In his weekend radio address, President Bush said of the investigation into the U.S. Attorney firings: "Members of Congress now face a choice: whether they will waste time and provoke an unnecessary confrontation, or whether they will join us in working to do the people's business."
He got it half right. If his administration continues to thwart the ability of Congress to uncover the truth about the firings, there will indeed be a "confrontation." But it will hardly be "unnecessary."
If the president continues trying to run out the clock on this scandal, Congress should immediately begin impeachment proceedings against Alberto Gonzales. It's the quickest way to the truth.
Appearing on CNN's Late Edition, Joe DiGenova said that if Congress insists on issuing subpoenas, the White House will surely contest them, and the ensuing litigation will last until the end of Bush's term. DiGenova's point was that Congress should go ahead and compromise, but my takeaway was just the opposite: if Bush's game is to stall, Congress should play the impeachment card since, as Robert Kuttner points out, "an impeachment inquiry could be completed in a matter of months."
Kuttner calls Gonzales the administration's "point man for serial assaults against the rule of law." And his sordid track record as White House counsel and AG bears this out: Guantanamo, the misuse of "national security letters," the abuse of the Patriot Act, the illegal spying on American citizens, and now his lies about his involvement in the U.S. Attorney firings.
Bush has 21 months left in office. That's far too long to continue with an Attorney General with such contempt for the law.
There was an illuminating moment about all this on Meet the Press. It might even have been a moment of divine intervention. Tim Russert was interviewing David Iglesias, one of the fired U.S. Attorneys, and asked him about a Bible verse, Proverbs 19:25, that he had referred to at the end of one his recently released emails:
Russert: "Proverbs 19:25, it caught my attention and I went to the good book and looked it up. 'Smite a scorner, and the simple will beware: and reprove one that hath understanding, and he will understand knowledge.' Explain why you cited that."
Iglesias: "It's interesting that you would pick that up. Actually, that's a typo. I meant to say Proverbs 19:21, which is 'Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it's the Lord's purpose that prevails.' In other words, all this mess may seem chaotic and without reason, but ultimately there's a bigger plan, there's a providential plan. So I meant to put Proverbs 19:21, not Proverbs 19:25."
I say both passages are relevant. The Lord may have an ultimate purpose that involves the meting out of justice, but doesn't absolve us from doing what we can here on earth with the tools we've been given.
Like the ability to smite a scorner. Whether Gonzales hath understanding no longer matters. To quote another verse, Matthew 7:16, "Ye shall know them by their fruits."
Alberto Gonzales' have proven to be bitter and rotten to the core. It's time for him to go.