The bitter end
By Doug Thompson
Leading Republican lawmakers now know how the rest of us have felt for six years: Ignored.
The man who is now the U.S. Attorney General nagged a man on his hospital bed to reauthorize wiretapping. Mortified, GOP lawmakers seek the AG’s resignation. As of this writing, they haven’t gotten it.
Gee, I wonder if the conservative talk shows will scorn them as obstructionists, like they did to Democrats?
There’s been some speculation in the press on why the president keeps this creep. The reason’s obvious, but revolting to admit.
What kind of attorney general do you expect in a dictatorship?
Alberto Gonzales is still attorney general because he can and will draft a memo rationalizing torture. He will write one questioning the force of law behind the Geneva Convention. He so much dedication to the “decider,” he’s willing to nag a gravely ill John Ashcroft to get an unconstitutional document signed.
There are not many lawyers in the United States willing to do this sort of thing. Maybe the scarcity has something to do with including the U.S. Constitution in the core legal curriculum.
Gonzales is still attorney general because he’s willing to tell the president that the president can do whatever the hell he wants.
Where’s Boy George going to find another attorney general like that? Not even Ashcroft would do.
At least the president’s not yet willing to break the law without a note from some lawyer somewhere saying that he can.
Researching the option of impeachment for Gonzales, I stumbled upon another very good rationale for keeping the entirely discredited AG.
The following is an extended excerpt from an article published Monday by “The Weekly Standard” and written by Tod Lindberg of the Hoover Institution. The whole article is available at http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/013/637ntzjr.asp:
“Washington often gets focused on what happens next: Will Gonzales stay or will he go? But the real action is what happens after what happens next. In the case of a Gonzales departure, the president would face the extremely dodgy problem of getting a new attorney general confirmed.
“Democrats with good memories, such as former Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman, who served on the House Judiciary Committee when it voted to impeach Richard Nixon in 1974, recall with precision the sequence of events that led to the resignation of the 37th president …
“Nixon looked to his recently installed secretary of defense, Elliot Richardson, to move over to the Justice Department. The confirmation process before the Democratic-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee was brutal. The price of confirmation for Richardson was his willingness to appoint a ‘special prosecutor’ with a broad mandate and a grant of independence to investigate the Watergate crimes and unfolding cover-up.”
Richardson named Archibald Cox. Cox’ appointment brought Watergate to a head. Within five months, Nixon ordered Richardson to fire Cox. Richardson refused. Nixon fired Richardson. Deputy attorney general William Ruckelshaus also refused Nixon. Then he was fired. Finally, the U.S Solicitor General, Robert Bork, complied with Nixon. This “Saturday Night Massacre,” as it’s known to history, greatly accelerated Nixon’s downfall. His famous phrase, “I’m not a crook,” came during a news conference shortly after the firings.
Viewed in that light, Alberto Gonzales’ amazing hold on his job becomes much more understandable. However, even if Gonzales stays, he can’t shield the president very effectively. Gonzales is no longer a lightening rod for continued suspicion and congressional exploration of the administration. He’s become a power line, carrying the voltage constantly.
He’s both a vital barrier to full investigation and a conduit for a never-ending series of smaller ones.
In theory, Gonzales could be impeached. Logically, that’s the next step. That would put GOP congressional leaders in a very tough spot. It’s one thing to say things like “This guy’s continued presence at the Justice Department is hurting the president. Gonzales should do the president a favor and resign” and quite another to say “The president’s standing beside an incompetent so dangerous that he ought to be removed, whatever the president thinks.”
I hope the talk about Gonzales resigning becomes true before this column goes to print. However, I’m still writing this column because I suspect that talk is wishful thinking by GOP congressmen.
NWA Housing slump is real economy, sales ‘overheated’
The quarterly Arvest Skyline Report, that report financed by the Walton’s Bank and written by those v-e-r-y loyal to the same, cautioned that the booming housing market in Northwest Arkansas has slowed. To say the market has gone ‘bust’ would be incorrect. To indicate it is still booming – wrong again. The most believable source in the Skyline report was a quote from Payne Brewer, a veteran banker who once worked for McIlroy Bank. Remember that solid financial institution in Fayetteville? Brewer, who works for Arvest, but is a credible man said (and Daddy W. paraphrases): The market as a whole has some positive signs – such as new homes being purchased and occupied homes also selling. But the number of new homes under construction is down. Still the Skyline report indicates that some 550 new jobs are being created in Benton County each month – yes – each month. So there should be demand for new and existing home sales. However overall permits for new construction in Washington and Benton Counties are down 14 percent. Wow.
Another national survey—this one by a company in Destin, Fla.—says that Little Rock’s Metro Area, which stretches out almost to Conway and Benton, is set to grow by some 7.05 this year. The highest growth in the state.
SOME FREE CAMPUS
The University of Arkansas is joining other college campuses to become smoke free. The biggest adjustments may be for staffers who now
have to repair outside for the smoke break. They have until July 2008 to get ready to go smokeless and spitless.
Who knew that Fayetteville insurance man Milton Jones was a shutterbug? Well, most old timers in Fayetteville have seen Jones with his camera from
time to time. He is the recent winner of the local America In Bloom photo contest. Jones’ winning photo was of the Dogwood trees in bloom on N. Washington Avenue in Fayetteville. A fine example of America In Bloom, right here at home.
The free Gulley Park Concerts, brought to the public by the City of Fayetteville and a bevy of sponsors starts today with Big Uns at 7 p.m. Bring a blanket or lawn chairs. No alcohol not even in a coosie. That’ll get you a ticket.
BIG PROFIT, but little for the shareholder
That was the news from Bentonville when the world’s largest retailer and one of the most profitable businesses on the globe announced profits this past week. But the stock price fell 22 cents the day of the announcement. Shareholders will meet soon for the big shindig May 30-31 here in Fayetteville and they’ll be asking H. Lee Scott when the stock price is gonna turn around. We will be watching Dr. H. Lee Scott.
Daddy hears The Little Bread Company out of Eureka Springs is opening this weekend in the former Block Street Bakery location near the Fayetteville Square. Their fresh baked goods and sandwiches are delicious.