Photo of Bill Moyers Bill Moyers Journal
Bill Moyers Journal
Bill Moyers Journal
Watch & Listen The Blog Archive Transcripts Buy DVDs

« Low-Power FM Radio | Main | More response to My Fellow Texan »

Alberto Gonzales Resigns; Why Now?

Alberto Gonzales announced today that effective September 17, he would step down as Attorney General. THE NEW YORK TIMES writes that his "tenure has been marred by controversy and accusations of perjury before Congress," and THE WALL STREET JOURNAL remarks that his resignation ended "a monthslong standoff over his honesty and competence at the helm of the Justice Department...Republicans and Democrats alike had demanded his resignation over the botched handling of FBI terror investigations and the firings of U.S. attorneys."

For more information about Gonzales and the U.S. Attorney controversy, watch this piece from BILL MOYERS JOURNAL featuring Josh Marshall from, which aired April 27, 2007.

  • Why do you think Attorney General Gonzales resigned at this juncture?
  • What implications, if any, does the resignation have on the remainder of the Bush Presidency and the upcoming presidential election?

  • TrackBack

    TrackBack URL for this entry:


    That was a defining moment for the Bush administration. But the battle continues..

    I think Alberto is stepping down is the same reason a submarine skipper would deploy a decoy when an active torpedo is hot on his trail. The hope is the torpedo goes for the decoy. That is what going on here. The problem is the Dems think they got the sub. Idiots and weak!

    I think Alberto is stepping down is the same reason a submarine skipper would deploy a decoy when an active torpedo is hot on his trail. The hope is the torpedo goes for the decoy. That is what going on here. The problem is the Dems think they got the sub. Idiots and weak!

    I think gonzalez resigned because there's something else that they think might come out, something so obviously incriminating that even Bush wouldn't be able to protect him.

    I'm surprised to see so many references to Mr. Gonzales having resigned. Canadian and British papers (online) often refer to his having been fired! Of course, fired employees are often allowed to submit a letter of resignation as if it had been their choice to go.
    Picking up on Michael J Ahles' reference to a sinking ship, you might be interested in a British paper's reference to: "sinking ship leaves rat".

    Hey, Jon Stewart's on vacation for what, 2 weeks? Perfect time to make a retreat. But seriously won't he be helping Rove fix the next election? Excuse me, that's "work on" the next election, no, no wait, not that either, "work toward" the next ... oh never mind.

    The W.H. and congress have spent 6 yrs. instigating,committing,and depleting our financial resources for war,building weaponns of war, and propagating war in other countries.Therefore it hardly has time to concern itself with those domestic and catastrophic problems that effect this country. Bush & Chaney cannot be impeached because of time constraints. And I fear for the amount of damage they can do in this coming year. I understand that the investigations into Rove,Gonzales, and Miers will be on-going. Kucinich said the money just allocated for the war should be used to bring all the troops home. It will take 4mos..Congress does not have to submit a bill. They simply have to notappropriate any more war funds.Of course this based on a congress that will represent the people and country. Don't hold your breaath!!!!

    I think President Bush will make a recess appointment. Recall, he appointed John Bolton to the UN. A recess appointment does not require congressional approval.

    They are jumping ship because Georgie is getting ready to declare marshall law. The retired vets from Iraq are going to Washington DC 9/15, and GB has already recalled specific troups to guard the white house. He is a rat (GB) and they don't run away easy when they have something to gnaw on. He wants to be king, don'cha know. Just like his grandpaw. He makes a horrible president, what makes him think he could be a king? ARROGANCE. But like Georgie just said...."The fundamental question is will the government respond to the demands of the people? And if the government doesn't ....respond to the demands of the people, they will replace the government." Course, he said it about Maliki..not himself....he should listen to his self more often!!!LOL

    The Republicans are finally not playing the party line to protect their own. And on such a burning issue as . . . a harmless misdemeanor involving sex.

    Yes there is hypocrisy involved. But really. This the thing Republicans choose to jump ship on their own on??? What about the war. They still huddle around the Fox Republican leadership on the war, torture, secret spying and so many other issues that cost American LIVES, hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars, and our values and civil liberties. Where are their priorities? Why are they turning on this guy? Because Craig didn't turn to them before blowing up this scandal. In other words, he screwed me so I'm screwing him. That's how the Fox Republicans think. It's all about them. Not about the good of America. So sad. So darn sad.

    RumsFeld, Rove, and now Gonzalez, you can throw Libby into that pool as well.

    What you got here is delicate operation of attempt to move Key Players in this administration out of harms way (politically). Since even muttering the word impeachment sends the Democrat Leaders in congress running for cover. The Executive branch knows that it will have the sufficient time to make out like bandits.

    The way this administration has handled them selves is quite impressive indeed. I sometimes don't understand why some many people get upset. We live in a world of "allegedly" not "certainly". Couple that with the fact that most American don't know nor understand their constitutional rights. Therefore they cannot properly impose the types of checks and balances that keep governments in line with the publics’ interest and you end up with a society doomed to just another notch on the list of once great.

    These Fox Republicans are all BS. Pure and simple. Here is a common criticism of non-Fox Republican skepticism over the war: "Well, maybe you just always see the glass as half empty. But it seems that no matter what kind of positive news is presented you’re always there to shoot it down."

    And here’s what I say in response. You've got to be kidding me. It's been over four years already with no end in sight. Our current plan to stabilize the situation militarily to enable Iraq to constitute a government is a total failure. Putting aside the debatable "progress" of the military operation, which hardly seems worth the cost, their government is falling apart. Falling apart. The plan is failing. I don't say it to be negative algernon. I say it because we need a NEW PLAN already. Not more of the same. If we can't come up with a new clear path to success that involves staying in Iraq, guess what? We should leave. Harsh I know. Not what you want to hear. I know. A real bummer. Absolutely. But sometimes life is a real downer. Sometimes our plans, whatever their merits (personally I think nearly all of Bush's plans have been hairbrained), don't work. It's not working.

    And TR had a thing or two to say about situations like these. He said that cheerleading our way to failure is "morally treasonous." Morally treasonous. Morally treasonous. I repeat the phrase because this is a hugely serious accusation. Coming from a right-winger. One of the best of them in fact. TR says we should speak about the truth. About reality.

    Here the reality is that everyone with a shred of credibility, and I mean everyone even including the Brookings guys, agrees that Iraq is even more of a basket case politically than when we started this latest "surge" in it. In other words, everyone agrees that the goal of the latest surge is just not happening. It's not happening algernon. It's a dud. Just like the six duds before it. And this dud is breaking the backs of our military. So let's come up with a clear plan for success in Iraq that we can execute or get our men and women out of there already. It's time to stop upping the ante before it's too late and to cut our losses already.

    "The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else."
    "Roosevelt in the Kansas City Star", 149
    May 7, 1918>

    Gonzales managed to stay long enough in his position that the people of this country have not been able to maintain the same level of outrage that they we felt after his irredeemable performances last spring meant. The country's opinion of him hasn't gotten any higher, but at this point there's something of an outrage fatigue. Gonzales leaving has been met with sighs of relief, where last spring it would have felt like a victory for those that the administration insists on viewing as "the other side." If Gonzales had left after his repeated public humiliations, it would have galvanized the Democratic majority to perform more investigations and maybe start prosecuting those subpoenas they've been issuing.

    In the most positive possible interpretation, Gonzales was dangerously incompetent, at worst he lied repeatedly in front of Congress about a concerted effort to politicize the Justice Department and serve the interests of the Republican party and its leaders over those of the American people. The damage he did to the justice system will take years to fix in the hands of a politically neutral, competent successor. The amazing thing about Gonzales was how obvious all this was - nobody except the most stridently right-wing ideologues, was satisfied by his testimony. There was nothing left to uncover, no revelations left to be made. It was all plain to see, but never officially recognized. As a result, the initial anger at his utter lack of professional ethics would have had to die down after a while; there was nothing new to say about Gonzales for months.

    The only reason a crew would ever jump ship, is if it were sinkin!

    I immediately recalled the recent Bill Moyers Journal guests talking about impeachment and wondered if Gonzales's resignation was part of a larger distraction tactic away from any move in that direction.

    Interesting question. If we assume that there is some logic attached to this, I offer the following speculation; Gonzales was ordered to provide zero information to Congress and to block any legislative advance to keep the hounds at bay from the next person in line - Karl Rove. This comes right out of the Libby/Cheney playbook. Once Rove resigns for specious "family" reasons, then Gonzales is allowed to be put out of his misery.

    Any further inquiries into lying, lost emails and partisan manipulation are then just foisted back on those "punitive and petty" Democrats.

    I believe that the departures of Rove and Gonzales are an attempt by the Bush administration to appease those crying for impeachment. Hopefully, the public will not fall for these political maneuvers and continue calling for a full investigation into the actions of Bush, Cheney, Rice and Rumsfeld.

    Rumsfeld, Miers, Bartlett, Snow, Rove, Gonzalez . . . throw 'em all OUT!!! Next to go should be Rice, Cheney, and then of course ol' Bushy Boy.

    Then, of course, we have to reround them all up and ship them off to the Hague to stand trial for Crimes Against Humanity. Or has the Police State fully congealed already?

    I knew as soon as Congress went on Recess that Gonzo would resign in as slow a news cycle as possible.

    His Job is finished, all the crony US Attorneys are in place. Congress doesn't even have a USA to file a contempt of Congress charge, much less investigate bribery or Election Fraud.

    And if Bush decides to install himself as "Decider for life" there will be nobody to say he can't.

    I suspect that Gonzales would have liked to resign sooner, but felt obliged to stay until Bush let him loose. His loyalty to Bush has been well documented, to the apparent exclusion of all other interests. So, perhaps the better question is, "why did the President allow Gonzales to resign?"

    I think that staying where he was created a distraction. The question is whether any of the positions that were filled on the basis of partisanship in the DOJ can be re-evaluated. I had to laugh when Bush said that Alberto was the victim of politics. If that is the case, he fell on his own sword.

    I think Mr. Gonzales resigned to take the pressure off Mr. Bush. He knew that he was going to get subpeoned and wanted to make a run for the border as soon as he can. He's done the dirty work and now he can step aside.

    Post a comment

    THE MOYERS BLOG is our forum for viewers' comments intended for discussing and debating ideas and issues raised on BILL MOYERS JOURNAL. THE MOYERS BLOG invites you to share your thoughts. We are committed to keeping an open discussion; in order to preserve a civil, respectful dialogue, our editors reserve the right to remove or alter any comments that we find unacceptable, for any reason. For more information, please click here.

    A Companion Blog to Bill Moyers Journal

    Your Comments


    THE JOURNAL offers a free podcast and vodcast of all weekly episodes. (help)

    Click to subscribe in iTunes

    Subscribe with another reader

    Get the vodcast (help)

    For Educators    About the Series    Bill Moyers on PBS   

    © Public Affairs Television 2008    Privacy Policy    DVD/VHS    Terms of Use    FAQ