The planned no confidence vote scheduled for next month on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is, quite frankly, an incredibly short sighted and timid response to one of the most destructive and corrupt members of the Bush administration. In addition to giving the Democrats a reason to say that they did something (which won’t result in a resignation or removal from office), it also gives republicans a reason to say that they distance themselves from the Bush administration without really accomplishing anything.
Now, of course it is ridiculous to us that any republicans can convince ANYONE that they are distancing themselves from the very administration who they (1) enabled (2) were the biggest cheerleaders for and (3) voted in lockstep with for nearly seven years now. And it is just as ludicrous for anyone to think that if Gonzales hasn’t resigned or stepped down yet that another symbolic and nonbinding vote will suddenly make him “see the light”.
Which makes it all the more imperative that nothing short of impeachment proceedings be commenced against Gonzales – and done quickly.
I have already stated the myriad of reasons why Gonzales not only will never resign but also why his removal from office is the biggest repudiation of everything this administration stands for. Even more than Rove, Gonzales is inextricably tied to Bush. Gonzales’ failures and actions are those of Bush. Period. From their days in Texas to his time as White House Counsel to Attorney General. As he goes, so goes Bush. As he goes down, so does the rationale for just about everything that this administration has done and has stood for (or against).
A “no confidence” vote gives republicans an easy way out, while impeachment is a win-win for the Democrats. It forces republicans to either stand with Mr. 28% or to take a meaningful stand against his closest advisor (whose popularity has got to be even lower than Bush’s). It also gives a bit of confidence back to the Democrats who, despite the excellent personal story told by my good friend thereisnospoon, still have much to prove in terms of standing up to the crimes, stubbornness and lies of the Executive Branch.
There certainly are enough reasons to impeach. There would certainly appear to be enough evidence to convict. And nothing short of conviction will remove Gonzales from office, and failure to convict would reflect poorly on the republicans, NOT the Democrats. Whether it is lying to Congress about warrantless wiretapping or lying to Congress about Senate Confirmations for US attorneys, or the recent revelations by Monica Goodling that he was “more involved than he let on” about his involvement with the US attorney firings – all are lies under oath.
All of the information that is just starting to come to light about HIS Justice Department’s potential obstruction of justice or helping to game the electoral system from the inside, these are things that should have him thrown out of office immediately. Alternatively, if he was “truly unaware” of what was going on, then he should be thrown out for being incompetent.
A new poll in Newsweek (currently 85,000 responses) has 85% indicating that he should have to step down. Clearly, there is overwhelming support to have him out of office. A “no confidence” vote will be scoffed at by him and by Bush. An article in the current Newsweek talks about the “politicizing of the Justice Department” (which is a start) after 9/11, and actually paints then Attorney General Ashcroft (and 30 other top DOJ officials) as one who stood up to the Bush administration. Those who are put in a very poor light? Gonzales and John Yoo.
Yoo’s Wikipedia and SourceWatch pages have dozens of links to his “work” and his ties to Gonzales regarding the torture memos. The Newsweek article goes on to indicate that it was Ashcroft who was advised what Yoo was advocating to Gonzales and Bush regarding the warrantless wiretapping program that led to the late night hospital raid by Card and Gonzales:
Yoo was increasingly seen as a rogue operator inside the Justice Department. Officials were suspicious of his ties to David Addington, counsel to Vice President Cheney. The vice president's office took a hard-line view that the executive branch should not be trammeled in the war on terror by legislators and bureaucrats. Yoo was "out of control," recalled a former Ashcroft aide.
The bad feelings seemed to come to a head in 2003, when there was a vacancy to head OLC. At the White House, Gonzales wanted Yoo, and was so insistent that he took the matter to Bush. According to the former Ashcroft aide who did not want to openly discuss matters involving the president, Bush was surprised to learn that Ashcroft opposed Yoo as a renegade. A compromise was reached: a conservative lawyer named Jack Goldsmith was put in charge of OLC.
But the fight was really just beginning. Carefully reviewing Yoo's carte blanche memos, Goldsmith became convinced that the Justice Department had been signing off on memos approving initiatives, like wiretapping and water boarding, that were not legally supportable. Goldsmith took the matter to Ashcroft's deputy, Comey, and to Patrick Philbin, Comey's No. 2. Philbin's sterling conservative legal résumé tracked Yoo's—they had both clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas at the U.S. Supreme Court. But Philbin and Goldsmith were adamant. The Justice Department could no longer sign off on the wiretapping program, which had been expanded to wiretap more U.S. residents. "This was not ideological," recalled a former Ashcroft aide. "This was about the difference between pushing the limits to the edge of the line and crossing the line."
Once again, Gonzales’ hand was in on this. Torture, wiretapping. “Not legally supportable”. We know that Bush and Gonzales don’t care about suggestions, letters, warnings and calls for resignation. We can be assured that a “no-confidence” vote will be met with derision and scoffed at. And it will give republicans cover without having to be accountable on any meaningful level
Nothing short of impeachment will do. Nothing short of it is acceptable.