Saturday, March 24, 2007

"Fredo" takes another hit

The Bush administration has been caught telling yet another falsehood (domestic politics category, as opposed to the Iraq war category).

Thanks to the latest Friday night document dump, let's just simply compare what attorney general Alberto Gonzales said on March 13, and what he did last Nov. 27.

On March 13, he felt compelled to address the burgeoning evidence that eight U.S. attorneys (all Republicans) had been fired in an unprecedented fashion for failing to sufficiently politicize their offices and aid the GOP at election time. Gonzales denied that he had played any role in the firings. Here was the money quote: "We never had a discussion about where things stood."

Now it turns out, courtesy of an item on the Justice Department calendar, that Gonzales met with his top aides last Nov. 27, to have a discussion about where things stood. They met in a Justice conference room at 9 a.m., and the title of the meeting was "U.S. Attorney Appointments." The firings were engineered on Dec. 7.

Naturally, a Justice spokeswoman said last night that there was absolutely no conflict between what Gonzales said on March 13, and what he did last Nov. 27, but if you're prepared to believe that, I have some Saddam Hussein WMDs to sell you.

Bush stood by his man again today, but in a way it's irrelevant whether Gonzales stays or goes. Bush, not Gonzales, sets the tone for this administration. And Gonzales himself has said that he is merely a yes man (he once said of Bush, "I am not sure that there will ever be a job that I would say 'no' to, if he asked me to do it").

Nevertheless, now that Gonzales has been caught in another falsehood (the first being his statement to Congress that he would "never, ever" fire a U.S. attorney for partisan reasons), we shall see how long Bush can afford to prop him up.

I heard recently that Bush's pet nickname for his acolyte is "Fredo." How apt it is, this inadvertent evocation of the doomed Corleone brother in Godfather II. Perhaps sooner rather than later, this new Fredo may be compelled to row his boat into the middle of Lake Tahoe and await the coup de grace.