Mojo - January 2009

Alberto Gonzales: Pathetic? Deluded? Crazy?

| Fri Jan. 2, 2009 2:03 PM EST

Short fiction writer Alberto Gonzales is confused, asking in a recent interview, "What is it that I did that is so fundamentally wrong, that deserves this kind of response to my service?"

If Gonzales is trying this unctuous nonsense in an attempt at image-rehabilitation, he needs to hire a professional PR company. If he's asking this question in earnest, he is demonstrably insane.

As Think Progress points out, the answer to Gonzales' question includes: corrupting the DOJ by insiting on ideological purity tests in hiring; firing US Attorneys that refused to toe the Bush Administration line; signing off on torture as White House Counsel; trying to strong-arm a hospitalized Attorney General into authorizing domestic spying despite widespread opposition within the federal government; lying about said episode and the domestic spying program in general; and lying about pre-war intelligence. Gonzales also stonewalled Congress when they sought answers on a number of these subjects and had his aides do the same.

So the question is, was Gonzales this pathetic/insane when he joined the Bush Administration, or was there something about the experience that affected his brain? Did he do so much mental work to convince himself that what he was doing was acceptable, even needed, that today he simply has no ability to engage with reality? Did he go so far down the rabbit hole that he has no ability to get out?

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Conservatives Angry Because Obama's Team Is Too Far Left? Not Really

| Fri Jan. 2, 2009 1:19 PM EST

Hmm. New story out today in the Washington Post about how conservatives are supposedly worried that Obama's appointees and transition team are too far to the left. That's a wild departure from all previous grumbling, which came from progressives worried Obama's people are too far to the right.

You could easily take this as an example of two grand truths: (1) Presidents, especially new presidents, just can't win. Washington simply has too many people with too many different agendas. Every time a new man or woman takes the White House, his or her moves are bound to disappoint somebody. (2) If you look hard enough when you are writing a newspaper article, you can always find someone willing to complain. This is true on almost any topic.

But before we use this as a teachable moment, let's take a closer look at the Post article. Only one conservative is on the record as complaining about Obama's confidantes being too liberal, a man named Roger Clegg. The executive director of the Northwest Mining Association does pop up briefly at the end to whine about a former Clinton staffer who is on the transition team advising Obama on Interior, but that same mining official is said to be "comforted" by the fact that Sen. Ken Salazar, a Democrat from Colorado with friends in the oil and mining industries, was picked by Obama to head Interior. Let's not look a gift horse in the mouth here, folks. You've got the big fish on your side and you're complaining about the little fish? (Two animal metaphors in two sentences = bonus points.)

The article mentions just four people close to Obama who raise the ire of conservatives (or would possibly draw the ire of conservatives, if anyone had bothered to go on the record). All four are advising the transition team; not one has been appointed to anything. No complaints are made by anyone, named or unnamed, about Obama's actual appointees. A Harvard professor is cited in the article as believing "an ultra-left takeover by Obama advisers and nominees are manufactured hyperbole." That seems about right. And this Post article fits that bill.