Gonzo, and Goodbye

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Earlier today, Karen asked where I thought things were headed with Gonzales. The truth is, it’s hard to think of anything at this point that could make him leave. He’s been abandoned by moderates on both sides of the aisle, and he’s repeatedly given some of the most astonishing and embarrassing Congressional testimony in recent memory. But Bush has kept him around because he’s so useful – mostly as a human shield catching flak that otherwise would hit him.

Until January, this administration had gone unchecked and unbalanced for six years. In the months since, the House and Senate have taken up their oversight duties, and that’s been tremendously heartening.

Yesterday, Senate Judiciary Chairman Leahy called on the Justice Department’s inspector general to investigate Gonzales’ testimony for misleading and false statements. Despite some reportage to the contrary, there appear to be a number of areas in which he may have actually committed perjury.

Meanwhile, House Judiciary Chairman Conyers has aggressively pursued the unprecedented firing of US attorneys on improper political, and partisan, grounds. Former White House counsel Harriet Miers and Bush chief of staff Joshua Bolten are both facing contempt proceedings for refusing to cooperate with Congress. The administration, claiming executive privilege, has preemptively refused to allow contempt charges to proceed if referred to the Justice Department.

But – here’s what’s important – Congress can directly pursue the charges in federal court. Whether or not to pursue this action will be a real line in the sand for checks and balances, and it’ll be tough for moderate Republicans to side with Bush against the Constitution and separation of powers.

And on that note, I’m going to call it a day – and a week. I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to be here with you. Thanks for reading my stuff, and thanks for all the feedback.

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