Monday, August 27, 2007
Writer's Block: Bush's shrinking inner circle
We can't call him Al, but the president can.

"Al Gonzales is a man of integrity, decency and principle," President Bush said today shortly after U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced his resignation. "It's sad that ... his good name was dragged through the mud for political reasons."

Those "political" reasons came from both sides of the aisle. Gonzales, who championed the domestic spying program, may be remembered as perhaps the most controversial and criticized head of the Justice Department in history. Even so, it sounds like he is leaving with the continued full support and confidence of his boss.

Gonzales is not the only member of the president's inner circle to step down amid some controversy -- Donald Rumsfeld, Harriet Miers, and Karl Rove come to mind.

Also, we're hearing from senior administration officials that the next U.S. attorney general will likely be Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff. If he's nominated, you can be sure his handling of Hurricane Katrina (this Wednesday marks the 2-year anniversary) will come up during confirmation hearings.

Should Chertoff get the job? Was Gonzales railroaded? Tell us what you think.

-- By Gabe Falcon, "360" Writer
Posted By CNN: 1:56 PM ET
  48 Comments
It's hard to believe that Gonzales name was dragged through the mud purely for political reasons. Seems to me Bush is the only one that thinks that.
Why on earth would they nominate Chertoff, a man that already has a tarnished reputation! Does this Administration not have any honest men left in Washington?
Posted By Bev Ontario, Canada : 2:13 PM ET
Alberto Gonzales is being impugned by the public before he gets a fair investigation into whatever it was he allegedly did.
Posted By David, Lake Barrington, IL : 2:20 PM ET
I am glad he is stepping down, but he should have been impeached. Just like his boss.

Remember when ignoring the Constitution was illegal?
Posted By Norah, West Chester, PA : 2:24 PM ET
The new Democratic Congress wants to destroy successful conservative minority public servants because they don't fit the concept of minority citizens. That, I believe had something to do with anti-Bush people in Washington "going after" Attorney Gonzales.
Posted By gerry k. - jackson, ms : 2:27 PM ET
I think it was a smart move. Im not saying he's guilty of any crime, but Alberto Gonzales didn't have any support left except for the President and had to go.
Posted By William A. , Newport Beach, Ca. : 2:30 PM ET
While Alberto Gonzales has not been a outstanding Attorney General, it bothers me that we allow the Democratic-led Congress to bully and drive individuals out of office.
Posted By Ryan G., Kansas City, Mo. : 2:36 PM ET
I think that the reason Attorneys General don't have time to devote to their own jobs is that they spend most of their time going to Congressional hearings. So, isn't the Congress to blame for keeping the Attorney General away from the really important stuff.
Posted By Riley R. , Exeter, Ma. : 2:41 PM ET
I think that the Democrats ousting Atty. Gonzales is more politically motivated and bogus than anything Gonzales ever did. I hope the Republicans are watchful and quick to "pounce" when it's the Democrats' turn to lead an administration.
Posted By Dominick C. - Bergen, N.J. : 2:45 PM ET
Tom Tancredo is an excellent choice for AG. I think it would be "politically correct" to have an Attorney General who'd radically enforce our immigration laws, because it doesn't look as if we'll ever have a President who will.
Posted By SarahG.- El Paso, TX : 2:50 PM ET
I think some of these Senators in the new Demoratic Congress should tender their resignations for wasting taxpayers' money.
Posted By Maris, Andover, MD. : 3:01 PM ET
I nominate Sheriff Arpaio, who wants to send celebrities to boot camp. Law enforcement wouldn't just be a whole lot better, but a whole lot more fun , too.
Posted By Erin K - Ann Arbor, Michigan : 3:05 PM ET
I think that it's ironic that the White House chose today to announce Gonzales' resignation. On a day were they knew everyone would be focused on Michal Vick's plea. If the Fed's even bothered to investigate these charges, I am sure they would find far more here than this administration wants the American people to know. Why resign if you're innocent?
Posted By Debra : 3:06 PM ET
If indeed, Mr. Chertoff is nomintated as a replacement for Mr. Gonzales- a phrase I read years ago in a book called 'The Peter Principle' are true. "You rise to the level of your incompetence". The reference then was in the corporate world where managers were made managers because they could not perform the work needed to be done in a competent manner. We should all be stunned by this- but by now- not much in the present administration is stunning. It's just one enormous insult to common sense after another. I suspect the folks on the Gulf Coast would be pleased as punch to have Mr. Chertoff as Attorney General as he did such a - well, less than stellar job helping them during the aftermath of Katrina. Mr. Bush appears to be so thoroughly insulated against what the American people need and want that one wonders if it's pleasant in the reality he inhabits. His choices for appointees to the Supreme Court come to mind- bent on undoing all the progress it's made in the past thirty years. The Attorney General is in essence the peoples' attorney- charged with upholding and enforcing the laws of the land- whether they be to his personal taste or not. The office should not be held by personal cronies of the administration, bending to the whims of the President, regardless of propriety and legality. I'm sure Mr. Gonzales is a nice man on a personal level, and certainly successful- but he was never Attorney General material, and I think that has been abundantly clear for a long time. I would hope his successor is able to take a stand and perform the tasks of enforcing the laws already in place and protecting them from erosion by the administration.
Posted By Sherri McKee : 3:10 PM ET
The fact that Alberto Gonzales was driven out for political reasons is ironic, since he was charged with being too political. It's as if Congress has one motivation and one motivation only: to hurt "the other side." And that's statesmanship of the worst kind.
Posted By Adam B. - San Jose, Ca. : 3:10 PM ET
I hear Karl Rove is looking for new job.
Posted By allan lee, msp, minn. : 3:14 PM ET
Hmm I wonder if George Bush is pushing these people out to deflect criticism off him? Just a thought.
Posted By janet j., kenosha, wi. : 3:17 PM ET
Gonzales may have been a weak, ineffective appointment, but I don't think Congress is doing all that great a job either and you don't hear anyone calling for their heads.
Posted By Henry G., Jacksonville, FL : 3:23 PM ET
-Don't know enough about all angles of the situation to say if he was railroaded, or not. However, it does happen. If he's able to speak more freely now, it'll probably take form of an interview, article or book deal. That, or someone throws the book at him.
Posted By Carol B., Frederick, MD : 3:34 PM ET
I think Albert Gonzales bowed to pressure, even tho it doesn't appear he broke any law. Democrats were on a witchhunt, and they got their man.
Posted By Gary, Melbourne, Fl. : 3:38 PM ET
I think it's a sad day for America, as we see the true colors of a Congress that uses their time as public servants to simply play political games.
Posted By Dianne D.,Friendswood, Tx. : 3:42 PM ET
I think Alberto Gonzales is a good man. Those who look at this as a political victory------ the Democratic Congress -- have not accomplished much since they took power. Mr . Gonzales would not have had to resign if they had just let him do is job and stuck to theirs.
Posted By sandra e., bellingham, wa. : 3:47 PM ET
The only way Alberto Gonzales is a victim is through his own incompentence and loyalty to the president.

I'm amazed that the administration is finally figuring out that they need to eliminate some of these "cancers" for the benefit of the Republican party in 2008, considering everything they've done thus far has shown a lack of awareness of that fact.
Posted By Nic, Lake Mary, FL : 3:51 PM ET
I am very upset with the Gonzales situation. He should not have had to resign! A U.S. Attorney should be able to decide who to hire and fire in his own organization.
Posted By Anita B., Marietta, GA. : 3:52 PM ET
This country could get so much good work done if the Congress would spend more time on buiness at hand than spending tax dollars trying to hold hearings on how to get back at George Bush. Don't ya think?
Posted By Greg L.- Springfield, Mass. : 3:55 PM ET
I say thumbs down to Chertoff because he is Pres. Bush's main proponent of "immigration reform" i.e. amnesty i.e. open borders.
Posted By Jim K.- Tampa Fl. : 3:59 PM ET
Chertoff?! They CANNOT be serious! The clueless Bush Administration juggernaut continues rolling pathetically along...
Posted By Fay, Vacaville, CA : 4:02 PM ET
With the Iraq war looking more successful for America and with Gonzales and Rove gone, what will the anti-Bush people do now? Quick! We need another "scandal".
Posted By Randy V. -- Oak Brook, IL : 4:05 PM ET
OY! Iwish Congress would stop their endless investigations and meaningless war declarations and try to legislate!
Posted By robert , durham, n.c. : 4:08 PM ET
What wonderful news! Yet another GOP rat leaves the sinking ship. Now, if only, we could get Cheney to resign and then impeach Bush perhaps our country would stand a chance at true democracy once again. Oh yea, I really would like to see these criminals brought to justice and in saying so, I must go against the appointment of lackey Chertoff who is also tainted. Anyone remember Katrina?
Posted By Moe, NY : 4:12 PM ET
Just think- some of these Senators who spend their days not helping our country, but pointing the finger at others actually want to be President. Can you imagine what wasteful, unproductive things they'll do once they have even more power?
Posted By peter a - twenty nine palms, ca. : 4:14 PM ET
Where's La Raza and LULAC?! If the Republicans had gone after a minority like the Democrats have gone after Alberto Gonzales, we would have had every minority/Hispanic group in American protesting and calling Republicans racist.
Posted By Jonesy, Huntsville, Ala. : 4:25 PM ET
With the political games this Congress is playing, I can't imagine how much more nasty and well, political it's going to get if and when Democrats take the White House.
Posted By m. parrish- dover, de. : 4:31 PM ET
I don't think anyone with as bad a memory as Mr. Gonzales should have as important a job as Attorney General. I can't imagine how he can function in his daily life.

As for Mr. Chertoff taking his place -it used to be that a person would get a promotion for outstanding performance in a job they currently hold. The confirmation hearings should be very interesting indeed. I wonder how good *his* memory is. Or perhaps there's some other large donor to the Republican Party or loyal friend of Mr. Bush who has yet to be rewarded. Do I smell a recess appointment here? Whatever happened to idea of "the best and the brightest"?
Posted By Barbara, Culver City, CA : 4:32 PM ET
I don't know if Michael Chertoff is the right man for the job. Since making that embarrassing statement about his "gut feeling", and actually bemoaning how difficult it is to enforce our immigration policies, Im thinking, no.
Posted By Terry S. - San Pedro, Ca. : 4:38 PM ET
All of Gonzales' weaknesses are also those of Chertoff's . Plus he's got the added baggage of Katrina. Im thinking Harriet Meiers.
Posted By Lorraine, Ft. Lauderdale, Fl : 4:42 PM ET
The cheese stands alone. Eventually.
Posted By ELECTIONGRRRL : 4:49 PM ET
the democrats barely have control of congress and everytime they try to do something the republicans block them, so their both at fault and thats why no one is calling for their heads!
Posted By Anonymous : 4:50 PM ET
The present administration can do nothing right.No matter who the President appoints, can you picture ANY Democratic Congressman, or other liberal person saying a year from now that the new Attorney General was an excellent choice?!
Posted By Anne Kane Summerlin, Nv. : 4:52 PM ET
Gabe~
Yes dear, Gonzales needs to go>>>>
In fact, this whole cronie Bush administration is constipated. They ALL need to GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted By Betty Ann, Nacogdoches,TX : 4:55 PM ET
The President is trying to protect the country here, people.

All we hear about is Cheney must go! Rumsfeld must go! Gonzales, Alito, Bolton, Rice! All of them have been supremely qualified for their jobs, and the left has driven itself into a frenzy demanding their resignations for unwarranted reasons.
Posted By michael c., albany, ny : 5:00 PM ET
Upon hearing a radio reporter point out that Bush has no one left of those he brought to the White House with him I spontaneously sang in my car,

"The cheese stands alone, the cheese stands alone, hi-ho-the- dairyo, the cheese stands alone!"

Well, he's never alone. Bush has always got his 29% to comfort him.

Making Chertoff Atty. General would be adding insult to injury of the American people and the legal profession as a whole.

What would happen to this country if politicians really were not above the law? Crazy thought, isn't that?
Posted By Karoline, L.A., CA : 5:32 PM ET
It sounds to me like rats deserting a sinking ship. It was long past time for Gonzales to go. I hope the list for replacements will be longer than just Mr. Chertoff.
Posted By Kathy Chicago,Il : 5:41 PM ET
Alberto Gonzalez's responses of "I don't recall" during his congressional testimony may have allowed him to avoid perjury charges, but not his contempt for congress. He was not alone in his comtempt for congress. How many others got to invoke the words "executive privilege" to avoid telling the truth.

As Homeland Security Secretary, Michael Chertoff has done very little to provide for the security of American citizens. Our borders and ports are not secure. Airline employees are only randomly checked by security, and there are no mandatory background checks on employees. Two years after Katrina, New Orleans still does not have adequate hospitals, schools, or housing for its residents. Even though the levees are being rebuilt, they are not being rebuilt better.

One can only hope there are better candidates for Attorney General than Michael Chertoff.
Posted By Jan from Wood Dale, IL : 6:08 PM ET
"Another One Bites the Dust"...

Maybe Gonzales and Rove can go hunting together and compare notes over dinner at the camp. I hope Alberto Gonzales, too, finds success post "W". He wasn't railroaded. He just ended up losing the DC power game in a pretty big way.

And as for Chertoff taking over as attorney general, it's an early Halloween gag, right?
Posted By Tammy C., Berwick, LA : 6:27 PM ET
Glad Gonzales is going - you need to have some faith in your attorney general and his eroded away with his many answers of "I don't recollect" and "I have no memory of that incident" in his Congressional hearing. Guilty or innocent as attorney general he SHOULD have known and should have acquainted himself with the facts before testifying before Congress. Whether he was ill-prepared or dodging answer questions, he came off looking bad like he had something to hide.

If they have no one better than Chertoff for the position who let the country down so bad during Katrina, why not just appoint Mike Brown the old director of Fema - he'd do a hell of a job - NOT!
Posted By Annie Kate, Birmingham AL : 6:32 PM ET
Do we live in bizarro world? Chertoff for AG??? How does this man have the nerve to nominate the people he does? Especially on the 2nd anniversary of Katrina!! Chertoff!!! He never ceases to amaze me--plus he actually gets his people approved!!! Bizarro world!!
Posted By Bonnie - St. Louis : 6:55 PM ET
I agree with Tammy in Berwick La. that Alberto Gonzales lost the game because he just seemd to crush under the pressure of Washington. I wish him success in the future, but we need a person in this post who has a stronger stomach!
Posted By Kelli, San Francisco, Ca. : 8:50 PM ET
Wouldn't it be more like cronyism if a staffer would stay until the bitter end just because they are a Presidential favorite? Im just thinking that if something isn't working you change it, so that speaks to the President's willingness to put business before sentiment that some of his advisors have left with only one year left in the term.
Posted By Cameron S. Bethlehem, PA : 9:33 PM ET
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