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Sunday, April 01, 2007

White House Losing Friends in the GOP

It's almost sad to watch how quickly Alberto Gonzales' career is going down the tubes... Then I remember that he's the torture guy and the one who'd enabled Bush's killing spree as the Governor of Texas. That takes a lot of the sad out of it.

A National Journal poll (reported by Political Insider) shows that Gonzo's losing friends fast in DC. Asking a group described as 'political insiders' whether they thought Gonzales should resign, they found that 93% of dems said 'yes.' But -- bad news for the Attorney General -- 41% of republicans answered the same way.

Asked to expand on their thoughts, GOP respondents said:

"A good firing would get the job done as well."

"Gonzales should have resigned weeks ago. When a Cabinet secretary hurts the president rather than helps him, he should have the brains and decency to resign before being asked. Most of the U.S. attorneys that Justice removed were fired with far less cause."

"He should go. Yet another example of incompetence from the Bush administration. He's only relevant as a bad news story."

"He has been an embarrassment to the administration and the country. Yesterday would not be soon enough."

Ouch. An unhappy bunch of blue suits and red ties there. Bush is famous (or infamous) for valuing loyalty above all -- including competence, honesty, and public opinion. Look at how long it took him to boot Rumsfeld. But Rummy did go. So will the current AGUS.

Some, like the anonymous insider quoted by National Journal, think 'yesterday would not be soon enough.'

Associated Press:

A Republican congressman on Saturday urged Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to resign, citing what he said were Gonzales' contradictory statements about his role in the firing of eight federal prosecutors.

"I trusted him before, but I can't now," said five-term Rep. Lee Terry, whose district includes metropolitan Omaha.


"My views were [originally] that this was Democrat posturing and a witch hunt," Terry said. "My trust in him in that position has taken a hit because of these contradictory statements by him."

Those contradictory statements being Kyle Sampson's testimony that Gonzales was regularly briefed on plans to fire prosecutors, despite Gonzales' assurances that he wasn't involved. I'm sure that having an aide plead the fifth didn't help any, either.

This discontent with Gonzales is reflective of the widening disapproval of the Bush administration at large. Even former Bush insiders are piling on. Former chief campaign strategist Matthew Dowd told The New York Times, "I had finally come to the conclusion that maybe all these things along do add up... That it's not the same, [Bush isn't] the person I thought."

The problem, as Dowd sees it, is that Bush has surrounded himself with yes men and true believers. And that this provides a sort of buffer between the president and reality.

In the last several years, as he has gradually broken his ties with the Bush camp, one of Mr. Dowd's premature twin daughters died, he was divorced, and he watched his oldest son prepare for deployment to Iraq as an Army intelligence specialist fluent in Arabic. Mr. Dowd said he had become so disillusioned with the war that he had considered joining street demonstrations against it, but that his continued personal affection for the president had kept him from joining protests whose anti-Bush fervor is so central.

Mr. Dowd, 45, said he hoped in part that by coming forward he would be able to get a message through to a presidential inner sanctum that he views as increasingly isolated. But, he said, he holds out no great hope. He acknowledges that he has not had a conversation with the president.

I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for that conversation to happen, either. George W. Bush has a bad habit of only hearing what he wants to hear. Which is exactly how things like this attorney scandal happen. Yes men are worse than useless -- not only do they fail to warn you about your mistakes, they tend to cheer them on.

Bush is reported to often compare himself to Winston Churchill -- more of a historical success than a contemporary one. He seems certain that history will vindicate his wars and his disastrous foreign policy. It's not hard to imagine a White House filled with Heritage Foundation flacks who echo this crap back to him. In fact, it's hard to believe that Bush, who can barely string a sentence together, came up with this comparison on his own. It's likely that he's believing the flattery of brown-nosers.

Garrison Keillor offered a different -- and more realistic -- view of Bush's place in history. "History will remember Bush as an incompetent and incurious man overwhelmed by a world too big for him." That's putting it nicely. I think history will remember Bush as an incompetent ass, a vain posturer, and a criminal. But that's just me.

So this little flap with Gonzales will probably be just one more example -- like Hurricane Katrina, the Iraq War, and a raft of other scandals, screw ups, and stumbles -- of what happens when you put some idiot in office who has no idea what the hell he's doing and no interest in reality. As retired four star Gen. Tony McPeak recently put it, "America has been conducting an experiment for the past six years, trying to validate the proposition that it really doesn't make any difference who you elect president. Now we know the result of that experiment [laughs]. If a guy is stupid, it makes a big difference."

Not only should Gonzales go, but Bush should be right behind him.


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