Goodnight Gonzo: Resignation and Reflection

Alberto Gonzales, 80th Attorney General of the United States, announced his resignation this past Monday and very few Americans are surprised, even though the AG vowed he’d remain on the job.

Gonzales was under scrutiny for the dismissal of nine U.S. attorneys in December of last year, and the investigation continues to search for an explanation. With the resignation of Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove on August 13, one can only wonder who will be the next Bush appointee to resign.

Born in San Antonio, Texas and raised in Humble near Houston, Gonzales was the second of eight children born to Pablo and Maria Gonzales.

Gonzales was the first Latino attorney general and his position has earned him a place in the history books, and his academic resume is impressive.

An honor student at MacArthur High School, he enlisted in the United States Air Force and attended the United States Air Force Academy, but prior to his third year as a cadet Gonzales transferred to Rice University in Houston. He earned a bachelor's degree in political science in 1979 and later earned a Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School in 1982.

His rags-to-riches story earned the respect of many up-and-coming Hispanic leaders according to, prior to his downfall.

The article states:

[Gonazles'] long, hard fall, culminating in his resignation Monday, brought disappointment, resentment and embarrassment to some Hispanics.

In the end, though, Hispanics who found fault with Gonzales did so for the same reasons other Americans did.

"This long ago quit being anything to do with ethnicity and simply became a situation of people of all ethnic groups believing he was incompetent and it was time for him to go," said Jerry Polinard, chairman of the political science department at the University of Texas-Pan American in Edinburg, an expert on Hispanics in politics.

Fox News reported today that the Justice Department "is investigating whether resigning Attorney General Alberto Gonzales lied or otherwise misled Congress last month in sworn testimony about the Bush administration's terrorist surveillance program."

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, requested that the Justice Department Inspector General, Glenn A. Fine, inquire as to whether Gonzales gave inaccurate testimony about the firings, as well.

To say that Gonzales was incompetent is accurate. I found him untrustworthy and often wondered what his priorities were. He didn't oppose abortion, he didn't oppose the death penalty, and combined with the dismissal of the U.S. attorneys for unknown reasons, he reminded me of a man on a power trip.

Reactions to his resignation are all but sad.

Blog of the Moderate Left writes:

So with Alberto Gonzales’ impending departure from the Department of Justice, who will fill his shoes? It’s the obvious question; after all, given the Bush administration’s longstanding policy of replacing all departing officials with people even less competent than their predecessors, it’s going to be tough to find someone to fill Abu G’s shoes.

Prairie Weather writes:

We've all been wondering the same thing, many of us since George Bush first took office. Quite apart from the oddities of 9/11 and every step taken towards an invasion of Iraq, we wonder about how a Congress -- particularly its Democratic members -- could have been so supine.

We remember the look on Senator Leahy's face as, during a questioning of Alberto Gonzales way back when the AG was going through confirmation hearings. We remember wondering why, when Leahy so clearly knew this man should never be Attorney General, he shut up.

We look at the current Democratic majorities in Congress and wonder how, after all we did to get a new and dedicated group elected, they could be failing us once again so spectacularly.

We compare ourselves to our rightwing counterparts whose drive seems so relentless and wonder whether Yeats may have been writing about us: "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity."

Christopher G. Adamo of Redstates USA writes:

Democrat victory dances have not ceased since last year’s elections, and have plainly been invigorated by the recent resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Yet the party of Kennedy, Schumer, Reid, and Pelosi remains in the dark as to any important aspect of where the country needs to go. Consequently, Republican prospects for the current day as well as in next year’s pivotal elections remain within Republican control.

Brandon Writes:

Now I, more than most people, believe it is a good thing that Alberto Gonzales has resigned.

But am I the only one who feels a little let down? Somewhat unsatisfied? A bit disappointed?

Do my fellow Democrats and Independant Liberals feel a bit cheated? I confess I had hoped for a dramatic showdown.....a fiery impeachment frought with accusations of mis-conduct...a terrible scandal that might, in fact, involve the White House....

A quiet resignation is so anti-climactic after the months-long struggle to take down one of the most incompetent Attorneys-General in our history.....

And even Ann Coulter had something to say (when doesn't she?):

This week, congressional Democrats vowed to investigate Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' firing of himself. Gonzales has said he was not involved in the discussions about his firing and that it was "performance-based," but he couldn't recall the specifics.

Right-wingers like me never trusted Gonzales. But watching Hillary Rodham Clinton literally applaud the announcement of Gonzales' resignation on Monday was more than any human being should have to bear. Liberals' hysteria about Gonzales was surpassed only by their hysteria about his predecessor, John Ashcroft. (Also their hysteria about Bush, Rove, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Libby, Rice, Barney and so on. They're very excitable, these Democrats.)

It looks as though it really is "Bedtime for Gonzo" as Eugene Robinson once said.


Posted by Dana J. Tuszke at August 30, 2007 6:09 PM
Comment #231105

There is still hope for America’s political system when facts and truth can force powerful persons from their office of power. The big question is, can this hope last, or, are prospective office holders learning from Gonzo’s, Rummie’s, Ashcroft’s, and other’s retirements, how to circumvent being forced to leave by public opinion?

Public opinion in a democracy SHOULD be a very powerful force. But, with government moving toward ever more secrecy, public opinion is being fought by politicians with the only weapon at their disposal, secrecy. Will the public win this battle? Will secrecy win? Or, is this a perpetual war without end in all democracies with each side winning and losing battles without either side ever able to claim victory?

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 30, 2007 6:37 PM
Comment #231108

So you are really blameing the Dems for G being confirmed? That was a subserviant Rep Senate that did that. Remember the “nuclear option” etc.BTW The investigation of wrong doing by G et al is not over.

Posted by: BillS at August 30, 2007 7:08 PM
Comment #231118

Bill S — I’m not blaming anyone for anything. I was reporting the reactions across the blogosphere. I think it’s important to read what others from all parties have to say about this.

I am disgusted by Gonzales. He’s lied about so much.

Posted by: Dana J. Tuszke at August 30, 2007 9:24 PM
Comment #231184

BillS: I blame the Democrats in part. There were lone wolves among them but, for the most part they acted like sheep. When the Republicans came out with the threat of their nuclear option the Democrats should have forced them to use it.

Posted by: jlw at August 31, 2007 2:24 AM
Comment #231256

I can’t believe that anyone is blaming the dems for Gonzo being confirmed. That is a new height in trying to shift the blame. “Yeah, sure; it was the Republicans who pushed it to the limit for confirmation, and it was the Republican President who wanted him, but it was the Dems’ fault because they didn’t succeed in not confirming him.” I’m definitely laughing out loud on that one.
I guess it was the Dems’ fault that GWB was elected in the first place, too.

Posted by: Cole at August 31, 2007 7:59 PM
Comment #231295

Well Cole, they did put probably the worst candidates possible to go against him. Not their fault but their incompetence didn’t help matters much.

Posted by: Rhinehold at September 1, 2007 12:06 AM
Comment #231333

I don’t think the Democrats could stop the Gonzalas appointment but, they didn’t even try. That is my point.

In the case of the Supreme Court justices, I think that the Democrats were in colusion with the Republicans. In the hearings, the Democrats kept harping on Roe Vs. Wade. Roe wasn’t the main reason that Bush nominated Roberts and Alito. Their pro business position was the reason.

Posted by: jlw at September 1, 2007 11:13 AM
Comment #231367

I guess we can say that it was the Dems’ fault that Gonzo was born in the first place. After all, it was the result of a heterosexual relationship.

Posted by: Cole at September 1, 2007 2:47 PM
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