is important, no doubt. But, if we don't get our own house in order it will be impossible to deal with those things.

I'm glad everybody here knows what a mess the Bushies have brought us and continue to dump on us. But, even more, I'm thrilled everybody has a good sense of humor about it.

Griffin is going down. Doan is still munching on cookies (arrogantly, if that's possible). They're getting ready to munch on Condi's Rice. Smaller fry are running for the hills like so many rats escaping a sinking ship. I don't know the Dems are going too slow -- it just takes time to gather the evidence and show up the Bushies for what they are and in some cases to take them to court.

We haven't really seen any of them turn "state's evidence", but there is still hope. I'm not sure how important it is. There does seem to be a constant dribble of information coming out, even without much truth telling.

We peel away at the layers around George and keep applying pressure, so they can't do much more to hurt us aside from the wars. If we can simply keep the admin. incapacitated we'll be doing a great service. If we can get enough information to nail them for great crimes, then we can knock them down further and undermine the support they get from Congressional Repubs. If we can do that we can force them to defend themselves by 'doing the right thing' and turning on Bush. It's a slow process and difficult for the public to "get", but it is the right approach for Dems. If Congressional Repubs don't 'turn' then we'll just nail 'em big time in the elections.

Posted by: MarkH on June 15, 2007 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

I've thought for years that Monkeyboy mainly expressed his sociopathic behavior against the public .. now he's turning his sociopathic behavior against his own party .. Other repub's want Gonzo out, but Monkeyboy really doesn't care what they think or want. I used to think he might someday feel a bit of compassion toward others ... I have since figured he has no compassion at all. He probably feels something toward his dog .. but thats about it. I hope future Presidents are required to take a mental evaluation prior to being nominated.

Posted by: Erika on June 15, 2007 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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