Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Majority of American Say Gonzales Should Go

We need to believe in the integrity of our government and Bush and his closest advisers have given us far too many reasons in the last six years to believe that integrity has been put on a low priority for any number of reasons that are not pretty. I've been watching Purgegate closely for the past several weeks and Alberto Gonzales fits the cookie metaphor perfectly. Asked if he's taken cookies from the cookie jar, he smiles innocently into the camera with his hands behind his back, rocks from side to side and, while he denies having taking any cookies, a steady trickle of crumbs can be seen landing behind him on the floor as he tries to get rid of the evidence without entirely succeeding. In this case, the cookie crumbs are e-mails and contradictory accounts given by other people.

One of the ridiculous aspects coming out during this scandal are the number of people who have been hired openly or sometimes surreptiously by the Bush Administration who are not qualified for their jobs but are hired anyway because of their perceived loyalty to Bush and his right wing causes. We have lawyers being hired that are from fourth-rate schools such as Pat Robertson's college. But a more insiduous issue that has emerged is that the White House is deliberately using non-White House e-mail accounts to avoid accountability (one wonders how many e-mails went back and forth between convicted felon Jack Abramoff and the White House after all). If we care about the rule of law, if we care about the US Constitution, if we care about transparency from people who work for us, this is no way to run a government.

Since 2004, a growing number of Americans have been catching on to George W. Bush. The 2006 elections are evidence a loud and clear message to Washington that we expect better. But there are still Americans who don't get it. The Los Angeles Times has a poll on Alberto Gonzales and US attorney firings:
Most Americans believe Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales should resign because of the controversy over his office's firing of federal prosecutors, and a big majority want White House aides to testify under oath about the issue, the Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg Poll has found.

The survey, conducted Thursday through Monday, found that 53% said Gonzales should step down because he claimed he had no role in the dismissals of eight U.S. attorneys last year — an account later contradicted by Justice Department documents and congressional testimony by his top assistant.

Senate and House Democratic leaders have asked White House aides to testify under oath about the firings, in part to answer questions about the roles of Gonzales and Karl Rove, President Bush's chief political strategist. Bush has rejected those requests, but the poll found that 74% of the public believes his aides, including Rove, should comply.

Even among Republicans, 49% said they thought the aides should testify; 43% said they should not.

I'm astounded that 43% of Republicans still think it's okay for Justice of Department officials and White House staffers doing official government business not to testify under oath when serious questions have been raised about their performance. Ultimately, the American people determine the rules, not Bush and his advisers. It is the job of Bush and his advisers to execute the laws, not rewrite them at their convenience, or use them or not use them at their pleasure. When national security is involved, we sometimes are too slow to hold government officials accountable, but when pure politics is involved and officials are not being straight with the American people, we have a right and a responsibility to demand a complete explanation...under oath.

Officials who swear to uphold the US Constitution are expected to uphold the law and to have the highest integrity. There have been too many outright lies and contradictions coming out of the White House and Justice Department for them to hide behind 'executive privilege' or to invoke bizarre interpretations of the law that seem to be pulled out of the dark ages, or out of their hats. Fortunately, 74% of the public believes the officials should testify under oath. There's still hope for our democracy.

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Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

"One of the ridiculous aspects coming out during this scandal are the number of people who have been hired openly or sometimes surreptiously by the Bush Administration who are not qualified for their jobs but are hired anyway because of their perceived loyalty to Bush and his right wing causes."

This is Bush & Co.'s MO. This is standard operating procedure. It's been a chronic and recurring series of revelations and scandals, going back to 2001-2002.

It's the whole story of the Iraq occupation, as you pointed out in an excellent post, as I recall.

We'll never know how many federal officials-to-be were literally sent over to the White House and executive branch departments by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Big Oil, Goldman Sachs, The Club for Growth and so on, but you can bet the number is staggering.

Even so, I continue to be amazed at how little bothered most Americans are about it. Some consider it par for the course because they see government as a burden, politics a drag and politicians who don't give them a thrill the way John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan did presumptive incompetents or crooks anyway.

About the rest of the public, I just don't know. Gullible beyond belief? Completely ignorant? Totally distracted? Who knows? But whatever's going on, they should be out in the streets with pitchforks and torches, demanding reform NOW, because people's lives are on the line and billions of their hard-earned dollars are being wasted by ideologically correct and personally loyal dipsticks and lowlifes in high places — lots and lots of them.

8:41 PM  
Blogger Craig said...

S.W., thanks for the comments. You bring up good points here that I keep trying to tangle with over and over. I don't have the answers. At times, the biggest puzzle these days is how to get through to people. And how to explain that they're not powerless to change things.

I'm glad the polls show people increasingly skeptical of Bush and company but I worry those numbers could change in a day if Bush pulled off some ridiculous stunt that captured the public's inattentive imagination.

These are very strange times. Problems are mounting and either nothing is happening in the executive branch or they're dismantling infrastructure that could deal with these problems. One might call it treason.

2:01 AM  

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