NYTimes lead The lead of the NY Times article says it all

Adios Alberto

Another one bites the dust

Finally, Alberto Gonzales has done something of service to the country! He resigned as Attorney General.

Don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.

The headline of Dana Milbank's column in the Washington Post summed it up nicely: "Gonzales Dug His Own Grave, and Many Are Happy to Dance on It." Milbank continues:

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales resigned his post in a familiar way — with one final whopper.

A White House spokesman said yesterday that President Bush accepted the beleaguered attorney general's resignation on Friday afternoon. But when New York Times reporters called on Saturday to ask about word of Gonzales's departure, the attorney general directed his spokesman to deny the rumors.

For a man accused of lying to Congress, it was a fitting way to go out.

Putting aside my intense delight at seeing him go, I have to recognize that Alberto is another tragic figure in the whole tragic Bush administration.

Much was made of Gonzales' life story during the confirmation hearings for his appointment as Attorney General. The son of poor Mexican immigrants, Gonzales went on to Rice University and Harvard Law School, a partnership in a Houston law firm, General Counsel to Texas Governor George Bush, Secretary of State for Texas, Justice of Texas Supreme Court, General Counsel to President George Bush, and finally US Attorney General. As Gonzales said in his resignation announcement, "I have lived the American dream. Even my worst days as Attorney General have been better than my fatherís best days."

Gonzales' government career resulted from the patronage of George W. Bush, and in the end, Gonzales' gratitude for that sponsorship and advancement became blind loyalty to Bush, which overwhelmed his commitment to the rule of law and high ethical standards. He was used (in the sense of "taken advantage of") by Bush, Cheney, et al in the pursuit of unlimited and unaccountable executive power. Gonzales thus became a key player in disastrous policies regarding torture and the Geneva Conventions ("quaint" and "obsolete"), warrantless wiretapping, politicization of the Justice Department, and on and on.

Commenting on Gonzales' resignation, Bush called Gonzales "a man of integrity, decency and principle" and went on to say "It's sad that we live in a time when a talented and honorable person like Alberto Gonzales is impeded from doing important work because his good name was dragged through the mud for political reasons." I think it's probably true that Gonzales started out with integrity, decency, and talent, but in über-loyal service to his patron, he became an enabler and a liar, adrift in a sea of dissembling and convenient memory lapses.

As the first Hispanic Attorney General, one wanted Gonzales to be successful, not least so that some day people of all ilks can contribute according to their talents and character and without notice of their ilk, the day when the terms "first Hispanic," "first Black," "first woman," "first-whatever" seem quaint and obsolete.

Alas, another tragic figure in a tragic period in our history.


Tom Toles
Stuart Carlson