Senate Republicans blocked a symbolic no-confidence vote against Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales on Monday evening, dismissing the measure as an irrelevant gesture, though Democrats had hoped it might intensify pressure on Mr. Gonzales to resign.
The Democrats had sought a showdown that would force Mr. Gonzales to retreat or President Bush to abandon his support of the attorney general, who has come under strong criticism from both parties for the dismissals of federal prosecutors and recent disclosures about partisanship in hiring at the Justice Department.
Instead, the Democrats’ effort failed in a procedural step that fell seven votes short of the 60 needed to end debate and move to a vote on the resolution. The vote was 53 to 38. Most of the Senate’s 48 Republicans voted against the motion, but 7 voted to proceed. No Democrats voted against the motion.
I can’t decide whether I like Gonzo staying in place to put the eclamation point at the end of the most incompetent, unprincipled, and unscrupulous administration of my lifetime, or if it actually would make a difference were he to be replaced. Regardless, you have to wonder what kind of goods Gonzo has on Bush in order for the DECIDER to keep this boob in place.
Alternate Working Title:
“Come back here and take what’s coming to you. I’ll bite your legs off!”
As I’m far from the first to point out, Bush can’t fire Gonzales. Any replacement might actually start doing his job, and investigate the Administration. With the Justice Department in his pocket, Bush has significant insulation that he’d lose.
Is that a new euphemism for a filibuster?
Republican’s control Congress: the other party filibusters
Democrat’s control Congress: the other party uses a procedural step.
Sure, the little moron knows where the bodies are buried.
But his willingness to blatantly stonewall re various Shrubco crimes is his real value to the Chimp.
I think you’ve more or less answered your own question here. Gonzo can’t be fired because it will be too damaging to the Bush administration if he walks and someone like Sec. Def. Gates gets put in his place. So, while keeping the worst AG in modern history in power certainly looks bad on paper, it is much worse in practice. It’s not like lossing Gonzo will somehow purify the White House, any more than Dick Cheney finally getting offed by a heart attack would usher in an era of peace and rainbows. There’s still plenty of other turds on that pile of shit.
So if the Democrats can find the balls and the wherewithall to finally throw a punch on the teflon President, they will earn nothing but thanks and praise to swing in and try to do some damage. As it stands, it still looks like Bush will leave office unscathed and that pisses alot of people off.
We have a system carefully crafted, on purpose, to avoid a tyrrany of majority. A slim majority cannot steamroll its way to anything in this configuration, and we should be very thankful that it is the case.
To paraphrase the great George W. Bush, democracy is hard work.
Sack up and keep up the fight. The effort to bring democracy back the United States will take a long time, and we won’t be greeted as liberators.
Add me to the list of the undeciders. As it stands the position of A.G. is effectively hamstrung for the duration. In this instance I have a hard time saying that’s a bad thing because the less we hear from Abbie the Abductor the better.
If Congress keeps sending subpoenas and people keep saying damaging things about our boy Alberto and/or the DoJ, it makes Bush’s insistence on keeping him around even harder to explain. Maybe as more DoJers are summoned by Congress for a little chat they’ll resign and we can start fixing the Department a little at a time, rather than having to hose the place out in 2009.
But it seems that’s also one downside to kicking him out. The DoJ is still fucked up and if A.G. goes, people will lose interest in the rest of the rats still lurking in there. In addition, if GoneZo did resign (either voluntarily or not), Bush will come up with someothing as bad or worse and call it an “interim appointment” to get around the confirmation hearings. What’s Harriet Miers up to these days?
Attorney General. Alberto Gonzales. Hey, the firt letters is the same! Heh.
I don’t. It’s as simple as Bush being a stubborn prick. That’s it. Bush pays no political price for keeping him, and as Penn mentioned, the fact that Gonzo and Bush are equally hip-deep in everything means it’s safer to keep him at DOJ.
I gotta join the “no wonder” chorus. AG has done exactly the job Karl and King George wanted, if not as subtly or competently as they may have preferred. Why would the King fire a perfect flunky?
Gonzo knows where the bodies are buried. And that’s not a metaphor.
The shittiest part is the next admin is going to not only have to do house cleaning, we’re talking a full renovation. The stench of this administration will linger for years.
Yep. Once again, Democrats are the clean-up crew. I thought Clinton digging us out of the Reagan deficits was bad enough, but the next Democrat is going to have to repair the holes in the Constitution, repair our foreign policy, and completely rebuild the executive branch departments. And that’s just for starters.
He worked for Hillary, too?
Oh yeah, why the fuck is harry reid so stupid?
Hold a vote of confidence in Gonzo for christ’s sake.
He won’t get 50 votes. No one could block it. Why the fuck not?
Somewhere I’ve read speculation that the main reason is that any new candidate for Attorney General will have to go through a Senate confirmation process, and during that process the Democrats would have a lot of leverage in getting a special prosecutor to look more deeply into the Justice Department. I have no idea whether this is the case, but it sounds reasonable to me.
Because, once again, it would have to get through closure to receive an actual vote. And it would receive the same criticism, “This doesn’t really mean anything!”, “The Senate is wasting its time!”, “I’m Spectering on the issue and there’s nothing you can do about it!”
There’s still H.R. 6 to be considered. But “keeping up the pressure” only really works when you see the other side begin to squirm from the heat. So far, the Republicans look like shmucks for supporting Gonzo, but Democrats look weak and flaccid because they can’t stop him.
Back in the good old days of Republican control weren’t they talking about nuking the filibuster because the Democrats were blocking some right-wing judges? Wasn’t Frist going to bring down the hammer on that? Wonder what ever happened to that?
I assume fewer Republicans would support changing the Senate rules to disallow the filibuster now. Wasn’t it all about “the majority rules” back then? Of course, the Republicans had the whole base fired up about filibusters while the Dems take it in shorts with nary a whimper.
Perhaps I am a bit crazy but having listened to some of Obama’s speeches, I think he could do it.
Isn’t there some kind of connection we can make to the Paris Hilton case, too? I mean, as long as we are stuck in the mode of talking about this as if we never actually noticed how congress works before, as long as we are just peasants, as John says, why not be total peasants?
I’d like to start with adopting the “We won, get over it” attitude that our righty friends had just three years ago.
I think that’s the best way to understand American politics. Winner take all. Hey, it worked for the Republicans for a long time. Now it’s our turn.
Let’s bring this gummint to a halt until the other side understands that there’s a new sheriff in town.
“True power comes from a mandate from the masses! Not some farcical aquatic ceremony!… Look, if I was to say I was King just because some watery tart threw a scimitar at me, they have me locked up!!!”
Or something like that. Best movie ever.
Count me on the “Gonzo Must Go” side because its not HIM that’s the problem, its the fact that he’s willfully allowing the Bushbots to politicize the DoJ that is unacceptable. My Bushbot co-worker and I got into an argument where he argued that Bush should be allowed to fire and hire people so they match his own politics. I asked him if he’d feel the same way if he was fired by the state government agency we work for because he’s not leftie enough.
“Well, that’s different…”
That is mostly what presidents do, all the time. It’s the whole idea behind the political appointments, starting with the Cabinet and going right on down to the people who answer the White House telephones.
The real issue is whether a president can go beyond simple patronage to political manipulation of the actual work these people are doing. Using US Attorneys as disposable props in a scheme to maneuver the Justice Department against a bloc of voters, for example.
Wrongheaded complaining about “hiring and firing” of patronage employees is just rabble rousing. An example of such foolishness would be the phony “controversy” over the Clinton firing of the travel people. That was a perfectly normal use of the power. A blanket firing of all US Attorneys by a new president, another normal use of the power.
What these guys did, which is to manipulate the actual workflow of these Justice employees to accomplish a political purpose …. quite evil.
Unfortunately, none of it so far can be proven and pinned on the principals.
Nothing. The american people want him gone but Bush doesn’t care what they want, he only cares what he wants which is why the right has Fox to convince the 28% that they want it to. Don’t bowto the people’s wish’s ,change them. The Decider has decided to decide, decisively, that AGx2 will stay.
Totally agree with you, Thyme, and argued that whole point with my friend, too (to which his response was “this is just a Democrat witch hunt!”)
But, as to this:
I agree, that’s true, but only to a point. The check and balance of Senate approval of political appointments was designed to prevent the hiring of unqualified hacks. Hence, why the Administration tried to get around it with that Patriot Act amendment.
So, its a fine line between appointing/hiring your political “soulmates” (as my friend suggested the Admin. was doing) and firing qualified people to replace them with obedient hacks….in the very same Executive Branch Department responsible for oversight of the very same people that are appointing them (without being subject to the Senate confirmation process).
TZ, it’s also important to remember Bushco has gone well beyond the patronage jobs and applied the loyalty litmus to civil service level jobs–very much a no-no. This country spent a lot of time and energy trying to build a professional government at the implementation level; Bush’s trashing of government at this level is another festering legacy the next administration will have to try to fix.
As I said at the start of this thing, Gonzo ain’t going to be Gonezo any time soon. He still has new findings to write to tell us what the Deciderator has decided. More “enhanced” interrogations of the Constitution to block that evildoer stuff like habeas. His work is not done.
Republican senators? Those stalwart defenders of the country like mavericks McCain and Graham are fine with that. Far more importantly, for the retard who knows God meant him to be king, The Gonz is doing a heckuva job.
I think it bears repeating that what Santorumed the Canine for the White House wasn’t the actual firing of the USAs, it was their response to questions about the firings. If there was ever a time to say “Executive privilege’s a bitch, ain’t it? Neener, neener,” that was it. Instead we got: Lies, panic, discord, lies, pants wetting, more lies, a rush for the life boats, an ugly fight over the life boats … Drama that is difficult to distinguish from parody. It leads one to think that the WH has been so busy mis-using the concept of EP they forgot what it was for.
Either that or Cheney is hogging it to cover his fat arse and won’t share.
I wish I thought so, LITB. One thing not in favor of that analysis is that …. it doesn’t work. We get hacks all the time. Another thing is the sheer volume of approvals that come before the Senate. There isn’t a lot of time to review the appointments. So what ends up happening is, a superficial, political process ensues which ends up being largely symbolic in nature a lot of the time. The hope is that this process keeps out the grossly bad appointees, but if you take Clarence Thomas as an example, it’s hard to argue that it is very reliable.
KagroX had a good post on Daily Kos, a href=”http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2007/6/12/74340/5143″>here.
Now that the stupid “non-binding resolution” didn’t get to the floor for debate, Democrats should put forth a motion to impeach the A-G.
A vote against impeachment would be far harder for Republicans to run from under the “it doesn’t mean anything” argument. Also, apparently impeachment subpeonas are not subject to claims of executive privilege.
That would be fun. It would be interesting to see how Lieberman (Asshole-Connecticut) would thread the needle with a vote against impeachment.
LITBMueller, i think it was ‘moistened bink’, not ‘watery tart’.
What kind of message does it send to the children if we don’t punish the Attorney General’s lying and bad behavior?
That they should all grow up and want to be AG?
The Other Steve
I welcome our new Gonzo overlords.
If I have nothing else in Holy Joe, its faith in his ability to spin and flip-flop his way to the most DINO’d position possible. I’m sure we’ll see a heart-rending cry over how Abu G is losing precious time in his pedophile hunts and wonky testimony against Schummer or Reid decrying how all politicians are evil and Gonzo is a victim of circumstance. I’ll be Specter will be verbose in his castigation of our AG and truly heartbroken that he can’t cast the vote to impeach him because of some squirly here-for unmentioned conservative principle he clings to.
Yeah, expect another 53-43 vote, but with a different song and dance number to back it up.
The real problem isn’t the political appointees, that always happens as TZ noted, but he ignored the real mess, the politicized religio-d hirings in GS ranks. That mess is going to be with us until the incompetent little godlings prove how incompetent they are – and that might not be enough to fire them. Civil service rules, when followed, are a bitch.
Most of the political stuff can be repaired, with will, and a President that doesn’t decide to want some of the stuff BushCo has grabbed. You have to think on that one. A Democratic name comes to mind…
That being a Republican is better because they never have to clean up after themselves!