The Facts About Alberto Gonzalez

In a surprisingly civil post, the Rude Pundit tells the truth about Gonzalez

Here’s what we know about Alberto Gonzales – what we know, not what we suspect, not what we infer: We know that George W. Bush was arrested for drunk driving in September 1976. We know that he lost┬áhis Maine driving privileges for nearly two years, restored in July 1978. We know that in 1978, with a suspended driver’s license, he began his run for the House of Representatives (and lost). We know that in 1996 Bush, when he was Governor of Texas, was called for jury duty in a drunken driving case (involving a stripper, which just makes it extra fun). We know that the judge, the prosecutor, and the stripper’s attorney have made written statements that Alberto Gonzales asked the judge, in private, to “consider” striking Bush from the jury pool, despite Bush’s public statements that he was willing to serve. We know that Gonzales was asked about this in his Senate confirmation hearing and that Gonzales stated he did not recall a private meeting with the judge, but that he did not “request” that Bush be taken out of consideration. In other words, we know that either Gonzales is lying or three other men, in separate statements, are lying. Who would a jury believe?

There are other things we know about Gonzales. Definite things. We know that Gonzales, as the White House counsel, sought to justify various specific methods of “interrogation” which had previously been thought of as torture, like causing physical pain and the now-famous waterboarding, and re-defining torture to exclude such methods. We know he commissioned the memo that explained this position. We know that Gonzales, before the Senate, had a chance to clearly repudiate these “ideas,” and declined to do so, and also offered the well-worn “do not recall” to many questions. We know that Gonzales sought to justify indefinite imprisonment without charge or rights of “detainees” at Guantanamo and elsewhere. We know that from 1995-1997 Gonzales gave then-Governor Bush at the very least less than complete information on prisoners facing execution in Texas.

These are all things we know: that Gonzales sought to get Bush out of jury duty, that Gonzales actively shifted U.S. policy to include methods that used to be called “torture” and to include indefinite detention, that Gonzales eliminated factors that might lead to clemency for death row inmates. We know that in each of these cases, Gonzales was given the opportunity to make the case for humane, responsible action, but in each he declined, instead seeking to comfort the powerful and justify their ways.

Fuck Gonzales’s story of being born to poor children of migrants. Fuck his working himself up from poverty to make his Mexican family proud. That doesn’t mean that Gonzales is incapable of enabling evil. That doesn’t make Gonzales automatically a good person. And it certainly doesn’t mean Alberto Gonzales is predestined to be Attorney General.

The Rude Pundit is not a fool: he knows that in this wonderful postmodern world of doubt and flux, even objectivity is subjective. But sometimes you gotta stop actin’ like a pomo liberal pussy and stand firm.