Good news, bad news
0 comment Thursday, May 15, 2014 |
Attorney General Gonzales leaves under pressure
This morning when the news of Alberto Gonzales' overdue resignation was announced, a friend said to me that it was about time he was gone. But then I cautioned that somebody just as bad -- or worse -- was waiting in the wings. She agreed, and it looks as though we may be right. Homeland 'Security' Secretary Chertoff is apparently ready to fill Gonzales's place. Even I had not anticipated that.
...Bush, who doggedly supported Gonzales during repeated confrontations with the Democratic-controlled Congress, said Gonzales had endured "months of unfair treatment that has created a harmful distraction at the Justice Department."
"It's sad that we live in a time when a talented and honorable person like Alberto Gonzales is impeded from doing important work because his good name was dragged through the mud for political reasons," Bush said.
Typical comment from the President; typical tone-deafness, typical insinuations of 'political witch-hunts.'
A senior administration official said the president had not decided on a new nominee. But speculation centered on possible candidates including Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.
A new nominee could have a challenge winning support from Senate Democrats, including several presidential candidates.''
Well, let's hope Chertoff is challenged if he is indeed the nominee. If this man has already decided, as he has indicated, that he cannot enforce the immigration laws, then why on earth would we want him to be the Attorney General?
Of course over at one of the GOP forums, there is dismay and consternation over Gonzo's resignation: he was "railroaded", and this means that the "Democrats win", which is a miscarriage of justice, according to many of the people there. Life must be so simple if the Republicans are always the good guys who can do no wrong. A timely reminder of why I am no longer a good Republican; whenever I need reminding, I hang out at one of those forums to refresh my memory.
And speaking of memories, it's worth looking back to Alberto Gonzales' history when Gonzales was on the Texas Supreme Court and George W. Bush was Governor of Texas. Gail Jarvis, in this piece written as Bush was elected to his second term as President in 2004, relates how Gonzales and Bush, in 2000, caved to the NAACP in their demand for the removal of two small plaques honoring Texas Confederate veterans.
The removal campaign began with a letter from the president of the Texas NAACP demanding the elimination of the two small plaques. The letter refers to the issue as "a matter of major importance" and said of the Confederate flag: "It is immoral, given its connection to slavery, and more recently, neo-nazi and other hate groups" and "We should not be so shortsighted to pass it off as merely a valued symbol associated with someone's heritage."
Governor Bush's Executive Assistant responded to the NAACP's letter, hoping that his reasoned explanation would placate the organization. He said: "These symbols and emblems reflect the history and diversity that make Texas unique." Then he presented a brief background on the plaques.
"The small plaque outside the Supreme Court you mentioned is not an official State symbol. As you may know, the people of Texas overwhelmingly supported a constitutional amendment in 1954 to transfer the Confederate Pension Fund to the State Building Fund for the purpose of constructing a Courts Building. The 1955 Legislature then passed enabling legislation to reflect the will of the people. The law in part stipulated that the building should be designated as a memorial to Texans who served in the Armed Services of the Confederate States of America and that a suitable cornerstone or plaque should be integrated into the construction of the building for this memorial purpose."
But, trying to reason with the NAACP is like trying to undo a knot with one hand. Knowing it held the winning cards as a result of its earlier victories, the NAACP ignored the response from the Governor's office and decided to do what it does best; engage in civic disobedience. It voted to hold a rally at the state Capitol to protest the two plaques on the Supreme Court building.
Now get this: While these events were taking place, a clandestine plan to remove the plaques was already being coordinated by a clique including Texas Supreme Court Justice Al Gonzales with the blessing of Governor Bush. Two replacement plaques were ordered, containing language that was negotiated with the NAACP behind closed doors. These two plaques were the same size as the offending plaques so they could be easily exchanged. Then, on a weekend when the Court was closed, the plaques were quietly swapped. The proposed swap was not discussed with Confederate groups. They only learned of it shortly before it took place. The general public was not notified of the exchange either and obviously was not allowed to vote on it.
Gonzales replaced the plaque with the Robert E. Lee quote with one that read: "The courts of Texas are entrusted with providing equal justice under the law to all persons regardless of race, creed or color." This incredibly bland statement would make even the writers of grade school text books blush but it satisfied the NAACP. As a replacement for the plaque that bore the Confederate Seal, Gonzales approved language that was as close to an apology as possible: "Because this building was built with monies from the Confederate Pension Fund, it was, at that time, designated as a memorial to the Texans who served the Confederacy." Can you imagine a commemorative plaque containing such a tone of repentance? Why didn't Gonzales add: "Please forgive us!" ?''
This may seem like a trivial matter to anybody who is not a Confederate descendant or even a Southerner or a Texan proud of their heritage. But the way in which it was done, so underhandedly and without any regard to the will of the majority of citizens of Texas is illustrative, and in a way a preview of the kind of dealings we have come to expect from Gonzales and this administration. Either they were disgustingly craven in their 'negotiations' with the NAACP, or they were in sympathy with the anti-Confederate side all along; I tend to think the latter is true. After all, does George W. Bush have any Confederate ancestry? The answer is no; and the same can be said, obviously, for Gonzales, whose own parents are of Mexican origin and whose immigration status (was he an anchor baby?) has been kept ambiguous.
High-handedness and a tendency to be secretive have characterized this administration. And unfortunately even though Gonzales, who was essentially a jumped-up gofer for the President, is gone, as I said, there is somebody of the same calibre waiting to take his place.

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