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Andrew Cohen: End the Charade

Andrew Cohen writes:

End the Charade - Bench Conference: The big news this morning really shouldn't come as any "news" at all. What it should do is finally push Congress over the edge of inaction so that it formally and uniformly demands that President George W. Bush put an end to the charade of propriety and good governance that is otherwise known as the Alberto R. Gonzales Era at the Justice Department.... No one who has followed this story closely can be shocked by this news. Of course, the fix was in with the Goodling, Sampson and Co. to replace professional nonpartisan officials with partisans; of course White House leaders directed the plan, and of course the Attorney General either went along with it (as he always does with his president) or negligently allowed it to happen on his watch. It is no wonder that Congress is not satisfied with the answers (or non-answers) it so far has received from the people involved; no wonder that another document subpoena went out yesterday from the Senate Judiciary Committee to the Justice Department (this time for Karl Rove's emails); no wonder that the stories told in written form by six of the eight fired federal prosecutors offer a chilling view of how this administration takes care of its own.

I think that Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), the ranking member of the Judicial Committee put it best. Here's how the Times wrote it:

'If you counted the "I don't knows" compared to the "I knows," the "don't knows" win hands down,' [Specter] said Wednesday, recalling recent testimony by Mr. Gonzales and his former chief of staff, D. Kyle Sampson. Ms. Goodling and Mr. Sampson had an unusual amount of power over hiring decisions at the Justice Department, department officials have said. In a confidential memorandum signed by Mr. Gonzales in March 2006, the attorney general delegated to them the hiring and firing of the department's political appointees and senior executives, with the exception of those who had to be confirmed by the Senate... Mr. Specter, the ranking Republican on the judiciary panel, said he was infuriated that such a formal delegation of power took place, yet no one told Congressional investigators until it was reported this week by the National Journal. 'Pardon me if I raise my voice,' Mr. Specter said Wednesday.

He should raise it even louder. In fact, every Republican in Congress should raise their voices now and push the President to get rid of this guy, Gonzales, who is doing nothing but a disservice to their cause and to the cause of ensuring that this most vital department is run by the best people available. And if and when those voices are not raised, the Republicans will have no one to blame for themselves when this already significant scandal gets bigger and bigger and bigger...

But why ask Bush to remove Gonzales? Why not simply impeach Gonzales?