The Curious Case of the Amnesiac Attorney General
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I'm afraid it is my duty to impart some bad news people, and I advise you all to sit down before you fall down. The Attorney General of the United States apparently is suffering from a horrible disease. Best case scenario is we're talking a tertiary case of situational amnesia here. And for a lawyer, that can't be good.
In his recent appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Alberto Gonzales was unable to recall anything ... 45 times. And that was before lunch. Maybe it's simply a case of hypoglycemia, since after lunch, he only couldn't recollect 29 times. I don't mean to minimize the critical nature of this crisis but the solution seems obvious to me: between meal snacks.
The scary part is, as head of the Justice Department, Gonzales is ostensibly the country's top lawyer, although after this performance, I doubt if he's destined to be the top lawyer on the Greyhound he'll soon be riding back to Texas. Hey, he's the guy who said "the moment I believe I can no longer be effective, I will resign as Attorney General," and right about now even his staunchest supporters have to be ordering mylar balloons delivered to the D of J with "don't let the door hit you in the butt on the way out" stenciled on them.
When asked about the decision to fire eight federal prosecutors, Gonzales insisted he wasn't involved, then after e-mails about meetings he attended were released, okay, maybe he was involved. But just a little. Microscopically. An eensy teensy teeny wee bit of a tad. He did admit to making the decision to fire the US Attorneys but couldn't remember when he made the decision. Seems to be a perennial theme with this administration. "Had absolutely nothing to do with it. Oh, you have evidence? Nope. Sorry. Can't remember. Its all a blur."
At the hearing, Senators accused Bush's torture champion of being dishonest, deceitful, incompetent, evasive, inept, underhanded, misleading, smelling like rancid olive loaf and looking like he's wearing his father's burial suit. Not to mention scaring small children with a high squeaky voice that over broadcast airwaves has been known to activate smoke alarms, lawn sprinklers and TIVO recordings of Gladiator movies. And those were the Republicans. With friends like these, who needs Democrats?
In a show of solidarity the President assured the country that the Attorney General had his full confidence. "Doing a heckuva job, Alberto." Actually talked about how pleased he was with Gonzales's performance even though a staffer conceded he had not seen any of the testimony. I'm thinking the main reason he's supporting him is because "Attorney General" and "Alberto Gonzales" have the same initials and its the only way he can remember who's filling the position.
The low point may have been when Gonzales attempted to explain away the personnel changes as sometimes coming down to just not the right people at the right time, and South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham asked "If I applied that standard to you, what would you say?" And the entire room erupted into laughter. And you know what, that can't be good either. For him or for us.
Will Durst is a political comic, syndicated columnist, AM radio talk show host and defense liability.