Sunday, January 23, 2005

Even Then He Was Noted for the Refreshing Novelty of His Arguments 

Get me out of this voir dire thing and one day, Alberto -- you mark my words -- I'll make you Attorney General of the United States:
Bush's summons to serve as a juror in the drunken-driving case [in 1996] was, in retrospect, a fateful moment in his political career: by getting excused from jury duty he was able to avoid questions that would have required him to disclose his own 1976 arrest and conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) in Kennebunkport, Maine—an incident that didn't become public until the closing days of the 2000 campaign. (Bush, who had publicly declared his willingness to serve, had left blank on his jury questionnaire whether he had ever been "accused" in a criminal case) . . . .

In separate interviews, [Judge David] Crain—along with [attorney David] Wahlberg and prosecutor John Lastovica—told NEWSWEEK that, before the case began, Gonzales asked to have an off-the-record conference in the judge's chambers. Gonzales then asked Crain to "consider" striking Bush from the jury, making the novel "conflict of interest" argument that the Texas governor might one day be asked to pardon the defendant (who worked at an Austin nightclub called Sugar's), the judge said. "He [Gonzales] raised the issue," Crain said. Crain said he found Gonzales's argument surprising, since it was "extremely unlikely" that a drunken-driving conviction would ever lead to a pardon petition to Bush . . . . "In public, they were making a big show of how he was prepared to serve," said Crain. "In the back room, they were trying to get him off."
Gonzales gave the Senate Judiciary Committee a written account of his court appearance that omitted any mention of the back-room dealings; Judge Crain and the two lawyers have characterized that statement as a "complete misrepresentation."

Okay, he thinks torture is legal and he's on the record saying that the President can suspend laws and treaties if he feels like it. He's right, isn't he? 51% of the American people agree. You don't see Don Rumsfeld in the pokey, do you? In this specific instance, by covering the President's ass and simultaneously misleading Congress, Mr. Gonzales proves he's got the right stuff -- that patented mix of groveling fealty and audacious mendacity that makes him a natural for Bush's second cabinet. Is there any conceivable barrier to his speedy confirmation?

| | Technorati Links | to Del.icio.us