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11/11/2004

Gonzales

I agree with the LAT editorial board: Gonzalez is a Disastrous Choice.

Update 5:37 PM EST: The Progress Report on his record.

Update 7:54 PM EST: The Washington Post has an editorial noting that Gonzales frequently flanked John Ashcroft from the right, timidly calling for a more "independent" figure.

Dana Milbank writes on his inspiring life story, contrasting his personal loyalty to Bush with Ashcroft's more rigid ideological demeanor. Despite skepticism from conservatives, I am a bit befuddled by the practical difference between embracing hard right positions out of personal loyalty to a hard right ideologue, and embracing them for their own sake.

Phil Carter in Slate focuses on much the same ground highlighted in the Progress Report above: Gonzales' irresponsible performance on Texas' clemency memoranda, his unilateral undermining of the Geneva conventions, his legal sophistry on behalf of torture, and his evasion of accountability.

David Savage and Edwin Chen of the Los Angeles Times report Gonzales' 1996 efforts to keep Bush's DUI arrest under the radar by getting him out of jury duty. They note that having a loyalist at DoJ has historically been quite helpful in limiting scandal inquiries.

Jesse Holland of the AP notes that liberals will focus on the clemency memos and the torture/Geneva Conventions issues at the nomination hearing. Leahy and Kennedy are quoted on the torture issues, while only anti-death penalty activists are quoted on the clemency issues. Holland also notes the conservative concern over his inadequately oppressive views on abortion.
Kevin Johnson in USA Today focuses on the "dramatic change in style" that would accompany the shift from Ashcroft to Gonzales. Gonzales is a "soft spoken team player" who "mostly has worked behind the scenes" to advance Bush's interests. Johnson mentions Gonzales' support for the PATRIOT Act, the military tribunal system, his work to increase government secrecy, and his "leading role in crafting a list of conservative federal court nominees that led to a series of nasty clashes with Senate Democrats," as well as the torture/Geneva convention issues. He reports Ed Meese, John Cornyn, and Orrin Hatch praising Gonzales, while Chuck Schumer offers the left-handed compliment of "better than Ashcroft," the Family Research Council and criticizing Gonzales from the right, and the ACLU, Human Rights First, and People for the American Way raising questions from the left.

Jennifer Loven of AP details how closely connected Gonzales is to Bush.

Gonzales' record is bad enough. More important, though, is the contempt he has shown for public oversight of Bush, and his likely role in impeding and undermining future efforts to figure out exactly why our government has been so poor over the last four years. He will stand as a roadblock against all efforts to hold Bush accountable. Combined with the administration's repeated stonewalling of all investigations and disclosures in the first term, the outlines of a deliberate strategy become clear.

Update, 11/12/4, 5:12 AM EST: The Johnston/Stevenson piece in the NYT also deserves mention. It resurfaces a few old details about the terror memos, but otherwise covers the dame ground.

 

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