Wednesday, August 22, 2007

C'Est Moi

From the latest issue of The American Conservative:

"Four words the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee should never have to say to the nation's chief law-enforcement officer: "I don't trust you."

That was the scene when Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales was questioned about pressuring his hospitalized predecessor to reauthorize the administration's domestic surveillance program. The senators' disdain crossed party lines: "Your credibility has been breached to the point of being actionable." the panel's ranking Republican told him.

But the AG didn't blink. He knows that devotion to his powerful patron -- not his middling legal credentials -- keeps him in a job. In a recent interview with the Financial Times, Gore Vidal commented that Gonzales "thinks he's Attorney-General of Mexico." "No, that is not a racist remark," the novelist averred, anticipating the easy put down. Those familiar with cronyism's corrosive effect on the rule of law will glean his meaning -- and wince.

Loyalty, far more than skill, seems to be the Bushian shibboleth. Called to testify about the U.S. attorney firings, former White House Political Director Sara Taylor told the long-suffering Judiciary Committee, "I took an oath to the president, and I take that oath very seriously." "Did you mean, perhaps, you took an oath to the Constitution?" Chairman Patrick Leahy suggested. "I, uh, yes, yeah, you're correct, I took an oath to the Constitution, uh, but, what..." "I know the President refers to the government being his government," Leahy continued, "It's not." That may have been news to Ms. Taylor.

But Bush is unbowed. The White House has just announced that it will order the Justice Department not to prosecute administration aides for ignoring congressional subpoenas. Expect full compliance from those sworn to uphold the President -- and his monarchial notion of justice."

- The American Conservative, August 20, 2007

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