Like tens of millions – and growing – of his increasingly desperate countrymen, he is out of work and cannot find a job; worse, nobody in his chosen profession will even interview him. His previously good friends don’t want to publish his story so he is reduced to keeping a journal for his sons. He wonders what went wrong with his carefully crafted, uniquely American, tale of the dirt poor boy, son of immigrants, who makes very good. He cannot grasp how his world fell apart, so completely and so quickly.
He wonders if he is simply another victim of the times.
At the end of his tether, the man finally goes to a support group luncheon meeting only blocks from the building that once housed his large office, where sympathetic ears listen to his tale of woe. Those gathered around the table nod sympathetically, shake their head in sadness and wish him well when they shake his hand as he leaves.
As the man walked out of the office, I wonder if he heard a twisted version of an Andrew Lloyd Weber song from Evita echoing in his head: “Please cry for me, I’m Al Gonzales.”
Completes The Trifecta
I almost hurled my breakfast when I read an article in the on-line Wall Street Journal about Fredo’s meeting with the paper’s editorial board earlier this week. It’s clear that the selective memory of the man who “can’t recall” when testifying before Congressional committees hasn’t gotten any better with the time. He doesn’t even remember the reality – forget about specific facts – of his tenure as White House counsel and Attorney General.
Gonzales’ whining, coupled with Dick “Dare You To Indict Me” Cheney’s self-admitted war crimes and George “Who, Me Worry?” Bush’s total fogging of the past eight years completes the administration’s Trifecta of distortions, dissembling and dishonesty.
“What is it that I did that is so fundamentally wrong, that deserves this kind of response to my service?” he sniffed to the editors.
Uhm, let’s see.
There is the politicalization of the Justice Department, including widespread employment discrimination, and the infamous US Attorney scandal. There was his racing to the hospital bed of an extremely ill John Ashcroft to get the man, still recovering from major surgery, to sign a re-authorization of secret wire tapping that the AG’s temporary fill-in, James Comey, wouldn’t sign. He signed torture memos. He destroyed the DoJ’s Civil Rights Division. Things were so bad, Justice’s own Inspector General investigated him on charges of perjury and obstruction, not exactly exonerating Gonzales.
We can add warrantless-searches, the Military Commissions Act, GITMO torture, abandoning the Geneva Conventions and shocking tolerance for corruption of a department that, for the benefit of the nation and the rule of law, must maintain its independence, to the list.
Add in almost no redeeming qualities. As Adam Cohen, chief legal analyst for CBS News wrote not long ago, “He brought shame and disgrace to the Department because of his lack of independent judgment on some of the most vital legal issues of our time. And he brought chaos and confusion to the department because of his lack of respectable leadership over a cabinet-level department among the most important in the nation.
“He neither served the longstanding role as “the people’s attorney” nor fully met and tamed his duties and responsibilities to the constitution. He was a man who got the job not because he was supremely qualified or notably well-respected among the leading legal lights of our time, but because he had faithfully and with blind obedience served President George W. Bush for years in Texas (where he botched clemency memos in death penalty cases) and then as White House counsel (where he botched the nation’s legal policy on torture).”
The Worst Ever?
Along with John Mitchell, Dick Nixon’s felonious attorney general, Alberto Gonzales may well be among the worst AG’s the nation has had in the past 100 years. Yet, Fredo sees no connection between his lawlessness and why law firms won’t hire him or why publishers are scorning his memoir.
And so, with deep apologies to Mr. Weber, Sarah Brightman and Madonna, let’s all sing in 2009 together:
Please cry for me, I’m Al Gonzales
The truth is I don’t remember
All through distortions
My lying existence
I kept my promise
To be dishonest
I kept my promise
Don’t keep your distance.
Articles by Charley: