Monday, August 27, 2007

Video of Gonzales' resignation and President Bush's response

Here is the video of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' resignation on YouTube:

And here is President Bush's statement on Gonzales' resignation. From YouTube:

The Carpetbagger Report has an interesting take on President Bush's statement:

At one point, however, Bush’s tone and message became bitter, and he lashed out at those who subjected his dear friend to “months of unfair treatment.” The president added:

"It’s sad that we live in a time when a talented, honorable person like Alberto Gonzales is impeded from doing important work because his good name was dragged through the mud for political reasons."

On their face, Bush’s comments are transparently dumb. Gonzales wasn’t “honorable”; he was a disgrace to himself and his office. Gonzales wasn’t “talented”; by his own admission, a variety of important Justice Department decisions were made with Gonzales barely aware of what was going on around him. His name wasn’t dragged through the mud “for political reasons”; it was dragged through the mud for legitimate reasons.

But there’s another, perhaps more subtle angle to the president’s comments this morning. Bush has said for months that he simply didn’t care whether Democrats, Republicans, the electorate, career DoJ officials, scholars, pundits, or anyone else supported Gonzales. He had one boss, who approved of his work. Nothing else mattered.

Today, however, by whining about “unfair treatment,” Bush was effectively conceding that Gonzales was hounded from office by scandal.

Carpetbagger contrasts President Bush's statement on Gonzales' resignation with Bush's statement on Karl Rove's retirement:

THE PRESIDENT: Karl Rove is moving on down the road. I've been talking to Karl for a while about his desire to spend more time with Darby and Andrew. This is a family that has made enormous sacrifices not only for our beloved state of Texas, but for a country we both love.

We've been friends for a long time, and we're still going to be friends. I would call Karl Rove a dear friend. We've known each other as youngsters interested in serving our state. We worked together so we could be in a position to serve this country. And so I thank my friend. I'll be on the road behind you here in a little bit. I thank Darby and I thank Karl for making a tremendous sacrifice, and I wish you all the very best.

It is a rather interesting contrast that Carpetbagger makes here. With Rove's retirement, President Bush was standing right next to Rove, supporting his retirement all the way. There was no bitterness with President Bush in that Karl Rove was leaving--Karl Rove was retiring. Karl Rove was leaving on his own terms. There was no mention of Rove's involvement in the various scandals of the attorney firings, voter fraud, missing emails, and such. Carpetbagger continues:

Contrast that with this morning. Bush was angry and annoyed. The president could have just as easily appeared alongside Gonzales this morning, and read the exact same comments from Rove’s resignation event, and the message and tone would have been positive.

But instead the president made a tacit admission: Gonzales’ scandals were too much to bear. He no longer had any credibility, and could no longer function in his job. Everything Bush had said about Gonzales not needing anyone else’s support turned out to be wrong.

The president and his team could have tried to spin it the other way — I’m genuinely surprised they didn’t give it a shot — but instead they did something unusual: they admitted defeat.

There may be more here than a simple Bush White House admission of defeat. This is an administration that has been fighting a delaying action against the scandals, the congressional investigations, and subpoenas, in order to run the clock down on Bush's term. As a result of this continued delaying fight by the administration, we've been seeing a number of experienced Bush officials leaving this past year. These are the veterans that have kept this Bush White House "staying the course" through all the scandals and problems this administration has created. These are the people who have been charged with protecting President Bush's failed "legacy" until after Bush leaves office in January 2009. And now we're seeing these veterans leaving now, 16 months before Bush can leave office. Carpetbagger is right, there is an element of this administration admitting defeat here. But there is also an element of lashing anger, like the leader of a childhood gang getting caught terrorizing others and then crying about how life is unfair when his own supporters abandon him to his punishment. Are we starting to see the emergence of this lashing, childish anger coming from President Bush as key staff members leave him to the fate of his own deteriorating presidency?

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