Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Opinionator: A blog at the New York Times by Tobin Harshaw & Chris Suellenthorp

Did Attorney General Alberto Gonzales lie during his Congressional testimony yesterday? Spencer Ackerman at TPM Muckraker thinks so, and counts the ways:

He tripped himself up repeatedly during his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee — quite possibly entering perjury territory. Gonzales’s big problem is that he told the Senate on February 6, 2006 that no one within the Justice Department dissented from President Bush’s warrantless surveillance program, a contention made dubious by James Comey’s testimony in May that, as acting attorney general in March 2004, Comey refused to reauthorize a program he considered illegal.

Some of the Senators seem to agree, reports Elana Schor at The Hill: “The Senate veered closer to a contempt finding against the White House on Tuesday after an acrimonious appearance by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, with the Judiciary Committee’s senior Republican offering options for taking the Bush administration to court.”

Steven Reynolds at All Spin Zone is at least able to find a rueful humor in the event: “The New York Times didn’t cover the story on the front page of its web site, and one has to search a bit to find the story in the Washington Post. Frankly, I’m thinking the performance of the Attorney General was so embarrassing that those papers didn’t want to appear to be piling on. They don’t want to appear to be making fun of someone who is handicapped, perhaps, virtually unable to distinguish between the truth and lies.”

So, who on the right is rushing to the attorney general’s defense? At National Review’s The Corner … um, nobody’s touching the subject. At American Spectator, ditto. OpinionJournal? Worldwide Standard? Nada. Finally, something by Ed Morrissey at Heading Right:

If the White House is shrinking from a confirmation hearing on a replacement for Gonzales, it should remember that the DoJ serves the nation, and the nation deserves a competent and capable chief for this critical point in history. If Bush clings to Gonzales out of a sense of loyalty, then he should consider the damage that personal loyalty has done to his own credibility and the credibility of federal law enforcement. Gonzales is a mistake he can rectify, and Bush should do so immediately.

As the cliché goes, if you want a friend in Washington, get a dog. If Gonzales did take that advice, does anyone else suspect that even Fido’s faith might be questionable about now?