Monday, June 11, 2007

Bush & Gonzales: BFF/McCain and September/The Final Inside Joke of The Sopranos

At the Archaeological Museum in Sofia, Bulgaria, today, George W. Bush once again defended besieged Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Here's the exchange:

Q: Mr. President, I want to take you back to domestic issues again. You say the no-confidence vote [pending in the Senate today] has no bearing as to whether Alberto Gonzales remains as Attorney General. How can he continue to be effective? And it seems like you're not listening to Congress when it comes to Gonzales, but you are listening to Congress when it comes to Peter Pace.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Yes, it's an interesting comment about Congress, isn't it, that, on the one hand, they say that a good general shouldn't be reconfirmed, and on the other hand, they say that my Attorney General shouldn't stay. And I find it interesting. I guess it reflects the political atmosphere of Washington. And they can try to have their votes of no confidence, but it's not going to determine -- make the determination who serves in my government....

And as to how Gonzales -- first of all, this process has been drug out a long time, which says to me it's political. There's no wrongdoing. You know, he -- they haven't said, here's -- you've done something wrong, Attorney General Gonzales. And therefore, I ascribe this lengthy series of news stories and hearings as political. And I'll make the determination if I think he's effective, or not, not those who are using an opportunity to make a political statement on a meaningless resolution.

This is good news for Democrats and any American who cares about the Justice Department. How can keeping a political hack who has lost all credibility as attorney general be considered a positive thing? Thanks to the shenanigans of Gonzales and his underlings, the Justice Department has been paralyzed. That has made it tougher for conservative ideologues to work Justice as their own plaything. Sunday's Washington Post noted that the Bush administration has been lackadaisical of late in stuffing the courts with rightwingers, and this has peeved its conservative comrades outside the government. The Post reported:

A White House failure to move quickly to fill judicial openings around the country is fueling concern among conservative allies that President Bush may miss an opportunity to use his final months in office to continue putting his stamp on the federal judiciary....

But though some people single out Democrats for criticism, others worry that changes in the White House counsel's office and the congressional uproar over Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales have pushed the issue lower on the priority list. "I have been pressing them to submit names -- because every day that passes it becomes that much more difficult," said Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.), the committee's ranking Republican. "I am not disappointed, because the president is busy. But there is an opportunity that could be missed if they don't start submitting names."

Added Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), a strong White House ally who is on the committee: "With all the investigations and things that have been going on, we have not seen a steady stream of nominees coming to the Senate."

With Justice tied into knots by the various controversies (the still-unexplained firings of the US attorneys, the recent scandal involving the politicization of the selection process for immigration judges, and so on), there's simply not enough time to load the judiciary with conservative ideologues.

Weeks ago, during the weekend of the annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner, I had several conversations with different Hollywood liberals who were in town for the event. They each went something like this.

Hollywood liberal: Why can't we get rid of Gonzales?

Me: Why do you want to?

Hollywood liberal (after a pause): Oh, I see....

Liberals and Democrats ought to be thankful Bush is so mule-headed on this front. Retention of Gonzales is a twofer: it reaffirms the image of Bush as an out-of-touch, isolated leader overly dependent on the mediocre members of his own, small crew, and it slows down the work of the Justice Department. Maybe next Bush can bring Michael Brown back to FEMA.

GETTING PAST SEPTEMBER. In recent weeks, I've kept track of the increasing trend among Washington policymakers and lawmakers (especially of the Republican variant) to declare September the make-or-break month regarding the Iraq war. Well, each day, September draws nearer. And the recent news out of Iraq does not indicate much, if any, progress. So it's time for the anti-Septemberists to take to the street. And leading that charge is the fellow who may well be throwing away his political career to support the war started by the man who seven years ago denied him the presidency. I'm referencing Senator John McCain, who seems more tired as a presidential candidate by the week. On ABC News' "This Week" yesterday, the Arizona Republican said, "I read the polls and I know what American public opinion is, and I regret that now September seems to be a magic moment." McCain has pledged to support the US troop increase in Iraq even "if I the last man standing." This fall he may start to get rather lonely.

BADA BING. What a fake-out. Executive producer and creator David Chase ended The Sopranos not with a plot point but with a wry joke. In the middle of what seemed to be the climactic scene of the entire series--was Tony about to be whacked by hitmen or was he going to be arrested by undercover FBI agents?--the screen went dark. End of story. End of series. No, Paulie Walnuts didn't blow Tony away, as I had predicted. Nothing happened. Instead of a narrative finale, the millions watching all wondered at the same moment, "Has my cable gone out?" It was the final inside joke of a series that had been loaded with inside jokes: with the death of The Sopranos, yes, you're cable is essentially gone. Was Chase reminding all of us that, hey, even HBO is only television?

Posted by David Corn at June 11, 2007 11:07 AM


capt said...

Mr. David Corn,

I think you are wrong about keeping the AG. He is a criminal and the highest law enforcement authority? A contradiction like that cannot sustain.

If he won't step down, if Bunnypants won't fire him - the price will be more than injustice.



capt said...

Shaking Off Amnesia, Gonzales Remembers He's Actually Pool Salesman From Tulsa

WASHINGTON, DC—Embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' future was thrown further into jeopardy Friday when he was accidentally struck by a boom microphone, reversing a years-long case of amnesia and causing him to remember his true identity as hotshot Tulsa, OK pool and spa salesman "Cabana Al" Gonzales.

"My God, what am I doing here?" a dazed Gonzales asked reporters in what they assured him was indeed his office. "The last thing I remember is slipping on some wet redwood decking out by the Boswicks' 16-by-48-foot in-ground El Tropico—beautiful pool, that one, with a hefty seven percent commission attached—and then suddenly I'm waking up three years older, 25 pounds heavier, and defending my actions in the firing of eight federal prosecutors. Somebody has obviously made a really big mistake."

"Clearly, I should not be seventh in line for the presidency," Gonzales said. "Can I go home now?"

After being informed of the details of his recent legal career, including his opinion that the right of habeas corpus is not represented in the Constitution and that law enforcement officers do not in fact need warrants to listen to phone calls made by private citizens, Gonzales expressed regret over "whatever it was [he] did" and apologized to anyone he may have inconvenienced by his actions over the past three years.

White House doctors say Gonzales' amnesia seems to have been completely eradicated, leaving him dazed, shaken, and unable to explain how he became the chief law enforcement officer of the federal government.

"Law never really interested me much," Gonzales said. "Got a brother-in-law who's a lawyer. Sold him a pool, actually. But that's it."

Archived footage from Tulsa local television found by Senate investigators shows him in several local commercials touting "Cabana Al" as "the pool salesman Tulsa trusts" as late as November 2004, mere days before Bush announced he would nominate Gonzales to succeed John Ashcroft for Bush's second term. Furthermore, voluntarily taken polygraph tests indicated that Gonzales has absolutely no idea how he came to be placed in his current job, where he is in charge of a $40 billion budget and more than 110,000 employees.

"Why the hell would anyone appoint me, of all people, to this position?" Gonzales asked. "All I know about law is a couple of local Tulsa zoning ordinances restricting how big a pool you can put in various-sized suburban lots. Hey, I didn't change any of those while I...when you all thought I was.... No? Man, what a shame."

The Senate has decided against holding a no-confidence vote on Gonzales, as those who opposed the attorney general believe their point has been made, and those who supported him acknowledge that he himself is pleading to be excused from duties so that he can return to the greater Tulsa area as soon as possible.

"It's already full-blown summer, and if I'm going to sell any in-ground units this year I have to start digging by the end of June or they won't be ready until September almost, and the commission on above-ground stuff is just pathetic," Gonzales told Congress.

The attorney general has so far rejected Bush's offers to strike him upon the head in an attempt to reverse his sudden, unexpected amnesia cure and restore him to his former mental state. On the advice of counsel, all of whom, it has been verified, are actual lawyers, Gonzales has said he will not comment further on White House business, except to say that, if the president is interested, he could hook him up with a good deal on a three-season heated "Olympia model" for the Rose Garden.


capt said...

What the President said to 'His Holy Father'

He really is priceless. Other world leaders see the Pope with their advisers and the Vatican's peerlessly punctilious protocol experts, making sure they do not commit the slightest gaffe. But George W. Bush can outwit them all. On the plane to Rome, he was already struggling.

The Pope is addressed as 'Your Holiness'. Roman Catholics refer to him as 'The Holy Father'. But somewhere in the tumble dryer that is the part of the US President's brain set aside for words, the two concepts got tangled and he told Associated Press: 'I think His Holy Father will be pleased to know that much of our foreign policy is based on the admonition to whom much is given, much is required.'

No doubt Pope Benedict, whom Bush later described as 'very smart', was able to deconstruct the rest of the sentence. But before he got down to cases with Bush, the Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles and Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church had the unusual experience of being called 'sir'. 'It's good to be with you, sir,' said Bush as he sat down. But it was just one of those days for George W. Even the car broke down.
His visit to Rome had been preceded by the biggest security operation this bodyguard's nightmare of a city had ever seen. The Tiber was dragged. The sewers were searched. Squares were cleared and roofs occupied. Yesterday the presidential cavalcade hurtled along its route preceded by a swarm of more than a dozen motorcycles, scooters and even motorised three-wheelers carrying tough-looking armed police riding pillion.

But when it got to Largo Poli, near the Trevi fountain, Bush's car ground to a halt. It remained perilously immobile for a minute and half. The President and Laura Bush were hustled into another car. That was denied by a White House official, who said the reasons for the breakdown were 'unclear'. Just as unclear was how the wide presidential limo could get through the gates of the US embassy. It couldn't. The presidential couple had to walk in.

'But this is how we do things in Italy,' cried a delighted onlooker. At least Bush could take heart from the G8 summit in what, in talking to the German-born Pope, he termed 'your old country'. He described it as 'successful ... good'.

Not everyone saw it that way. Some felt Bush had been spectacularly wrong-footed. Russia's President, Vladimir Putin, suggested that, if America's anti-missile shield was really to protect Europe from Iran and not Russia, the US could use Russian-controlled radar.

The Pope mischievously asked Bush if his talks with Putin had also been good. Glancing at the reporters who were about to be ushered from the room, the President replied: 'Ummm ... I'll tell you in a minute.'


Gerald said...

capt, from the previous blog thank you for the list of fallen soldiers for us to remember! I do not enjoy reading of dead soldiers and dead people but in war there will be death and destruction. I marvel at anyone who can gather all these names.

Gerald said...

Withdrawal Won't Happen

capt said...

The list was from

I don't know why they don't still have it up on their site.


Gerald said...

The Morality of the Iraq War

The title of the article is deceptive.

Gerald said...

Oh my, Our coming national nightmare

Gerald said...

People, this one of my predictions. Even I am frightened by my accuracy in making predictions. Please do not hate because I am right.

Will it happen? I don’t know. Can it happen? In a word yes, it can. If Bush were to do something such as this he would be perfectly within his rights as the “decider”. It wouldn’t be a joke anymore. No citizen would be afforded the writ of Habeas Corpus. Anyone could be detained indefinitely for just about any reason. This is where we stand today.

Does this perk your interest, or is it too much to think about? I’m an American citizen that doesn’t like what he is seeing. I want everything put back to the way it was. I can’t do this alone but there is strength in numbers. We have the authority as citizens to put this right. Why don’t we, before it’s too late, or is it too late already? Just remember, I don’t make this stuff up.

Gerald said...

People, Martial Law Is Already Here

Gerald said...

People, have you noticed how many writers are starting to believe my posts regarding martial law and the cancellation of the 2008 presidential election?

I cannot take credit for my increditable accuracy in my predictions.

These predictions, I believe, have come to me through Divine Providence.

Even though I am a sinner, God is still willing to enlighten me. I cannot live without His love and I cannot be saved without His mercy.

Gerald said...


Gerald said...


Pandemoniac said...

And on a lighter note... more funnies.

"John McCain said that he is willing to be the last man standing in support of the war. I think he already is."
--Jay Leno

"Republicans in Texas think you need a course on how to keep a marriage together. Who's going to teach it? Rudy Giuliani? Newt Gingrich?"
--Jay Leno

"Here's news from Washington, DC: We now have a new war czar. Yes, he was appointed by President Bush, so what could go wrong?"
--David Letterman

"Today at the White House, President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair held their last joint press conference. In other words, it was the last time they played Christopher Robin and Pooh."
--Conan O'Brien

"Last night, Fox News aired the second Republican presidential debate. My favorite part was when the white guy went after those two white guys, and three other white guys chimed in."
--Conan O'Brien

"They all answered some tough questions. Rudy Giuliani had to answer for his position on abortion. John McCain had to answer on his support of immigration reform. And Mike Huckabee had to answer the question, 'Who are you?'"
--Jay Leno

Jon Stewart: Other frontrunners tried to turn a blue background into a red bona fide
On screen: Rudy Giuliani saying, 'According to George Will, I ran the most conservative government in the last 50 years in New York City'
Stewart: Wow. You ran the most conservative government in 50 years... in New York City? Congratulations on being the thinnest guy at fat camp

"This weekend in Virginia, President Bush attended some big event. He got up at one point on the spur of the moment and conducted a 400-piece orchestra. ... Apparently, it was the first time a 400-piece orchestra has ever played 'The Wheels on the Bus.'"
--Conan O'Brien

"A group that researches ancestry announced that President Bush is a descendant of Pocahontas. Native Americans were furious. They said, 'Great. First you take our land and now you blame us for President Bush?!!'"
--Conan O'Brien

"Apparently, we may have foiled a terrorist attack right here in America. Six bozos were going to attack the army base at Fort Dix, New Jersey. But Bush outsmarted them ... because, as we all know, every single American soldier is safely in Iraq."
--Bill Maher

"During last week's Republican debate, three of the ten candidates said they did not believe in evolution, including Kansas Senator Sam Brownback, who added that he would defend his conviction from one edge of the Earth to the other."
--Seth Myers

"On Monday, President Bush held his first-ever white tie dinner in honor of Queen Elizabeth, opting to save the even more formal platinum tie dinner for when Spiderman visits."
--Amy Poehler

"When told that Prime Minister Tony Blair was stepping down as Britain's leader, a confused President Bush said, 'Hey, wait a minute. If he's the leader of England, who was that old lady with the crown who was just here?'"
--Jay Leno

"This week, a group of Republican congressmen asked President Bush what his 'Plan B' is if the current Iraq plan doesn't work. The 'Plan B' discussion was difficult for Bush, because it involves two areas where he's extremely vulnerable -- Iraq and the alphabet."
--Conan O'Brien

"Republican presidential candidate Duncan Hunter revealed that he drives a Chevy Suburban with 274,000 miles on it. Despite all those miles, the Suburban still has a much better chance of making it to the '08 election than Duncan Hunter."
--Conan O'Brien

Jon Stewart: On both sides of the aisle, everyone agrees the Iraq situation has to change and fast. ... With all the uncertainty, it really does make you start to wonder what is victory in Iraq?
On screen: Bush saying, 'Victory in Iraq is a country that can sustain itself, govern itself and defend itself'.
Stewart: Really? Half the nations in the 'coalition of the willing' can't do that. Seriously, I'm looking at you, Marshall Islands."

Jon Stewart: So then we're all clear on what constitutes success? There's no challenges there? ...
On screen: Bush saying that victory means 'relative peace' in Iraq.
Stewart: You can't have zero car bombings because a successful Iraq would just have too many cars. I mean, some of them are just bound to explode. ... So, that's relative peace. So, that's success, right?
On screen: Bush saying, 'Success is not no violence.'.
Stewart: Success is not no violence? Coincidentally, also the lowest selling motivational poster ever.

"President Bush made a couple of gaffes around the queen the other day. He meant to say the queen visited the White House in 1976. Instead, he said 1776. Then he made another huge gaffe when he asked how old her son-in-law Camilla was."
--Jay Leno

"Vice President Dick Cheney is on his tour of the Middle East. Over there, he's very popular. He's known as 'Lawrence of Arrhythmia'"
--David Letterman

"Earlier this week, President Bush hosted a state dinner in Queen Elizabeth's honor. Guests included Trent Lott, Elizabeth Hasselbeck from 'The View' and the winning jockey from the Kentucky Derby. Which explains why the Queen was overheard saying, 'This party bites the big one.'"
--Conan O'Brien

"Help is on the way, people -- Dick Cheney in a secret surprise visit. The vice president put on his Sunday best and arrived in Baghdad under cover of darkness. Now I know it appeared to be in the middle of the day, but Cheney, as you know, always brings his own cover of darkness. It's like Pig-Pen, but instead of dirt, followed by an intangible void." --Jon Stewart

You may just be... said...

If you want AG Gonzalez to remain in office, you may just be a political pragmatist rather than an idealist.

Pandemoniac said...

A stroll down memory lane:

capt said...
Bill Clinton was/is both challenged and troubled. He has issues and does/did some very dumb things but all in all Bubba was and still is ten times the man Dumya is in both character and moral fiber.

(and you will seldom hear me say anything good about politicians)

6/7/07 4:14 PM

David B. Benson said...
capt --- Only ten times?
6/7/07 4:21 PM

capt said...
TEN is probably a huge understatement.


I know a blogger round these parts who agrees with you on that one. Big Dawg towers above the current CIC. Head and shoulders. Head and shoulders, no doubt. Compare and Contrast.


capt said...

President Clinton wrote Abu Ghraib interrogator.

Newsweek profiles Eric Fair, who "confessed in a February Washington Post opinion piece to abusing a prisoner while serving as a civilian interrogator in Iraq in 2004."

Fair told NEWSWEEK he had hoped the mea culpa would encourage other interrogators to talk openly about torture. Instead, it ruined friendships and prompted death threats. "I didn’t anticipate how palpable the hatred would be," the 35-year-old former GI said from his home in Bethlehem, Pa. Readers accused him of undermining troop morale, even of engaging in treason. […]

Still, for every hostile letter writer, two expressed support — including interrogators who said they wished they could tell their own stories. … One handwritten letter stood out. It encouraged Fair to continue talking publicly about Iraq and about the abuse of prisoners. The letter was signed by former president Bill Clinton.


*****end of clip*****

Speaking of the Big Dawg.


capt said...

Bill Clinton is an excellent speaker. He doesn't speak down to people and yet he speaks plainly enough that you know what he is saying.

Clinton is an inspirational speaker - Bush is just a garbled mess of over used talking points and insults to the thinking mind.

TEN times is a gross understatement.


capt said...

New Thread

WTF said...

Clinton may be popular but don't you think it is time to give some other families besides the bush and clintons a shot at the presidency, after all if hillary gets it that would be 28 years of those two asshats. Give me a break. We need a leader not another politician, the problems coming our way will necessitate someone that is superlative, not mediocre. Where are they? Probably too smart to run if you ask me.