What is there left to say? Alberto Gonzales is a good enough lawyer to know better than to bullshit Congress. Yet he does it anyway. He lied. He refused to answer questions. He had no problem making a complete fool of himself. By now it should go without saying that the cabinet officer in charge of America’s law enforcement has disgraced his office.
I understand that insiders regard Gonzales as somewhat less than a genius, but I find it hard to believe that he is as profound a moron as his recent testimony lets on. The only other reason a normally functioning person would show such a callous disregard for the law and, honestly, his own legal jeopardy is if he knows that there won’t be any consequences. I doubt that he cares whether Congress manages to impeach him before the clock runs out on 1/20/09 (it would be quite a feat if they did). Anything else Congress can do will be cleared up by a pardon before he sets foot in jail.
Gonzales is quite literally acting out the scenario spelled out by the Constitution’s most prominent contemporary skeptics:
George Mason, a distinguished Virginian who refused to sign the Constitution because of its lack of a bill of rights, noted that “the President of the United States has the unrestrained Power of granting Pardon for Treason; which may be sometimes exercised to screen from Punishment those whom he had secretly instigated to commit the Crime, and thereby prevent a Discovery of his own guilt.”
And so it is. Now that we see it in play the loophole seems pretty obvious. So why did it take this long to manifest?
Dave John Rogers (um, oops) pointed out a while back that while the option was always there, pulling it off would require an almost total inability to feel shame. Once you figure out that little exploit, though, anything’s possible.