Friday, July 27, 2007

The Gonzales Gambit

O.k., so by now it's clear that Gonzales is lying, and the smart money is on the conclusion that he's committed impeachable offenses. (More evidence of lying in today's Washington Post, in case anybody really still needs it.)

So what gives? Why hasn't he resigned?

Most people seem to think it's just Bush saying 'f*ck you' to Congress (and the constitution, and the country) again.

My guess: it's a gambit to protect Cheney and Bush from the threat of impeachment.

Goes like this:
If Gonzo just gave up and went quietly, as is the convention in Washington, that would free up Congress to turn its attention on the big fish. But impeaching Gonzo will take a long time and lots of political capital. And--succeed or fail--that impeachment will make the impeachment of Cheney and Bush less likely, because their partisans will, undoubtedly, come up with some mantra like "out of control congress" or "culture of impeachment" or "Congress overturning election results" or whatever...that is, they'll use the impeachment of Gonzales for leverage to thwart any attempt to impeach Bush or Cheney. So Gonzo is going to make them impeach him.

This is just a refinement of the strategy of the Reagan administration, which apparently realized that, if you do a FEW illegal things, you're likely to get in trouble...but if you do LOTS of them, Congress won't have the time or energy to get you for all of them.

Once again, the question for us is: are we going to sit back and let this happen, or are we going to work to save our form of government?


Blogger The Mystic said...

You're most likely right about the impeachment thing.

However, as you posed the question in the Yoo thread, wtf can we do?

9:21 AM  
Blogger lovable liberal said...

As I watch Gonzales (until my own retching distracts me), I see a man supremely confident of his safety and position. He knows Duhbya has his back personally.

Rummy may have been arrogant, but he didn't have this same confidence, even though he was a Cheney man. Maybe being a Cheneyite made Rummy know that he was disposable at some level. Scooter Libby surely knows that.

I don't think Duhbya would initiate a plan to scooterize his own wounds by sacrificing Gonzo. Rove might, however, and no matter what Gonzo might think as a loyal courtier, Rove is the only indispensable staffer in the White House.

Inertia is a more likely reason for Gonzo's thumb in Congress's eye. The Bushists are so used to giving everyone the finger they can't stop.

Impeaching Gonzales would make impeachment of Duhbya and Darth more likely, not less. Get a little momentum going, turn over more rocks, and find the inevitable dirty dealings, and there will be more popular pressure for a real remedy.

Will it be enough? I only hope so.

10:35 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Yeah, I gotta admit that's at least as likely as my claim that impeaching Gonzo will act as an impediment to impeaching Cheney and Bush.

Well, I long is an impeachment of Gonzo likely to take?

11:19 AM  
Blogger Colin said...

Checks and balances, playing itself out in what's been some really entertaining CSPAN.

I think people are mistaking slow results for no results. Since they began this US attorney investigation, they've gotten Bush to assert executive priviledge in a way that's open to being overturned, Gonzales to commit perjury and reveal all sorts of bad shit, and lots of new avenues for further investigation (like Hatch Act violations).

The new hurdle, I think, is September 13, when the DC US attorney (a political appointment) gets thrown out on his ass and replaced by someone who will go for blood if he needs to. It's going more slowly than a lot of people want, I'm sure, but they are making good and cautious progress.

I am pretty sure Congress will be able to sort this out without the citizenship fashioning new shanks out of their car keys.

11:23 AM  
Blogger The Mystic said...

But as Winston has said, this will inevitably delay the impeachment of Bush and Cheney, basically providing them with a buffer to permit them to stay in office for the remainder of their term.

11:30 AM  
Blogger Colin said...

I don't really know if impeachment is a priority for Congress, at least not right now. Congress would have to get a lot more open threats to its power to really push for impeachment, but as all the Gonzales noise gets pursued it's probable that some of the stops the admin pulls out will make a lot of Congressmen REALLY mad. I think soon people will start getting charged with things that can't be pardoned or commuted.

I think if Congress goes at this with impeachment as the ultimate goal, they're going to fail. If they do it the way they have been, nailing people slowly and working their way up, then they have a much better chance at successfully making the executive sweat.

11:43 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Good point, Colin--slow progress isn't no progress.

I actually agree that it's good to keep pushing them, making each point they have to either admit wrong-doing or take up crazier and more precarious positions. Eventually, with a little luck, justice can be done.

And as for impeachment of the Big Boys--I don't actually think it's something that's really going to happen. Pelosi has already said it's off the table, the Dems are rather timid, and the Bushies are particularly ruthless.

The Dems are rather like a timid guy watching a bully pushing somebody else around. Reluctant to fight and a little scared, they'll think up lots of reasons why they shouldn't get involved. The bully has an inherent strategic advantage, being willing to escalate at every point. Given those facts, I can't see an impeachment happening within a year...and within six months of an election, the GOP will start saying that, with an election so close, the only reason to pursue impeachment is spite...and my guess is that they'll have a lot of rhetorical success with that line.

2:26 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

As Mystic quotes WS above, "wtf can we do?"

Call/write/email your congress-critters (all three of them)and state out why you think impeachment is required now, not later.

Follow up on NTodd's "snail mail sit-in" campaign to send a postcard a day to Speaker Pelosi urging her to put impeachment on the table.

We have to lead Congress to initiating the impeachment process. If sending a postcard is too hard, send an email. Or a Fax. Or call.

But don't just sit there and complain.

11:55 PM  

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