Why Bush Won't Fire Gonzales
Okay, dime store psychologist time.
The GOP wants Alberto to leave. But he won’t. And I think it’s becoming increasingly clear that the President isn’t going to ask him to leave either. Why? Well, take a look at these two paragraphs and I’ll followup with my thoughts after.
“He’s done something I didn’t think possible. He’s lost the confidence of almost all the Republicans in Congress,” said one top GOP strategist who is close to the White House, anonymous when talking about sensitive personnel matters. A big GOP concern: Gonzales’s continued presence will make it hard to move measures important to the party’s base, like immigration reform, through the judiciary committees, said the strategist.
But Gonzales himself was hanging tough. “We believe the burden is now on the Democrats to prove that something improper occurred hereÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬?and they haven’t done that,” said a top Justice official (who asked not to be ID’d talking about nonpublic matters). Publicly, the White House was standing by its A.G. One White House adviser (who asked not to be ID’ed talking about sensitive issues) said the support reflected Bush’s own view that a Gonzales resignation would embolden the Dems to go after other targetsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬?like Karl Rove. “This is about Bush saying, ‘Screw you’,” said the adviser, conceding that a Gonzales resignation might still be inevitable. The trick, said the adviser, would be to find a graceful exit strategy for Bush’s old friend.
So first, how exactly are the Dems going to prove something went wrong? Peek into Alberto’s head and prove that he actually did remember those conversations? Yeah, not gonna happen.
But isn’t the vote of no confidence from the GOP enough for Bush to get the clue that everybody thinks Gonzales is lying or stupid or both? Nope. Here’s why.
Reading the last line of the second paragraph again we see the words “Bush’s old friend.” That’s non-trivial. I mean, this has been Bush’s guy for a long time. He even appointed Gonzales to the Texas Supreme Court. So if Bush fires Gonzales, it’s kind of like admitting that he’s been wrong about this guy for years…in essence a vote of no confidence in his own managerial skills.
And for a President who’s becoming increasingly isolated, I don’t think he’s in the right frame of mine to start admitting things like that.
At least…that’s my theory.