July 24, 2005

Drip, drip, drip

A post by Atrios directed me to a Frank Rich piece in the NY Times which touches on an interesting angle to Rovegate; the involvement of Alberto Gonzales, Bush's right hand former personal lawyer and current Attorney General. Gonzalez was the odds on favorite to be picked as Bush's nominee to the Supreme Court, but suddenly disappeared from consideration. Why?
It's a very illuminating and informative piece well worth reading.
PRESIDENT BUSH'S new Supreme Court nominee was a historic first after all: the first to be announced on TV dead center in prime time, smack in the cross hairs of "I Want to Be a Hilton." It was also one of the hastiest court announcements in memory, abruptly sprung a week ahead of the White House's original timetable. The agenda of this rushed showmanship - to change the subject in Washington - could not have been more naked. But the president would have had to nominate Bill Clinton to change this subject.

When a conspiracy is unraveling, and it's every liar and his lawyer for themselves, the story takes on a momentum of its own. When the conspiracy is, at its heart, about the White House's twisting of the intelligence used to sell the American people a war - and its desperate efforts to cover up that flimflam once the W.M.D. cupboard proved bare and the war went south - the story will not end until the war really is in its "last throes."

Only 36 hours after the John Roberts unveiling, The Washington Post nudged him aside to second position on its front page. Leading the paper instead was a scoop concerning a State Department memo circulated the week before the outing of Joseph Wilson's wife, the C.I.A. officer Valerie Plame, in literally the loftiest reaches of the Bush administration - on Air Force One. The memo, The Post reported, marked the paragraph containing information about Ms. Plame with an S for secret. So much for the cover story that no one knew that her identity was covert.

But the scandal has metastasized so much at this point that the forgotten man Mr. Bush did not nominate to the Supreme Court is as much a window into the White House's panic and stonewalling as its haste to put forward the man he did. When the president decided not to replace Sandra Day O'Connor with a woman, why did he pick a white guy and not nominate the first Hispanic justice, his friend Alberto Gonzales? Mr. Bush was surely not scared off by Gonzales critics on the right (who find him soft on abortion) or left (who find him soft on the Geneva Conventions). It's Mr. Gonzales's proximity to this scandal that inspires real fear.

As White House counsel, he was the one first notified that the Justice Department, at the request of the C.I.A., had opened an investigation into the outing of Joseph Wilson's wife. That notification came at 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 29, 2003, but it took Mr. Gonzales 12 more hours to inform the White House staff that it must "preserve all materials" relevant to the investigation. This 12-hour delay, he has said, was sanctioned by the Justice Department, but since the department was then run by John Ashcroft, a Bush loyalist who refused to recuse himself from the Plame case, inquiring Senate Democrats would examine this 12-hour delay as closely as an 18½-minute tape gap. "Every good prosecutor knows that any delay could give a culprit time to destroy the evidence," said Senator Charles Schumer, correctly, back when the missing 12 hours was first revealed almost two years ago. A new Gonzales confirmation process now would have quickly devolved into a neo-Watergate hearing. Mr. Gonzales was in the thick of the Plame investigation, all told, for 16 months.

Thus is Mr. Gonzales's Supreme Court aspiration the first White House casualty of this affair. It won't be the last. When you look at the early timeline of this case, rather than the latest investigatory scraps, two damning story lines emerge and both have legs.
Read the entire piece here.


At 7/24/2005 1:19 PM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

Excellent Dope. Keep on bring on the info to us!

At 7/24/2005 5:07 PM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

Why is it that whenever the men in power get scared, they go to their "go to guy".

Once again, a woman is replaced by a man. And a boring one I might add... Roberts looks like he would put a kid with ADHD to sleep.

Surely there are plenty of smart women out there that would fit the bill? OR maybe the gender thing scares Bush. You know, maybe he's afraid that they will miss work during their monthly cycles or some archaic notion like that.....

At 7/24/2005 9:22 PM, Blogger youngridemocrat said...

Maybesomeday ---

What? Have you forgotten about his number national security adviser, "Condi" Rice? And with a mom like Barbara, I think our President learned in life early how to deal with women. I think he probably doesn't have a problem with women. His problem is that he doesn't like to read newspapers and issue briefings.

At 7/25/2005 8:17 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

There ya go, youngriddemocrat. I too don't think Bushie has a problem with women. And frankly, I don't think he had a thing to do with picking a nominee. There's an entire gang of Federalist Society heavies hovering around the White House to tell him who to pick, chief among them the loathsome C. Boyden Gray and Ted Ohlsen.

At 7/25/2005 6:37 PM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

Still, it appears to me that the Roberts pick was done in haste after they realized Gonzales was stuck with one hand in the frying pan on the Wilson scandal.

Bush and Co can come up with a woman if they work real hard and think on it a long while but again, I say that Roberts was a quick pick of a "guy" they could put out to the public and not have to overanalyze the "woman" factor to get the right female.

Simply put, it appears after all that in my humble observation, that it's still a man's world out there and try as women may work to become qualified, there are many excellent female candidates right under the nose of the men in power who get overlooked. That's all I am saying.


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